The Associated Press released its college football preseason poll Monday, and Penn State will start off this season similar to how it ended 2017.
The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 10 in the AP Top 25 Preseason Poll, after ending last season at No. 8. James Franklin’s program was also ranked No. 9 in the Amway Coaches Preseason Poll, which was released earlier this month.
Although the AP Poll is not factored into the College Football Playoff rankings, its end-of-year rankings are not typically far off from the playoff committee’s list. Both rankings last season had the same top-9 teams after the regular season, and the CFP committee will again start publicly releasing theirs Oct. 30.
The preseason AP Poll has historically been a decent indicator of future playoff success. In the last four years, 10 of the 16 playoff teams were ranked in the top 5 of the preseason AP Poll. Only one was ranked worse than No. 15 and none worse than No. 19.
Penn State opens the season at home against Appalachian State at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 1. Before the College Football Playoff rankings are released, the Nittany Lions will have to face Ohio State (Sept. 29), Michigan State (Oct. 13) and Iowa (Oct. 27).
Alabama was No. 1 in the AP preseason poll, followed by Clemson, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Washington, Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.), Auburn and Penn State. Michigan State is No. 11, followed by Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan and USC.