Penn State's Offensive Uncertainty Holds Back Voters in AP Preseason Poll

Kevin McGuireAnalyst IIAugust 19, 2012

Aug 6, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien talks with quarterback Paul Jones (7) during practice at the Lasch Football Building practice fields. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

For just the second time since the Associated Press expanded its college football poll in 1968, Penn State failed to receive a single point in the preseason poll.

The only other time Penn State failed to receive a point from the poll voters came in 2001. Penn State was coming off its first losing season since 1938 and finished that season 5-6.

It should not come as much of a surprise to see Penn State left out, given the losses on offense following the NCAA's decision to allow players to transfer without having to sit out a season.

USC, bolstered by the addition of Penn State running back Silas Redd, was voted No. 1. Former Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden saw his new team, LSU, receive first-place consideration on its  way to being ranked third in the poll. Transfer wide receiver Justin Brown and Oklahoma are ranked fourth, with one first-place vote.

Penn State's defense is still considered to be pretty solid, although the depth in the secondary is a legitimate concern. But what is clearly holding voters back on Penn State is an offense shifting to a new coaching staff without the leading rusher and receiver from a season ago.

Penn State also cut ties with who would have been the team's second-leading receiver, Devon Smith. He has transferred to Marshall after being dismissed from the team this summer prior to the NCAA sanctions.

With young players looking to fill the void at running back and in the passing game, not much is known about what the team will look like on offense.

Matt McGloin is a senior quarterback, but he has been erratic over the past couple of years and has made a number of questionable decisions, which leads to many questions about the offense, regardless of who is returning this season.


Penn State's offense is a bit of an enigma. Nobody knows whether things will jell quickly or be a work in progress all season.

It might be somewhat surprising to see that Penn State did not receive a single point in the AP poll when Houston, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State and Northern Illinois each received one point.

Penn State's defense alone should have been worth one point somewhere among the voters in the AP poll.

From 1962 through 1967, the Associated Press only listed the top-10 teams in the country. The poll was expanded to 20 teams in 1968, and the Nittany Lions appeared in the preseason poll every year from 1968 through 2000.

The poll expanded once again from 20 to 25 in 1989, making it easier for Penn State to remain in the preseason ranking. The streak was snapped at 33 consecutive seasons in the AP preseason ranking before the 2001 season.

Penn State appeared in the 2002 preseason ranking but was left out the following three seasons before reappearing in the 2006 preseason poll.


Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast, managing editor of Nittany Lions Den and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Google+.