There are many things to consider when projecting how a season may turn out.
Injuries, position depth, and strength of schedule are just a few factors to weigh.
However, at Penn State, there is one given, and that is Joe Paterno.
Without further ado, here are some predictions for the Penn State Nittany Lions heading into the 2011 season.
Despite having a horrible bowl game performance, McGloin has something that Rob Bolden has yet to show, leadership.
McGloin will get the chance to start the season as the starting quarterback, much to the chagrin of the highly touted Bolden.
However, McGloin's leash may not be long if Bolden can prove that he has matured after a year in the system.
The opening three weeks of Penn State's schedule aren't as easy as years past.
Opening with Indiana State is the usual cream puff opponent to open a season with, so chalk up a victory here.
However, next up is Alabama at Beaver Stadium.
The Crimson Tide ran all over the Nittany Lions last year in Tuscaloosa.
Minus Mark Ingram and Greg McIlroy, the Crimson Tide offense will be in transition in week two. However, Trent Richardson was a major factor in last year's game. It would be safe to put this one in the loss column.
Finally, Penn State visits Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in week three. The Owls are under new leadership under Steve Addazio.
The Owls have slowly become a force to be reckoned with and it has shown each year that Penn State has played them. However, they're not that far along yet. Win for the Blue and White.
Wins against Eastern Michigan and Indiana will improve the Nittany Lions record to 4-1 heading into a showdown against the Hawkeyes of Iowa at Beaver Stadium.
Iowa has been a thorn in Penn State's side the past few seasons.
Expect much of the same as the Nittany Lions drop another heartbreaker to Iowa.
After a win against Purdue, Penn State advance to 5-2.
However, Northwestern is an up and coming program that could surprise a few people in the Big Ten this year.
However, the Wildcats will not be close enough to tame the Lions. Give the win to Penn State.
After knocking off Illinois the following week, the Nittany Lions prepare for a murderous final three game stretch against the conference's top contenders.
The final stretch for Penn State includes Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.
Nebraska is the only one of these three that will be played in Happy Valley, so I will give Penn State the edge in this match-up.
However, Ohio State is tough to beat at the Horseshoe. Factor in that Dan Herron should be back from serving his NCAA suspension by this point and the Buckeyes will be a tough team to beat. The streak of losses at Columbus continues in 2011.
Traveling to Madison for the season finale against Wisconsin is a very tough draw. The Badgers should contend for a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game and probably would have a title game berth on the line in this game. Give this one to the Badgers.
According to my projections, Penn State will finish the season 8-4 with sights set on either the Capitol One or Outback Bowls.