There is only two givens every year in Happy Valley.
JoePa will patrol the sidelines and the defense will be stout.
However, in 2011, there are other factors that will come into play for Penn State's success.
The quarterback situation between Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden and the running back situation with all-time leading rusher Evan Royster graduating are just a few of the issues that need to be resolved.
There is no doubt that Bolden is far more talented than McGloin.
However, what gives McGloin the edge is his leadership ability.
There can be clamoring for Bolden to start, but what does it say to the rest of the team if he's named the starter after all of the moping around he did about being benched.
Bolden needs to grow up before he can fully take over the job.
McGloin is the only viable option in this situation.
Give the edge to McGloin in this battle until Bolden matures into the leader that matches his natural talents.
The trio of Silas Redd, Brandon Beachum, and Stephfon Green all figure to see time as the feature back.
However, which one will break out from the pack to become the main focus of the Penn State running game?
The edge here goes to the sophomore Redd.
He's a tough, physical runner with the necessary speed to burst through the defense for big gains.
Green has been dealing with nagging injuries since making waves as a true freshman.
The senior needs to step it up or else will find himself on the bench behind the true sophomore Redd.
In the final three games of the season, Penn State faces off against Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin respectively.
It is blind optimism to say the Nittany Lions would win two out of three of this murderer's row of games.
However, that's what I'm going with.
Penn State will knock off a wounded Buckeyes team at the Horseshoe for the first time in ages and will follow that up with a victory against the Cornhuskers at home.
They will drop the finale to the eventual Big Ten champion Badgers, however.
If McGloin struggles, Bolden will replace him as fast as possible.
However, the concerns about Bolden's ability to command this offense still remain.
Perhaps a bigger concern is the state of the offensive line.
The offensive line has been decimated due to graduation, leaving the quarterback and skill positions as the only constants on this offense.
If the line cannot stabilize itself, it will be a long season for McGloin, Bolden, or whoever takes the snaps this year for Penn State.
The offensive line's ability to jell as a new, cohesive unit will be key to Penn State's success in the long run.