You know the rest of the story and you know it well. The heated playoff debate that followed not long after the confetti fell from the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium, one that found a large portion of the nation’s talking heads on Penn State's side for once. Despite being on the losing end to USC in Pasadena, most of America considered the Rose Bowl one of, if not THE best and most entertaining bowl game in years. Gus Johnson wasn’t too far-fetched with the words he spoke back on December 3, 2016. It’s been a whirlwind of a ride to say the least and it seems the best is yet to come. Camelot indeed, my friends!
With summer coming at us full steam ahead, preseason predictions are beginning to ramp up for college football and guess what folks? The Nittany Lions find themselves in the thick of it all. In the hunt for not just a decent shot to repeat as Big Ten Champs but a fightin' chance to win the whole darn thing. It seems that everywhere I turn there is another article or clip that has Penn State included in its playoff predictions. Whether it be the odds-makers in Vegas, Bleacher Report, or even ol' Kirk Herbstreit himself, the Nittany Lions are popping up everywhere as major contenders. Pinch me if I’ve been dreaming and if I am dreaming, I never want to wake. After years of battling our own expectations with defiance and pride, the true Season of Great Expectations has finally arrived!
A year ago, the Nittany Lions were nothing more than a blip on the radar; a team with a storied past fighting and clawing their way back to relevance. A year ago, the words “hot seat” and Franklin went hand-in-hand. This time last year, Trace McSorley was an unknown commodity, even to those of us who consider ourselves the most die-hard of football followers. A team that began the summer of 2016 ranked somewhere in the mid-50's begins this summer ranked inside the Top 10. Yes, my friends, after years of wishing, hoping and never giving up, other fans in the college football world have finally caught up to our lofty standards and know what many of us have known all along. Penn State football is back. In just over 100 days the Season of Great Expectations finally lifts off. Welcome back to Camelot indeed. Welcome back, Happy Valley!