Even in a defeat, Penn State showed the country what kind of team it was Monday in the Rose Bowl against USC — and a glimpse of what kind of team the Nittany Lions can be in 2017.
Kirk Herbstreit said that he expects Penn State to be a preseason top-5 team in 2017. Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd took his 2017 Penn State praise even further, saying the Nittany Lions could win the national title next season.
“Penn State returns everybody. They don’t lose anybody to the NFL. Penn State has a real chance to win it all next year,” Cowherd said.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 3, 2017
Cowherd went on to say that USC’s 52-49 win over the Nittany Lions was one of the best games he’s ever seen.
Penn State could return 18 of its 22 starters, including 10 on offense. Linebacker Brandon Bell, defensive end Evan Schwan, safety Malik Golden and center Brian Gaia are the only starters without remaining eligibility.
Tight end Mike Gesicki and linebacker Jason Cabinda have already announced they will return for their senior seasons. And on offense, Penn State could return every skill player, including running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley.