We're Sleeping on Penn State, College Football Analyst Says

The Lions might be the Big Ten's No. 2 team, VSiN's Matt Youmans says. He's also a Sean Clifford fan.

Are college football fans and bettors underestimating Penn State this season? Matt Youmans of VSiN suggests they might be.

Youmans expects Penn State to go over its consensus 2022 win total of 8.5 games and has the potential to win 10.

He also might be one of quarterback Sean Clifford's biggest fans out there.

"I like Sean Clifford," Youmans said in a recent interview from Las Vegas. "I really think he's a pretty good quarterback who's got some mobility and is a pretty accurate passer. And when you rank the quarterbacks in the Big Ten, I think he's in the conversation for that No. 2 spot."

VSiN ranks Penn State at No. 14 in its preseason power rankings, valuing the Lions much higher than the coaches poll.

According to VSiN's 2022 College Football Betting Guide, the Lions are preseason favorites in 10 games, holding a 5-point edge in the Sept. 1 opener at Purdue.

Youmans sees plenty of potential in Penn State, noting one factor that gives him pause: head coach James Franklin's on gameday. Here's our interview with Youmans.

Matt Youmans: I like Clifford and I think he’s going to give Penn State a chance to win basically every game on the schedule, including the Ohio State game. I really think Penn State has a chance to win nine, maybe 10 games if things break right.

Question: What's your view of Penn State this season?

Youmans: I like Clifford a lot and I also like Purdue's quarterback. I think it's a great way to open the season in the Big Ten, and whoever wins that game could use it as a launching-pad game to send them off into a really good season. The team that wins that is probably going to go over its season win total.

Question: What do you like about the Penn State-Purdue opener?

Youmans: James Franklin gives me a little bit of pause, because he tends to sometimes have brain cramps in big games. I don't think Franklin is an overachiever necessarily as a coach. There are some things I like about him. Obviously the guy can recruit.

Q: What about Penn State gives you pause this season?

Youmans: It’s a cliché, but I do think the West is more wide open than it’s been in recent years. That’s because I don't think Wisconsin is as good as it's been, and the main reason I pause on Wisconsin is [quarterback] Graham Mertz. He has yet to prove he can be a big-time quarterback.

Q: What's the best bet in the Big Ten West?

Youmans: I don't think Michigan was as good as it looked at the end of last season. That was a little bit of a fluke finish to the season, and also I thought they got exposed in the College Football Playoff. So I guess I've got to hit the pause button a little bit on Michigan this season.

Q: Who challenges Ohio State in the Big Ten East?

Youmans: I think Penn State could be the second-best team in the Big Ten overall, not just in the East. If you put Penn State in the West,  right now I think it would have to be a co-favorite with Wisconsin to win. 

Q: It sounds like you're higher on Penn State than others. Why?

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