Penn State is one of the most recognizable college football brands in the country. In Happy Valley, Beaver Stadium provides one of the sport’s most chaotic and electrifying atmospheres.
No, these are not Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions of old, but James Franklin and company resurrected a Penn State program that dealt with heavy sanctions following the infamous Sandusky scandal.
Penn State Nittany Lions Overview
A partial contributor to Penn State’s name recognition is that its football program pre-dates the 20th century. The Nittany Lions had success early on, but their name was made shortly after the arrival of Head Coach Joe Paterno in 1966.
Both the immediacy and the magnitude of Paterno’s success launched him into rarified air and established the program as one of the sport’s most iconic.
In 1968 and 1969, Penn State went 11-0, including victories in the Orange Bowl each year, but the poll voters didn’t rank the team number one at the conclusion of either season.
The Nittany Lions reached number one on the polls in 1978, but they fell to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and failed to claim a national title. Paterno finally captured the elusive title in 1982. In 1986, Penn State captured another.
The Nittany Lions were always at or near the top of the polls until the infamous and appalling abuse scandal plagued the university.
Penn State’s football program struggled for a handful of years, but James Franklin, and players like Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorely, uplifted the program in the late 2010s. The Nittany Lions are still searching for their first title since 1986.
Penn State fans and bettors have had plenty to cheer for and bet on since legalization, with the football program’s rejuvenation. Those looking to get in on the action with the Nittany Lions can expect to see something like this at a sportsbook or on one of the available apps: