Penn State ranked No. 6 in ESPN’s preseason College Football Top 25

Saquon Barkley (Getty Images)

The ESPN College Football Preseason Top 25 rankings were released Thursday morning, and Penn State fans should be happy.

The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll of ESPN voters, behind top-ranked Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, USC and defending national champion Clemson.

Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State state round out the top ten behind Penn State.

Michigan is the only other Big Ten team ranked in the preseason poll; the Wolverines check in at No. 13.

In the explanation for Penn State’s No. 6 ranking, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg writes “There should be zero surprise if Penn State follows last year’s Big Ten championship with another league title push, and perhaps more. Fourth-year coach James Franklin has recruited most of the roster, including one of the nation’s best backfield tandems in Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley. Penn State still must improve along the line of scrimmage. If the Lions defend Beaver Stadium, the Big Ten again might come down to the Penn State-Ohio State game.”

Penn State defeated Ohio State 24-21 in the regular season last year and knocked off Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. The Lions were snubbed for the college football playoff in favor of the Buckeyes, then fell 52-49 to USC in a highly entertaining Rose Bowl.