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B1G All-Decade Grades: Penn State

The more we do these posts the more I realize I really don’t like any other team in this conference. It’s wonderful!

Big Ten Championship - Penn State v Wisconsin
God this game sucked ass.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

While 2020 has come out the gates in relatively crummy fashion, the decade leading up to it were some of the Big Ten’s best. Huge TV deals, and overall success highlighted the 10 year span in the conference.

In an attempt to reflect upon the good times — the period of time from 2010 to 2019 — we at B5Q have set out to grade each football and basketball program over that time span.

I grew up in Pennsylvania. Talking about how much I dislike this school is in my blood...but I’ll try and keep it civil. Without further ado...the decade grades for the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Football grade: B

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington
Saquon Barkley was, and is, very good at football.
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

It is kinda crazy that a school who had the same coach from 1966 to part of 2011 has now had four coaches in the last decade, right? PSU has had Joe Pa, Tom Bradley, Bill O’Brien and James Franklin at the helm since 2010 and while the Nittany Lions had some struggles during the early part of the decade, Franklin appears to have them headed in the right direction now.

PSU has gone 87-42 since 2010 and has made eight bowl games, with a record of only 3-5, and won the B1G once, in 2016. However, the reason for the “B” grade is because they have more seven win seasons than double digit wins season this decade. Also, there was the whole Jerry Sandusky scandal thing that really should have wiped this program off the map, but that’s another story for another time.

The Lions have dozens of players littered throughout NFL rosters from RB Saquon Barkley to K Robbie Gould. Penn State is a legit NFL factory.

Basketball grade: D+

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 13 Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Minnesota v Penn State
Tim Frazier helped the Lions to their last NCAA Tournament appearance
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’ve never understood why Penn State basketball hasn’t been better. They are close to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and close enough to New York where they should be able to get enough talent just by recruiting those three cities...and yet. In the past decade, PSU has made the NCAA Tournament once (although they most likely would’ve made it this year) and lost in their first game to Temple.

Hell, they only made the Tournament that year due to a miracle run to the finals of the B1G Tournament that included the Worst Game In College Basketball History, the 36-33 win over Wisconsin in the quarterfinals. Even when Penn State does something good it’s because they did something horrible to get there.

A record of 167-164 overall and 65-119 in the B1G is deeply puke inducing, but the Nittany Lions are always a tough team to play, especially in their morgue of an arena. It is worth noting that Penn State did win the NIT in the 2017-18 season, which is impressive in its own kind of way.

PSU has a pair of players in the NBA currently, Tim Frazier and Josh Reaves, but aren’t exactly known for their ability to get players into the league.


Grading Penn State football for the past decade

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    (49 votes)
  • 52%
    (131 votes)
  • 14%
    (36 votes)
  • 3%
    (8 votes)
  • 9%
    (24 votes)
248 votes total Vote Now


Grading Penn State basketball for the past decade

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    (7 votes)
  • 15%
    (37 votes)
  • 51%
    (124 votes)
  • 29%
    (71 votes)
240 votes total Vote Now