University Park, Pa. — With the season opener just weeks away, the Penn State football team will enter the 2008 campaign ranked No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches' poll.
The Nittany Lions will enter Joe Paterno's 43rd season as head coach as one of five Big Ten Conference squads in the USA Today Coaches' Pre-season Top 25, tied for the most teams among all conferences. Penn State will face the other four Big Ten squads that are ranked - Ohio State (3), Wisconsin (12), Illinois (19) and Michigan (24). Nittany Lion opponents Michigan State and Oregon State received votes in the Coaches' poll.
Penn State will face eight teams that played in a bowl game last season, with five of the games in Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions earned their 33rd Top 25 finish under Paterno last season, placing No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches poll.
Penn State Football Eve will launch the season on Friday, Aug. 29, with activities starting at 6:00 p.m. outside Beaver Stadium. The program inside the stadium starts at 7:45 p.m. featuring the Blue Band, cheerleaders, dance team and videos. The seniors will be introduced and after Coach Paterno's address to the crowd, a new stadium video will be unveiled. The event and parking are free.
Penn State opens its 122nd season on Aug. 30, hosting Coastal Carolina at 12:00 p.m. The contest will air on the Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.
The Nittany Lions return 35 letterwinners and 16 starters for the 2008 season. Penn State has won 31 of its last 40 games, tied for eighth-best record in the nation over that span. The squad began pre-season practice on Monday, August 4.