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Aug. 4, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - With the season opener just four weeks away, Penn State is ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' pre-season poll, which was announced today.
The Nittany Lions enter Joe Paterno's 46th season as head coach with 44 returning letterwinners, including 15 starters. An additional 17 returning players have starting experience.
Penn State will play four of the nation's pre-season top 20 teams this fall, starting with a Sept. 10 visit by No. 2 Alabama. The Crimson Tide are making their first visit to Happy Valley since 1989 and all Penn State fans are encouraged to turn Beaver Stadium into the Whitehouse for the 3:30 p.m. ABC national telecast.
The Nittany Lions will finish the season with three consecutive games against USA Today Coaches' pre-season poll Top 20 teams, starting with No. 11 Nebraska visiting for Senior Day on Nov. 12. Penn State and the Cornhuskers will annually meet starting this year and the Lions hold a slim 7-6 series advantage. Penn State then visits Big Ten Leaders Division colleagues No. 18 Ohio State (Nov. 19) and No. 10 Wisconsin (Nov. 26) to conclude the regular season.
Michigan State is ranked No. 17 in in the USA Today Coaches' preseason poll, giving the Big Ten five ranked teams to the start the season. Penn State opponents Iowa (Oct. 8) and Northwestern (Oct. 22) are among the teams also receiving votes.
The Nittany Lions began practice Thursday and open their 125th season Sept. 3 vs. Indiana State (12 p.m. on Big Ten Network, Penn State Sports Network, www.GoPSUsports.com) in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions have won 38 of their last 44 home games in dating to a Senior Day win over Michigan State in 2004.
Penn State Football Eve will launch the season on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7:00 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. Admission and parking are free for the festive event.
Penn State Football season and single tickets are available. Ticket purchases and information is available online at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or fans can call Penn State Athletics Customer Relations at 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m. Pre-paid parking passes for the general parking lots also are available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets.
Since the start of the 2005 season, Penn State has earned a 58-19 record, with its 75.3 winning percentage among the top 10 percent in the nation. Over the past six years the Nittany Lions have won two Big Ten Championships, won four bowl games and played in five New Year's or Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games, the nation's third-highest total.