Kirk Herbstreit: Penn State is 'absolutely' a championship contender

Penn State had the kind of year that surprised many people. The team won the Big Ten conference after starting the season as an afterthought to Ohio State and Michigan, even defeating the Buckeyes and nearly costing them a College Football Playoff bid.
Many felt that Penn State, as the winner of their conference, deserved the nod over the Buckeyes.
But while Penn State was a bit overlooked by the selection committee, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t believe we’ve seen the last of the program as a championship contender.
Herbstreit was asked if he thought the Nittany Lions were contenders for the upcoming season:

Losing a shootout in the Rose Bowl to USC, 52-49, Penn State did enough to make their first season back without the looming cloud of a postseason ban a success.
A coaching staff that clearly has its fingers on the pulse of its players and community, Penn State has undergone a number of measures in an effort to avoid the pitfalls that brought it to its knees in 2012.
Ohio State will be better next year. Michigan will be as good, maybe a little worse with all the talent that left this year. Penn State will have a whale of a schedule, but they appear to be headed in the right direction after years of unspeakable gloom.
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NCAA Division I Council rejects proposal for June singing day
NCAA Division I Council rejects proposal for June singing day