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2016 Football Schedule Analysis: Penn State Nittany Lions

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This is a big season for James Franklin, who has done a lot of good things his first two years in State College. But he’s just 14-12 overall and 6-10 in the Big Ten. And Penn State finished last season with four consecutive losses. The roster is now mostly full of his players and he has tweaked his staff. Will this lead to the Nittany Lions moving up the ladder in the rugged Big Ten East? A tough schedule looms, which only complicates matters.

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Dienhart: Penn State Nittany Lions' offseason to-do list

Jan 2, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball in the third quarter against Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. Georgia defeated Penn State 24-17 to win the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Get James Franklin's spring game takeaways

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Change is the theme as James Franklin begins this third season at the helm of Penn State. The staff has been altered radically. Franklin fired offensive coordinator John Donovan and shockingly saw defensive coordinator Bob Shoop leave for Tennessee. And offensive line coach Herb Hand also high-tailed it, bolting for Auburn. Plus, a raft of players transferred after a season that ended with four losses in a row.

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