Nittany Lions No.8 in USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State will begin the 2009 season where it finished the 2008 campaign – among the nation\’s top 10.

With the season opener less than one month away, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches\’ football poll.

The Nittany Lions will enter Joe Paterno\’s 44th season as head coach in the same position where they finished 2008, ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls after winning the Big Ten Championship for the second time in four years. Penn State posted an 11-2 record and played Southern California in the Rose Bowl, earning its 22nd top 10 finish under the Hall of Fame mentor.

Nine Big Ten Conference squads received votes in the USA Today Coaches\’ Preseason top 25. The Big Ten was joined by the Big 12 and SEC as the only conferences will multiple teams in the top 10. Penn State opponents Ohio State (No. 6) and Iowa (No. 21) also are ranked, while Michigan State was second among teams receiving votes, good for No. 27 overall. Five Nittany Lions foes were among the teams also receiving votes.

Florida is No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches\’ poll, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, USC and Alabama. The Nittany Lions and Crimson Tide will resume their rivalry in 2010 and 2011. Another of Penn State\’s 2008 opponents, Oregon State, is No. 25 in the Preseason rankings.

Penn State has earned one of the nation\’s Top 10 records since the start of the 2005 season, posting a 40-11 (78.4) mark, good for No. 9 nationally.

The Nittany Lions return 37 letterwinners and 10 starters for its 123rd season. The squad begins pre-season practice on Monday, August 10.

Penn State opens the season on Sept. 5, hosting Akron at 12:00 p.m. The contest will air on the Big Ten Network, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com. The Big Ten Network will televise the Nittany Lions\’ first three games (Akron, Syracuse and Temple) at 12:00 p.m. from Beaver Stadium.

Tickets for four of Penn State\’s eight home games are on sale. Fans can purchase tickets directly through the Penn State Ticket website at http://www.gopsusports.com/tickets/psu-tickets.html . Tickets are available for the Akron (Sept. 5, 12:00 p.m.), Temple (Sept. 19, 12:00 p.m), Eastern Illinois (Oct. 10, TBD) and Indiana (Nov. 14, TBD) games. Pre-paid parking passes for the general parking lots also are available at GoPSUsports.com.

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