Penn State checked in at No. 16 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25 poll released Tuesday afternoon.

With seven teams listed, the Big Ten conference tied the SEC for most conference representatives in the poll. Penn State began the 2018 season ranked No. 7 in the same poll.

“Last season, Penn State took a step back after losing Saquon Barkley,” SI wrote. “To avoid a similar fate in 2019 after Trace McSorley’s departure, coach James Franklin will lean on his 13th-ranked recruiting class.”

No. 6 Ohio State topped all Big Ten teams. Michigan (No. 11), Iowa (No. 18), Wisconsin (No. 19), Michigan State (No. 21) and Nebraska (No. 24) round out the Big Ten’s representatives.

Penn State plays four teams ranked in the poll.

The Nittany Lions host Michigan (Oct. 19) and travel to Iowa (Oct. 12), Michigan State (Oct. 26) and Ohio State (Nov. 23).

Penn State debuted at No. 14 last week in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The first AP Top 25 poll of the season will be released on Aug. 19.

CNHI Penn State reporter

CNHI Penn State reporter