Fearless forecast: 4 season predictions

With the season just around the corner, NittanyNation takes a look into its crystal ball and tries to discern what lies ahead for this year's Penn State team:

1. Penn State finishes 7-5. The Nittany Lions play better than their record indicates and give the Class of 2013 enough hope to stay together. (And, yes, that means Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman stick with PSU.) Penn State starts out strong but falters later in the season, losing three of the last five, once teams start to pick up its tendencies with more film.

2. Passing game no longer anemic. Matt McGloin finishes the season with more than 2,500 yards -- good enough for one of the school's top-5 spots in single-season yardage -- and winds up around the middle of the pack in Big Ten passer efficiency.

Defenses hate the new tight end system, and comparisons already begin between Kyle Carter and Andrew Quarless.

3. Secondary struggles. The group is exposed early, and Ted Roof can't make enough adjustments to find success. The new scheme allows more big plays than fans are used to, and Penn State struggles to respond when teams line up more than three receivers. The defense tries to compensate, but the secondary is looked upon as the weakest unit of the team. It brings the whole defense down, and Penn State falls outside of the top-15 in scoring defense as a result.

4. Most improved group is the wideouts. Somehow, even with the loss of three starters, this group manages to impress. Allen Robinson and Shawney Kersey lead the team in receptions, while Evan Lewis and Alex Kenney play the role of home-run threat. Because there's no longer two rotating quarterbacks, wideouts can more easily adjust and establish an early rapport with McGloin. Thanks to assistant coach Stan Hixon, dropped balls become more rare.