Penn State ranked No. 6 in AP Preseason poll

Full AP Preseason Top 25

Expectations are high in and around Happy Valley this year.

Expectations are just as high outside of Happy Valley, too, for James Franklin and Penn State.

The Nittany Lions check in at No. 6 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll, which was released Monday afternoon.

Alabama is No. 1 for the second consecutive preseason. The Crimson Tide is followed by Ohio State at No. 2, Florida State at No. 3, Southern Cal at No. 4 and defending champion Clemson at No. 5.

Coming off last season's Big Ten title run and trip to the Rose Bowl, the hype train for Penn State centers around Heisman Trophy hopefuls QB Trace McSorely and RB Saquan Barkley.

McSorely, now a senior, had a superb junior campaign last season, throwing for 3614 yards, 29 touchdowns and just eight picks.

Barkley, now a junior, deserves all the Heisman chatter as he was spectacular last season with 1496 rushing yards and 18 TDs in the ground. He also recorded 402 receiving yards and four TDs through the air.

The No. 6 ranking is the Nits' highest ranking in the preseason poll since 1999, when a team earmarked by LaVarr Arrington and Courtney Brown was ranked No. 3.

Penn State is one of four Big Ten teams in the preseason Top 25. Ohio State is No. 2, Wisconsin is No. 9 and Michigan is No. 11.

The Wolverines visit Beaver Stadium on Oct. 21. The Lions then head out to Columbus a week later for a titanic matchup with the Buckeyes at the Horseshoe.

Penn State's season kicks off on Sept. 2 with a visit from Akron.