Penn State's 49 NCAA titles (77 overall) rank fifth among all NCAA Division I schools and are the most of any institution or university east of the Mississippi River. The Nittany Lions have won at least one championship game for each year that college football has been a series, from 1894 to present.
They're also the only school to have multiple championships in baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. Penn State has had more than 50 individual athletes win Olympic medals, more than any other school.
The University Park campus is home to Nittany Lion Stadium, which has been called "the Carnegie Hall of College Football" and "Death Valley." It has also been known as "College Football's Most Dangerous Place to Play" due to its large crowd size and high rate of injuries. The stadium has been the site of several major incidents in American sports history, including one of the first gay rights protests in America when George Weinberg, who was part of the original group that founded the LGBT civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign, protested against the university policy prohibiting gay students from serving as resident assistants.
However, it is not enough to officially designate Penn State as a "power house," which would require them to have multiple appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State has an overall record of 58 victories and 19 defeats in the last six seasons, outscoring opponents 2,297-1,273. The team's winning percentage is.443, which places them 11th among current FBS schools.
They have won 10 or more games three times, but they have also lost 10 or more games five times during that period. Their most recent losing season was 2012 when they went 3-9 overall with two wins against lower-division teams.
Before 2012, their previous worst season was 2001 when they finished 3-8-1. That year they were banned from post-season play because of school president Graham B. Spanier's role in a scandal that involved former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. He was convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse of children and sentenced to prison.
The Lions have not had a losing record since 2013, when they finished 3-9. Before then, they had not had a losing season since 1999 when they finished 4-7-1.
In that year, Penn State went 8-4 in Big Ten play and earned a spot in the 2000 National Championship game where they lost to Oklahoma 14-7. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 5 in the final AP poll.
Penn State has had a football team since 1887. With more than 40 consensus All-America picks, a Heisman Trophy winner (John Cappelletti, 1973), and a pair of national titles, the program is in the top ten all-time. They currently play in the Big Ten.
In their first season, Penn State played two games against other college football teams: Princeton and Franklin & Marshall. The Nittany Lions lost both games by a combined score of 24-6. John Muckler's second season saw the team play eight games, winning only one game. In George Washington Woodson's ninth season, the team played its first intercollegiate game on November 6, 1914, losing 7-0 to Pittsburgh at Franklin Field. The school year was then delayed for World War I, so most games were played during the summer months until a schedule was established in 1919. Since then, every season except 1942 and 1946 has seen at least four games have been played.
Nationally, Penn State has won or tied for first place in six of the seven years from 1989-1995. The only exception was 1990 when they finished third behind Alabama and Miami (OH).
The Nittany Lions have appeared in five College Football Championships. They have never been defeated but have never won either. Their best finish was second in 1945.
There are eight national championships. Syracuse has won 10 national championships in the contemporary NCAA era, with one more championship (1990) removed due to rule violations. The Orange have won the most national championships of any team in NCAA Division I history, with 10. They also lead the Big East Conference with 11 total titles.
Syracuse is the only school to win both the men's and women's basketball titles in a single year. The men's team did so in 2003, while the women's team accomplished this feat in 2014. Both teams have been ranked No. 1 in the country during the same season three times: 2003, 2014, and 2015.
Coach Roy Williams is the all-time leader in victories among active coaches at 467 wins. He also leads the nation in that category. Coach Jim Boeheim is second on the list with 423 wins. They both coached their teams at Syracuse. Mr. Boeheim took a break from coaching in 1999 but returned in 2001. Coach Williams left SU in 2009 after 26 years as its head coach to take over the NBA's Chicago Bulls. He returned to his alma mater in 2013 after leading the Bulls to the NBA Finals.
Both men and women's basketball at Syracuse are popular programs.