Thoughts on Penn State's future schedules

Posted by Jeff Rice on April 6, 2011 

The Big Ten released its conference schedules for the 2013 and 2014 football seasons today (Penn State has it all nicely organized here).

There isn't too much that jumps out at you as far as Penn State's schedules are concerned. Michigan, which plays in the Big Ten's other division (I'm going to see if I can make it until at least August without referring to the official names of said divisions), returns to the schedule after what will be a two-year absence. The Nittany Lions will host the Wolverines in 2013 and head to Ann Arbor in 2014.

Unlike this season's schedule, in which Penn State's games against the conference's traditional powers are heavily condensed (the Nittany Lions close the 2011 season with games against Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin in successive weeks and meet Iowa, Ohio State and Nebraska in a four-week span in 2012), the 2013 and 2014 slates offer Penn State some breathing room. The Nittany Lions do close with Nebraska and Wisconsin in 2013 but that's nearly a month after they meet Ohio State and Michigan. A road date at Illinois splits up home games against Ohio State and Wisconsin in 2014.

The addition of Nebraska to the conference adds intrigue and power to Penn State's conference schedule, which will be needed considering that future non-conference schedules include some traditional rivals (Virginia, Navy, Rutgers) but lack the sizzle of past games against the likes of Notre Dame and Alabama. The conference seasons should be grinds, and whoever winds up in the Big Ten championship game (and plays for the trophy named after Joe Paterno) will, in most cases, have earned it.



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