While the Penn State-Pitt rivalry is on the verge of being shelved another decade, the Nittany Lions announced Thursday morning that they’re renewing their series with Temple.
Penn State will visit the Owls on Sept. 12, 2026 and host them the next season on Sept. 18, 2027. Other non-conference opponents the Lions announced Thursday include Villanova (Sept. 25, 2021 and Sept. 13, 2025), Delaware (Sept. 9, 2023 and Sept. 11, 2027) and Central Michigan (Sept. 24, 2022). All of those contests will be at home.
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said in April that she had sent a contract to renew the series for four years starting in 2026. But Penn State AD Sandy Barbour said Penn State couldn’t accommodate that due to a “complicating puzzle.” Barbour also said the series, which ends next year, likely wouldn’t pick up until 2030 as a result.
The Panthers announced a month later they would play a home-and-home against Wisconsin starting in 2026.
Penn State has followed the template of scheduling one respectable Power 5 program as a non-conference opponent, in addition to two cupcakes. That appears to be in line with comments James Franklin made in the offseason about staying undefeated.
Although the College Football Playoff selection committee has said it values strength of schedule, the Nittany Lions learned the hard way in 2016 that’s not necessarily the case.
“You got to do everything in your power to be undefeated and to win your conference championship,” Franklin said in the spring. “All the other variables, you can’t control.”
2020’s non-conference opponents are Nevada, Virginia Tech (away) and San Jose State. The 2021 opponents include Ball State, Auburn (away) and Villanova. The four seasons after those still require one more non-conference opponent.