With the talk of some West Virginia games on the horizon, I got to thinking about Penn State's schedule. I know Penn Staters are divided on the issue of renewing the Pitt rivalry, but I'm personally in support of playing our old rivals as much as possible. I am also in favor of the nine-game conference schedule, because what's the point in being in a conference if we don't play some members for seven years? Since joining the Big Ten our games against Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, etc have held the most importance. That being said, with only three non-conference games in the future, I think those games should be meaningful and enjoyable.
So with that in mind, and with the help of Stassen College Football Information and FB Schedules, I did some research. I wanted to see who Penn State has played the most, and how that compares to its future non-conference scheduling. Since 1963 (I figured 50 seasons would be a good limit) the ten teams Penn State has played the most are:
Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, Temple, Maryland, Ohio State, Iowa, Boston College, Michigan State, and Rutgers
With the exception of BC, all of those teams are most likely on future schedules, which is awesome. I think playing Pitt, WVU, and Cuse is great for both fanbases. Having Maryland and Rutgers in the conference might not get everyone's blood pumping, but having drivable, familiar away games on a regular basis is still a good thing. And most people probably don't get too excited about Temple either, but many PSU students from Pennsylvania, like myself, have good friends that go to Temple, so that is an important series as well.
The recent and future non-conference schedules are starting to follow what I think would be the ideal model - One or two regional rivals, one or two easier regional games, and maybe a big-name national program sprinkled in every couple years. Again, since 1963, here are the teams Penn State has played the most that fit into that model:
- Notre Dame (9-6)
- Alabama (4-10)
- Miami (7-5)
- USC (4-4)
Major Conference Regional Rivals
- Pitt (24-9-1)
- West Virginia (28-2)
- Syracuse (23-7)
- Boston College (17-4)
- NC State (12-2)
"Group of Five" Regional Teams
- Temple (29-0)
- Army (10-2)
- Navy (8-3)
- Cincinnati (8-1)
- MACtion * (19-2)
*Ohio (5-1), Akron (4-0), Kent State (3-0), Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan (2-0), Buffalo, Central Michigan, NIU (1-0), Toledo (0-1) OOPS.
My preference is to make up the the non-conference schedule with these teams. While a game in Ireland is awesome, playing it against UCF doesn't really mean anything for either school. I say stick to this list and the scheduling wizards can't go wrong.
Are there any schools you guys would add or delete? Do you like this model, or something entirely different? Do you think Penn State should be more or less ambitious with its scheduling? This is my first FanPost, so I hope you guys enjoy it and that it generates some good conversation. FTG!