The Penn State Nittany Lions have officially completed the “easy” portion of their schedule.
Through five games, PSU is undefeated, having vanquished their foes with a combined score of 235-37. That’s a margin of 198 points. That’s an average game score of 47-7.4.
But that was the easy portion of the schedule. The Lions faced off against FCS Idaho, G5 Buffalo, Pitt, Maryland, and Purdue. Four of the five games played have been in the confines of Beaver Stadium.
Those five teams, at this point in the season, are a combined 11-16. None of the five teams are currently ranked, though Maryland did break into the top 25 for a week before losing to Temple, and Pitt is currently in the “others receiving votes” category, putting them #37 in the country.
That’s not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents. To Penn State’s credit, they’ve done what they’re supposed to do against lesser teams - win, and for the most part, win convincingly.
But from here on out, the schedule gets much tougher.
There are seven games remaining on the schedule, against Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio State, and Rutgers. Three of those seven games are at home, but that includes the two easiest games remaining - Rutgers and Indiana. Of the big games left, only Michigan has to come to Penn State.
The seven remaining teams are a combined 27-10. Remove Rutgers, and six of the remaining seven opponents are 26-6. Three of those opponents are ranked, and two more are receiving votes.
So buckle your chinstraps everyone. While Penn State has done what it’s supposed to do so far, the real test begins next week, with a night game at Kinnick Stadium against a top 20 Iowa squad.
And it doesn’t get much easier from there.