I don’t have a good lede for this, but I will say, I do rant about that dummy Jim Delany and his idiot scheduling later on in this article.
Note: Credit to FBSchedules.com for the screenshots.
I’ll have expanded thoughts on the 2019 schedule in a few weeks, but the gist: it’s pretty tough. As of late, the odd years have tended to be more difficult because of the road trips to Ohio State and Michigan State, and the same is true in 2019. What makes this schedule even tougher? That three-game stretch in mid-October — on the road against Iowa, home against Michigan, and then back on the road against Sparty with no bye week before any of those games. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more challenging three-week stretch in the country.
First and foremost, I’m really looking forward to that trip to Virginia Tech. Blacksburg seems like a cool little college town, and the “Enter Sandman” entrance is one of the best “things” in college football. Plus, I think it’s pretty crazy that Penn State and Virginia Tech have never played each other. Maybe it’s just me, but there are some similarities to both programs — perhaps the Hokies could become our ACC rival?
From a schedule perspective, it’s pretty manageable. My main thing with the scheduling — just don’t have back-to-back-to-back weeks of tough games. Break it up a bit, and I think in 2020, that happens. It’s essentially three two-week blocks of games: Northwestern/@Michigan, Iowa/Ohio State, and @Nebraska/Michigan State. Tough? Sure, but overall, rather doable.
I think it’s between this schedule and 2023 (you’ll see) for which one is the toughest. This one at least has things spread out a bit more, but going on the road to Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State in the same season — while still having Auburn and Michigan at home — is tunched.
Also, Michigan and Ohio State in back-to-back weekends sucks. Unfortunately, as you’ll see, it’s a reoccurring theme in three of the four next schedules.
You know how I said I’m excited for the roadie to Virginia Tech? Yeah, well I’m even more excited for Auburn. The bravado of the south and their college football makes me want to punch them in the face sometimes, but getting to experience a Penn State game in the SEC is going to be pretty cool.
Overall, this schedule is pretty nice. I don’t really like opening up on the road, and who knows what Purdue is at that point, but there’s tougher places to start the season. Beyond that, from a conference perspective, it’s really just that Ohio State-Michigan stretch that’s tough. Illinois, Michigan State, @Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, and @Rutgers to finish up the year is — right now — not all that daunting.
P.S. No Iowa for the first time since 2015.
P.S.S. Don’t worry, the Hawkeyes return in 2023.
Riddle me this: in what world does it make sense to have Penn State play @Michigan State-@Ohio State-Iowa-Michigan all in a four-week span with no bye week the week prior? Here are the three toughest teams in the Big Ten East, and then just to make things extra fun, we’ll toss in Iowa.
To be clear, I’m not saying the Big Ten is out to get Penn State, because they actually do this to every program. Michigan State has @Michigan-Penn State-@Ohio State stretch in 2020, while Ohio State has a four-week stretch of Iowa-@Michigan State-@Penn State-Nebraska that year. Michigan has @Iowa-Penn State-Nebraska-@Michigan State in 2022. I mean, those are just brutal weeks, and what’s the upside? To make sure all of the Big Ten East loses once to hurt the conference’s chance to make the College Football Playoff?
Here’s an idea (beyond going back to eight conference games): take a page from the SEC and don’t put together your schedule together so far in advance. You know who Alabama opens conference play with in 2020? We don’t know yet, because the SEC is smarter than the Big Ten and doesn’t announce the conference schedule until the fall before. This way, they can have a better idea on the strength of teams, and then make sure to not load up the schedule with four-week stretches from hell.
Playing West Virginia is cool, I suppose. I know Morgantown is fun for college kids, but I’ve had to remind myself that I’ll be 30 when this game takes place, so not sure I’ll fit the demographic anymore. We’ll see.
This schedule is fine. The @Wisconsin-Nebraska and then Ohio State-@Michigan duo is separated by a bye week, which is always appreciated. Penn State still needs to add a game for after Rutgers, but I’d assume it will be a lower-tier program anyway.
This schedule kind of reminds me of 2011 — one legitimate OOC opponent (though Virginia Tech certainly isn’t Alabama), and then what should be an easy schedule the rest of the way until the final three games of @Ohio State, Michigan, and @Michigan State. Granted it’s six years away, but NO REASON Penn State shouldn’t be 9-0 heading into Columbus. No excuses, Franklin/Moorhead.