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Predicting Penn State’s Kickoff Times

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NCAA Football: Rutgers at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

So for the last two years, I’ve been (privately) predicting the start times and network of each Penn State game. As it turns out, I’m very bad at it since I get almost all of them incorrect. But hey, we’re still in this limbo of “are sports still a thing??” so I figured why the heck shouldn’t I showcase my terrible predicting abilities right here on BSD.

September 5: Kent State Golden Flashes

Prediction: Noon on ESPN/ESPN2

I originally had this as a BTN game, but with Penn State likely being a top 10 team heading into the season, we’ll give it the bump to the Worldwide Leader.

September 12: at Virginia Tech Hokies

Prediction: 3:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN

If this were another week, this could sneakily be ESPN/ABC’s primetime game, but with Texas at LSU, Tennessee at Oklahoma, and Ohio State at Oregon, this game is destined for a day kick — potentially even a noon kickoff.

September 19: San Jose State

Prediction: Noon on BTN

I mean, yeah.

September 26: Northwestern Wildcats

Prediction: 3:30 on FS1

Penn State hasn’t played a mid-afternoon game on FS1 since the Nebraska game in 2017, so we’ll slot them here for Northwestern. If the Wildcats can get through Sparty to open the season, they should be 3-0 heading into this game, which could make it a Top 25 matchup.

October 3: at Michigan Wolverines

Prediction: Noon on FOX

I have my thoughts on FOX’S BIG NOON KICKOFF (needs to be all caps):

  • If Penn State is the home team, I hate it.
  • If Penn State is the away team, I like it.

The thing about Michigan though is the Big House never gets loud anyway, so whether the kickoff is at 12 p.m. or 8 p.m., it doesn’t get much louder than when someone wins BINGO at a retirement home anyway.

October 17: Iowa Hawkeyes

Prediction: 3:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN

Penn State and Iowa haven’t had a noon kickoff since the 6-4 game back in 2004, so this is a good bet to be an afternoon game.

October 24: Ohio State Buckeyes

Prediction: 8 p.m. on ABC/ESPN

There isn’t a ton known about the selection process between FOX and ABC/ESPN, other than the fact that FOX gets the first overall pick each year — which it always uses on Ohio State/Michigan. Beyond that though, it’s difficult to understand what games get put where. Based on the last 4 years, one would think the Ohio State/Penn State game would be the second-most coveted game, but yet it has bounced around between FOX (‘17 and ‘19) and ABC (‘16 and ‘18) during that timeframe.

I’m sticking with the pattern and going with ABC/ESPN here, mostly because it seems like it makes the most sense, but also because I will throw a temper tantrum if Penn State’s Whiteout is stuck with Joel Klatt at 11:59 a.m.

October 31: at Indiana Hoosiers

Prediction: Noon on BTN

Penn State averages about 2-3 BTN games per year, and it doesn’t get more “Big Ten Network” than Indiana Hoosiers Football.

November 7: at Nebraska Cornhuskers

Prediction: Noon on FOX

It’s likely to be the best Big Ten matchup that week, and more importantly, it’s a game between two of the bigger brands in college football. First time Penn State has played in Lincoln too since 2012, so I can see FOX giving it the red carpet treatment with BIG NOON KICKOFF.

November 14: Michigan State Spartans

Prediction: 3:30 on ABC/ESPN

Sparty might really suck this year, potentially pushing this to be a noon kickoff, but we’ll keep it 3:30 for now. Even if Michigan State stinks, “Penn State-Michigan State” still sounds like a bigger game.

November 21: Maryland Terrapins

Prediction: Noon on ABC/ESPN

Definitely a BTN possibility, but I already have Penn State in three other BTN games, so we’ll go with ABC/ESPN here.

November 28: at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Prediction: 3:30 on BTN

Depending upon Penn State’s success this season, this could be flexed out to ESPN/ABC, but we’ll stay conservative and give it to BTN because Rutgers doesn’t deserve anything above that.