In the past we’ve talked about your favorite (and least favorite) B1G foes, as well as which big non-conference opponents you’d like to see Penn State play.
But realistically, only one of those big non-con games can be played in any given season. The rest of the out of conference games are padded out by the second tier teams - the MACrifices of the world. So which of these teams would you like to see Penn State play? Here’s my list:
This one is probably #1 on my wish list. The Lions have played the Rockets only once, and lost 24-6, in what was perhaps the upset of the year in 2000. It also signaled the start of the Dark Years, and led to many people claiming that football had passed JoePa by. I would love nothing more than to host the Rockets, and exorcise those demons.
This hearkens back to the 2012 season, when the Lions faceplanted out of the gate just as many predicted they would with the sanctions in place. Penn State just couldn’t put away a feisty MAC team, and lost the season opener 24-14. This is, so far, the only loss in the series against the Bobcats, with Penn State leading 5-1 overall. Still, avenging the loss would be sweet. Luckily, Ohio is on the schedule in 2022, so the chance for redemption will present itself.
This one is probably not as high on some other fans’ list, but I just like playing Temple. There’s no love lost between the two teams, and they’ve played a bunch. Overall, Penn State has a 40-4-1 record against the Owls. Were it not for the Sack Game in 2015, wherein one of the most talented Temple teams of the last half century roughed up Penn State to the tune of 27-10, the Owls would not have a win against the Lions since 1941. Once again, this is an opponent I’ll get to see once more, as Temple is on the schedule in 2026 and 2027.
This is probably a bit unfair to the Hoos, but I firmly believe there are a batch of teams that straddle the line between Power 5 and G5, and I’d squarely put UVA in that batch. Did they just win the ACC Coastal? Yup. Could you, me, and the rest of the BSD Masthead win the ACC Coastal? We’d probably get even odds in the preseason.
The recent history between the schools is not great. First, the Cavaliers piled on after the loss to Ohio in 2012, beating the Lions 17-16 in week 2, a game wherein Sam Ficken hit his nadir and little else, going just 1-for-5 in field goals, and 1-for-2 in extra points. A game that the Lions lost by 1 point. Literally any of those kicks would have altered the game. But UVA got the win, and THEN these pretentious, uppity snobs had the audacity to renege on the second half of the home-and-home series, canceling their visit to Penn State in 2013.
So is UVA G5? No. Are they “Tier 2”? 100% in my book. Between their iffy play on the field, and their cowardice, hidden behind holier-than-thou sneers at PSU and the scandal, I want to play UVA as a non-power non-conference game perhaps more than any other team.