In a normal world Penn State would have been on the road this weekend making a trip to Virginia Tech for one of the Nittany Lions' more intriguing out of conference regular season games of the past decade.
There would have been a rowdy crowd, two Top 25 teams and two very solid defenses. It would have been a lot of fun. Alas, things are not normal these days, nor are they ever fun.
But what about a return trip in the future?
Penn State doesn't disclose out of conference contracts and isn't -for various reasons- subject to open records laws, so much in the way of the small details remain unknown. Judging by the contracts made public by other programs, out of conference games that don't happen because of things like a pandemic are not automatically subject to being rescheduled. So if you're Penn State, that Idaho and Kent State game may never hit the schedule again. Time will tell.
There is some incentive though, in theory, to make a trip to Blacksburg work out in the future. As Penn State looks to solidify a playoff resume over the next few years, wins on the road against quality Power 5 teams are important. As for Virginia Tech, nobody has ever turned down the benefits of hosting a quality ticket-selling opponent or a resume-building opportunity of its own.
So do the programs want to find a time and a date in the future?
When asked, neither program would say -officially- although its safe in a general sense to say that rescheduling games is not the primary focus for two athletic departments just trying to play any kind of game in 2020 or beyond. So sure, philosophically everyone would like to play the games they already agreed to play, but there are bigger fish to fry so there's no actual movement to report.
Of course there is another issue, that of openings on the schedule.
Virginia Tech in particular is pretty well packed to gills with future games already on the schedule. 2027 and 2028 are the first times the Hokies have an opening in the out of conference slate. After that not until 2031.
The good news, Penn State has room in 2027, two seasons after Virginia Tech is scheduled to make its return trip to State College for that portion of the home and home. In 2023 and 2024 Penn State will play West Virginia on the road and at home, another regional and old fashion rivalry renewed.
Will it happen? Hard to say, but if it doesn't, add that to the list of home and home series with teams from Virginia that never finished. Because remember that loss to UVA back in the Bill O'Brien era? That was the first of two games, the second never actually transpiring.
Nobody is worse off for it, but Penn State not making the trip to Blacksburg would be a loss for every fan of college football.