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Penn State Football: 5 Thoughts on Revised Schedule

The Big Ten conference announced on Wednesday a handful of changes to the league’s upcoming 2022 schedule. Those changes impacted Penn State in a variety of ways — for example, Illinois has been replaced with Northwestern and the Nittany Lions’ off week is earlier in the season.

In the end, Penn State’s schedule is different than it once was, but the overall challenge of facing a difficult Big Ten East division remains. Here are five observations following the schedule update.

28 Days Later:

The preferred time of year to play Ohio State is always a tricky question. On the one hand getting the Buckeyes earlier in the season usually means you get them when they’re still ironing things out. On the other hand most teams get better – Penn State included – as the year goes along. So you can really make the argument in either direction depending on the team and the location. As it pertains to Penn State’s upcoming 2022 season, it seems likely this group will need a bit of time to figure things out so a later date probably works in the Nittany Lions’ favor. The newly released schedule has Penn State hosting Ohio State 28 days later than the original scheduled meeting early in October. Additionally this greatly softens the opening few weeks of Penn State’s season. Hopefully this 28 days later involves fewer zombies.

Always Forget About You:

Penn State no longer faces Illinois for a second-straight season at Beaver Stadium which seems to be perfectly fine for all parties involved after that nine overtime fiasco in 2021. The Wildcats haven’t been to State College since 2014 and have won two of the last three against Penn State. Albeit the 2015 iteration of Penn State football is a bit different than how things are going in 2022. Nevertheless Chicago’s team [trademark pending] will make the trip from the Windy City to a likely equally windy State College. This will be Penn State’s final tuneup before heading into the off week and eventually a trip to Ann Arbor.

Rest Up:

Maybe the biggest help the Big Ten gave Penn State was an off week ahead of a meeting with Michigan. This is preferred for obvious reasons, and also because on the original schedule Penn State was slated to host Ohio State and then travel to Michigan the very next week. That’s a gauntlet of a schedule before even getting to the end of October. It’s hard to say how Penn State’s 2022 season will unfold, both nothing about breaking up that two-game stretch is a bad thing for the Nittany Lions.

Home Stretch:

Penn State plays four of its final six games at home which feels like a change of pace after a few seasons of road trips in awful weather – looking at you Michigan State. Minnesota, Ohio State and Michigan State will make trips to State College over that span so it’s not exactly an easy schedule, but better to play the games at home than on the road.

Your Own Bed:

On a similar note, Penn State only has to travel farther than New Jersey on two occasions over the final nine games of the year (yes that’s practically the whole season). After opening at Purdue and traveling to Auburn in the first three weeks of the year, Penn State only has slogs to Michigan and Indiana left on the schedule. In 2021 Penn State had trips to Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State all in the final six weeks of the year. In 2022 Penn State is only going to leave the state once between September 18th – November 4th.