After taking a look at future Penn State football games to mark down on your calendar, it’s only natural to wonder what kinds of games might be scheduled one day down the road. Of course for any fan it’s easy to pick the obvious dream situations. You would love to see Alabama on the schedule or USC, Florida State, Miami, Georgia or a host of other big name schools that Penn State has a past with. And yes, let us not forget to mention Pitt, you’re welcome.
But talking about those kinds of games is not nearly as much fun because it’s very obvious and if you’re going to give yourself all the power in the world you may as well do something wild and entertaining. At least in this case.
So instead of Alabama and Clemson, here are a few scheduling options that are outside the box and probably not on your radar. The objective here is two fold: it either has to be interesting, or a reasonable chance of victory for Penn State.
North Dakota State:
The Big Ten has been frowning on teams playing FCS schools but North Dakota State has played solid football for the past decade and managed to crank out two different Top 10 draft pick quarterbacks in the process. Sure this would be a knock on Penn State’s resume – technically – but a home-and-home with North Dakota State would be a fantastic little trip to a neck of the woods hardly anyone ever gets to. Remember that Appalachian State game a few years ago? Sure the Nittany Lions almost lost – and maybe should have – but that was some serious bang for your buck in terms of entertainment. Also North Dakota State plays in the Fargodome which is just a fantastic name for a venue.
The Buffaloes have tailed off a little bit the past few seasons but have a history of being sneaky good – especially back in the early 2000s. Folsom Field can get pretty rowdy for opponents making the trip up into the higher elevations and it’s a matchup that could make for some pretty entertaining TV. Colorado is currently coached by Karl Dorrell who enters his second season at the helm. This one isn’t a slam dunk right now, but check back in a few years.
Kyle Whittingham has been churning out wins at Utah for 17 seasons now and would be happy to win another in a game against the Nittany Lions. Salt Lake City would be a fun trip for fans and the Utes have a long history of success in fairly marquee games going 17-6 in major bowl games with most of those wins coming under Whittingham. Utah only played five games last season so it’s hard to really gauge the state of the program right now, but until they start losing under Whittingham, this is never a bad bet.
A slightly less appealing option with Bill Snyder and Joe Paterno out of the picture in turn removing the entire narrative of “two old guys fighting” but Kansas State has managed to somewhat keep the program afloat as it transitions out of the Snyder era which is a good sign for whatever is next for this program. Interesting trip, passionate fan base and heck turn it into a basketball series as well while we’re at it.
Most people don’t realize this but North Texas throws the ball for roughly a million yards a year. In 2018 the Mean Green (a fantastic name by the way) were 12th in total passing yards and 21st in 2017. Seth Littrell is in his fourth season running this program and coaches in front of just over 30,000 fans a week. Sure this isn’t as exciting as Alabama but if you want passing, and something new, head to North Texas.
Missouri hasn’t been great since 2014 so maybe this isn’t the most interesting SEC team to pick of the bunch, especially when there are more obvious ones to choose from. That said, a stadium of some 71,000 and getting to travel to somewhere different is nothing if not appealing. Eliah Drinkwitz is in his second season coaching Missouri, so time will tell if that ship gets turned around and back to its roots of tough defense and solid offense.
Head out to LA, see what Chip Kelly is up to and check out the ocean before coming back to whatever wonderful November weather is going on back home. Who says no to this? Just ignore the fact the Bruins are struggling. Heck, so was Penn State last year.