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Big Ten Schedule: Penn State Only School With no Protected Rivalry Game

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Penn State's Tyrell Chavis (56), Sterling Jenkins (76), S Marcus Allen (2), CB Amani Oruwariye (21), and S Malik Golden (6) celebrates with the Land Grant Land-Grant Trophy after the game. The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Michigan State Spartans 45-12 to win the Big Ten East Division on November 26, 2016 at Beaver Stadium in State College, PA. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

In the new Big Ten format, which will include protected rivalry games, none of those protected games on the schedule will involve Penn State.

All 15 other Big Ten schools that are set to compete in the Big Ten in 2024 and beyond have at least one protected rivalry game.

Here’s the list of games that will be protected annually.

  • Michigan-Ohio State
  • Michigan-Michigan State
  • Minnesota-Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin-Iowa
  • Nebraska-Iowa
  • Maryland-Rutgers
  • Indiana-Purdue
  • Illinois-Purdue
  • Illinois-Northwestern

Now, Penn State doesn’t have an undisputed “rival” in the Big Ten the way conference stalwarts Michigan and Ohio State do with each other or incoming members USC and UCLA do.

At the same time, there are opponents that Penn State fans would like to see on the schedule every year, with Michigan and Ohio State coming to mind.

Another fun, annual matchup has been Penn State’s series with Michigan State in which the coveted Land Grant Trophy is on the line.

The schools have been playing for the Land Grant Trophy since 1993, when Penn State first started to compete in the Big Ten. The game took a hiatus from 2011-13 thanks to the Big Ten’s short-lived “Legends” and “Leaders” divisions that separated the schools, but when the conference realigned before the 2014 season, Penn State and Michigan State again were placed in the same division and have since been competing in the Big Ten East.

But divisions will be no more starting in 2024, and Penn State not having any protected rivalry games adds another question to an always uncertain future.

Penn State does have home-and-homes on the schedule with three teams for the 2024 and ‘25 seasons. Michigan State is one of those schools, along with Rutgers and USC.

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