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Smeltzer’s 7: The Most Intriguing Opponents on Penn State Football’s Future Schedules

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: The USC Trojan Marching Band drum major performs before a college football game between the Texas Longhorns and the USC Trojans on September 16, 2017, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State and the Big Ten had their conference opponents set for the 2024 schedule… until they didn’t.

The opponents had previously been announxed in June.

Then, Oregon and Washington entered the picture, announcing their intent to join the Big Ten starting in 2024 this July.

Now, Penn State’s revised 2024 Big Ten opponents are out. As are it’s conference opponents for the 2025-28 seasons. So what are Penn State’s most exciting matchups? Here are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

 

NO. 7: AT NEBRASKA, 2028

Penn State hasn’t played at Nebraska since 2012 and was supposed to play there in 2024 until Oregon and Washington got in the way. Memorial Stadium is one of college football’s most historic venues, so Penn State fans will be able to cross this one off the bucket list— albeit with a longer wait.

NO. 6: AT MICHIGAN 2026

Penn State-Michigan games are always a big deal, but this one will be more so because it will be the first time the team’s have played in three years.

NO. 5: AT WASHINGTON, 2026

See everything I said about the 2024 Washington matchup. The big difference is that this one will be in Seattle, not State College. PSU hasn’t played in Seattle since 1921. That’s a long time.

PENN STATE SCHEDULE: THE FOURTH MOST EXCITING GAME

VS. OREGON, 2025

See everything I said about Washington. Oregon is good and hasn’t played in Beaver Stadium since 1964. So it could be a top 10 matchup and a type of game that fans of both fanbases haven’t seen.

PENN STATE SCHEDULE: THE THIRD MOST EXCITING GAME

VS. OHIO STATE, 2024

Not much explaining needed here. PSU-Ohio State games are always a big deal, and this one won’t be an exception.

PENN STATE SCHEDULE: THE SECOND MOST EXCITING GAME

VS. WASHINGTON, 2024

This one isn’t a no brainer. But what compels me to highly rank next year’s game against Washington at Beaver Stadium is the fact that PSU will have players like Drew Allar, Nicholas Singleton, Kaytron Allen and Abdul Carter back in the fold. That’s not to say Penn State won’t be strong in 2025, ‘26, ‘27 or ‘28, but next year looks to be more of a sure thing since we know what the team has coming back.

Washington has also built itself back to being a top 10 program under the direction of second-year coach Kalen DeBoer. The combination of this being Washington’s first trip to Beaver Stadium and the possibility of both teams being in the top 10 give this game a chance of being quite a show.

NO. 1:

AT USC, 2024

This is a no brainer to me. Of the four additions coming into the conference next season, USC unquestionably has the most football tradition and debatable is the best current program, too. Penn State hasn’t played at the Coliseum since 1991, so it will be a spectacle. PSU fans south of 40 won’t remember much, if anything, about PSU playing at USC, so this will be a new world, and we’ll see how well Penn State fans travel (probably very).

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