Penn State Football: Non-Conference opponents we want for Nittany Lions

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Penn State Football has ramped up its non-conference schedule, beginning this season, but there are several opponents we’d like to see the Nittany Lions face

Penn State Football will face one of their tougher non-conference opponents in recent years this September, when they host the Auburn Tigers.

The Nittany Lions will return the favor with a trip to Auburn in 2022, before starting a home and home series with West Virginia in 2023 and 2024. Penn State Football had a series with Virginia Tech on the docket, but the Covid-19 pandemic put an end to that.

These games are a nice change of pace for Penn State Football’s non-conference schedule, after years of playing the likes of Kent State, Akron and Pitt. While Penn State faces an easy opponent in Villanova this year, PSU has made an attempt to make these conference tune up games more challenging and entertaining.

Although the conference slate can be difficult, with yearly matchups against Ohio State and Michigan and cross-over games with Iowa and Wisconsin, adding more national powers to the schedule could help futureCollege Football Playoff bids.

Most of Penn State Football’s non-conference schedule is set through 2027, with an opening in 2025 and one in 2027.

Here are five non-conference opponents Penn State Football should consider scheduling in order to raise the program’s national prominence:

Texas

The Texas Longhorns are slated to move to the SEC in a few years, so this matchup would be even more interesting than it already is.

Penn State Football and Texas reportedly had conservations a few years ago about a possible series in the early  2030s, but nothing has come to fruition yet.

The two powerhouses haven’t played since the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, which Penn State won 38-15. Overall, they’ve only played five times, with two being bowl games. Penn State Football leads the all-time series 3-2.

This would be a good opportunity for Penn State Football to reach more national recruits by going down to Austin to play and likely have a primetime matchup with the Longhorns in Happy Valley.

The Nittany Lions have started to grab some recruits from the Lone Star state, with Parker Washington in 2020 and Cristian Driver in 2022, this could give them a chance to showcase the program in arguably the richest state when it comes to high school recruits.

Texas is hoping that the move to the SEC and new head coach Steve Sarkisian can get them back to a national championship contender and what better way to boost the resume than with a game against one of the Big Ten’s best.

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