The Big 10 released a revised 2022 football schedule, and while it is a surprise, it could prove to be a good thing for Penn State Football.
Penn State Football’s 2022 schedule is going to look slightly different, and might actually help the Nittany Lions this fall.
The Big Ten’s reasoning behind these revisions is due to how the schedules were impacted and had to change in 2020 due to the shortened season.
Penn State Football was scheduled to host Northwestern as their first conference game of the 2020 season, but when the schedule was changed and condensed, that game was dropped from the schedule.
Northwestern now replaces Illinois, which prevents the Illini from having to make the trip to State College in three consecutive seasons, something that even teams in the same division don’t have to do. So, Penn State Football will have to wait to get their revenge over the Illini, as they welcome Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats to State College for the first time since 2014.
The schedule change did a number of things, but perhaps most importantly, it fixed what was a front-loaded schedule for Penn State Football.
The updated Penn State Football 2022 schedule is as follows.
- September 3rd at Purdue
- September 10th vs Ohio
- September 17th at Auburn
- September 24th vs Central Michigan
- October 1st vs Northwestern
- BYE WEEK
- October 15th at Michigan
- October 22nd vs Minnesota
- October 29th vs Ohio State
- November 8th at Indiana
- November 12th vs Maryland
- November 19th at Rutgers
- November 26th vs Michigan State
The Ohio State matchup was previously scheduled to be inWweek 5, where the Northwestern game now sits. That matchup was to be followed by a trip to Ann Arbor to take on the defending Big 10 champion Michigan Wolverines in Week 6.
Now, the Nittany Lions will not have to face Ohio State so early in the season, plus they will have a bye week to prepare for their showdown against Michigan, which is now in week 7.
As mentioned earlier, Northwestern replaced Illinois on the schedule, but they did not take over the same date. The Illinois game was originally scheduled for mid-October, but that is not a matchup against Northwestern that will take place two weeks earlier.
Michigan State was previously scheduled for October 29th, and will now be the final game of the regular season. It seems like the Big 10 wants to keep that matchup on the final weekend of the season going forward, as that game, along with the Michigan-Ohio State game, will usually have big-time implications on who wins the division. It also keeps that matchup on rivalry weekend, as the Nittany Lions and Spartans battle it out for the Land-Grant Trophy.
The final potential change, that is not yet official, is the week 1 trip to Purdue to be moved up to a Thursday night game.
This was somewhat expected, even before the schedule change, as the Big 10 West typically plays a week 1 conference game on Thursday night. Purdue has done it before, Minnesota did it this past year against Ohio State, and Northwestern has also done it.
For a Penn State Football team who will be young and inexperienced next season, especially at some key positions, moving off of such a tough early-season schedule could make a world of difference. As we have seen before, sometimes it is not so much about who you play, as much as when you play them.
Penn State Football and Wisconsin were two totally different teams in November this past season than they were when the Nittany Lions snuck away with a 6-point win in early September. Had that matchup taken place in November, it might now have gone as well for the good guys.
Phil Trautwein’s offensive line will, in all likelihood, feature 3 first year starters in 2022, so giving them more time to gel and gain valuable game experience before taking on the Michigans and Ohio States of the conference, could be a big-time difference-maker.
The linebacker position is another spot where the Nittany Lions will likely start and play a lot of young and inexperienced players, so the schedule change could prove to be beneficial there as well.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the quarterback position.
The old schedule was tricky, in the sense that, if Drew Allar began the season as a starter, he would very quickly run into a gauntlet that virtually no freshman quarterback is ready for, regardless of their rating coming out of high school.
Also, if Sean Clifford or Christian Veilleux began the season as the starter, even if they were on a short leash and lost the starting job after a few weeks, that would throw Allar right into the fire with Auburn, Ohio State, and Michigan all within 4 weeks.
Now, James Franklin and Mike Yurcich will have more time to figure out their quarterback situation before facing some of the more difficult tests on the Penn State Football schedule, and also more time to get experience for Allar, Veilleux, and maybe even Beau Pribula.
Obviously, no team can be taken lightly, especially in the Big 10, so the Nittany Lions will still face some tests early on, but certainly not in the capacity that they would have under the previous version of the schedule.