3 teams Penn State football should play a home-and-home against

Penn State will play West Virginia in 2024 and rekindled its rivalry with Pitt last decade, but who should be on the schedule in the future?
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Brandon Felder (85) eludes the tackle attempt of Syracuse Orange cornerback Keon Lyn (8)
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Brandon Felder (85) eludes the tackle attempt of Syracuse Orange cornerback Keon Lyn (8) / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State will kick off its 2024 season in Morgantown, wrapping up a home-and-home series with longtime rival West Virginia. With conference expansion to include 18 teams in the Big Ten, there isn’t much space to fit in meaningful non-conference games in 2025 the Nittany Lions have Nevada, FIU, and Villanova lined up, three teams they’ve played one total game against, beating FIU 59-0 in 2007. 

With Oregon, Washington, and USC, already established as national powerhouse programs, navigating the Big Ten slate is only going to get tougher, so a rekindling an old rivalry against Pitt, like Penn State did from 2016-19 wouldn’t make much sense, but playing these three teams that have a bit of history and less risk of ruining a College Football Playoff bid, like little brother did in 2016, could. 

3. Temple

. 491. . 454. (1 tie). temple. 40. . 4

Penn State and Temple last played in 2016 and while it may not feel like a heated rivalry, the Owls are the PSU’s fifth most common opponent historically with 45 all-time contests. The Nittany Lions have won 43 of those meetings with three losses and a tie, which certainly contributes to the lack of animosity. 

Even without a real threat in Philadelphia, rivals like Ohio State have plucked top talent out of the eastern part of Pennsylvania in recent years, Marvin Harrison Jr. the most painful example. So, a trip back Lincoln Financial Field will be a worthwhile recruiting endeavor for James Franklin when his team heads back there in 2026 and the Owls should continue to be a common fixture on the schedule. 

2. Syracuse

43. 491. . . 23. . syracusse. 445. (5 ties)

Fran Brown looks to be building a strong program in Western New York, so Penn State could get a bit more than it bargained for with an ACC home-and-home, but it would still be nice to face the Orange for the first time since a 2013 matchup at Metlife Stadium. 

While Pitt is the most memorable rival of yester-year, Penn State has played Syracuse 71 times, the second most common all-time opponent with yearly matchups from about 1920-1990. Penn State leads the all-time series 43-23-5 and have won all three meetings this century. 

1. Miami (FL)

6. 834. . 491. . . Miami. 7.

Miami and Penn State have only played 13 times and just once this century, back in 2001. However, the two teams did play in a notable Fiesta Bowl back on January 2, 1987 that Penn State fans of a certain age would absolutely love to relive. Yes, this would be a bit of a tough matchup, but not as tough as a home-and-home against the other school the Nittany Lions beat for a national title. 

Plus, Penn State will be making regular trips to the West Coast which won’t hurt recruiting in California, but a trip to Florida could help sway important recruits from the Sunshine State.