As usual, the Penn State football schedule for 2010 has been dissected in every way possible by college football analysts and media members, and you’ll find plenty of opinions on how the Nittany Lions will do this year. In general, Joe Paterno has a lot of key players to replace and positions to fill, but should have a solid squad again in 2010. Beside a monumental game with Alabama on September 11, the out of conference schedule is a breeze with home games against Youngstown St, Kent St, and Temple (though Temple was a bowl team last year and could give the Lions a game).
Of more interest and debate is how this version of the Penn State team will do in the Big 10. Most have Ohio State has the favorite in the conference, but this is no runaway contest as Penn State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin all have good teams in 2010. Teams like Iowa and Michigan will also likely have something to say about the race as well. And all of those teams (save Wisconsin, who aren’t on the schedule), will be tough match-ups for PSU.
But which game is the most dangerous on the docket for the Nittany Lions? There’s no right or wrong answer to this questions, and you can make an argument for several games. Certainly, going back to Iowa on October 2 for a night game will not be easy. Remember, this is where PSU’s undefeated season was de-railed 2 years ago in a similar night time environment. The Hawkeyes play Penn State tough and this will be the first Big Ten game for a young Nittany Lion team.
Certainly, the season finally against Michigan State, even though it is a home game, is not easy game. Michigan State has been a nightmare for PSU for many years, and is a team that just seems to have Jo Pa’s number. If the Lions head into this final game with a lot on the line, it will be nice to be playing at home, but Lions fans I’m sure would be happy to be playing any other Big Ten foe.
PSU could easily lose several of their other Big 10 games, including games with Illinois, at Minnesota, at Michigan, or at home against Northwestern. There really aren’t any ‘gimmes’ on the schedule, though I’d put the game against Indiana at FedEx field outside Washington DC almost in that category. Indiana will be a Big 10 cellar dweller and that will be a virtual home game for PSU.
In my opinion the toughest game for PSU in 2010 will indeed be the one against the favorites, Ohio State on November 13 in Columbus. This will probably be the premier game of the Big 10 season and Penn State vs Ohio State tickets will be highly sought. Penn State generally plays OSU well, but this will be the best team they play, and playing them on the road will not be easy.
Regardless, football season is getting close and 2010 should be a great year in the Big 10 for Penn State.