Penn State appears to be trending in a very positive direction heading into the 2023 season. The hype is already building after an 11-win season was highlighted by a Rose Bowl victory over Pac-12 champion Utah. With a roster full of developing stars on both sides of the football and with high expectations for new starting quarterback Drew Allar, Penn State could be gearing up for a fun season next fall.
The schedule will not be without some good challenges, of course. In addition to its regular division games with Michigan and Ohio State, Penn State gets a couple of fun home games against an old regional rival and the always stingy Iowa Hawkeyes to navigate through. And when will this year’s whiteout game be? The answer seems pretty simple, but last season showed we should probably not take anything as an absolute given so far out.
You can view Penn State’s complete 2023 schedule here.
Here are five things to know about Penn State’s 2023 football schedule.
Long time, no see, Mountaineers!
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Penn State’s 2023 season will kick things off at home with a revival of a fun classic regional rivalry from the pre-Big Ten era for the Nittany Lions. Penn State will host West Virginia of the Big 12 in the season opener in Beaver Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since Oct. 24, 1992, Penn State’s final season of football as an independent before joining the Big Ten in 1993.
That will end a drought of 11,270 days between meetings between Penn State and West Virginia, for those of you who were curious.
Penn State will make a long-awaited road trip in the second game of this home-and-home series in 2024.
First meeting with the Blue Hens
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A week after hosting West Virginia, Penn State will welcome a new FCS opponent to Beaver Stadium for the first time. Penn State hosts the Delaware Blue Hens in Week 2 of the season for the first all-time meeting between the two progams.
Penn State will be a heavy favorite but Delaware is coming off a playoff appearance this past season. Delaware blasted Saint Francis in the first round of the FCS playoffs before being taken out by the eventual national champions from South Dakota State.
It will also be the first of two appearances of the signature winged helmets in Beaver Stadium in 2023. Delaware wears a strikingly similar look to the Michigan Wolverines, and there is a reason for that. Former Delaware head coach David M. Nelson brought the helmet design with him to the program after playing football for Michigan.
Easy lead up to Ohio State
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Penn State will visit Ohio State on Saturday, October 21 and the two weeks prior to that should give Penn State some time to take it relatively easy. Penn State’s bye week comes at the beginning of the month (Oct. 7) and the Nittany Lions host UMass the following week on Oct. 14. Penn State should be able to jump out to a big lead on the Minutemen in the final home game before the trip to Columbus, which should allow key players to get an early rest and lower the chances for injuries and additional bruises before the big road game.
UMass was 1-11 last season and has won three games since the start of the 2019 season.
Easy choice for the whiteout game?
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Penn State fans always love to predict when the annual whiteout game will be held, and there appears to be a very easy choice for this season. Whether it gets played under the lights remains the biggest question.
Whether FOX gets the game for its Big Noon Kickoff, CBS gets it for its 3:30 p.m. ET game of the week, or if NBC manages to get the game in primetime in the new Big Ten media rights plan remains to be seen, but somebody will be getting some terrific visuals to show off, and CBS and NBC would love to finally get a chance to showcase it on their airwaves.
The game could also be a monster game in the Big Ten and College Football Playoff picture if things go well leading up to it.
Of course, if FOX ends up getting this for a noon kickoff, could the whiteout game be used earlier in the year and this one spun off for a stripe-out?
Key home games in 2023
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The biggest home game on the scehdule is obviously the November matchup with Michigan, and the season opener against West Virginia should be fun too. Here are the other key home games to keep an eye on in 2023.
September 23 – vs. Iowa (home Big Ten opener)
October 28 – vs. Indiana (possible whiteout game alternative)
November 18 – vs. Rutgers (final home game of 2023)
Penn State’s first home Big Ten game of the season will be played in late September at home against Iowa, who is always good for a tough defensive battle. The late-Otcober game could be a good candidate for a primetime game for Big Ten Network that gets the whiteout treatment, similar to last season’s Minnesota game. Just prepare for the possibility of that happening again after last year’s whiteout planning.
The final home game of the year will be played against Rutgers before ending the year on the road at Michigan State the following week.