Skip to main content

Breaking Down Penn State's New 2022 Football Schedule

The Lions get a new opponent, a new bye week and potentially a friendlier October.

Penn State released its updated 2022 football schedule Wednesday, one that includes a new opponent, a new bye week and what should be a friendlier October stretch.

Here's a look at Penn State's original and new 2022 football schedules.

Schedule slide 2022

A New Opponent

The Lions will host Northwestern instead of Illinois, their first meeting with the Wildcats since 2017. This was one of several Big Ten schedule changes to prevent teams from playing on the road vs. the same opponent in consecutive years.

That would have been the case with Penn State-Illinois, which were scheduled to play at Beaver Stadium for the third straight season (including 2020's Champions Week game). Alas, no chance at revenge for that nine-overtime loss to the Illini.

This game also gets a beneficial date for the Lions: Oct. 1, the original date of Penn State's home game with Ohio State. Northwestern is coming off a 3-9 season and likely will make for a better grade into the heart of the Big Ten season.

A new bye week

Penn State's bye week is now Oct. 8 instead of Oct 22. As a result, the Lions will visit Michigan following the bye week instead of hosting Michigan State after it.

Does the bye before Michigan really benefit Penn State? Head coach James Franklin is 3-6 following regular-season bye weeks, including 2021's Illinois game.

Read More

No Ohio State-Michigan doubleheader

The original schedule featured a brutal October, in which the Lions faced Ohio State and Michigan on consecutive weeks, followed by a home game vs. Michigan State to close out the month. The updated Otober schedule appears a bit friendlier.

Now, Penn State hosts Northwestern, gets a bye and then visits Michigan. The Lions close out October with home games against Minnesota and Ohio State.

You know what that means as well: A Halloween weekend Whiteout vs. the Buckeyes.

Closing with the Spartans

Penn State's original schedule ended with a road game at Rutgers, which preceded a Senior Day home game against Minnesota. It seems more fitting that the Land Grant Trophy will be in State College to close the regular season, as Penn State-Michigan State once again is the finale.

One thing to watch

The Big Ten noted that "select games" could be shifted from Saturday to Thursday or Friday. Watch for the Penn State-Purdue opener could be one of them. The Big Ten likes early season, prime-time conference games, and this would qualify as a compelling one.

Purdue, hosting Penn State for the first time since 2016, is coming off a 9-4 season in which it beat two teams ranked No. 2 at the time (Iowa and Michigan State) and outlasted Tennessee 48-45 in the Music City Bowl. Penn State, meanwhile, seeks to cleanse the 2-6 finish to 2021.   

Read more

Penn State should hold an open competition at quarterback this offseason

Where the Lions rank in the 'too early' 2022 college football rankings

LaVar Arrington, a 'true Penn Stater,' inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame