It’s still about seven months until the kickoff of college football season, but the Big Ten called an audible Friday.
The conference announced sweeping changes to the 2021 football slate, switching dates and even locations of several games that were scheduled for four years. Changes were made to accommodate six games that adjusted locations because of changes made during the 2020 scheduling process.
Penn State’s schedule changed, though not in the significant manner other teams had theirs altered.
The Nittany Lions still open the season Sept. 4 at Wisconsin, and their three nonconference games — against Ball State, Villanova and SEC power Auburn at Beaver Stadium on Sept. 18 — remain scheduled. But, several other games were shuffled.
Essentially, the revisions affect six weeks worth of games on Penn State’s original schedule, most notably among them the trip to Columbus to battle Ohio State. Originally slated for Nov. 20, that game is moved up to Oct. 30.
Perhaps that could be considered a bit of a break for Penn State, which had back-to-back games against Michigan and Ohio State on the docket. That combo is broken up, with the Nov. 6 game at Maryland in between.
Penn State was supposed to host Rutgers in the season finale Nov. 27, but the conference switched that to create more of a rivalry weekend feel to the post-Thanksgiving slate. Now, the Nittany Lions will travel to Michigan State with the Land Grant Trophy on the line to close out the campaign.
One potentially disappointing switch for fans who plan their fall outings around Penn State football: The Nittany Lions’ bye week moved. Originally slated for Oct. 2, they will now host Indiana that weekend and instead have their bye in week seven, heading into games Oct. 16.
Donnie Collins has been a member of The Times-Tribune sports staff for nearly 20 years and has been the Penn State football beat writer for Times-Shamrock Newspapers since 2004. The Penn State Football Blog covers Nittany Lions, Big Ten and big-time college football news from Beaver Stadium to the practice field, the bowl game to National Letter of Intent Signing Day. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5368; @DonnieCollinsTT