Breaking Down Penn State Football’s Kickoff Times
As Nittany Lion fans anxiously await a new football season after the program’s roaring comeback to national prominence in 2016, many fans find themselves scratching their heads at the announcements for a handful of Penn State football’s kickoff times for the 2017 campaign.
In particular, groans over 3:30 kickoff times with Pitt and Ohio State stick out. Meanwhile, Georgia State has been the lone primetime game announced to date. However, the logic behind these decisions is not only quite simple, but may also be beneficial to the Blue and White.
To start, the meeting with the Panthers on September 10 preludes a game that will garner way more national hype than our in-state “rivalry.” Ohio State hosts Oklahoma at 7:30 on ABC immediately following the conclusion of the contest at Beaver Stadium.
While Nittany Lion fans obviously want the spotlight as Penn State attempts to avenge one of just three losses from a year ago, the Sooners and Buckeyes are each favored to win their respective conferences at the moment. Pitt, meanwhile, hasn’t won more than eight games since 2009. That season was also the last time the program finished the year as a ranked team.
While Pitt beat Penn State and Clemson last year and are sure to challenge in the ACC’s Coastal Division, the game doesn’t bring quite the same amount of attention that an Urban Meyer-Bob Stoops matchup would bring (Editor’s note, 3:25 p.m.: Stoops just retired, but the point still stands). Not to mention, a good non-conference showing from the Basic Blues right before a hypothetical Ohio State loss may be very important as the season goes on and the topic of playoff selection heats up.
On to the October 28th matchup with the aforementioned Buckeyes.
Coming into this upcoming season with the second-highest national championship odds (second only to Alabama), Ohio State is hoping to bounce back from a season that featured no division or conference titles. Instead, a 31-0 spanking by Clemson rang in the New Year in a game that many college football fans would argue the Buckeyes had no place being in.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) June 6, 2017
Regardless, Meyer always manages to reload and restock his scarlet and gray teams with more talent. Revenge is also in play following the Nittany Lions’ memorable upset of OSU. After all of that, the fact that James Franklin’s team will have to make the trip to Columbus this year means one thing:
Penn State is lucky this game will fall during the World Series.
The Nittany Lions still face a tough task at the Horseshoe, a stadium in which they’ve gone just 2-10 at since joining the Big Ten in 1990. However, Fox holds the broadcasting rights to this game and the World Series. A day game on the road will undoubtedly be less daunting than that of an 8 o’clock start. Yet, a tough challenge still remains in front of Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley, and of course, Marcus Allen.
Okay, hear me out on this one. Despite having a football program since just 2010, Georgia State has already made the leap to the FBS. As a member of the Sun Belt Conference since 2013, they have already garnered some success. Two seasons ago, they managed a 6-6 record and made a bowl appearance. Although Penn State is still heavily favored to win this game, there is one positive from this kickoff time:
All-day tailgating in September.
The Nittany Lions didn’t have a night game during the first month of the season all last year. In fact, the White Out victory over the Buckeyes was their first full game under the lights last season. The night game atmosphere may also give the players more energy for an opponent that may be overlooked.
Hopefully, folks will be able to enjoy a Penn State blowout after a nice, long day of cracking open cold ones with the boys, throwing out their shoulders trying to beat their sons at cornhole, and without the heat bearing down on what could be an ugly game to sit through for four quarters.