The Everyday ‘Protected Opponents’ Of Penn Staters

On Thursday, the Big Ten announced the restructuring of its scheduling with the addition of USC and UCLA to the conference. Part of this change was the addition of “protected opponents.”

Divisions no longer exist in the Big Ten, but the “protected opponents” system has been put in place to preserve rivalries like Michigan-Ohio State and ensure the teams play annually. Penn State is the only school in the Big Ten that wasn’t granted a protected opponent, meaning there is no team that Penn State is guaranteed to play each year at least until 2025.

Since the Nittany Lions were snubbed of a “protected opponent,” we thought it would be appropriate to list out some protected opponents that all Penn Staters unquestionably share every year.

Ticketmaster Queues

When your team is having a good season, there are some matchups you just dread. Unfortunately for Penn State students, there comes a day every summer when they must square off against the Ticketmaster queues to try to get their hands on football tickets.

That yearly rivalry is coming up soon for Penn Staters. Ticket sales begin on July 17 for graduate students and will continue in the following days for each remaining class. It’s a battle that Penn Staters dread because, just like in football, it’s a matchup that you can very easily lose, no matter how much you prepare.

The Champs Line

For those over the age of 21, there’s no opponent quite like the line outside of Champs on a weekend night. There’s no denying that Champs is a popular spot, which is what makes its line such a daunting opponent.

Shortlidge Road

Another opponent that Penn Staters must face regularly is the hike up Shortlidge Road. It’s a slow burn of a climb but it’ll have you out of breath by the end. You better hope you did some conditioning at practice before you face Shortlidge because it’s an opponent that will absolutely wear you out.

On-Campus Parking

Some opponents specialize in defense. That’s the case with on-campus parking. You can create a plan of attack but oftentimes you’ll still find yourself struggling to penetrate the defense and find an open parking spot.

When playing in the yearly Parking Bowl, you also have to be careful not to commit any fouls, otherwise, the referees may throw a flag… I mean, give you a parking ticket. On-campus parking is always a challenge, year in and year out, and not a matchup that Penn Staters often look forward to.


Bowl Season. The most anticipated time of the year. After a season of battling uphill roads and long bar lines comes the pinnacle of Penn Staters’ “protected opponents.” Its got a week’s worth of stamina, so it’ll wear you out more than any other opponent but it’s also downright scary. Before you wrap up your season with the matchup against finals, make sure you give yourself a good locker room speech.

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About the Author

Mikey DeAngelis

Mikey DeAngelis is a junior majoring in film production who is also serving as one of Onward State's visual editors. During his free time, he enjoys making content for his YouTube channel. Mikey loves Philly sports, traveling and hiking in National Parks, and watching movies. To reach Mikey, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@mikey_deangelis) or by email ([email protected]).

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