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Predicting Penn State Football’s 2024 Kickoff Times

It may be February, but it’s never too early to start thinking about Penn State football.

With the season just under 200 days away, we decided to start planning out our fall Saturdays and working out when we’re heading into Beaver Stadium. If you want to know what time you’re waking up, drinking a spiked coffee, and making the trek to the tailgating lots, here are our predictions for Penn State football’s 2024 kickoff times.

August 31 @ West Virginia: 7:30 p.m.

Last year’s season-opener against West Virginia earned a prime-time kickoff on NBC, so there’s little reason to think that this year’s season-opener against the same team won’t earn the same treatment.

There’s plenty of hype for Penn State going into the 2024 season, and last year’s Mountaineer team surprised a fair amount of people with its performance. The two fanbases have formed half of a rivalry between games (looking at you, Barstool accounts), so there’s plenty of entertainment factor here.

The only reason why this game would get pushed up is that it’s in, well, Morgantown. West Virginia football isn’t exactly known for deserving a 7:30 p.m. kickoff slot, but 2024 could be the exception.

September 7 vs. Bowling Green: Noon

C’mon, folks. Bowling Green at Penn State is screaming “noon kickoff.”

To be fair, this game is pretty early in the season, which hints at a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. On top of that, Bowling Green is an FBS school, unlike the FCS programs that usually take the noon kickoffs.

Still, this game’s probably starting at noon. Peacock has to fill the time somehow.

September 21 vs. Kent State: 3:30 pm.

Sure, this is the exact same matchup as the Bowling Green game, but Penn State is going to play one of these two games at 3:30 p.m. and one of these games at noon. Maybe I’m being arbitrary in my selection process, but it makes sense for Kent State to be a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

If nothing else (and there really is nothing else), the Week Two schedule for the college football season is slightly more entertaining than the Week One. For some reason, college football has decided that noon games are prime time now, which means that the most boring games go in the 3:30 p.m. time slot. Penn State vs. Kent State isn’t offering much other than beer sales in Beaver Stadium, so it goes with the rest of the chumps on the Big Ten Network.

September 28 vs. Illinois: 3:30 p.m.

Sure, last year’s game at Illinois was at noon. Normally, Penn State-Illinois is a big enough event simply because folks will want to watch Penn State play a conference opponent, and so the TV networks will treat it like a halfway decent game.

However, the Big Ten also has enough games that are pretty interesting that weekend, so like Kent State, this should fall into the 3:30 p.m. time slot. This could go either way, maybe the networks don’t care about Washington vs. Rutgers as much, but the new version of the Big Ten is going to be some must-watch television anytime we get an old vs. new game.

October 5 vs. UCLA: 7:30 p.m.

UCLA is probably going to be the White Out game, and the White Out game will probably be at 7:30 p.m. Love it or hate it, that’s how things will probably pan out. In this writer’s opinion, the White Out opponent should be Ohio State, but that’s neither here nor there.

The UCLA game will probably be the White Out because Penn State will feel that’s its best chance to have the White Out on at night. It’s not the worst thing in the world that the Nittany Lions are hosting a fun, new opponent and introducing an LA school to life in the Big Ten.

October 12 @ USC: 7:30 p.m. (Eastern)

This was the easiest game to pick. Penn State is playing on the West Coast, so TV networks will already have to account for the time change between the East and the West.

On top of that, this game is going to be the most interesting of the week. It’s a rematch of a wildly entertaining 2017 Rose Bowl, it’s two teams that are fairly consistent power players, and it’s two widely-known brands. It’s an easy sell to put these two teams in the Colosseum as the sun sets in Los Angeles.

It is worth noting that just because this is the obvious solution, it might not be the solution. USC and Colorado did play at 9 a.m. local time. The schedulers might just tell Penn State and USC to suck it up and take a noon kickoff on the road. It’s doubtful but is still a possibility.

October 26 @ Wisconsin: Noon

Penn State at Wisconsin is one of this week’s better games, so it definitely seems on the table that FOX will take this game as its Big Noon Kickoff if someone else takes Michigan vs. Michigan State. Noon seems the most realistic, and 3:30 p.m. also feels like it’s on the table.

Late October is also when the Big Ten starts shifting its games to earlier in the day to combat the cold weather taking over stadiums at night. A 7:30 p.m. kickoff just doesn’t seem realistic, so noon it is.

November 2 vs. Ohio State: Noon

Yup.

It’s Happy Valley in November. Even if the fans wanted to enjoy a cold night game in Beaver Stadium, the powers that be just won’t allow it. Last year’s game in Columbus was at noon. The year before that, the game at Penn State was at noon. The 2024 edition of the game will probably be the same as the 2022 edition: a Stripe Out at noon.

November 9 vs. Washington: Noon

This game will likely be the same as the Ohio State game and for the exact same reasons. Important Big Ten games are at noon, and Penn State vs. Washington has enough appeal to the average viewer that it fits the all-important brunch time slot.

What will be really interesting about this game is if Penn State gives it a theme. A Stripe Out game is probably on the table, as is the Helmet Stripe Game. But that’s all for another post and another day.

November 16 @ Purdue: 3:30 p.m.

As the back stretch of the season starts heating up, Penn State at Purdue just isn’t going to be as interesting as the other games going on at the same time.

If the Big Ten West was still alive, there could be an argument that Penn State at Purdue matters to the conference race. But Purdue isn’t challenging for a top spot in the Big Ten this year and Penn State likely won’t either (sorry, folks).

Even if there aren’t many other great games on (Alabama is playing Mercer), Oregon at Wisconsin and Nebraska at USC are still more interesting than the played-out Penn State-Purdue matchup.

November 23 @ Minnesota: 3:30 p.m.

This is an arbitrary decision between noon and 3:30 p.m., and this game just feels like an afternoon kickoff to me. Noon feels too early, especially for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers played in just one noon game last season, and that was against Louisana. 7:30 p.m. is way too late for Minnesota at this point in the season, and 3:30 p.m. just feels like a happy medium.

November 30 vs. Maryland: 3:30 p.m.

RIP, the annual Land-Grant Trophy game.

Not that anyone will attend this game, but it feels likely students will have three extra hours to get to campus if they choose to come to this one.

There are too many good games around the country on the last weekend of the season that Penn State vs. Maryland is often an afterthought. Between Ohio State-Michigan and Auburn-Alabama, Penn State vs. Maryland is a chance for everyone to stretch their legs.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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