Ranking Penn State's Games By Importance

By Matthew Filipovits on July 3, 2018 at 9:25 am
Penn State head coach James Franklin
Adriana Lacy - Roar Lions Roar

College football is one of the few sports where every single game of your season matters. With that being said, some will of course mean more than others when it comes to adding to your resume, boosting your strength of schedule, or winning over regional rivals. We went through and ranked Penn State's schedule in terms of how important each game is. 

Rank Team Last meeting Explanation


vs. Ohio State

2017: 39-38 loss at Ohio State

Penn State and Ohio State are clearly the two best teams in the conference. Getting a young quarterback early in his first season is huge. Getting him at night in Happy Valley is huge, especially since the Buckeyes have struggled in their last two trips to Beaver Stadium. Whoever wins this one will control their fate early on in the rugged Big Ten East. 


@ Michigan

2017: 42-13 W at Penn State

Call me crazy but I think Michigan could have a 2016 Penn State-esque season. If Shea Patterson is indeed the quarterback people say he is, he could be a difference maker in the Big Ten this season. If the Ohio State game doesn't decide the East, this one will. Penn State has struggled mightily in the Big House as well.


vs. Michigan State

2017: 27-24 L at Michigan State

Remember, these rankings are by most important games, not best. I still have no idea how this team won 10 games last year, but it taught me to never doubt Dantonio. Sparty gets the nod over Wisconsin simply because of the divisional implications that come with this matchup. 


vs. Wisconsin

2016: 38-31 W at Lucas Oil Stadium

A November game in State College? Expect 75 percent of the plays to be runs and the game to be over in like 90 minutes. A win here goes a long way to boosting Penn State's SOS.


@ Pitt

2017: 33-14 W at Penn State

Penn State needs a big game at Heinz Field to erase all memories from two years ago. Regardless of your opinion of Pitt, a win over an in-state foe always does a lot for a team. 


vs. Iowa

2017: 21-19 W at Iowa

THANK GOD this game is in Beaver Stadium. For some reason, Iowa plays like a top-five team at home. On the road? Not so much. With Michigan and Wisconsin on the horizon, it's important Penn State doesn't overlook the Hawkeyes.


vs. Maryland

2017: 66-3 W at Maryland

If they stayed remotely healthy at quarterback last season, the Terps finish way better than 4-8. If they can keep their signal callers on the field, they could cause some trouble among the mid-tier of the conference. 


@ Indiana

2017: 45-14 W at Penn State

There really isn't that much to get excited about for Indiana football this year. Penn State will be coming off a game against Ohio State, a bye and then a matchup with Sparty. The Lions will need to be aware of a letdown in Bloomington.


@ Rutgers

2017: 35-6 W at Penn State

Say what you will about Rutgers, but Chris Ash has them on the right track. Sure, they won't be competitive in the East, but they could be fighting for bowl eligibility in late November.


vs. App. State

N/A. Here's a video of Saquon against another Sun Belt team.

Let me be very clear. Appalachian State beat Michigan over ten years ago. Fearing them for that reason is ridiculous. If you're going to fear them, make it because they've won their conference two of the last three seasons, and they've won three straight bowl games.  The Mountaineers will provide a solid test for Penn State in the opener.


@ Illinois

2015: 39-0 W at Penn State

If you want to play a Big Ten team on the road, on a short week, it's Illinois. Lovie Smith is starting to get going on the recruiting trail but hopefully, this game is over before halftime. 


vs. Kent State

2016: 33-13 W at Penn State

This is exactly how you want it before conference play. With a lot of turnover on both sides of the ball, an easy end to the non-con will allow James Franklin to figure out who can play and what needs to be added or removed from the gameplan before the season heats up.

How would you order the schedule? Let us know in the comments!

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