Penn State Is Apparently The Only Big Ten School Without A True Rival

A Penn State logo on the outside of Beaver Stadium.

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The Big Ten dropped its 2024 and 2025 football schedules on Thursday, getting fans excited for the seasons to come. The obvious storyline is the introduction of new members USC and UCLA, who will move over following one final season in the PAC 12.

But there’s another interesting note that many college football fans are speaking on. It revolves around the lack of a permanent rival for the Penn State Nittany Lions.

In releasing these future slates, the Big Ten assigned three different opponents to each school as what they called “two-way” foes. Essentially, these are home-and-home series that will take place in both ’24 and ’25, with the rest of the conference matchups being on a rotation.

Within these “two-way opponents” are “protected opponents,” which are defined as meetings that will be seen “annually beyond the 2025 season.”

These are permanent rivalries that will occur year in and year out. Think Ohio State-Michigan, USC-UCLA, and Michigan-Michigan State.

Nearly every team has at least one protected league foe, with many members boasting two. Heck, Iowa has three permanent rivals in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

There’s one team that’s been left out, though.

Penn State, despite having been a member of the Big Ten for more than 30 years, has no protected opponent. That means no more annual Penn State vs. Ohio State. The same for Michigan.

Those contests have provided some of the most dramatic moments in college football over the last decade, plus.

The Big Ten reportedly polled league members to vote on which games mattered most and which would be okay on rotation. Apparently, none were all that important to PSU.

The Nittany Lions will cycle through its conference foes more quickly than others, which could be good or bad depending on the year.

Fans were quick to comment to the Penn State situation.

Some are happy, with this Big Ten follower writing, “Penn State with no protected opponents means we longer have to play both Michigan and Ohio State ever year! Get to play Rutgers and Michigan State the next two years, likely two of the worst teams in the conference.”

Others, though, aren’t celebrating. This person commented, “Conference sizes have consequences. No Penn State-Michigan in 2024, no Ohio State-Penn State in 2025.”

The Nittany Lions have to feel at least a little left out.

As for these ’24 and ’25 schedules, Penn State will play home-and-homes with USC, Michigan State, and Rutgers while other league matchups rotate. We’ll see how they perform under this new format.