I am not sure exactly how this news is to be received, but Michigan State is coming back on the football schedule in 2015.
And they are bringing back the Land Grant Trophy for old time's sake.
Penn State source: No indication we won't play for the Land Grant Trophy in 2015 exm.nr/KMCEnZ
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) May 21, 2012
The Big Ten released their future conference schedules for 2015 and 2016 today, which may mean the conference is confident there will be no more expansion within the conference but that is another story for another time. As far as Penn State is concerned, the guaranteed crossover with Nebraska remains, as does the regular-season finale with Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions get bye weeks early in conference play, and face some potentially brutal November schedules with the likes of Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions and Spartans played every year when Penn State joined the conference, a forced rivalry that was crowned by one of the ugliest trophies known to the sport, the Lan Grant Trophy. The Spartans had the last laugh in 2010, winning their first game in State College since Penn State joined the conference and laying claim to the Land Grant Trophy for an extended period of time as the series was placed on hold with the ushering in of the divisional format and scheduling by the Big Ten.
The rivalry was never one that meshed well with fans. Few would recognize Michigan State as a legitimate rivalry, and the opinions from East Lansing were probably fairly equal. Penn State was thrown in to this rivalry after throwing away rivalries with schools like West Virginia, Maryland and yes, Pittsburgh. But all of that is decades behind us and there is little point in revisiting that debate. Michigan State and Ohio State were scheduled as annual match-ups for Penn State. While the rivalry between Penn State and Ohio State made some sense (even if Buckeye faithful refused to acknowledge the rivalry as time passed, fair enough), the Michigan State rivalry was just a bitter reminder for a long time that Penn State actually had no true rival.
It is something Penn State still struggles with. Penn State has no real rival.
Ohio State is the closest it comes, but as referenced above the scarlet and gray fans look forward to one game every regular season and it is not against Penn State. Wisconsin makes for a nice regular season finale match-up, but the Badgers have a longstanding rivalry with Minnesota and Iowa. Iowa has far too many rivalries and trophies to keep track of, let alone add one more with Penn State (although this may be as close as it gets for Penn State). Nebraska every year is great, but is it a rivalry? Probably not.
Alabama has Auburn. Florida has Florida State. South Carolina has Clemson.
Texas has Texas A&M TCU.
Penn State has... Temple?
Penn State 2015 Schedule
- September 5 - @ Temple
- September 12 - BUFFALO
- September 19 - RUTGERS
- September 26 - OPEN DATE
- October 3 - ILLINOIS*
- October 10 - @ Ohio State*
- October 17 - Bye Week
- October 24 - PURDUE*
- October 31 - @ Indiana*
- November 7 - IOWA*
- November 14 - @ Michigan State*
- November 21 - NEBRASKA*
- November 28 - @ Wisconsin*
Big Ten Championship Game scheduled for December 5 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Penn State 2016 Schedule
- September 3 - KENT STATE
- September 10 - @ Pittsburgh
- September 17 - TEMPLE
- September 24 - OPEN DATE
- October 1 - @ Illinois*
- October 8 - Bye Week
- October 15 - INDIANA*
- October 22 - @ Purdue*
- October 29 - OHIO STATE*
- November 5 - @ Iowa*
- November 12 - MICHIGAN STATE*
- November 19 - @ Nebraska*
- November 26 - WISCONSIN*
Big Ten Championship Game scheduled for December 3, with location to be determined.
* denotes Big Ten conference game
Get more great Penn State news and analysis over at Nittany Lions Den.