Fans welcomed back college football with open arms last year – and we were right there with them. From the first weekend in Wisconsin through a stretch of three bowl games in five days, and a couple of games in between, stadiums were packed with fans – happy to put COVID behind them. Penn State is looking to get back to its winning ways. The last couple of years haven’t been too kind to the Lions. They stumbled to a 7-6 record last year, capped by an underwhelming performance in the Outback Bowl against Arkansas. My guess is that most Lion fans have long forgotten last season and are ready to cheer on this year’s team.
While nothing beats a Saturday in Happy Valley on gameday, we’ve been trying to visit more B1G stadiums. It’s great to tour around other campuses and experience the local food, drinks, sites, and traditions that make college football so unique. On top of that, ticket prices, hotel prices, and airfare into the other cities oftentimes make it more affordable to attend away games. This year, we’re hoping to hit a couple of road games as well as the Ohio State game.
Let’s take a look at this year’s schedule to see what other events are playing near the Lions to see if we can parlay a trip to get even more bang for our buck.
2022 Penn State Football
Thursday, September 1
The Lions open the season on the road again this year – and against a B1G opponent again. On top of that, Purdue opted to move the game to a Thursday night kickoff for even more media attention.
You can make it a B1G Weekend by catching the Lions Thursday night, then heading to Bloomington to see Illinois take on Indiana on Friday. We visited the Indiana campus a few years ago and I believe Bloomington is one of the nicest in the B1G.
If you prefer baseball, fly into Chicago and catch the Cubbies on Wednesday night before the game as they host Cincinnati.
The home opener is against the Ohio Bobcats. I still remember witnessing the Bobcats pull off the major upset against Bill O’Brien’s Lions in the season opener in 2012. Penn State was up 14-3 at the half only to collapse and give up 21 unanswered points to fall to the Frank Solich-led Bobcats.
If you’re flying into Pittsburgh, make sure to catch the Cardinals vs Pirates on either Friday or Sunday. PNC Park won’t disappoint.
If you’re lucky, they’ll make Pitt vs Tennessee a night game and you can do a doubleheader on Saturday. Sure it’s Pitt, but there’s nothing wrong with scoring some decent seats at a great price, in an awesome stadium for what should be a great game.
Down in Philly, the Nationals come to town for a weekend series.
The Lions travel south to invade SEC territory and take on the Auburn Tigers. After last year’s Whiteout, Auburn will be looking for revenge. We were at the Penn State/Alabama game in 2010 and while we lost the game, there’s just something about Saturdays in the South.
You’ll likely fly into Atlanta so why not make it a Pennsylvania sports weekend and catch the Phillies as they visit the Braves on either Friday or Sunday.
The Cippewas come to Happy Valley for just the second meeting between these two teams. The last was a 40-3 win for the Lions in 2005 when the home team went on to an 11-1 record with a win over Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.
Coming through Pittsburgh, you’ll be able to see the Cubs vs the Pirates in a weekend series. PNC Park offers one of the best views in baseball. Pitt hosts Rhode Island, but why bother?
The Phillies host the Braves for the weekend and the Astros visit Camden Yards.
Northwestern visits Beaver Stadium for the first time since 2014! And it’s the first matchup between these two since the Lions beat the Wildcats 31-7 in Evanston in 2017.
For some NFL action on Sunday, you have some options. Catch the Steelers as they host the Jets, the Eagles in Philly against the Jags, or the Bills as they take on Lamar and the Ravens. All games are scheduled for 1:00pm.
For Canadian Bills fans, you can extend your trip to see Toronto as they visit Baltimore on Mon-Wed. Why not? Go crazy. You have the bye week ahead of you.
After the bye week, the Lions visit the Big House. That alone justifies a trip, but if you’re lucky, you can also catch Eastern Michigan as they host Northern Illinois. The campuses are just minutes apart.
The Golden Gophers return to Beaver Stadium with Kirk Ciarrocca as their OC and QB Coach again. You can bet he’ll be out for revenge against the Franklin and the Lions. Check back to see if the NHL or NBA is in town.
What more do you need to visit State College in the fall? While it’s been a while since the Lions beat the Buckeyes, anything is possible. I’ll never forget the night in 2016 when the seemingly impossible happened in the middle of a magical season.
It’s looking like it might be a day game so the marketing team at Penn State will have its work cut out for them to make the scene as awe-inspiring as a night game.
If you need more to encourage you, over in Philly, the Eagles host the Steelers on Sunday.
Penn State goes back to Bloomington. They will still remember the play that sent the team into a downward spiral – losing five in a row, before bouncing back to win four in a row to close that awful 2020 season. Bloomington is one of the nicest campuses in the B1G, so consider a visit just to check out the local traditions like we did.
Maryland visits State College and Mike Locksley can never be taken lightly when playing the Lions. Head back to Pittsburgh to catch the Steelers as they host the Saints on Sunday – or head to Philly for a cheesesteak and stick around for an NFC battle on Monday night as the Eagles host the Commanders and Jahan Dotson.
Over in Jersey. the Lions will try to finish strong against the Scarlet Knights. Just up the road on Sunday, the Lions will visit Saquon and the Giants.
Penn State closes the season at home against Sparty. After last year, the Lions will be geared up to get back on the winning track and reclaim that beautiful trophy that “looks like your great-uncle made in a workshop with leftover parts.”
While the students are gone and it’s Thanksgiving weekend, tickets will be freely available and you can enjoy the game at a very reasonable price – or, upgrade your seat and experience it from a location you don’t normally enjoy. Maybe you’ll be in the stands rooting on Michigan or Ohio State to take down the other so we can secure our spot for next week!
With any luck, the Lions will be headed to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship game in December. After they win the Championship, take the 1:45 drive over to Cincinnati to catch the Bengals vs the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.
I’m excited to see what 6th-year senior Sean Clifford and some of the new recruits can add to the team this year. From the 5* RB Nick Singleton to the transfers like Demeioun Robinson, Mitchell Tinsley, and Hunter Nourzad – there’s plenty to be optimistic about.
So, where will you be wandering this year? Comment below and share your thoughts with other Penn Staters.