Penn State will play the role of visitor for the first Big Ten conference game in the history of Rutgers football. The 2014 Big Ten conference schedule was released Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for the 2014 season which introduces Rutgers and Maryland as new conference members. Maryland will return to Beaver Stadium in 2014 with a game on November 1.
With the new division layout, Penn State's Land Grant Trophy series with Michigan State will return to the back-end of the regular season schedule. When Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, Michigan State had been the regularly schedule opponent for the final week of the season every year until 2011, when the conference expanded to 12 members with Nebraska and split in to two divisions. The Spartans had been placed in the Legends Division and Penn State in the Leaders Division. Penn State's regular season finale opponent had been Wisconsin during this brief stretch.
Penn State's Big Ten schedule includes home games against Northwestern (Sept. 27), Ohio State (Oct. 25), Maryland (Nov. 1) and Michigan State (Nov. 29). Road conference games will take place at Rutgers (Sep. 13), Michigan (Oct. 11), Indiana (Nov. 8) and Illinois (Nov. 22). Penn State currently has three bye weeks built in to the conference schedule. The 2014 schedule currently has one vacancy to be filled with two open weeks available in October and one in November.
What having to fill one schedule hole with the only available weeks available in October and November means remains to be seen, but it may be less likely Penn State is able to schedule an opponent from one of the larger conferences given that conference play is typically in season and occupies most of the available weeks.