-Akron at noon
-Pittsburgh at 3:30
-Northwestern at noon (11 am local)
-Ohio State at 3:30
-Rutgers at noon
Along with these times came a few early predictions:
Penn State currently is a favorite by 19 points on Pittsburgh, 14-point favorite against Michigan, both at home. Penn State is also an 8.5 underdog against Ohio State.
Now, we are just under 95 days until the season opener, and these lines will change drastically, but they still show one thing:
Penn State is going to be favored in most of their games this season. Taking it a step further, Penn State is going to be expected to blow out many of their opponents this year if they truly want to be included in the College Football Playoff. Most importantly, the Nittany Lions will have little room for slipups because the spotlight will be on them from the beginning. Perhaps the noon kick in Northwestern, which will actually kick off 11 am local time, will be a tough adjustment, but head Coach James Franklin won't be able to use that excuse. Traveling to Iowa in what seems to be a possible night game won't be easy, ask Coach Harbaugh, but it will be required of Penn State.
The one help the Nittany Lions received was their trip to Columbus, Ohio State being slotted at 3:30PM instead of 8:00PM. The showdown appears to be a possible Big Ten East championship game so having the start time earlier in the day might help eliminate the hostile crowd that resides in The Shoe.
With the Nittany Lions on the move, Penn State appears to be in national spotlight for the near future. With the incoming recruiting classes strengthening, it is apparent that Penn State will be in the mix for the Big Ten for the next couple years. However, with that pressure comes expectation, and the players, coaches, and fans must realize that the time of the underdog is coming to a close. Penn State must now prove to everyone that last year's run wasn't fueled by a single blocked FG. To do that, it must embody the role of a football powerhouse by beating the teams they are supposed to beat, regardless of the time and location.