Penn State will host five Big Ten opponents in 2016 and will welcome Michigan and Nebraska in 2017.
That news was released on Thursday, when the Big Ten Conference announced the conference schedules for both years. The Nittany Lions also will host old rival Pitt in 2017 for the first time since 1999.
The Big Ten will launch East and West Divisions in 2014 and in 2016 the conference will move to a nine-game Big Ten schedule. The Nittany Lions will be in the East Division with Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Rutgers.
Starting in 2016, every Big Ten team will play the other six schools within its division and also face three teams from the other division starting in 2016. Penn State will have five conference home games during even-numbered years and have four Big Ten home contests during odd-numbered years.
In 2016, Penn State will host Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State, closing the regular season against the Spartans for the third consecutive year on Nov. 26. The Nittany Lions will visit Michigan, Purdue, Indiana and Rutgers in 2016.
During the 2017 campaign, Penn State will host Indiana, Michigan, Rutgers and Nebraska. The Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers will renew their rivalry, which will pause after this season with the new cycle of conference opponents starting in 2014. Penn State will travel to Northwestern, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State and Maryland, ending the regular season on Nov. 25, 2017 by visiting the Terrapins. The Nittany Lions will face a stretch of four Big Ten road games out of five games overall at mid-season.
The highlight of Penn State’s 2016 and 2017 non-conference schedules is the start of a four-game series with old rival Pitt. The Nittany Lions visit the Panthers on Sept. 10, 2016, and Pitt returns to Beaver Stadium on Sept. 16, 2017. Penn State visits Pitt on September 8, 2018, and the Panthers will visit State College on Sept. 14, 2019. The Nittany Lions have met the Panthers more than any other opponent — 96 times — with Penn State owning a 48-42-4 on-field series advantage.
During the 2016 season, Penn State will host Kent State and Temple and in 2017 the Nittany Lions will host Pitt, Akron and have one home game remaining to be scheduled.