Thursday, April 16, 2009
Penn State, Rutgers agree to two-game series
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Penn State and Rutgers have agreed to a home-and-home series, with the Nittany Lions visiting Rutgers Stadium in 2014 and the Scarlet Knights returning to Happy Valley the next year.
During my trip to State College, I heard this series was close to being finalized, and it should please Penn State fans for a number of reasons.
- Penn State has a huge alumni base in the New Jersey/New York area that can attend the game in Piscataway, N.J.
- Rutgers has elevated its profile in recent years and shouldn't take a Syracuse-like tumble. Penn State finalized its series with Syracuse in 2002, without knowing the Orange program would fall apart. Rutgers has made a strong investment in football in recent years and likely will remain solid in 2014.
- After finalizing this year's sorry nonconference slate, Penn State needed to show it was interested in playing decent competition. Although many would love to see the Pitt series resume, Rutgers isn't a bad alternative. Penn State will play Alabama in 2010 and 2011, Virginia in 2012 and 2013 and now Rutgers in 2014 and 2015.
The other subplot here is Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano.
He's long been rumored as a candidate to succeed Joe Paterno at Penn State. Though his stock dropped last year, a Big East championship or two in the near future could put Schiano back on the radar. Not likely, but possible.