Usually when two teams renew a series that had been dormant for more than 35 years, there are few remaining connections.
Thank goodness for Joe Paterno.
Paterno actually remembers the days when Penn State opened its football seasons against Navy. From Paterno's second season as Penn State head coach in 1967 until 1971, the Nittany Lions raised the curtain against the Midshipmen. Penn State and Navy have met 37 times and played 12 games between 1961-74, but the two squads haven't faced each other since.
The hiatus ends Sept. 15, 2012, as Penn State announced Wednesday that it will host Navy at Beaver Stadium. Will JoePa still on the Nittany Lions sideline? Time will tell.
"We are excited to have Navy returning to the Penn State football schedule," Penn State athletic director Tim Curley said in a prepared statement. "Navy was our season opening opponent a number of times in the 1960's and '70's and we've had many memorable games against the Midshipmen. Navy has a great football tradition and has returned to being one of the top programs in the nation during the past decade. We're looking forward to having Navy playing again in Beaver Stadium."
This is a very competitive series, with Penn State holding an 18-17-2 edge against Navy, first facing the Midshipmen in 1894 in Annapolis. Penn State has won seven of the 10 meetings in State College.
Navy is no pushover, as Ohio State found out in the 2009 season opener. The Mids have made a recent habit out of giving traditional powerhouses all they can handle. Therefore, I like this addition for Penn State.
Penn State previously had been scheduled to host Temple on Sept. 15, 2012. Virginia is also part of the Nittany Lions' nonconference slate that fall.