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WVU-Penn State 2023 renewal part of beefing up nonleague schedule

Major Harris led West Virginia past Penn State in 1988, but the Nittany Lions own a 48-9-2 lead in the series, which was played every year from 1947-1992.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the works for months, West Virginia has finalized plans for a home-and-home football renewal with Penn State, though Mountaineers fans must be patient.

The schools won’t meet until the 2023 season opener at Penn State, before kicking off the 2024 season in Morgantown.

Though still a decade away, the series is another necessary step in upgrading West Virginia’s nonconference schedule.

Athletics director Oliver Luck, during a segment on MetroNews “Hotline” Thursday afternoon, said the eventual goal is to schedule two of its three nonleague games each season against teams from the other power conferences—the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, or Pac-12. (Maryland is the only power conference program to appear on WVU’s schedules in 2012 and 2013.)

“I think the days of (scheduling) a couple of patsy teams in the nonconference are gone, thank goodness,” Luck said. “I think that’s a good thing for fans, because they want to see big-time matchups.”

And because West Virginia is a geographic outlier in its own conference, the school prefers to renew nonleague regional rivalries within driving distance for fans.

“I could see us playing UVa and Pitt in the same year, or Penn State and Pitt, or Virginia Tech and UVa,” Luck said. “In our case, we’re trying to get as much of the old gang back together as we can.

“As we all enter this new college football playoff era, which starts in the 2014 season, strength-of-schedule is really going to matter.”

The Penn State game dates are Sept. 2 in 2023 and Aug. 31 in 2024.

West Virginia hasn’t faced Penn State since 1992, the year before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten.

In July, the Mountaineers and Virginia Tech announced plans for a home-and-home series in 2021-2022, and this week Luck told The Baltimore Sun he’s in talks with Maryland about extending their series past the current end date of 2017.

Here’s a glimpse at West Virginia’s future nonconference football opponents (three spots to fill annually outside of nine conference games):

Aug. 30 vs. Alabama (at Atlanta)
Sept. 13 at Maryland
TBD vs. Towson
TBD vs. East Carolina
TBD vs. Liberty
Sept. 26 vs. Maryland
Sept. 17 vs. Maryland
Sept. 24 vs. BYU (at Landover, Md.)
TBD at East Carolina
TBD vs. East Carolina
Sept. 23 at Maryland
TBD at East Carolina
Sept. 18 vs. Virginia Tech
Sept. 24 at Virginia Tech
Sept. 2 at Penn State
Aug. 31 vs. Penn State

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