Penn State's 2017 home games: Ranked

There are just a few more Saturdays to go before Beaver Stadium is packed with fans cheering on the Blue and White. With Media Day officially in the books, the countdown is on.

The 2017 home schedule is loaded with plenty of familiar faces.

Let’s take a closer look at the seven games on Penn State’s schedule and rank the games, from worst to first.

7. Akron (Sept. 2) — Yes, it’s the season opener. But the fact that it’s Akron lands this game at the bottom of our list. Truth be told, there isn’t a whole lot to like about this game. The noon kick doesn’t allow tailgaters much time to enjoy the sights and sounds on opening weekend. Consider this the NCAA’s version of the preseason game.

Penn State will get this W out of the way and move on to bigger and better things.

Notable: Youth Sports Day, Spirit Day for Youth Cheer and Dance.

6. Rutgers (Nov. 11) — Another noon kick, which doesn’t light up most fans. And, it’s Rutgers. The New Jersey school likes to think of itself as a rival to the Nittany Lions, but it truly is not. The Nittany Lions have owned Rutgers for many years. The last Rutgers win was the stunning 21-16 upset over the Lions at Beaver Stadium in 1988. Yeah, that’s no rivalry.

Notable: Homecoming and Military Appreciation Day.

5. Georgia State (Sept. 16) — This game typically wouldn’t get as high as No. 5 on the list, but the fact that it’s a night game pushes it up a notch or two. The game features an odd 7:30 p.m. kick time, thanks to the Big Ten Network. Georgia State should be easy pickings for the Lions, but the nighttime atmosphere will make for a memorable evening.

Notable: Blue Band Jam, All-University Day, Community Heroes Recognition and Scout Celebration.

4.  Nebraska (Nov. 18) — Should be a decent game and although Penn State-Nebraska is hardly a rivalry, it could get there. Every time these teams hook up, we are reminded of the Nittany Lions classic 27-24 win at Beaver Stadium in 1982. However, the series has swung the Cornhuskers’ way recently as they’ve won 4 of the last 5 contests. Penn State should take care of business this year and the “Stripe Out” will only add to a festive Senior Day atmosphere.

Notable: Senior Day; Penn State Stripe Out; Penn State Parents and Families Tailgate; Educator Appreciation.

3. Indiana (Sept. 30) — This game ranks high on our list because it’s the Throwback Game. The Nittany Lions will be wearing special throwback uniforms, complete with numbers on the helmets and the classic white cleats. There will be other special “throwback” features in and around Beaver Stadium. Stay tuned for those details.

Notable: Faculty and Staff Day; Celebrate Agriculture.

2. Pitt (Sept. 9) — Last season’s game at Heinz Field was a classic, even though the Lions wound up on the wrong side of a 42-39 score. Tickets for this season’s game are the hottest Happy Valley has seen in quite some time. The Lions will be looking to avenge a loss that kept them out of the four-team College Football Playoff. Pitt will be without James Conner, who is now a Pittsburgh Steeler. The Lions, of course, come back fully loaded. The only thing that keeps this game from being No. 1 is timing: It needs to be played in November. In the snow.

Notable: Keystone Classic Presented by Peoples Natural Gas; 2016 Suite Unveiling; 1982 Team Presentation.

1. Michigan (Oct. 21) — What game could possibly top Pitt? Well, it’s Michigan and it’s the White Out, so that says it all. In 2013, these teams met in what is considered one of the greatest games in Beaver Stadium history, a 43-40 Penn State overtime win. Since then, Michigan has won the last three games in the series, including a 49-10 drubbing in Ann Arbor last season. The game will be a critical contest in deciding who gets to the Big Ten title game.

Notable: 2017 White Out Game.

Up next: Ranking the 2017 road games.

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