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Rooting Guide: Which Week 2 games are most important for Penn State football?

Want to know which Week 2 games have the biggest impact for Penn State football? We have you covered.



Penn State Football, college football
Penn State football fans cheer on the Nittany Lions during the season opener against West Virginia at Beaver Stadium September 2, 2023, in State College.

Coach James Franklin wants Penn State football to go 1-0 each. Nothing else matters in his eyes. However, college football is a subjective business. It matters how many losses you have, how you look in those losses, and what your strength of schedule is. It also matters who you beat and by how many — something that Neal Brown didn’t seem to understand last Saturday. As such, each week, we will preview the upcoming action across college football, and highlight which have the most significance for Penn State’s push to the College Football Playoff.

Penn State football fans’ rooting guide: College football Week 2

From Big Ten out-of-conference contests to matchups that will have massive implications on the 2023 College Football Playoff hunt, big games are back in full swing in Week 2. Here’s a quick rundown of the most important games for Penn State football fans to watch this weekend.

Illinois (1-0) @ Kansas (1-0) 7:30 pm ET (FRI) ESPN2

The first game to keep an eye on is an under-the-radar game that will be played on Friday night. Illinois not only represents the Big Ten, but also is on the Penn State football schedule next week. A win in this one would directly help the Nittany Lions’ strength of schedule.

No. 10 Notre Dame (2-0) @ NC State (1-0) 12:00 pm ET ABC

The Irish are only 3 spots behind Penn State football in the AP poll. While this game doesn’t help Penn State move up in the polls, an NC State win would benefit by adding a loss to Notre Dame, who is considered a Playoff contender. 

While the Irish will enter as a touchdown favorite, the Wolfpack will look to use their home-field advantage to try and pull off the upset. We also can’t overlook the added pleasure of watching Notre Dame lose to anybody.

Purdue (0-1) @ Virginia Tech (1-0) 12:00 pm ET ESPN2

These two teams will most likely be bottom feeders in each of their conferences. But this is another situation where Purdue winning helps the Big Ten with strength of schedule. Boiler Up!

No. 12 Utah (1-0) @ Baylor (0-1) 12:00 pm ET ESPN

Utah is coming off an impressive win against Florida in Week 1, and is moving up in the rankings in the eyes of many in the media. Baylor is coming off one of the most embarrassing defeats in school history, losing as a 4-touchdown favorite to Texas State. 

College football is a funny game, and the Bears will have an opportunity to knock off the Utes at home and get their season back on track. It would fit perfectly for the sport if Baylor bounced back this week. Penn State football fans should be rooting for the upset, as Utah is one of the PAC 12 teams in contention for the college football playoff.

Nebraska (0-1) @ #22 Colorado (1-0) 12:00 pm ET FOX

Colorado was the headline of Week 1 with its upset win over TCU. This week, the Buffalos rekindle an old rivalry with Nebraska, who is coming off a heartbreaker to Minnesota. 

While Colorado is a fresh team in the rankings and doesn’t directly impact Penn State, the Big Ten needs to win these non-conference games to keep the strength of schedule high for the top teams. Penn State fans should root for alumnus Matt Rhule and Nebraska to pull off the upset in Boulder.

Iowa (1-0) @ Iowa State (1-0) 3:30 pm ET FOX

You can throw the record books out the window when a rivalry is played. The Hawkeyes fell out of the Top 25 after an unimpressive win against Utah State in Week 1. Iowa not only represents the Big Ten, but also is the Whiteout opponent in a few weeks in Happy Valley. 

Penn State fans should want an undefeated Iowa because that most likely means an opportunity for a ranked win.

No. 11 Texas (1-0) @ No. 3 Alabama (1-0) 7:00 pm ET ESPN

The weekend’s biggest game and the College GameDay site could have the most significant implications for Penn State’s ability to move up in the polls. 

Texas enters Tuscaloosa as a 7-point underdog, but proved it could hang with Alabama last season, only losing by one point at home. The Longhorns can win this game when comparing talent, but the joke of whether they are back will be tested by how they compete in this game. 

Penn State football fans should be rooting for Texas to take down Alabama as it opens the potential to move up into the Top 6 of the polls and a step closer to the playoff.

No. 3 Oregon (1-0) @ Texas Tech (0-1) 7:00 pm ET FOX

The Ducks had one of the biggest blowouts of Week 1, taking down Portland State 81-7. Texas Tech was on the wrong end of an upset in Laramie, where it lost to Wyoming in double overtime. 

The Red Raiders were a lot of people’s darkhorse to compete for the Big 12, and they will have an opportunity to take down the Ducks in a night game in Lubbock. Penn State fans should root for Texas Tech to pull off the upset because Oregon is another PAC 12 team in contention for the College Football Playoff.

No. 19 Wisconsin (1-0) @ Washington State (1-0) 7:30 pm ET ABC

The Badgers were upset by the Cougars last season in Madison. This year, they will get an opportunity at redemption in Pullman under new coach Luke Fickell. Like the other Big Ten teams, this game matters tremendously for the conference because it helps the overall strength. Penn State fans should pull for Wisconsin to take down Washington State and remain in the rankings heading into Week 3.

Thank you for reading Basic Blues Nation. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and insights on your favorite Penn State athletics. For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email us at or direct message us on our social media. Also, be sure to check out our new site shop. It’s due to your support that we can become one of the market’s fastest-growing Penn State sports outlets!

Former contributor at Nittany Central, Patrick joined Basic Blues Nation in 2023 as the Social Media Director, Penn State Wrestling beat writer, and producer of the Penn State Roar Room spaces. Patrick is also a contributor of Penn State football, basketball, and ice hockey news for the site.


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