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Social media reacts to Penn State-Michigan State matchup details

Social media had plenty to say over the decision to move the season finale between Penn State and Michigan State to Ford Field.



Penn State, Michigan State, Ford Field
Nov 26, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (left) and Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker (right) shake hands following the competition of the game at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan State 35-16. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

In recent weeks, we’ve learned several key details about the 2023 Penn State football schedule. The Nittany Lions will have two home night games in September – the season opener against West Virginia on September 2 and the White Out versus Iowa on September 23. But this week, the news has been centered on Penn State’s season finale against Michigan State, which will now be a primetime matchup on Black Friday at Ford Field in Detroit.

While weekday games and neutral field venues are not always popular, how this matchup came about is equally odd. And, as with most things, fans and the media had plenty to say about the game.

“Horse trading” leads to unusual matchup

In a matter of months, the Big Ten is slated to start the most lucrative TV contract in college sports history. However, recently, it became apparent that the deal may not be over the finish line.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that the Big Ten’s contract had not yet been finalized, and significant “horse trading” is still needed to complete the deal. This includes, among many things, negotiations around NBC’s primetime matchups each week.

Ultimately, Penn State was one of the first schools pulled in by this “horse trading.” Last weekend, news broke that the Nittany Lions’ regular season finale against Michigan State would be played on Black Friday. While no TV partner was immediately announced, speculation swirled that the game would be aired on NBC’s primetime slot. The announcement was the first shoe to drop in the clear break of the Big Ten’s long-standing prohibition against night games in November.

Wednesday, it was confirmed that the matchup would air on NBC’s Big Ten Saturday Night. However, the game won’t occur under the lights in East Lansing. Instead, both schools confirmed that the matchup will move an hour and a half east to Ford Field in Detriot.

Twitter reacts to Penn State-Michigan State Ford Field game

As Thamel initially reported, there has been significant pushback from the conference’s three major programs – Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State – regarding the late November night games. On top of weather-related concerns, Penn State has additional reason to be upset with being forced to play on a shortened week at the end of a long season. Ultimately, it appears that these concerns were raised, and moving the game inside to Ford Field can be seen as a “compromise.”

While weekday games and neutral site locations have historically been unpopular with the Penn State fanbase, Nittany Lions fans seem okay with how this matchup has played out.

Some in the media, including DK Pittsburgh Sports’ Cory Giger, recognized the decision as a victory for Penn State after being forced to play on a Friday night. Michigan State, on the other hand, may end up on the losing end.

However, given that the game occurs on Thanksgiving weekend, some Spartans fans believe that moving the game to Ford Field will ultimately help with fan turnout.

Avoiding East Lansing in November, where Penn State has experienced many weather-related issues in recent years, seems like a win. James Franklin won’t lose out on a home game recruiting opportunity, which is also a concern for neutral site games.

At any rate, Penn State will play for a trophy indoors at the end of the season. Nittany Lions fans just hope that after battling for the Land Grant Trophy, Penn State travels to Indianapolis a week later to do it again in the Big Ten Championship game.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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