North Carolina and head football coach Butch Davis are looking for a schedule upgrade.
So they have contacted Penn State among others in an effort to land some quality non-conference opponents.
Among the other schools contacted by the Tar Heels are Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan as well.
Here’s what works about this possibility. Penn State isn’t going to schedule USC or Florida, we all understand that. What they are looking to do is land a few marquee names (like Alabama starting next year), possibly Miami, but they need a quality school from a quality BCS conference.
So this is a win-win situation for both schools. The question remains, would Penn State opt for the home-and-home type series given that Joe Paterno will always argue as to why they need that seventh or in some cases (like this coming season) eighth home game to get the necessary money to trickle down to the other athletic programs.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Penn State is able to reach an agreement with the Tar Heels for a home-and-home series, but not Pittsburgh? Isn’t there something terribly wrong with that?
Still, Penn State will skate with one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the country in 2009, but in 2010, it’s starting to pick up a little more.
There isn’t much to the Miami rumors yet, but the word on the street in So. Florida is that the talks between the two teams are picking up some steam.
Here’s the other thing to consider. Penn State could be feeling pressure from the other Big Ten schools like Ohio State to buck up and schedule more quality in the non-con. Look at Ohio State’s schedule in the next decade.
The Buckeys bring Miami, Va. Tech, Navy, California, Oklahoma and Tennessee in the next 10 years, starting in 2010. Look at how a marquee opponent in the non-con slate has benefitted the Buckeyes in the past. They found out early a season ago where they stood compared to USC, then turned that whipping around into a Fiesta Bowl run.
In the two years the Buckeyes locked up with Texas, each team benefitted from wins on the others homefield.
Again, Penn State isn’t going to take the drastic leaps and bounds and do a home-and-home with Florida, Texas or USC, but getting a quality BCS conference team on the schedule can’t hurt.