Yes, the football season is still months away. At least Syracuse and Penn State have given its fans something big to look forward to, however. According to CBS Sports, the Orange and the Nittany Lions will open up the 2013 season against one another and in MetLife Stadium, the home of both the New York Giants and Jets.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to open the 2013 season in a fantastic venue like MetLife Stadium against Syracuse, a team that Penn State has more than 90 years of tradition with on the football field,” said Penn State coach Bill O’Brien in a release. “With nearly 30,000 Penn State alumni in the New York-New Jersey metro area, we are looking forward to playing in front of a passionate base of Penn State supporters. It will be exciting for our team to open the 2013 season in the same facility that will end the year by hosting Super Bowl XLVIII.”
O’Brien made big waves in his first year at Penn State. He was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading his new program to an 8-4 record in the team’s first full year without Joe Paterno since 1966. Of course, the team was also dealing with massive scholarship losses, the prospect of no postseason games for four years, transfers, a $60 million fine and, needless to say, the embarrassment of the entire Sandusky scandal that resulted in all the punishment and the firing of the legendary head coach.
Scott Shafer takes over at Syracuse following the departure of Doug Marrone. Marrone pulled ‘Cuse out of the trash heap and turned the program into a contender before accepting an offer to take over the head coaching position with the Buffalo Bills.
Shafer does not have to worry about the same first-year tribulations O’Brien did, but taking over a Division I football program is never an easy task. That said, he too is extremely excited about the prospect of opening his first season with such a big-time game.
“We look forward to starting our 2013 season by rekindling an age-old rivalry against a prestigious Penn State program,” said Syracuse’s new coach, Scott Shafer. “It is a great opportunity for us to kick off the three-game series with the Nittany Lions in front of one of our largest alumni fan bases at MetLife Stadium.”
While the 2013 season marks the first in a three year competitive contract between the two schools, it will by no means be the first time they have met.
In fact, Penn State and Syracuse faced off every year from 1944-1990, and have played 70 times in total.
Penn State will be looking to improve upon its 42-23-5 record against the Orange, and it will be trying to do so under the bright lights of the Big Apple.