With the NCAA handing down debilitating penalties to Penn State's football program -- including a $60 million fine and a four-year postseason ban -- the landscape of the Big 10 conference has fundamentally changed. The Nittany Lions are expected to be far from a powerhouse in the indefinite future, and with the Big 10's unbalanced schedules, that no doubt alters the course of the league.
The Northwestern Wildcats will visit Penn State on Oct. 6 this year, and the makeup of the Nittany Lions will be different than what it is now. After 2012, Northwestern misses Penn State through 2016, which is the latest year for which the Big 10 has announced conference opponents. Northwestern should face the Nittany Lions next in 2017 and 2018, when Penn State will be coming off of its penalties but still likely a shell of its former self.