While it’s not technically a college football trade, that is basically what Arkansas and Penn State pulled off this week.
In a move you simply don’t see much, the two Power Five schools essentially traded Group of Five opponents for their 2020 season openers according to a number of reports.
WholeHogSports first reported that the Razorbacks had inked a deal to replace Kent State with Nevada for the SEC program’s season opener on Sept. 5, 2020. The originally scheduled game against the Golden Flashes wasn’t cancelled outright, but was instead shifted back to Sept. 9, 2023.
Now that whole switcheroo would have left Penn State (and Kent State) with an opening on Sept. 5 because, you see, they had previously scheduled the Wolf Pack for that same date. With Nevada instead going Southeast and not Northeast that week, the Nittany Lions apparently did the easiest thing for everybody and added the Golden Flashes to the docket instead.
So while it may not have truly happened like a few GM’s trading players on the professional level, it sort of played out that way in Arkansas and Penn State essentially swapping Kent State and Nevada on the schedule in 2020. Everybody apparently seems happy with the new arrangement and we’re guessing that the money works out for both the MAC and Mountain West programs to accommodate the changes too.
Arkansas and Nevada will play next season for the first time ever as a result, which is certainly an interesting decision on account of the Razorbacks considering they’ve lost to Mountain West programs each of the last two years (San Jose State in 2019, at Colorado State in 2018) and Jay Norvell’s Wolf Pack recently upset a Power Five opponent (Purdue) this season. Either way, they’ll serve as Arkansas’ warm-up before the team travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame on Sept. 12, 2020. Home games against FCS Charleston Southern and Louisiana-Monroe round out the program’s non-conference schedule.
As for PSU, they know Kent State well having met six times in State College over the years — most recently a 63-10 win for the Nittany Lions in 2018. Penn State also travels to Virginia Tech and hosts San Jose State in their non-conference slate next season.
Nevada, meanwhile, also has a cross-country trip to USF in late September and hosts UTEP and UC Davis in non-con action in 2020. That’s nothing compared to the Golden Flashes however, as Kent State hosts Kennesaw State and travels to two SEC teams next year, Kentucky and Alabama, in addition to the trip to Beaver Stadium.