The No. 22 Auburn Tigers travel to Happy Valley this weekend to take on the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions. It’s a huge showdown with major implications for both programs. Auburn, coming off a 6-5 season, is looking to reassert itself as a powerhouse football program under new coach Bryan Harsin. Meanwhile, Penn State is trying to insert itself into the College Football Playoff picture as head coach James Franklin fights off rumors about the USC job.
However, there’s also another wild bit of trivia that will take place this weekend when these two teams play. This will be the first time in 90 years that the SEC’s Auburn has played a road Big Ten game. In fact, this will be Auburn’s first-ever road game at a Big Ten school since the SEC was formed in 1932. (Ed. Note: Auburn did play at current Big Ten member Nebraska in 1991, but that was when the Huskers were in the Big 8).
The last time Auburn traveled to play a school that is currently in the Big Ten, was for a game against the Wisconsin Badgers on October 10, 1931. The game ended in a 7-7 tie. At the time, Auburn was part of the Southern Conference (SoCon).
SEC schools have long had a reputation for not traveling very far across the country. Florida’s 2029 game against Colorado in Boulder will be their first true road game outside of the state of Florida in nonconference play since traveling to Syracuse in 1991.
Given what we’re told about the importance of the strength of schedule when it comes to rankings and the College Football Playoff, that seems wild. But then again, it’s also a testament to the value of an SEC schedule, that these schools haven’t felt the need to test themselves on the road because they’re being tested enough already by their conference foes.