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Inside the Numbers: Penn State Football on TV

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football has been no stranger to television sets across the nation in Joe Paterno's coaching tenure.  This post will take a closer look at Penn State on TV in the past five decades.


The Nittany Lions have appeared on television networks 290 times in Coach Paterno's illustrious career.  The Lions have boasted a 190-99-1 record on TV since 1966.  Penn State appeared on ABC regionally in 1966 against Syracuse, marking the first televised game under Coach Paterno.  Ironically, Penn State's first national telecast was a tie against Florida State in the 1967 Gator Bowl (17-17). 



Penn State has appeared on ABC more than any other channel under Coach Paterno.  In all, the Nittany Lions have played on ABC 149 times.  ESPN falls second on the list.  The Lions have been on the Worldwide Leader in Sports 69 times, with CBS third (25) and ESPN2 fourth (22).


In terms of opponents, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame are the leaders in TV appearances in games against Penn State.  The Nittany Lions battled Pitt and Ohio State 20 times on TV. Michigan State-Penn State games have appeared on TV 16 times.  Notre Dame and Penn State contests have aired 14 times.


Penn State has been featured in primetime TV at least once in each of the last 11 seasons. This fall will mark the sixth-straight year that Penn State will host a primetime national TV telecast inside Beaver Stadium.


Coming off a second straight 11-2 season, Penn State will be on TV during all 12 games again this fall.  Although TV plans are not finalized until closer to kickoff, expect to see the Lions on TV at least 12 times this fall.


As for what has been announced already, the Lions will open the season on Big Ten Network at Noon on Sept. 4 against Youngstown State.  The week two clash at Alabama will air live on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.  The third game (Kent State) will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 on Sept. 18 at Noon.


The Lions' Big Ten opener at Iowa (Oct. 2) will be a primetime TV contest on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  One week later, Penn State's Homecoming clash with Illinois will kick at Noon on Big Ten Network, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  Beaver Stadium will play host to a primetime kickoff against Michigan on Oct. 30, with the action airing live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.


Television plans for the remaining six games (Temple, at Minnesota, Northwestern, at Ohio State, vs. Indiana and Michigan State) will be announced throughout the fall.


Penn State TV Facts Under Joe Paterno:

- The first televised game was on Nov. 5, 1966 against Syracuse (L, 12-10) in Beaver Stadium on ABC

- Penn State's first win on TV came Oct. 12, 1968 at UCLA (W, 21-6) on ABC

- The Nittany Lions are 138-75-1 on national telecasts


Penn State's Record By TV Network

- ABC - 86-62-1

- ESPN - 53-16

- CBS - 15-10

- ESPN 2 - 17-5

- NBC - 8-3

- Big Ten Network - 6-1

- Others - 5-2

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