UNIVERSITY PARK (AP) - The most prominent football program in the East plays in a conference filled with Midwestern schools.
But don't expect Penn State to take part in the latest round of switcheroo reshaping the college athletics landscape.
Coach Joe Paterno on Tuesday even suggested again perhaps looking eastward to expand the Big Ten, throwing out Rutgers as a potential addition for a league with its Eastern terminus in Happy Valley. A one-time proponent for the creation of an Eastern football conference, Paterno called Syracuse and Pittsburgh's switch from the Big East to the ACC a good move for the parties involved.
And he's as mystified as other college football fans about where the game is headed.
"So I think the problem you have right now is you look at it as I look at it, anyway, is things are changing and you're not really sure what's going to happen," Paterno said. "I don't know where we're going to end up.
"There might be even some speculation that Penn State maybe ought to get into something different, or we ought to try to go out and get some people from the east to come into the Big Ten. Why don't we take a look at Rutgers and take a look at somebody that we can bring in from the East so that the Big Ten doesn't end in State College?"
But Paterno is the first to admit he hasn't given the scenarios much thought, while his Penn State boss is indicating the league and school are staying with the status quo.
"The Big Ten does not contemplate a change and feels very secure in its current arrangement," school president Graham Spanier wrote Tuesday in a brief email to The Associated Press. "This applies to all of our 12 members, including Penn State."
Nebraska jumped from the Big 12 this season to complete the Big Ten's dozen.
Spanier also told the editorial board of the Centre Daily Times on Tuesday that the league was comfortable with its current 12-team format. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has said his league is set with 12, but could reconsider if other conferences make moves.
When the Big Ten was looking to expand last summer, there was plenty of speculation about Big East schools on the league's target list, yet only the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten fold.
With Syracuse taken, another Big East school, Rutgers, might make for an attractive option again if the Big Ten does decide to expand once more given the Scarlet Knights might give the conference and its lucrative TV network an entryway into the New York City market.
Paterno for years has talked about the potential rewards for expanding the league eastward.
"Because I think there's a tremendous market for recruiting and football in the area that the schools are moving into. Fifty million people live in the areas that we're talking about," Paterno said. "An awful lot of kids playing football and all sports."
Then again, he's not exactly in the loop on conference realignments, especially in the middle of football season.
"But I'm sure there are people sitting around this morning over a cup of coffee who have some responsibility for the future of different conferences that are talking about it," he said.
Notre Dame and its national fanbase would certainly be a boon for any conference, and the campus resides in the heart of Big Ten territory in South Bend, Ind. The Fighting Irish play in the Big East for everything but football, in which they are an independent.
Missouri, in the Big 12, is another school that could draw Big Ten interest again.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in July that the conference will pay each of its members a record $22.6 million this year, an increase due in part to more revenue from the Big Ten Network. The league distributes money to its members equally based on a revenue sharing system.
On the field, the Nittany Lions (2-1) are coming off a win over Temple, though the 14-10 score Saturday over a team Penn State used to dominate made it feel like a loss to many blue-and-white fans.
Paterno's crew is last in the Big Ten in scoring, total offense and passing using a two-quarterback system with Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin. It doesn't appear that will change for this Saturday's game vs. Eastern Michigan.
"Maybe I'm making a mistake in not deciding. Because ... I'm not real comfortable having two quarterbacks," Paterno said. "But I also wouldn't be comfortable if I did something that I felt ended up being unfair to one. So I have a dilemma."