There’s no wiggle room. Penn State needs to be ready to go right out of the gate to start the 2021 season.

Playing Wisconsin inside the intimidating atmosphere of Camp Randall Stadium will do that. James Franklin is well aware of the implications of that Week 1 showdown.

On Sept. 4, Penn State makes the venture to Madison to take on B1G West-favorite Wisconsin. It’s as tough of a season-opening game as the Nittany Lions have faced in the eight years Franklin has led the program.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity,” Franklin said during the team’s media day on Saturday. “We have to be shooting on all cylinders Week 1.”

Penn State and Wisconsin have played just twice in the eras of Franklin and Badgers head coach Paul Chryst. The Nittany Lions claimed both contests, a 22-10 win in 2018 in Happy Valley and a 38-31 win in the B1G Championship Game to close out the 2016 season.

This will be Franklin’s first trip to Madison and the program’s first since 2013.

Both Penn State and Wisconsin are expected to be in the preseason Top 25 heading into the 2021 season. Both squads struggled last fall, with the Lions finishing 4-5 and the Badgers closing the year 4-3.