The eight-year wait should almost be over.
ESPN’s College GameDay hasn’t “come to our city” since the Nittany Lions took on Iowa in 2009. Since then, Penn State was the featured game on the show for road trips to Alabama and Ohio State in 2010, and the Big Ten Championship last year.
The Best Matchup
With Michigan falling in the rankings to No. 17 this past weekend after a loss to Michigan State, the Penn State-Michigan clash no longer seems like the only choice for GameDay.
While it’s likely to be the first matchup between two top 25 teams in Beaver Stadium since November 2011, there will be three games, as of this week’s rankings, between a pair of top 25 teams during week eight — Penn State-Michigan, Notre Dame-USC, and Navy-UCF. Penn State is the highest ranked (and only team ranked in the top 10) of those six teams.
Penn State-Michigan is also the top game featured on the ESPN family of networks — receiving the ABC Saturday Night Football primetime treatment.
The biggest thing going for GameDay to the Navy-UCF game is the chance for the show to appear in the historic Annapolis for the first time, which would truly be a cool sight. It would, however, take a serious undefeated run from either team and A LOT of chaos ahead of it for this game to have College Football Playoff implications.
The brightest spot in the Notre Dame-USC matchup is the long-standing rivalry between the two programs. The battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh dates back to 1926 and is as evenly matched as it’s been in years.
Although it may not be a true rivalry, Penn State-Michigan has featured some signature moments over the past few years. There’s the insanity of 2013’s four overtime White Out victory over the Wolverines, the close battles of 2014 and 2015, as well the demolition in Ann Arbor last year — the last time the Nittany Lions got “embarrassed.”
Marcus Allen to Saquon Barkley after the 49-10 Michigan loss: "We'll never get embarrassed like that ever."
Penn State is 12-1 since then. pic.twitter.com/rdCEbbSikj
— Patrick Koerbler (@PatKoerbler) September 22, 2017
The White Out
There isn’t another game in week eight, and there are few if any games during the rest of the season, that will have an atmosphere like a Penn State White Out game in primetime. Just look back at last year’s game. Take a look at the aforementioned quadruple overtime Michigan game in 2013. There just isn’t much else in sports like a sea of white standing 107k+ strong in Beaver Stadium.
Why does that matter to College GameDay?
The atmosphere on a game weekend, especially Saturday morning (even more so for the biggest home game of the year), is second to none in college football. You’re talking about those 107k+, as well as the thousands of tailgaters that don’t even go inside the stadium. That crowd lined up behind the set for the show is something out of College GameDay lore — it’s an opportunity the crew and viewers around the nation shouldn’t miss.
Importance Of Coming To Happy Valley
In an unthinkably short amount of time following sanctions that could have set the program back forever, Penn State football is once again a national presence.
The Nittany Lions have been called the most watchable team in the country. They have the best player in the country. They’re at their best in almost a decade. This is a team that the community is proud of and should be showcased nationally to show that Penn State is truly back.
There would be no better time to see this new era than right before its most important game in Beaver Stadium for this generation.