Onward Debate: The Best Kickoff Time

There’s a lot of excitement buzzing around campus on a football Saturday at Penn State. Alumni come back to campus, tailgates fill the empty green lawns of University Park, and fans pack into Beaver Stadium to enjoy Penn State football. One thing that fluctuates, however, is the time at which that game starts.

Kickoff can happen at three particular times: 12:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. We had three of our writers lace up their cleats and defend their picks for which kickoff time is the best.

Patrick Koerbler — 12:00 p.m.

Its no secret that noon football kickoffs get a bad rap among Penn State students. Getting out of bed hungover to trudge up to Beaver Stadium to  see Penn State take on an underwhelming opponent doesnt sound all that enticing. Add in the fact that its nearly impossible to properly tailgate beforehand, and you start to understand the hate. But its not all bad, and in many cases, its the best start time.

Firstly, getting up around 10 a.m. isnt really that tough, hungover or not. Believe me, Ive been there its doable. If you cant make it to Beaver Stadium by 11:40 a.m., well then youre probably an amateur. At that point, you should just transfer to Pitt, where your mediocrity will be accepted.

What about waking up at 7 a.m. to tailgate? Okay, even I cant argue the high level of awfulness in that, but having ample time to tailgate after the game especially in these warm months is a major plus.

If Penn State wins, you head back to your tailgate already in a good mood. Youre ready to celebrate a victory with friends and family, where maybe you watch the other big time football games before getting ready for your Saturday night. If Penn State loses, you head back to your tailgate disappointed. But fear not, now you can drown your sorrows of defeat in all the Vlad that your heart desires, knowing that youre free the rest of the day.

Noon starts have long been the redheaded stepchild in Happy Valley. Take a stand with me Penn Staters, and give noon kickoffs the love it deserves as a respectable start time.

Katie Klodowski — 3:30 p.m.

A perfect middle ground between the noon game and the 8:00 p.m. game, having the kickoff at 3:30 allows both students and alumni to plan the perfect game day.

The mid-afternoon start to the game means that waking up at 6:00 a.m. to tailgate is not a necessity. There’s no denying that  typical Friday night at Penn State can make getting up the next morning a struggle. But with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, you’re not forced to chug Gatorade at an ungodly hour to rally for game day. Instead, that awful experience can be replaced with a couple more hours of sleep and a nice breakfast.

A 3:30 p.m. kickoff means those who live close by can sleep in, walk to the stadium at a leisurely pace, and still have plenty of time to tailgate with family and friends. Likewise, people who live in big cities, like Pittsburgh and Philly, can leave early in the morning and make it to the game in plenty of time. 

Starting the game at 3:30 also allows for maximum post-game frivolity. After a noon game, it’s easy to take a post-game nap with intentions of going out later, only to end up sleeping through the night’s festivities. Likewise, 8:00 pm games usually end too late at night, and the tailgates last long enough that many have already reached peak drunkenness for the day.

A typical 3:30 game will end with just enough time for you to take a shower and freshen yourself up before going out for an awesome Saturday night. If the Nittany Lions win, then you can prepare yourself for a hyped up student body ready to celebrate the victory. If they lose, then you can still be ready to go out because it’s probably better to drown your sorrows with some company.

Besides it being the best kickoff time to maximize fun activities throughout the day, a 3:30 start has some other added bonuses as well. The fact that the game overlaps dinner time gives you an excuse to not be healthy and eat the fried food served at the stadium (you know you want the chicken tenders and cheese fries, be honest). To a true Penn Stater, there is nothing better than watching the Nittany Lions while surrounded by thousands of your closest friends, armed with a giant soda and soft pretzel. As the sun sets over Happy Valley, be prepared for the amazing view of Beaver Stadium cheering #107kstrong for our team.

So get excited to face San Diego State next weekend, Penn State, because the 3:30 kickoff promises a great day no matter what.

Jacob Abrams — 8:00 p.m. 

Do you want to sleep in? Do you want to have an entire day dedicated to tailgating? Then the 8:00 p.m. kickoff is the one for you. It’s the perfect amount of time to enjoy things like a good night’s sleep and an actual breakfast. Sure, if the game starts at 3:30 p.m. then you have the time to wake up, eat breakfast, and take your time, but that means that your entire day is dedicated to football. What if you had a big exam on Monday, but you want to tailgate and go to the game with your friends? It looks like you have to pick between studying and tailgating, and we all know what most Penn Staters would choose. So to combat this struggle of sleep and managing your time, the 8:00 p.m. kickoff provides the best solution.

You have an ample amount of time in the morning, which can be used to sleep in, eat breakfast, and basically anything you’d like. Then after your morning you have a choice to go tailgate, or do whatever you need to do on a Saturday. Lucky for you, tailgating will be going on all day. So you can take your time by getting some homework done, doing laundry, or catching up on your favorite Onward State stories from the past week.

Then when you’re ready, you can head to Beaver Stadium. Speaking of the stadium, an 8:00 p.m. kickoff is best because it has all of the energy and excitement of a primetime football game. Playing at night gives football a different atmosphere that can’t be beat. The ambiance of the lights beaming down on the field with 107,000 fans screaming “We Are Penn State,” is a feeling that is unlike any other.

Just think, they didn’t make the first ever Stripe Out a noon game or a 3:30 p.m. game — Penn State chose an 8:00 p.m. game against Rutgers. Along with that game, the White Out game against Michigan is sure to be a thrill as well. And what time does that game start? You guessed it, 8:00 p.m.

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There you go, the case has been made for each Penn State kickoff time. Which time do you think is the best?

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