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Chicago Tribune Names Penn State Best Big Ten Gameday Experience

If you’ve ever thought to yourself while at a Penn State tailgate, “Man, there’s nowhere else in the Big Ten I’d rather be right now,” you’re not alone.

The Chicago Tribune named Penn State’s gameday experience the best in the Big Ten using metrics like atmosphere, tailgating, tradition, food, and parking. Fellow football giants couldn’t stack up to the Nittany Lions, with  Ohio State checking in at No. 5, Michigan at No. 6, and Michigan State at No. 7.

Wisconsin and Nebraska rounded out the top three on the list, and unsurprisingly, the conference’s newest members — Rutgers and Maryland — finished at the bottom of the ranking.

The Tribune calls State College “a cozy Pennsylvania town” that turns into one of the “grandest parties in college sports” on home football gamedays. The ranking specifically gives props to those who fill the tailgating lots when they open on Thursday nights and Nittanyville for setting up shop outside of Gate A to get the best seats in the student section.

The ranking also praises Penn State’s fans for their friendly nature and hospitality on gamedays. A lack of hospitality knocked the Buckeyes down the list, as the Tribune said Ohio State’s fanbase has a reputation for “being nasty toward those not wearing scarlet and gray.” This may be true, but it’s worth mentioning here that Penn Staters received a respectful send-off after the Buckeyes’ late win over the Nittany Lions at the ‘Shoe last season.

The only negative aspect noted about the Penn State gameday experience is the traffic. Even someone from Chicago can realize just how rough it is getting in and out of State College on a home football weekend, and current construction in and around Happy Valley isn’t helping the situation.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Since graduating from Penn State in 2021, Matt is (hopefully) manning a successful job and (hopefully) living a happy life by now. In a past life, he was a writer for Onward State and remains a proud alumnus of the best student publication in the country. Check out Podward State too, Onward State's official podcast, that he co-founded alongside Matt Ogden and Mitch Stewart in 2019. It's his baby, give it a wave and make sure it's doing okay. Thanks to da king Sam Brungo and everyone who follows, it most definitely is.

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