Power Ranking Penn State Football’s Virtual Tailgate Playlist

Penn State football’s coaching staff created a master tailgating playlist as part of this past weekend’s virtual Blue-White festivities.

Everybody from James Franklin to his new coaching hires submitted at least one song, and their resulting playlist definitely has some bangers.

There’s a nice mixture of genres in this playlist. Cornerbacks coach Terry Smith sent in Queen’s classic hits like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions,” while Joe Lorig, Phil Trautwein, and Ja’Juan Seider entered some country hits into the mix.

Naturally, we decided to power rank the coaching staff’s taste in this music based on this admittedly-small sample size. Without further ado, let’s dive in:

1. Dwight Galt

Despite only submitting one song, Dwight Galt is easily the biggest winner of this playlist.

Honestly, I expected greatness from Galt, and he certainly delivered. All great strength and conditioning coaches must be “Bad to the Bone,” so Galt’s submission of George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ classic is a slam dunk. There’s a real sense of authenticity with this pick, as I can totally picture the strength and conditioning coach turning his car’s volume all the way up and blasting this song on his way into work at 5 a.m.

As an aside, if Dwight Galt isn’t in charge of the aux cord for every Penn State football function, what is the team even doing?

2. Brent Pry

Brent Pry’s only contribution to this playlist comes from the Allman Brothers Band. “Midnight Rider” is, however, a fantastic song and a welcome inclusion in any tailgate list of mine.

Pry’s selection is the type of song that’s perfect to ~vibe~ to, in my opinion. When your tailgate hits a bit of a lull and everybody’s sitting around waiting for the hot dogs and burgers to be finished, “Midnight Rider” is the perfect background song.

I may have a slight internal bias towards any Allman Brothers Band music since I grew up listening to their finest work — including this song and “Jessica” — in the back seat of my dad’s car.

3. Tyler Bowen

Tyler Bowen came in hot with a pair of very different songs on this playlist — “Party Crowd” by David Lee Murphy and “All Night” by Big Boi.

First, let’s go over the good: “All Night” is a top-tier song selection for any tailgate. There aren’t many better songs to get the boys pumped up before a football game, and this would’ve vaulted Bowen closer to the top of these rankings if it was his only pick. However, “Party Crowd” drags the tight ends coach down a tad here.

I appreciate the diversity and Bowen’s desire to get multiple genres in the playlist, but ’90s country wouldn’t be my first choice for a playlist at the tailgates. The song is still good, but I would’ve gone with something a touch older. If Bowen threw Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” for example, in the mix, he’d secure a top-two spot easily.

4. Terry Smith

Cornerbacks coach Terry Smith scores bonus points for submitting four songs — more than any of his colleagues. While three of his four submissions are older, more traditional choices, Smith earns a spot in my top five thanks to his off-the-board submission.

First of all, “We Will Rock You” by Queen and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” absolutely need to be on any tailgate playlist. They might be a bit overplayed, but for good reason: Both of these songs are absolute classics. Smith loses points for including another Queen classic, as “We Are The Champions” may jinx your team’s future. With that said, it’s totally appropriate to blast this song and sing your lungs out after clutching out a big win at the beer pong table.

Crazy Frog’s “I Like To Move It, Move It” is way off the radar of your typical tailgating playlist, but honestly, I love this choice. Smith really included plenty of chaotic energy with this pick, and every tailgate needs a bit of chaos from time to time.

5. Taylor Stubblefield

Speaking of chaos, new wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield included Darude’s electronic hit, “Sandstorm.” This song was released in 1999, and it’s evolved into a bit of an internet phenomenon as the platform has grown thanks to its genius, beautiful lyrics.


6. James Franklin

Run This Town” by Jay-Z with Rihanna and Kanye West is just… an average pick. I don’t hate it, but I never fell in love with this song, either. A middle-of-the-pack ranking for James Franklin is perfect for his just-fine submission to the mix.

T-7. Phil Trautwein, Ja’Juan Seider, & Joe Lorig

I really enjoy country music, but the three country submissions to this playlist weren’t exactly my favorite. The only thing saving Phil Trautwein, Joe Lorig, and Ja’Juan Seider from being lower is their contribution of something a little different to this playlist.

Lorig’s pick of “Toes” is one of my favorite Zac Brown Band songs, but it reminds me more of a sunny vacation in the Bahamas than a Penn State football tailgate. I’ll concede that “That’s My Kind of Night” by Luke Bryan and Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party” — picked by Trautwein and Seider, respectively — are better tailgate songs, but they don’t score as many points for me for a pair of reasons.

First of all, I was never a huge fan of Luke Bryan. He has a few good songs, and I can jam to “That’s My Kind of Night,” but I’d prefer to hear some of his other songs at a tailgate. Lee Brice isn’t exactly my first choice for upbeat country music, as I much prefer his slightly-slower hits like “Rumor” and “Love Like Crazy.”

10. Kirk Ciarrocca

Kirk Ciarrocca’s inclusion of “Another One Bites the Dust” would be fine among a group of songs. But as the only song you’re contributing to the playlist, it’s a bit of a dud.

It’s one of Queen’s most heavily-circulated tracks, and I don’t exactly get “tailgate” vibes out of it, anyways. To each his own, I guess.

11. John Scott Jr.

Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo is a good example of a bad electronic dance song, in my opinion. It *might* get your tailgate fired up, but I can’t get behind it because the song reminds me of an NHL team’s pre-game warmup playlist, which is usually full of bad EDM.

I actually really like a lot of EDM, but the worst of the genre is really bad. Hard pass on this one.

12. Tim Banks

Unfortunately, somebody needs to come in last place in these power rankings. Tim Banks earns this distinction for testing fate. I mean, how are you going to play “All I Do Is Win” — one of Penn State’s signature victory anthems — before your team even takes the field?

Playing this song at the tailgate is just asking to jinx the Nittany Lions, Tim. Save this one for Music Man PJ Mullen after Penn State catches a dub.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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