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Penn State Debates To Avoid At The Thanksgiving Table

We’ve all been there. You’re just trying to get to your second helping of stuffing and enjoy Thanksgiving with your folks when, out of nowhere, BOOM! A heated argument that kills the holiday vibes.

Politics and other controversial topics plague Thanksgiving dinner for families every year, and some Penn State subjects are no exception.

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving in person or from far away, here are a few Penn State debates you might want to steer clear of on your Turkey Day.

Which Side Of The Library Is The Front?

It’s no secret here at Onward State that we have not shied away from this super-important debate. Although discussing the library’s ~true~ front door is fun, it’s a surprisingly heated debate that every Penn Stater apparently has an opinion on.

In fact, this discussion could spark some unwanted conflict at the dinner table. Consider this possible dialogue:

Father: “What a dumb question. It’s clearly the Pattee Mall side.”
Mother: “What are you talking about? It’s absolutely the Curtin Road side!”
Judgmental Aunt: “Speaking of curtains…you did a terrible job of picking ones for this house.”

This debate leads to a dark spiral that will ultimately leave your loved ones with their feelings hurt and ruin their appetites. Save the library discourse to another day.

Is James Franklin On The Hot Seat?

Is your uncle a Franklin hater who’s wanted him fired for a long time and is citing this season as proof? Why does the read-option seem to be the only running play in the playbook? Why does a team that has been one of the best in college football since 2016 appear clueless on the field at times? All good questions.

Like it or not, Franklin is (probably) here to stay, and throwing insults at each other about it won’t change anything. Instead, take some time to get your mind off of the 0-5 start and do what all families do on Thanksgiving: watching the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys struggle to win games.

Clifford Or Levis?

There may be no right answer here, and that’s why it should be avoided. Someone at the table may like Levis’s gritty run-first style, while others still believe in Clifford and like that they can reuse their Hackenberg jersey for the current starter.

The only quarterback decision being made at the table should be who’s leading the offense in a backyard Turkey Bowl.

Zoom University

Remote learning has been a hard adjustment for many students. Working from home and juggling parenting with teaching for loved ones with younger children is no picnic, either.

Let’s not get caught in debates of who is worse off during the pandemic, but instead, take the time to recognize that it has been hard for all of us in our own ways. Look at it this way: If you’re using Zoom to connect with family this Thanksgiving, it will be more fun than the usual lectures you have to sit through after clicking a Zoom link.

Was 4th & 5 A Bad Call?

We all know it far too well. Penn State’s critical game-losing play in its 2018 matchup with Ohio State still sends shivers down any fan’s spine.

It’s Onward State’s official opinion that the play-call wasn’t that bad, but your loved ones are sure to have some differing thoughts. Steer clear of this football memory we all wish we could forget.

Where Is The JoePa Statue?

It’s a question older than time itself…or eight years, to be exact. Make no mistake! What may start as a lighthearted debate about its whereabouts can quickly escalate to spewing conspiracy theories and throwing utensils at loved ones across the table.


Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to completely remove all Penn State topics during Thanksgiving dinner. There are plenty of “safe” topics that can be discussed, and here’s a few of our favorites:

  • “How are classes going?” A simple “They’re going!” is all you need in response if you really don’t feel like focusing on school until Monday.
  • Favorite places to eat in State College
  • How nice is the Arboretum?
  • Penn State players in the NFL
  • “What’s the best student media outlet?” *cough, cough*
  • Creamery ice cream. If someone in your family doesn’t like the Creamery’s ice cream, that may be a fight worth having.

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About the Author

Jordan Mansberger

Jordan Mansberger is a junior at Penn State majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He is from Cassville, Pennsylvania. He is a huge Pittsburgh sports fan as well as his Denver Nuggets. When he's not working, he can be found instigating Twitter beef with Padres fans and Antonio Brown or practicing his sub-par golf game.

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