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Onward Debates: Who Should Be Penn State 2021 White Out Opponent?

In light of the Big Ten releasing its revised version of the 2021 football schedule a week ago, it was only natural to look ahead to Penn State football’s season-long lineup months ahead of the campaign’s start date.

For the first time since the 2011 home clash with Alabama, the Nittany Lions will host a marquee non-conference opponent within the confines of Beaver Stadium in a week three collision against Auburn (sorry not sorry, Pitt).

Since the Crimson Tide’s invasion into Happy Valley a decade ago, Ohio State and Michigan have been the only two opponents to play against Penn State in the most “photogenic, frenzied scene of unity in sports,” according to Chris Fowler.

With Auburn coming to town in September, is it time to switch up the decade-long White Out trend, or should the Wolverines be subjected to another round of deafening misery? Two of our resident White Out fanatics weighed in on the debate.

Connor Krause: Auburn Should Be The 2021 White Out Opponent

It’s time for a change, folks.

While I love nothing more than a pivotal, mid-season White Out to determine the fate of the Big Ten East, an early season, warm weather White Out following a pandemic-hindered year would be nothing short of phenomenal.

The time of year is the biggest determining factor as to why Auburn should get the nod over the Wolverines. A full day of tailgating in warm September weather would re-unite Nittany Nation in the grandest way possible following a season without any face-to-face interaction around the stadium’s perimeter.

Besides the rekindling of the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry on September 18, the showdown in Happy Valley is far-and-away the best game on the week three slate. If the White Out is announced for Auburn, a College Gameday appearance and a primetime kickoff slot would likely be a shoo-in.

With the re-shuffling of the Michigan game to November, it is almost certain that the game will not receive a primetime flex due to Big Ten protocols surrounding late-season night games. Although I think the university will select Michigan as the White Out opponent for the fifth time since 2013, the rarity of playing an SEC-power at home deserves the bid.

Ryan Parsons: Stick To The Playbook. It Should Be Michigan.

While the Michigan game might be a tad too late for a traditional White Out, Auburn is just too early. Penn State will likely (maybe, hopefully, please?) be 2-0 heading into the game against Auburn. There just won’t be enough hype, and the game might not even get a primetime slot.

I agree that Penn State needs to switch it up and choose different teams for the White Out, but 2021 is not the year to do it. If fans return to Beaver Stadium, folks will be itching for that classic Ohio State/Michigan Big Ten experience.

Plus, the later date gives America more time to distribute vaccines. While maybe only 50-75% capacity will be allowed in September, there’s no reason we can’t have a full stadium come November. Penn State could even make the Michigan game the first full-capacity since 2019, building the White Out hype even more.

Auburn and Michigan both had down years in 2020 so maybe neither will be incredibly exciting, but you gotta stick with the bread and butter after a year without any fans at all.

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