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Kirk Herbstreit Expecting ‘Electric’ Atmosphere In White Out’s Return

College GameDay is back in Happy Valley, and ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit couldn’t be happier.

The former Ohio State quarterback’s love affair with Penn State has been well-documented, and College GameDay clearly feels the same way, as the show is now making its fifth-consecutive trip to the White Out. The group’s 2020 visit was obviously hindered by COVID, however. The crew set up at Beaver Stadium and didn’t have any fans in attendance throughout the day.

Herbstreit noted that every stop felt strange last season, but an empty Penn State game was the most disappointing of them all.

“It was so bizarre to do the game last year. If I remember right, it was just family in the stadium,” Herbstreit said. “To just have that experience, look around at what’s usually the White Out and an epic scene, and to just see moms and dads — it was like a high school game.

“Of all the games I called, this one last year with Ohio State was probably a microcosm of the entire year.”

The long-time GameDay panelist added that it’s “surreal” to be back for the full Happy Valley experience this weekend. As his co-host Chris Fowler noted Thursday, the White Out is always one of the best games of the year for the entire crew.

“Now to come back, and I know it’s not back to normal yet, but just to have a full stadium — I think it’s gonna be electric,” Herbstreit said. “Watching the game last week, Ball State, felt like Michigan or Ohio State was there. I can’t imagine what this game will be like.

“A lot of pent-up energy. A lot of people are excited to get going.”

It’s no secret that Herbstreit probably has the coolest job on the planet. Throughout the fall he gets to travel to some of the top college football destinations in the country, as the crew has already made stops in Charlotte, North Carolina for Georgia-Clemson and Ames, Iowa for Iowa State-Iowa. However, a return to the White Out ranks at the top of his list so far.

“I go to Eugene, Oregon, Tallahassee, Austin, Baton Rouge, Gainesville, Columbus — I go everywhere. I’m just telling you what I see. I’m not playing favorites, I’m just being honest,” Herbstreit said. “It’s the choreography. It’s the sense of community… Other schools, they do a Maize Out or a Black Out or whatever and like 85-90% of people participate.”

“There isn’t one person not wearing white…It’s just so cool. It’s what makes college football college football.”

Like Penn State fans, Herbstreit is used to seeing the White Out reserved for Michigan or Ohio State, but he’s excited for Auburn fans who’ll get a chance to experience a Big Ten atmosphere. While he isn’t taking anything away from the Tigers’ SEC opponents, he noted that fans will likely enjoy being a part of such a unique environment.

The Nittany Lions and Tigers will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC. If you won’t be a part of the White Out, make sure to tune in to enjoy it alongside Herbstreit and Fowler.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email willpegler@onwardstate.com

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