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Onward Debates: A Noon White Out?

As Penn State football’s Blue-White Game quickly approaches, fans everywhere are getting excited about the upcoming season. Naturally, Nittany Lions fans are likely to start thinking about what the fall might bring — especially with a full slate of kickoff times and broadcast destinations left up in the air.

Last week, Blue White Illustrated’s Ryan Snyder offered some reports indicating that the Nittany Lions’ October 29 clash with Ohio State was picked up by FOX. With game two of the World Series scheduled for that night, Snyder says a noon kickoff at Beaver Stadium is “basically a lock.” Of course, a White Out isn’t confirmed, either, but Ohio State makes the most sense of Penn State’s home opponents, which include Ohio (September 10), Central Michigan (September 24), Northwestern (October 1), and Minnesota (October 22, but that’s already Homecoming).

The thought of a noon White Out is fascinating, especially since it hasn’t happened since 2015. But would returning to it be the right move for Penn State? Two of our staffers offered their takes on the possibility of such an occasion.

Connor Krause: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Although White Outs are an annual spectacle on the Penn State football calendar, the even-numbered years when the Nittany Lions get a crack at Ohio State in Happy Valley simply provide a different feeling of excitement.

With the would-have-been White Out in 2020 serving as a wash during the height of the pandemic, Penn State hasn’t played the Buckeyes in front of a packed Beaver Stadium crowd since 2018, which resulted in a one-point heartbreaker prompting James Franklin’s passionate “great to elite” speech.

Since full stadium White Outs made their debut at Beaver Stadium in 2007, only one contest warranted a noon kickoff slot. That game, featuring Michigan as the opponent in 2015, lacked the likely storylines the Nittany Lions will carry into its date with Ryan Day’s squad this time around.

At the time, Penn State hadn’t been ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll since 2011, and Ohio State played a top-10 Michigan State team on the same day, making the noon matchup the clear-cut second-best conference game of the afternoon. Additionally, with the late-November timing, it didn’t make sense to flex a subpar game to a late afternoon or evening window just for the White Out atmosphere.

This season, with the Buckeyes set to come to town on October 29, the hype heading into the mid-season collision would be severely watered down if the game isn’t played under the lights. Each of Ohio State’s last five appearances in Beaver Stadium has begun in prime time, and for good reason. Over the span, the average point differential stands at exactly six points per matchup, which has only upped the anticipation of one of Big Ten’s most electrifying rivalries year in and year out.

If the game ultimately winds up as a noon kickoff, College GameDay would be almost sure to punt on making its sixth-straight appearance in Happy Valley, too.

Come on, FOX. If you receive the rights to this year’s White Out, make it as exciting as possible for the fans and players, your network and the college football landscape would gain absolutely nothing from taking away the magic of one of the sport’s grandest environments.

Matt DiSanto: Maybe It’s Time For A Change Of Scenery

I love a Beaver Stadium White Out, and I wouldn’t miss one for the world. However, it might be nice to change things up for once, you know?

I’ll be frank with you. I don’t think a White Out that kicks off at noon would look better than a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Dark skies help the sea of white stand out, and that effect likely wouldn’t work as well at high noon. However, an earlier White Out might provide some added benefits for the fan experience.

In all likelihood, Penn State is probably going to lose its next matchup against Ohio State. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a loss out of the way by about 3 p.m.? Fans could return to the tailgate lots to work off those post-game blues with a couple of cold ones and some grub. Pissed off that James Franklin blew it again? Take your energy out on some cornhole games. Maybe even venture over to a cocktagon to bond with your buddies after another disappointing game. If all else fails, you’ve got plenty of time for a nap (or perhaps an early bedtime).

Now, if Penn State does beat Ohio State (which, mind you, hasn’t happened since 2016), you’ve got even more time to party with your pals and celebrate a landmark victory over the Buckeyes. An earlier start might cut into the anticipation buildup, but it would leave you more time to soak in what could be an iconic afternoon at Beaver Stadium. It might be nice to break out of the same old routine for once.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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