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Generating Minnesota White Out Hype An Uphill Battle For Penn State

You’d have to go back seven years to find the last time Penn State football lost the game preceding the White Out.

Even in 2015, when that last happened, the Nittany Lions were coming off a bye week. It was the same situation the year before. In 2022, Penn State will be just seven days removed from one of its biggest letdown losses under James Franklin when it hosts the “greatest show in college sports.”

The Michigan loss is still a fresh wound, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that the White Out just doesn’t feel the same. College GameDay opted for a top-10 west coast matchup instead of coming to Happy Valley, breaking a White Out streak that dated back to 2017. A quarterback controversy is bubbling to the surface. Social media is flooded with nasty comments directed at the team.

The vibes just don’t feel the same as years past. The stakes aren’t as high.

Minnesota, Penn State’s White Out opponent, comes into the matchup with a banged-up quarterback and two conference losses. Still, the Nittany Lions opened up as just 4.5-point favorites, and Penn State currently sits as a four-point favorite. The program took a gamble by giving the Golden Gophers White Out treatment instead of Ohio State.

“We did a survey with the fans, kind of figured out what they felt like was the most important thing to do,” James Franklin said Tuesday. “We had a pretty strong inclination of what time certain games were going to be at. Obviously, your record factors into those things and the teams you’re playing.”

Now that Penn State’s game against the Buckeyes is confirmed as a noon kick, it makes sense the program opted for the prime-time Minnesota matchup instead. The survey must’ve revealed fans value a night-time kick over the opponent in selecting the White Out game. Blame FOX for forcing folks to choose.

Even though the game is in prime time, Joe Tessitore and Greg McElroy will be on the ABC call instead of the iconic duo of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. It just won’t feel like the White Out environment we’ve become used to in recent years.

The Nittany Lions’ loss to Michigan makes the Minnesota game feel inconsequential, even if it’s under the lights. Like almost always, the outcome of the Ohio State game will dictate just how far the Nittany Lions can go in 2022.

Despite cracking the AP Poll earlier this year, Minnesota already has losses to Purdue and Illinois. The White Out can only hurt Penn State’s resume at this point. Even a blowout win won’t feel season-altering.

But, despite the factors limiting the White Out’s hype, the Nittany Lions still have a show to put on. It’s one of the most important recruiting weekends of the year for Franklin, and he’s doing all he can to take care of the projected hundreds of prospects visiting campus.

“The Lion Ambassadors have been really valuable for us to work with the university and get experts about what it’s like to be a student at Penn State,” Franklin said Wednesday. “This is going to be your opportunity to get a bunch of people on campus…this weekend tests you.”

The stakes might not be the same, but the fireworks will still go off. The team will still run out to Zombie Nation. The white sea of 107,000+ fans will still be defeaning. It’s still the White Out.

But it’s hard to ignore last week’s loss.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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