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When will Penn State hold its White Out game: 3 possible options

With back-to-back blowouts in the White Out over the past two years, Penn State fans have become unsettled by the impact that massive media rights deals have had on college football’s annual schedule. But an expanded Big Ten won’t make things any easier in 2024.

Penn State only has three officially announced start times for this fall, meaning it will likely be some time before home game themes are decided and released. It is already a later announcement than the past two years, namely on May 15, 2023 and June 1, 2022.

FOX, NBC and CBS are competing for primetime position in the Big Ten (which now includes 18 teams, as a reminder) and the biggest games. The addition of those former Pac-12 teams on the West Coast would also seemingly impact kickoff times here and there, on top of the typical kickoff battle.

Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported a preliminary list of NBC’s “preferred” primetime games this fall, including Penn State’s home game against Illinois, but not the Nittany Lions’ biggest game with Ohio State. McMurphy reported that NBC favored USC in Washington on Nov. 2, which could lead to FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff continuing to harass the Ohio State game after it already poached the season opener at West Virginia.

In May 2022, Penn State Athletics even took to fans on social media to ask what was most important when deciding which game got the White Out treatment: opponent, point in the season, day game or night game. With 5,017 votes, 68% of fans voted for a night game, winning over the 29% who chose an opponent.

But then Penn State strangled White Out opponent Minnesota under the lights, 45-17, before falling to Ohio State, 44-31, an afternoon kickoff the following week. This past season, the Nittany Lions punished Iowa 31-0 – again under the spotlight – before an afternoon kickoff with Michigan and a 24-15 loss sealed Penn State’s playoff chances.

So what’s most important now heading into a pivotal season in Happy Valley? Let’s take a look at some White Out options for 2024.

Illinois

A White Out against the Fighting Illini on September 28 – billed as a 3:30, 4 or 7:30 PM kickoff – would follow the same formula as the past two seasons: a potential night game against Penn State opponent should be favored. more than with multiple scores.

Winning is good for business, regardless of the relative importance of the game. When 110,000 fans buy tickets and enter a raw, monochrome environment, they want to be rewarded with a win. And there will certainly be some anxious Penn State fans in the stands who vividly remember a painful nine-overtime loss to the Fighting Illini in 2021. Not to mention both that game and this fall’s upcoming game fell on Penn State Homecoming, which added some interest. incentive for a large crowd.

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Washington

Penn State shook things up in 2021, giving the White Out to a unique opponent in Auburn. It worked that time and led to a thrilling 28-20 victory, so why not welcome a previously unusual opponent — one who went to the national championship a season ago — to the Big Ten with a White Out? Penn State and Washington haven’t matched up against each other since the Nittany Lions won the 2017 Fiesta Bowl behind Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley.

It’s important to understand that the 2024 version of Washington will be very different than the 2023 national runner-up. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is leaving for the NFL (perhaps a boon for Penn State fans) along with a host of playmakers, while former coach Kalen DeBoer has since succeeded Nick Saban at Alabama. But it’s also hard to imagine a major decline from a program that has won more than 10 games in five of the past eight seasons.

If this game, scheduled for November 9, has been given the White Out treatment, it could depend on the start time. If both Illinois and Ohio State end up kicking off in the afternoon and Washington sneaks into an evening game, it seems like an easy choice, satisfying both kicktime and opponent qualifiers. But the Big Ten has historically been reluctant to schedule night games in November.

State of Ohio

That obstacle in November’s night game could come into play again for the Nov. 2 game with Ohio State, a game that will start at noon in two straight seasons. As one of the most important games on the 2024 college football slate, Penn State-Ohio State will be a priority for whichever network airs it.

If this game ends up in a primetime slot, you can automatically book it as the White Out. But will the clunkers of the past two years against Minnesota and Iowa warrant a major change in Penn State’s marketing philosophy?

Penn State is light on serious options for the 2024 White Out, as it plays a somewhat simpler home schedule and kickoff times are largely up in the air. The White Out looks much better aesthetically with a nighttime backdrop, but Penn State hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 2016, and a win this season could be the difference in the Nittany Lions’ first-ever College Football Playoff berth, a scoop. round play-off bye or even a home play-off match. Why not use your biggest off-field advantage to get over the hump, regardless of start time?

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