Did Penn State Make the Right Choice for the White Out?

posted July 26, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Eric Fenstermaker

With two marquee matchups on the Penn State football schedule this year, the Nittany Lions had a difficult question to answer — Which team, Michigan or Auburn, would be the opponent for the 2021 White Out?

This was not an easy choice to make for many reasons.

First, this game is the defining moment for every Penn State school year and season. Passionate fans pour into Beaver Stadium decked out in face paint, headgear and other outfits looking to provide the spark that lifts the blue and white past its opponent.

Secondly, ESPN’s College Gameday has loved to put the White Out in the spotlight in recent history. The best possible game means the most eyeballs glued to screens. This would bring in the maximum revenue for both ESPN and Penn State.

Lastly, COVID-19 reared its ugly head into the college football landscape last season. The pandemic made Beaver Stadium an empty shell of itself, as opposed to the epicenter of NCAA football in Pennsylvania that it traditionally is.

On Thursday Penn State announced that the Auburn Tigers’ trip to Happy Valley on Sept. 18 would be the 2021 White Out game. Faced with the challenging task of deciding between two talented foes, Penn State chose correctly selecting Auburn for this season’s most important sporting moment.

Variety is necessary to keep fans captivated and entertained. Many out-of-conference opponents Penn State has brought recently haven’t been dynamic schools that provide a real challenge.

Since 2012, Penn State has faced only two teams in the White Out: Ohio State and Michigan. The White Out should be against the best overall opponent, not just the best slated Big Ten foe.

Now that Penn State has a quality out-of-conference foe coming to State College, it’s time that Penn State awards the White Out honor to a different school.

Michigan has not lived up to expectations in recent history. Since 2010, Michigan is 1-4 against Penn State in the White Out. Also, 2015 was the first White Out win for Michigan since 2006.

Meanwhile, Auburn has played Penn State just twice in school history (1996 and 2002). Penn State couldn’t afford to pass up a big moment against an uncommon foe.

Historically, two of Penn State’s biggest White Out games – Notre Dame and Alabama – were against out-of-conference opponents. If the Nittany Lions want to rebound from a year without the White Out, Auburn provides the best opportunity for excitement. 

With Michigan’s recent losing skid in Happy Valley, and the promising possibility of a date with Auburn in September, Dear Old State made the correct choice picking the Tigers over the Wolverines.


Eric Fenstermaker is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email esf5129@psu.edu.