The Importance of Our White-Out
Recently I've read that perhaps we should schedule our White-Out game with an easier opponent than Michigan. That we should play, perhaps, an easier opponent or ones closer to our backyard like Rutgers or Temple, or certainly down the road, the University of Pittsburgh. It was argued that we have lost more than we've won, and that we've lost 3 of our last 4. It is argued that the white-out promotion gives us no competitive advantage and should be only used upon the teams we are more likely to win against from the outset, to make it stand out. That using the White-Out against a team that has National exposure, but is likely to beat us (or give us an incredible run for our money) is in effect wasted.
These points (all valid) over time, may or may not be true.
However, I disagree. I believe we should always use the White-Out as a way to single out an importance to whomever we feel is our most prestigious opponent, or our most hated rival. Give us a beacon to answer to; a shining light. Our goals at Penn State are bigger than just winning some games. It's bigger than being competitive in the region. We want to be the best in the country. At EVERYTHING. In other words, I don't think it benefits Penn State to keep its goals on beating up "nobody's" like Pitt, Rutgers, or Temple. It benefits Penn State to compete with the schools that are known nationwide for their contributions not only to Football, but athletics AND academics on a grand scale.
That is why I've enjoyed the experiences of playing Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Ohio State under the bright lights, the biggest stage. Hopefully in the future teams like Stanford, Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Michigan State will also get the spectacle that is the White-Out. Winning and playing those types of games, gives us a chance to play and beat the best. We MAY NOT win. But we bet on ourselves against anyone. Using the additional promotion of a White-Out game (which I also believe is best served at night, if possible) creates an atmosphere that is absolutely one of a kind. Here in this tiny little hamlet town, in the middle of nowhere, we take on the world.
We at Penn State should have goals of being locally competitive, and place importance on those goals, but our true motives, the ones we really set out for should be much larger. National Titles are what we truly covet.
Michigan, in my estimation, is still our most hated rival, stemming from the 9 consecutive losses we had to them. Michigan is attempting, in some ways, what we are attempting to do: to get back on top. Right now the top is made up of Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. We're both on the edge, knocking to get up there. To have our opportunity at a National Championship. The winner of that game will set up as a potential or even current threat to win the Big Ten Championship. If you win the Big Ten Championship, you have a real argument to be in the National Title playoffs, nearly regardless of record.
The White-Out game is the showcase game. It's the one that is most likely going to be covered as an event by National Media. Perhaps, some cynics can't feel the energy in the moments that I've experienced both in the stands and on the sidelines. When over 100,000 people, all in similar clothing, start screaming and cheering and rooting each other on, I get a rush of energy! I feel a sense of unity. I feel that I'm part of something greater than myself and that I can take on the world.
That, to me, is what the White-Out is all about.