College Gameday: Then and Now
It's been nearly a decade, but it's back. College Gameday, a modern-day college football tradition, is coming back to Penn State for the first time since 2009. Let's take a look at what's changed since the last time Lee Corso and the gang visited Happy Valley.
To the pre-2012 fans, “Paternoville” was the name of the tent city where students camp out before home games. Since the 2012 scandal, the ten students who comprise the board of directors of the group coordination committee changed the name to “Nittanyville” to lessen the distraction at the time. Beyond the name, the Penn State student body has not failed to keep their excitement and their tents pitched as early as the Monday before the game. For this weekend’s game, Nittanyville has been well-populated with students who have had their own movie night and surprise appearance from head coach James Franklin.
2. The White Out Tradition
The Penn State White Out tradition that started in 2004 has not changed, but only grown stronger. To show unity throughout the stadium, on the biggest home game of the year, the Penn State coaches call for a white out. Only five years into the tradition, the 2009 white out was not nearly as popular as it is now thirteen years from the start of the tradition. Today, not only is the Penn State White Out one of the most well known college stadium rituals, but it now has its own shirt to go with it. This year’s shirt, made by Nike, has the Penn State Nittany Lion and white out slogan, “Avalanche of Sound,” with Nike’s white reflective lettering. Coach Franklin has put so much emphasis on the white out that he has asked the entire town to go white. Franklin wants nurses in white scrubs, waiters and waitresses in white aprons and anyone in between to wear white to signify the unity of the team. As for those at the game, Franklin has requested white everything, including socks, hats, jackets, shoes and pants.
3. The Matchup
College Gameday’s last visit in 2009 was for the highly anticipated Penn State-Iowa game. That matchup was a revenge game for the Nittany Lions as the previous year the Hawkeyes had upset the undefeated and No. 3 Penn State team 24-23. Similarly, this year Penn State is highly ranked at No. 2 and seeks to avenge last year's 49-10 Michigan victory. However, let's hope the 2017 Nittany Lions fair better than their 2009 counterparts, who lost to Iowa 21-10.
4. The Penn State Coach
In 2009, Penn State was led by the legendary Joe Paterno who was in his 43rd season as head coach in Happy Valley. Prior to that, Paterno had spent 16 years as an assistant coach at Penn State. Paterno was the winningest coach in Division I college football history before his reputation was tarnished by the child abuse scandal that rocked Penn State football in 2012. The 2017 Penn State team is headed by James Franklin, who is only in his fourth year at Penn State. Unlike Paterno, Coach Franklin held coaching positions at ten other colleges and was the wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers prior to coming to State College. Franklin's last job prior to coming to Penn State was as head coach of Vanderbilt University. Franklin has had early success, winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship in his third year and was rewarded with a contract extension.
5. Saquon Barkley
NaVorro Bowman, Jack Crawford, Jordan Hill and Gerald Hodges are among those drafted to the NFL from the 2009 Penn State team. Arguably none match up to the 2017 team's Saquon Barkley, who is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and top NFL prospect. Barkley has become the face of Penn State football. In addition to Barkley, the 2017 team has several other key players making a difference on the field and who are pro prospects, including safety Marcus Allen and tight end Mike Gesicki.
Devon D’Andrea is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.