16 August 2006

The excitement builds

Despite knowing at the time that I was probably going to miss the entire football season, I didn't hesistate to renew my Penn State season tickets. First of all, getting my tickets last year was the best time to get in, because Penn State hadn't done so well the past couple of years and there wasn't much demand for new tickets. Now, after one of the best seasons in a very long time, culminating with a thrilling 3OT win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl, demand has skyrocketed.

Students complained about how fast the student tickets sold. Even given the fact that Penn State has the largest student section in the country, the tickets sold at record pace.

The excitement has been building all summer. Virtually all of the tickets have been sold for the entire season. Notre Dame recently announced that they had more requests for tickets for the Penn State game on September 9th that for any other game in their history. As a reminder of last year's success and renewed hopes for this season, let me present you with one of my favorite pictures:
This picture was taken during last year's Ohio State game, when Ohio State was then ranked #6 and Penn State, despite a strong start, had yet to earn much respect within the Big Ten or the country. ESPN brought College Gameday to Happy Valley, and Lee Corso infamously donned the head of Ohio State's mascot Bruno, meaning Corso picked Ohio State to win. Of course, Penn State won the game 17-10 on the strength of its incredible defense, which outplayed Ohio State's equally incredible defense. Tamba Hali's sack of Ohio State QB Troy Smith (which resulted in a fumble recovered by Penn State) sealed it, and the crowd mobbed the field for upwards of 30 minutes after the game. The crowd was the second largest in Beaver Stadium history, right behind the 2002 Nebraska game (which Penn State also won).

The "white-out" was primarily a student phenomenon (as you can see by the picture above), but my son and I added our colors to the mix as well. My voice was largely gone by halftime, but didn't stop me from screaming my lungs out for the entire game.

I said then and I still believe now that this game was the most exciting sports event I have ever attended, and sadly I will likely miss this year's equivalent, a night contest against Michigan on October 14th. This especially considering the fact that Michigan was the source of Penn State's only loss last season, and a last second loss at that.

The "white-out" this season is planned for the Michigan game, but it looks as if a full stadium-wide "white-out" will be planned for the Notre Dame game in September 2007 (which will be at home), and I will be there.
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