Aug 21, 2023 - Sports

Vote for Penn State in Axios Local's college gameday bracket

Penn State's annual "White Out" football game is bleary-eyed delirium. Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

ESPN college football broadcaster Chris Fowler called it "monochromatic mayhem."

Driving the news: We're rolling out our best college football traditions bracket, and we need Nittany Lion nation's help to propel Penn State's "White Out" game to the top.

The case: Once envisioned by marketing guru Guido D'Elia in 2004 as a way to reinvigorate the fan base for the slumping football team, the annual "White Out" game has become — inarguably, in our opinion — college football's best tradition. Sorry, Notre Dame.

Why it matters: It's Pennsylvania's version of Michael Rubin's star-studded white party, creating a cottage industry that transforms sleepy State College into a bustling fiefdom of fandom, commercialism and overconsumption.

Bracket: Axios Visuals

How it works: More than 110,000 people — all clad, from head to toe, in Nittany Lion white — pack into Beaver Stadium under the white-hot lights of primetime for the nationally televised affair.

  • Tickets sell out fast, with desperate fans shelling out thousands of dollars on the resale market to take in the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • Hotels and Airbnbs are booked up months in advance, for astronomical prices. "White Out" merchandise flies off the shelves.
  • Even the Penn State Creamery has capitalized on the branding bonanza by creating a "White Out" ice cream.

Over the years, it's proven to not only be an effective marketing ploy but also helped the Nittany Lions win football games — which is the point of traditions, right?

  • They're 10-8 in "White Out" games, including a 24-21 win over rival No. 2 Ohio State in 2016, when they were heavy underdogs.

Flashback: Grant Haley's scoop-and-score of a blocked field goal in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter gave the Nittany Lions the lead for good.

  • The "Block Six" is regarded by many Penn State alumni as one of the best plays in school history.

💭 Isaac's thought bubble: I attended last year's win over Minnesota, and I'm sad I haven't scored reasonable tickets to this year's contest against Iowa. Someone throw me a Hail Mary, please.

Round 1 voting closes today at 3pm.

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