Before we get started, I'm going to use this space to really quickly share my thoughts on the game in bullet point form.
- That might have been the best game I've seen a Penn State defense play (2010-present).
- The offensive line was significantly better than they've been. Considering the defensive line they were up against, it was a very valiant performance. What was most encouraging though, was that they looked arguably better without Donovan Smith. That bodes very well for the future.
- The wide receivers looked fantastic when they had accurate passes thrown their way. Aside from the Jesse James drop, I don't remember seeing an on-target pass hit the ground.
- The freshmen were great. Haley was a step away from a huge return twice, and played well in coverage. Marcus Allen saved a touchdown and was everywhere all night. Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin both proved why they're playing so much. Blacknall's TD grab was Allen Robinson-ish, and had Hack's last pass to Godwin in regulation been two inches closer to his body, it would have been game over.
- While JT Barrett was extremely unimpressive to me as a passer, that OSU run game is legit. Ezekiel Elliott was great, and Barrett seems to have a great handle on reading the read option. However, that game should end any "Barrett for Heisman" talk. At least until next season.
- Ohio State probably won't make it to the playoff. Penn State made them one-dimensional, and nearly won. How will they react when they face a team that has a good defense and an offense that can move the ball? I expect Michigan State to handle the Buckeyes fairly easily. Right before they handle us even more easily.
- It sucks that it took a Zach Zwinak injury to make it happen, but Lynch finally got a chance, and he looked good. He is the running back that suits the current team the most, and he really should be the starter. Props to Bill Belton to getting it across the goal line from the wildcat, though.
- Considering that all of these bullet points about Penn State were positive, and Penn State still lost, I think that says a bit about where the program is. We can't expect them to play that well every week, which is why I'm not expecting much against Maryland. But more on that later in the week.
Now back to your regularly scheduled MMQB.
Beaver Stadium was lucky enough to have me gracing it's presence this weekend. Not only did this lead to someone strangely recognizing Bill, Matt, and I in the stands and being asked 15 different questions about the recruits at the game, but it led to yet another night of some unforgettable football memories. There was Anthony Zettel's pick six. Saeed Blacknall's ridiculous touchdown catch. $am Ficken's game tying field goal. Whiteouts are awesome for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is that Penn State has a tendency to make huge plays, even in the losses. Whether it's the stage they're playing on, or simply luck, the Nittany Lions always seem to put on a show when the lights are the brightest and the shirts are the whitest.
That got me to thinking.
Obviously, Penn State fans will always be biased (and rightfully so) in saying that a Penn State whiteout is the most electrifying atmosphere in college sports. To be frank, when so many people who aren't connected to the college agree with that sentiment, it gets difficult to argue otherwise. Yet, there are many other famous environments that college sports foster, in both football and basketball (there might be some killer baseball and soccer ones too, but obviously those can't compare to the big two college sports).
The Big House or the Horseshoe during The Game is always intense. The Red River Rivalry always brings out the crowds, as does the Iron Bowl. There are the Cameron Crazies, the fans at Chapel Hill, and plenty of other raucous crowds in college basketball. Here are some others that stand out to me.
Although the "I Believe" chant was originally created by a Naval Academy Prep School student, few places pull off the chant as well as the Utah State basketball fans.
There's the whole Taylor University Silent Night thing, that seems like one of the most ridiculous but insanely fun experiences to be a part of.
Then there's Death Valley, the Swamp, Texas Tech blackouts, the Texas A&M 12th man, and so many more.
All of this leads to this week's MMQB question. What is your favorite environment in college sports, aside from a Beaver Stadium whiteout? Have you been lucky enough to visit said environment? Tell us about your experience there in the comments. Feel free to share photos as well.