First phase of Penn State’s Beaver Stadium renovations approved. This is what will change | Beaver Stadium isn’t the only major athletics project moving forward. Here are 5 othersCDT

Intercollegiate Athletics wants to spend hundreds of millions on updating Beaver Stadium. The first steps are approved. Winterization (improved insulation, drainage and plumbing) has a $29 million price tag. That makes hosting a College Football Playoff game on-campus a lot easier to pull off. It also makes the dream of the NHL Winter Classic in Happy Valley all the more likely.

Typical Penn State weather during CFP time

Mike Poorman of (and the Bellasario College of Communications) asked my meteorology professor Jon Nese about the weather. Dr. Nese says

Average high for each day from Dec. 19-21 is around 37 degrees. Average low is about 25 degrees.

“That time of year, the high typically occurs around 3 to 4 p.m.,” Nese said. “So, for a game that kicks off around 3:30 p.m., you could use the average high of 37 as kickoff temperature. For a noon kick-off, average temperature at kick would be around 32. That’s similar for a kickoff at 7 p.m.

What Will the Weather Be Like in Beaver Stadium for the College Football Playoff? –

Left unsaid, it’ll probably be overcast. Even if you didn’t take Dr. Nese’s class, you probably know it. The possibility of ankle-deep snow isn’t that high either, so don’t count on a flashback to the ’95 Michigan game.

So much snow, so cold, so many iceballs. I survived. Never again. And then the Nittany Lions didn’t beat Wolverines for a decade, including four straight home losses.1

Poorman also points that a 12-team playoff would have included the Nittany Lions several times:

From 2016 through 2022, Penn State was in the CFP’s Top 12 a total of five times in seven years heading into the postseason. (To recap, on CFP Selection Sunday Penn State was: No. 5 in 2016, No. 9 in 2017, No. 12 in 2018, No. 10 in 2019 and No. 11 in 2022.)

Now, James Franklin needs to figure out a way to beat Ohio State and Michigan (which has happened in the same season twice in 30 years)2 so the Nittany Lions can make the CFP and host a game. Better luck than your predecessors James!

New Year’s Day hockey

I imagine the NHL would make a Happy Valley winter classic an all Pennsylvania affair. I don’t know that I would go through the ordeal of sitting through a Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins outdoor game. I am a Washington Capitals3 fan after all, though seeing those fans get at it could be entertaining.4 Not necessarily entertaining enough to spend 8-10 hours in transit to see it firsthand.

There is also the possibility that Terry Pegula, Penn State hockey benefactor, might want his Buffalo Sabres as one of the competitors in a Winter Classic. I’m sure the Buffalo fans would travel well, but think of the poor tables.

A Penn State hockey game in the Beav though? That’s something I’ll consider. It might be easier than getting a ticket to the Pegula Arena. That has been sold out since opening a decade ago. I’m curious who the visitors would be – probably Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State.

Of course, the idea of putting an ice rink in Beaver Stadium will be met with some resistance by some in the Penn State community, but I imagine they will be ignored. The chance to bring in 100,000 fans and their tourism dollars will win the day. It could make bowl scheduling a little awkward since no bowl game will want Penn State football playing at the same time as a Beaver Stadium Winter Classic, but that may be a feature, not a bug. I’m sure it can be dealt with satisfactorily.

I’ll also note that if the NFL was any fun, they’d put a neutral site Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game there someday. I think every horse in the Pennsylvania State Police stable might be needed to ring the field for that one though.

Board of Trustees news – 1 step forward, 2 steps back

In other news, congratulations go to Ali Krieger for winning a slot on the next Board of Trustees. She received the most votes in the recent election. I voted for her. We’re almost a quarter of the way through the 21th century, so maybe it’s well-past time to have board members who attended classes after 2000.

Unfortunately, two old-guard “responsible stewards” won as well. Anthony Lubrano, a red ass who aligns himself with conspiracy theorist John Zielger, is back. So is Jay Paterno, who needs no introduction and has no apparent personality or achievements unrelated to being his father’s son.

They’ll probably complain about a Winter Classic too.

Photo credit: Penn State Alumni Association. I’m a life member, so I think I can use it.


1 There have been several years where the programs did not play each other.

2 1994 and 2008, both Big Ten championship/Rose Bowl appearance years.

3 Who have won the Stanley Cup more recently than either of those teams.

4 The 2000 playoff series between those teams was a really big deal in State College, spoken about for years. I had graduated by then though.

Leave a Reply