In a normal year, Ohio State would be gearing up to face a white out crowd on the road against Penn State this week, but this season is far from normal.
Instead of arguably the most hostile environment in all of college football, the Buckeyes will instead by playing Penn State in an empty Beaver Stadium. That's a massive difference, according to former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.
Meyer's no stranger to Penn State's white out. He coached in Beaver Stadium four times during his seven-year stint as Ohio State's head coach and said the environment was so impactful, he would have the date of his next trip to Happy Valley in the back of his mind years in advance.
"This is a home environment that really impacts the game... It's usually a 7 to 10 point differential that right now is zero."@CoachUrbanMeyer shares how not having a "White Out" at home against Ohio State will impact Penn State this weekend pic.twitter.com/ZPdAo6M1Ll— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 27, 2020
"A lot of times you get used to it to it," Meyer said of the atmospheres of other stadiums he's visited throughout his career. "But this is one really impacts the game, and impacts the pass rush and impacts the whole week of practice, because you have to practice (for) it."
But Penn State won't have that this year, as the stadium will instead be mostly empty as a result of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. That eliminates a home-field advantage that is worth more than a touchdown, in Meyer's estimation.
"It's a 7 to 10 point differential that right now is zero," Meyer said.
Penn State head coach James Franklin is well aware of the advantage his team will be missing when it plays host to the Buckeyes on Saturday night, but he also knows there's nothing his team can do but deal with it.
"This is the reality of it, and we've known this is the reality of it," Franklin said in his Tuesday press conference. "We need to embrace it and be ready for it."
The game will still be played under the lights, as kickoff is slated for 7:30 on ABC, but just like the rest of 2020, it's going to feel a little different – and that's unavoidable.