Penn State-Pitt Football Series Could be Extended
Penn State football hasn’t played Pitt since 2000, but the two schools are “optimistic” that a yearly matchup could be possible in the coming years and decades.
Penn State is scheduled to play Pitt every season from 2016-2019, but recent discussions between Penn State athletic director David Joyner and Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson seem to indicate significant interest in extending that four-game series.
“I would love to see that game played on an annual basis,” O’Brien told the Tribune-Review. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Pitt coach) Paul Chryst and their program, and that’s a great rivalry. For the fans of Pennsylvania to be able to see that game every year, I think that’s pretty neat.”
It’s anyone’s guess if both coaches will still be at their respective schools by the time 2016 rolls around, but the Pitt-Penn State rivalry goes back to 1893. The two teams played each other in all but four seasons between 1900-1992, with Penn State holding a 50-42-2 advantage overall (sanctions be damned).
“I would sign a 30-year deal, if I could,” Pederson said to ESPN. “It shouldn’t matter who the (university) president or the head coach is, these institutions should always play. It’s a great game. It’s got history to it, we’re three hours apart and in the same state. Those games ought to be played.”
There are some questions about feasibility and scheduling conflicts. With Penn State and the Big Ten moving to a 9-game conference schedule in 2016, it leaves room for only three non-conference opponents. Gone will be the days of Coastal Carolina and Kent State for the first month of the season as teams look to take advantage of the few non-conference slots available.
Either way, both schools are optimistic in making the in-state rivalry happen.
“We’d be interested in talking about that. It’s a great series,” Joyner said to ESPN. “It’s been a great linchpin in Pennsylvania for everyone there. Steve and I will definitely talk about doing that. We’ve always threatened to meet halfway on the turnpike somewhere at one exit.”
“Whether it’s every single year or not, we’ll have to see how it works out,” Pederson said. “My hope is to try to make that work on a regular basis. I do feel like both sides would like to have it happen. I’m very optimistic.”