Penn State Football Turns Down Opportunity To Play Pitt After 2019
It seems every Penn State and Pitt football fan is excited for the four-game rivalry series between the two programs during the 2016-2019 seasons… except, apparently, Sandy Barbour. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Penn State Athletic Department is not interested in continuing the series during the 2022-2025 time frame — the Nittany Lions are “not available.”
The rivalry is one of legends. The Nittany Lions first played the Pittsburgh Panthers more than 120 years ago in 1893, when Penn State shut out Pitt 32-0. The in-state match-up saw its greatest intensity during the 1970s and 1980s when both programs were highly competitive nationally. The last time the teams met on the gridiron was in 2000, when the Panthers shut out the Nittany Lions 12-0 in Pittsburgh.
Both schools have been active on social media regarding the rivalry. Be it Pitt recruits tweeting #412Crew, or Penn State pledges throwing out the #DominateTheState hashtag, excitement has been swelling in anticipation of the 2016 meeting. Even coaches have put in their two cents, and the seriousness of the rivalry has been reinstated and even revamped.
In light of Penn State declining to maintain the series, Pitt has decided to renew its “Backyard Brawl” with West Virginia for the 2022-2025 seasons. In a jarring stab to West Virginia fans, University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director, Scott Barnes, explained that, though the school is excited to add the Mountaineers back into their schedule, it is the second choice to having the Nittany Lions there.
“Our priority was to try and lock in Penn State as much as we could, as often as we could,” Barnes said to the Post-Gazette. “The second priority was West Virginia.”
Even if we don’t see Penn State and Pitt play for a while following 2019, the matches that take place before then will certainly be heated, and the Nittany Lions (and their fans) are nothing if not ready to #DominateTheState.