When it comes to sports, Penn State and Pittsburgh are two of the most successful universities in Pennsylvania, but they haven’t played in a number of years. A lot of people want to see that rivalry renewed, but I maintain that bringing back the rivalry would be a bad idea.
Here’s why the Pitt-Penn State rivalry should not return.
Pitt-PennState Rivalry: Background
The Nittany Lions and Panthers once had a heated football rivalry but they haven’t appeared on each other’s schedule since 1992, except for a brief four-year series in the late ’90s.
I grew up in western Pennsylvania rooting for both teams. I went to Penn State but still root for Pitt in every sport. Why wouldn’t I? The notion that someone could root for one of these schools and not the other strikes me as crazy. Why root against one of the local schools?
Pitt vs PennState Rivalry: Should the rivalry be renewed?
Every so often, people (almost always Pitt fans, almost always over the age of 35) start talking about what an injustice it is that Pitt and Penn State don’t play each other in football. But to most Pennsylvanians under the age of 35, the Pitt-Penn State “rivalry” has about as much relevance as the Steelers-Houston Oilers rivalry from the late ’70s. It’s something we only hear about from relatives who are decades older.
There is nothing I want less than for Pitt and Penn State to play each other in football. Like almost all western Pennsylvanians born after 1975, I root for both teams. I want to see both schools reach the BCS. Some misguided commentators talk about how the two schools going head to head would great for the state of Pennsylvania. But if they play each other, somebody has to lose. That means one team will be all but eliminated from the national championship picture before they’ve even begun their conference schedule. How is that good for Pennsylvania?
Pitt vs Penn State Rivalry: Why it would actually be bad for both schools
The Nittany Lions have said they would consider playing Pitt if two out of every three games in the series were played at Penn State. In today’s college football climate, that is a totally reasonable request. Teams should load up as many home games as possible in order to sell tickets and maximize revenue.
That’s why Pitt shouldn’t accept such a deal. Because the Panthers need to maximize their number of home games too. Both schools should look for lesser-known opponents that will come to their stadium every single year. More home games equals more revenue, which equals more money to spend on the coaching staff, facilities, and other general university needs. Playing an even-up series with home games alternating each year actually makes bad financial sense for both schools.
Pitt vs Penn State Rivalry: Summary
Once again, very few people under the age of 35 care about this alleged rivalry – and virtually all of them are either Pitt students or have family members who are Pitt alumni.
In my years in State College, wanna take a guess how many times I heard anyone talk about Pitt as one of our rivals? Zero. Not once! You cannot have a rivalry if one side literally couldn’t care less.
Pitt fans, Penn State is not your rival. It hasn’t been for more than two decades. Please get on with your lives. I know people in Pennsylvania like to live in the past, but this nonsense about renewing the Pitt vs. Penn State rivalry in football just has to stop. Doing so would not be good for anybody.
Pitt vs PennState Rivalry: Sources