Tuesday, May 14, 2013
PSU, Pitt hope to resume long-term series
By Adam Rittenberg
CHICAGO -- Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner jokes with his Pitt counterpart Steve Pederson about scheduling football games somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between State College and Pittsburgh.
It's unlikely the Nittany Lions and Panthers will lock horns on the side of the road, but they could be seeing each other annually for many years to come. Pederson told colleague Brett McMurphy at the ACC spring meetings Tuesday that he'd like to schedule more games against Penn State beyond the schools' agreement to play from 2016-19. Joyner has strong interest, too.
"We'd be interested in talking about that," Joyner told ESPN.com at the Big Ten spring meetings. "It's a great series. It's been a great linchpin in Pennsylvania for everyone there. Steve and I will definitely talk about doing that."
The longtime rivals announced in 2011 they would resume their series, which had been dormant since 2000, and tacked on two more games in December. Penn State and Pitt met every season from 1935-1992. They took a break when Penn State joined the Big Ten, but then resumed with a four-game series from 1997-2000. The Lions own a 50-42-4 advantage in the all-time series.
Pederson said he "would sign a 30-year deal" if he could, adding that the Pitt-Penn State game "ought to be played." Penn State coach Bill O'Brien also has voiced his support for the series.
"Pitt-Penn State, who can forget those games back in the day, usually late in the season, snowing?" O'Brien said on Penn State's recent coaches' caravan. "I think it's great for college football."
Penn State might not be able to play Pitt annually after the Big Ten goes to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016, but there is certainly more support for the series than there was during the latter part of Joe Paterno's tenure.
Joyner also said Penn State is "actively working" on a 2014 game in Ireland, reportedly against UCF, and hopes to have a resolution in the next few weeks. More neutral-site games are a possibility for Penn State, which kicks off the 2013 season against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
"Neutral sites are a very, very interesting proposition," Joyner said. "It's good for everybody. From a monetary standpoint, it's a very satisfactory thing to do, but it also engages people in other parts of the country to perhaps come to games. So it's a good thing to consider doing."