The Importance Of Deflecting Blame

Large_pittgame_medium
It's a yellow-out!

There are a couple of things any national sports writer can fall back on and be guaranteed a response.  The quality of your argument and the newsworthiness of your topic are simply irrelevant.

One of those things is Paterno's age, but this rather large umbrella can cover other areas too.  Has his age affected his ability to coach on gameday?  To discipline his team?  To get over a grudge?  Enter Pitt-PSU Rivalry Story  #4,564:

Joe hasn't addressed what every red-blooded Western Pennsylvanian wants: a resumption of the Penn State-Pitt rivalry.

That's because he is asked about it every 15 minutes because reporters like you can't find other things to write about in June*.

There are plenty of reasons -- from both sides -- why it doesn't happen. I'll boil it down: Pitt says Paterno ended the series because he still holds a grudge from when Pitt wouldn't join Paterno's failed Eastern Conference plan from decades ago.

Fair enough, probably had something to do with it, but in case you missed the other 4,563 stories that have been done about this rivalry, it's mostly about money.

Of course, Penn State loses money in a home-and-home series. Happy Valley holds 107,000 fans, while Heinz Field holds 64,000 [ed-- misleading for obvious reasons, see photo above]. But you don't end a series because one school has a larger fan base. If that were the case, half the rivalries in college football would be dead.

This is non-sense, and he gives no examples.  Off the top of my head, some of the major rivalries in college football: Ohio State-Michigan, Auburn-Alabama, USC-Notre Dame, Texas-Oklahoma, Florida-Florida State.  Notice a trend here?  Both sides of the rivalry bring something to the table.   Notre Dame doesn't need 45,000 USC fans to fill up their stadium to sell out the game. 

Penn State says Joe ended the series because Pitt forced Penn State fans to buy a package of tickets to see the games in Pittsburgh, thus making money off Penn State.

This is bush league and further proof why Pitt doesn't really deserve any PSU favors.  They currently do this with Notre Dame and it's the only way they are able to even approach selling half the season's tickets.

Here's how we end the bickering: Find a title sponsor to make up the difference.

He doesn't explain this proposal so I'm not really sure how he wants it applied.  Based on his wording I'll assume the entire fee will go to Penn State because of the money they are losing on ticket sales if they don't get the 2 for 1.  No way they are getting enough money out of a Pennsylvania company to make up the difference.  Piit is going to have to go to a bowl game and/or not lose to the The University of Ohio Bobcats before this thing will be the draw everyone remembers.  Oh, and no way Pitt would agree to this.  If they won't agree to two home one away why would they simply give this money to Paterno?

Penn State leads the series, 50-42-2, and nearly everyone who has ever played in this once storied rivalry wants it to happen again. Instead, we get this from the Penn State non-conference schedule: Coastal Carolina (that's not a misprint), Temple (nor is that), at Syracuse and Oregon State.

The record since 1950 is 32-12-2.  That is a 73% winning percentage.  Just thought I'd bring that up.

While the weather usually determines my stance on this one, and the game would be more fun than Coastal Carolina, that is oversimplifying the situation.  Penn State is always made out to be the bad guy but there is a bigger picture.  Pitt won't replace Coastal Carolina, it will replace Oregon State.  You could argue it should replace Syracuse but two BCS programs on the schedule is the exception not the rule, and really it probably wouldn't have happened except for how bad the Orangemen turned out to be after we signed the deal.  Besides, there is no reason to subsidize the Pitt Athletic Department through what will surely be a bogus package of Pitt games that tens of thousands of PSU alum will be forced to buy.

When you look at the numbers, this looks like it would start out a lot more like the Iowa-Iowa State game, which is a bad thing by the way.

 

* Yes, I understand the irony of me turning around and writing a post about it, but I don't get paid and besides, he started it.

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