Is A Long-Term Penn State-Pitt Series On The Horizon?

Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Pederson is "very optimistic" that something can be worked out.

While it may not work on a yearly basis, Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson is hopeful that some regularity to the Penn State-Pitt football rivalry may come about in the near future according to statements he made at the ACC meetings on Tuesday according to ESPN.

The teams already have signed onto a four-game series that will take place from 2016 through 2019, the first games between the state rivals since 2000, but now that football and athletic department leadership at both schools have changed hands, talk of the teams playing on a more consistent basis has been brought up multiple times a year. Penn State AD Dave Joyner and Bill O'Brien have both spoken about getting Pitt on the schedule more often in the past.

The teams have played each other on 96 different occasions with Penn State holding a 50-42-4 advantage in the matchups.

Is a continued, consistent spot for Pitt on Penn State's schedule actually feasible, though? The Big Ten is heading towards a nine-game conference slate starting in 2016, meaning that the Lions will only have room for three non-conference opponents once the scheduling changes take effect. Pitt does not have this problem as the ACC decided to scrap a similar proposal last year after Notre Dame joined the conference sans football, but entered into an agreement where they would play five teams from the conference on the gridiron every year. Also, while Pitt will be playing in a power conference, the new College Football Playoff deciding the national championship contenders every year through a selection committee who will use strength of schedule as one of their determining factors begins in 2014 and once the series with the Panthers starts, Penn State may be looking for more marquee opponents to improve their chances of making the four-team field once they are eligible to play for a championship once again. Pittsburgh only has one season with double-digit wins in the past three decades.

I would like to see these two teams play every year for the next century because of the passion and the history, but logistically, the concept may have too much working against it. Here's hoping that some middle ground can be found and that some abbreviated, semi-interrupted series can be worked out for the schools and the fans.

UPDATE: Brett McMurphy got comment from Dave Joyner


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