I've been a daily reader of BSD for two years now. I've learned a lot of things from my Penn State elders here, chief among them preventing myself from getting into pissing matches with Pitt fans.
Before I discovered BSD, I was a regular reader and commenter on Mondesishouse.com, and popular Pittsburgh sports blog. I routinely got into heated debates that headed no where before the good people of BSD taught me to pick my battles, and just say "24-7-1" and walk away.
That got the blood going, so I fired off the following email.
You may remember me. I'm Adam the Penn State fan. I once fanned the flames of the Pitt-Penn State "debate" on this site to great enjoyment. However, as time has passed, I've grown more and more indifferent to Pitt and their fans.
You might ask why.
While I could go down the beaten path of records, statistics, and pro prospects to point out why Penn State is better, I'm not going to do that because it ultimately, those aren't the reasons I root for Penn State
Earlier this season, I dragged a Pitt fan friend of mine along with me to the Michigan game. The three hour trip to Happy Valley was filled with light hearted banter and joking. He didn't know what to expect. Then we pulled into State College. The town was alive. Every single person was wearing blue and white. My friend said to me "The only thing remotely like this was Old Pitt Stadium, but this is a much bigger scale. Its the WHOLE TOWN.". We grabbed some sandwhiches at Jimmy John's and worked our way to the stadium.
We took him on a little tour on campus. We pointed out Rec Hall, home of the nation's premier college volleyball program (Both the men and women are National Champions), the Nittany Lion Shrine, and Paterno Library. Then we made the right onto Park Avenue when the next epihany occurred for him. The blaze oragne valley came into full view, scores of cars parked in the grass fields. Almost every one had a tent behind it with which to tailgate. "Wow".
We got to our parking spot, and emerged from the car. The crisp country air greeted us, a mix of manure and grill scents. "That..." I said to him, "...is the smell of college football". As far as the eye could see in three directions were tailgaters. RVs were everywhere, each one with a pop out flat screen. Thousands of footballs popped up in the air in front of us. "I get it now" said the Pitt fan, and he hadn't even entered the stadium.
We got into the stadium right as the Blue Band was starting the pregame show. Unfortunately, the drum major missed the flip for the first time I can remember, AND the Blue Sapphire (head majorette) dropped the baton. Nevertheless, the pregame show went on. The Lions took the field to the "LETS...GO...P-S-U!" chant. The Pitt fan was clearly impressed, but, the big moment didn't hit him until after the Lions were forced to punt on the first possession.
With Michigan setting up first and ten, the stadium errupted into a deafening roar as the defense took the field when the Pitt fan realized what he had gotten himself into. "This is as good as it gets" he told me.
Fear not, Panther fan, my Pitt fan friend did not turn in his blue and gold that day, but he left with a clear understanding of what his school lacks. It lacks the sleepy college town. It lacks the mammoth football stadium on campus, routinely filled to capacity. It lacks the beautiful natural enviornment. It lacks the electricity of 110,000 people who live for Saturday afternoon.
Penn State football is a lifestyle, more than just a three hour football game, and THAT more than anything is, is why Penn State has it on Pitt.
So, tell me again about 12-0, or beating Iowa this year. I don't care. We are the Greatest Show in College Football.
We Are Penn State.
If you really want to win an argument with a Pitt fan, point to the passion of our fanbase before you rattle off a single statistic. The bowl wins, the championships, the all-time greats are all things to cherish, but the fact that our school epitomizes what college football is supposed to be like is the most important thing of all.