Thanks to everyone for pitching in and keeping BSD going the past few days in my absense. I never know what we're going to get when I hold Open Blog Days on BSD, but I'm always pleasantly surprised. I figured we would get one or two posts on Joe and the state of the program, but I never thought we would see so much enthusiasm over the Pitt Rivalry or lack thereof. I must be honest, I didn't have time to read all of the comments as they were coming too fast and furious to keep up with. But I did cruise through some of them to make sure they were clean and we weren't getting flamed by any Pitt trolls. Since everyone else gave their view I figure I would give mine as well before we move on to other things.
The Pitt-Penn State series needs to happen. It may not be on the level of Ohio State and Michigan. It probably wouldn't be thrust into a prime time slot on ABC. It may be a mostly one-sided rivalry. It may not make sense financially. But I don't care. Rivalries aren't about national exposure and making money. Lehigh and Lafayette isn't exactly a big-money-prime-time game either. But ask those teams and they would tell you there is no other game on the schedule they would rather win. That's what rivalries are about. They're about bragging rights over Thanksgiving dinner. And a new generation of Pitt and PSU fans is slowly becoming indifferent toward the animosity these two proud institutions once shared.
The problem comes in the details of making this happen. To Tim Curley and Joe Paterno I would say give up this notion of not being able to work a series with Pitt around the need to schedule seven home games. That's hogwash. Michigan manages to get Notre Dame on the schedule every year and still get seven home games. You can make it happen if you want to. It just takes some creative scheduling. On the years you go to Pitt you will just have to find three other opponents to come to Penn State. You know Temple is always game. And I'm sure there are plenty of Coastal Carolinas out there willing to take a beating for a paycheck. You may not be able to get a 2-for-1 with Pitt. So make it a 3-for-2 or 6-for-4. Just make it happen.
To Pitt I would say give up your pride. You are a struggling program in a weak conference. You're practically giving your tickets away and you still can't fill your stadium. You need Penn State and the gauranteed sellout its fans would give you. And you would probably make more money it traveling to Penn State than you would in a home game against Buffalo or Bowling Green. So take the 3-for-2 deal Curley offered you.
I think it was last year sometime when Joe Paterno said something like "We'll never play Pitt as long as I'm around." That's a shame, because millions of Pennsylvania residents used to look forward to this storied rivalry every year. I'm convinced the two schools will meet again someday. It will probably be after Joe Paterno retires, and that's fine. I just hope that the spirit of the game is still there after the layoff and the young generation of fans doesn't look at it as just another game.