It's been a running joke in the both the Pitt and Penn State blog communities that the offseason's dead spots are passed away by arguing over whether the two schools should play or not and how they should do it. Of course, yesterday we got news that the series will finally resume in 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and predictably, there's a lot of reaction to sort through, so today, we're going to bring it all two you in a pair of posts.
In this one, we're going to focus on the reaction from Pitt angle and later today, we'll scout the Penn State side of things.
First up is former Pitt coach Jackie Sherill and columnist Kevin Gorman in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
One clear thing is PSU has a timeline for the retirement of Joe Paterno, who has held a decades-old grudge against Pitt because he believes it sabotaged his plan for an Eastern power conference. It's no coincidence that the streak of 58 consecutive Pitt-Penn State games, which started in 1935, stopped when the Lions began Big Ten play in '93.
"I think Joe Paterno is getting soft," said Jackie Sherrill, the former Pitt coach and Paterno nemesis. "The Joe Paterno I used to know, he was not that soft. He must be getting soft in his old age, or is trying to do the right thing."
The guess here is Paterno won't be coaching the Lions in 2016, when he will be 89 years old. And that his declining to comment on the resumption of this series speaks volumes about his involvement in the resumption of it.
Former Pitt Heisman Trophy-winning running back Tony Dorsett said the game was important "irregardless of the (teams') records."
"Penn State was the big dog and the game was always something for us to test ourselves and see where we are at," he said.
Former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Bob Smizik.
It's great to have the game back. It might never be what it once was but it deserves to be played and should be played every year.
Former KDKA and WTAE anchor John Steigerwald.
For a sport that is run by institutions of higher learning, there is a lot of stupidity in college football and nothing has demonstrated that stupidity more than Pitt and Penn State not being able to figure out a way to play each other in football.
It doesn’t matter whose fault it is….cough…cough joepaternocoughchough…it’s just plain stupid.
Unfortunately, fans at Penn State have shown a willingness to show up in huge numbers for the Akron game, which takes the pressure off the athletic department to schedule real games.
Pitt fans are either too small in number or too smart to show up in large numbers for Youngstown State.
Although the Panthers and their followers denied, tried to instead emphasize the Backyard Brawl, it always has been Pitt that had by far the most to gain.
I'm not sure that's the case anymore, if you think about it: Joe Paterno will not, contrary to all reasonable evidence, be at Penn State longer. And it's never easy for a university to maintain that same aura once the icon is gone.
Perhaps this is Tim Curley's way of ensuring that the luster remains, in part, through the resumption of this magnificent rivalry.
Or, it could be that they saw this as a long-term benefit to the Lions, as well. Or even a small show of respect for Pitt's quality regular-season showings in the Big East over the years.
Bryan from Pitt Scriptt talks about different levels of excitement between the schools.
As I've said before, my theory about the different levels of enthusiasm comes down to how many opportunities for "big games" each team has. The Big 10 affords Penn State a lot of what we would consider "big games." The Big East? Eh, not so much. It doesn't matter how good South Florida is or how bad Michigan is, Michigan is always a "big game" while South Florida could probably only generate up to a certain level of buzz in Pittsburgh, no matter their talent or rank. That's college football; it is what it is. Penn State does not need Pitt more and Pitt does not need Penn State more. They are both capable of achieving their goals without one another.
Fanposter and close personal friend of the Fooge, mikeo90 over at Cardiac Hill.
You don't have to be a financial savant to understand that revenue with few costs equals nice profit, so the fluff games aren't going anywhere. That leaves two games on the schedule, one of which goes to storied Notre Dame, who have a deal in place with Pitt through at least 2015. Add that up and it gives you one remaining game.
Sure, that slot could go to Penn State (assuming they would agree to it, which they wouldn't) but that would mean the Panthers would play the same schedule EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Sorry, but I'm no fan of that. I like playing Utah from out west. I like playing Big Ten power Iowa. Suiting up against the heros from Navy is always cool. Virginia Tech comes to Heinz Field in 2012. I'd much prefer to play a different schedule every year, with new opponents and fresh logos, than the same damn thing year in and year out. Even if that means passing on a long-term renewal of the Pitt - Penn State game.
Now some multimedia. Click here to head over to the 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh home page for an interview on the renewal of the rivalry with former NFL coach and Pitt alumnus Mike Ditka.
And if you have some time on your hands, here's the entire Subway Nightly Sports Call from last night on Pittsburgh's CW with Ron Cook and Jory Rand, including and interview with Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson.