Let’s get right down to business today- Should Penn State renew its current series with Pitt?
Currently, the two programs are halfway through a four-year deal. Pitt will again host this fall, with the series returning to Beaver Stadium in 2019. There is no current deal to extend the series following 2019, however.
The discussion of whether or not to continue the series on an annual, or at least regular, basis has come up yet again following recent comments by Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke:
“We have an agreement before them (presented during last football season), but it has not been signed. We’re going to wait a tad more patiently,” Lyke said, “but not much. We can’t.”
”We have people who want to play us and good opportunities to play what would be a very attractive game. But I think out of the respect for Penn State and the opportunity within the Commonwealth, we want to play Penn State. If they don’t, we will obviously shift gears.”
So it seems as though the ball is fully in Penn State’s court, which should not be a surprise to anyone. I’ll be going into much further detail down the road, but my initial thoughts are that the series shouldn’t be a priority for Penn State. Here’s just a few reasons why:
-I would rather keep the nonconference schedule available for more enticing match-ups, like upcoming series with Auburn, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. If I were to rank potential match-ups with the four Power 5 conferences outside of the Big Ten, Pitt would honestly fall in the bottom third.
-Penn State is being used to help Pitt sell season tickets, which has long suffered from poor attendance at home. For instance, even when Pitt hosted (and upset) the #2 Miami Hurricanes in November, the reported attendance was just 35, 978.
-Penn State can use future out-of-conference schedule for opportunities to expand its national reach. For instance, series with Florida State, Texas and USC would not only draw more national recognition and help with recruiting, they would also give the fanbase new destinations to experience.
So what say you, BSD reader? Would you like to see the Penn State-Pitt series continue? Why or why not? Would you like to see it continue under certain conditions, such as a 2-for-1 agreement or have it only be played sporadically? Let’s hear your thoughts.