When it was announced that the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Pittsburgh Panthers would meet each other on the gridiron in 2016 for the first time in 16 years, college football fans across the Keystone State were ecstatic. The schools will renew their powerful rivalry for four meetings from ’16 through ’19.
Now it seems that both parties involved are indeed vastly interested in making this a regular occurrence once again, even past 2019.
While on a trip across the state of Pennsylvania last week, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien had no qualms about bringing up how he feels about renewing the classic. O’Brien would say, “I wish we could start playing sooner.” The coach added, “Pitt-Penn State, who can forget those games back in the day, usually late in the season, snowing? I think it’s great for college football.”
O’Brien certainly made it well-known that he is in favor of bringing back the game annually at some point.
Now, we’ve learned that Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson shares pretty much the same sentiment.
At the ACC meetings on Tuesday, Pederson let his feelings out. “My hope is to try to make that work on a regular basis.”, Pederson said. The AD added, “I do feel like both sides would like to make it happen. I’m very optimistic.” Pederson would end with, “We’re both trying to figure out when we can do it. We’re both in favor if it’s in the best interest of both schools.”
This is exciting news for both institutions that some of their higher-ups are optimistic about getting this rivalry kickstarted once again. This game was the benchmark of college football in the state of Pennsylvania for the better part of 100 years. To sort of echo what O’Brien said, these are two traditionally blue-collar football teams battling it out late in the season within the winter elements. It’s what the game of football is all about.
I’m going to throw my name into the hat with O’Brien and Pederson and say that I am just as optimistic as they are that they can get this going again well into the future.