No self respecting Pitt Panther football fan wants to see Penn State enjoy success.
But there had to be more than a few that wanted to see the Nittany Lions beat Wisconsin Saturday night in the Big Ten title game. Because then every Penn St. fan would have to acknowledge: “If it weren’t for Pitt beating our team, we’d be going to college football playoff.”
Well, let me rephrase. Every Penn State fan SHOULD have to acknowledge that. But then again, failing to acknowledge the truth and a willingness to turned a blind eye to the facts have been common traits to many Penn State fans in recent years.
In any number of ways.
Twitter was a funny place to be Saturday night. I sent out a tweet along those lines suggesting that even in the midst of their jubilation over winning the Big Ten championship, there had to be an understanding amongst “We ARE” nation that the Lions wouldn’t be going to the national semifinals for one reason and one reason only:
PENN STATE LOST TO PITT!
The responses I got from Nittany Lion fans ranged from incensed … to invalid … to insane.
You know, the typical “EAT $*!T Pitt.” To “Pitt’s just jealous cuz they are goin’ to the Pinstripe.” To “It’s not about losing to Pitt. It’s about losing to Michigan.” To “At least PSU scheduled Pitt. OSU scheduled Bowling Green.” To “The committee is catering to Ohio State’s brand.” And my personal favorite response that I got a few times “Who cares about the playoff. We’re going to the Rose Bowl! #WeAre”
OK. Let’s dissect this myriad of attempts to ignore the truth.
- No. The Rose Bowl isn’t more important than the playoff. And you know it. If you didn’t care about the playoff, you wouldn’t have spent the past three weeks crying and stomping your feet about the system that’s keeping you out of it.
- Yes. Ohio State did schedule Bowling Green. But PSU scheduled Kent State. Who lost to Bowling Green by five touchdowns. And Ohio State also scheduled Oklahoma. And won. By 21 points. In Norman.
- No. It’s not about losing to Michigan. Michigan finished behind Penn State in the final poll. And that was just one conference loss anyway. Ohio State also had just the one conference loss to Penn State. Michigan had two conference losses. The difference is that Ohio State didn’t lose out of conference. Penn State did. To … PITT!
- Yes. The committee probably prefers to have a bigger brand name team like Ohio State in the playoff than Penn State. But … well, see directly above.
- Yes. Sure. Pitt’s fans are jealous of Penn State’s conference title. Why shouldn’t they be? But the jealousy doesn’t erase 42-39.
It’s an interesting use of selective interpretation that Penn State fans use, isn’t it? Head to head is be-all-end-all when making an argument against Ohio State. But it’s irrelevant when discussing Michigan or Pitt.
So the reality of the situation is this: Penn State had a great season and is going to a far better bowl game than Pitt. But another part of that reality is that the Nittany Lions aren’t going to the playoff because they lost to the Panthers.
So the Penn State faithful need to admit one of two things:
1) Pitt is indeed a rival. The rivalry is back. And your rival cost you a chance at a national title.
2) Your national championship hopes were dashed by a team you deem to be too inferior to acknowledge as a rival in the first place.
Your choice, Happy Valley. But just know it means …#YouAre #LeftOut