The Pitt-Penn State football rivalry will be coming to at least a temporary close after the 2019 season.
Penn State announced on Monday that the Nittany Lions will play Nevada on Sept. 5, 2020, to go along with San Jose State and Virginia Tech on the non-conference schedule. The Lions also will play Bowling Green in 2024.
The move filled the Lions’ football schedule for 2020, meaning that Pitt and Penn State’s four-year renewal of the schools’ historic rivalry will end after the 2019 season.
It’s not an unexpected move, as the schools have not made any outward signs of progress for an extension since the original deal was signed in 2012. In November, Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said at a luncheon in Canton, Ohio, that Pitt was still working on extending the deal.
“We have a contract very close to being done and being sent to Penn State to extend the football deal, and I think that’s a huge priority and a huge rivalry and it’s necessary, so we’re working hard on that.” she said to the Canton Repository.
Any extension to the series is most likely to come after the 2025 season. Penn State has shown an unwillingness to schedule multiple home-and-home series against Power Five opponents in any given year.
The Lions play Auburn in 2021 and 2022, West Virginia in 2023 and 2024 and Virginia Tech again in 2025.
Pitt, which plays one fewer conference game in the ACC, has scheduled multiple Power Five opponents each of the last three seasons. Pitt also has multiple Power Five opponents scheduled in 2018 (Notre Dame and Penn State), 2022 (Tennesse and West Virginia), 2023 and 2025 (Notre Dame and West Virginia).
That puts a realistic target for the resumption of the series for the 2026 season.
Pitt and Penn State will play Sept. 8 at Heinz Field. The current run of the series will end Sept. 14, 2019 at Beaver Stadium.