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Steigerwald: Pitt vs. Penn State Should Be Played in Perpetuity

Steigerwald: Pitt vs. Penn State Should Be Played in Perpetuity

Why are the dumbest sports fans associated with institutions of higher learning? The news that Penn State and Pitt won’t be playing each other in football in 2020 brought out the usual embarrassing stupidity.

Let’s start with the stupidity of Penn State playing Nevada instead of Pitt. That’s who’s on the 2020 schedule.

All the usual arguments have been dragged out. Penn State doesn’t want a home and home schedule with Pitt and would rather fill their stadium for a guaranteed win than risk losing a game to Pitt. Even though they insist that Pitt is nowhere near Penn State in football right now and the risk would be minimal.

It’s a lose, lose situation for Penn State because a win over Pitt won’t mean much when it comes time for the stupid committee to pick teams for the stupid Mythical Championship.

Pitt needs Penn State. Penn State doesn’t need Pitt.

Penn State will have three non conference games to play and will do what every other Power 5 program does and schedule one legitimate opponent home and home and two guaranteed wins.

Blah, blah, blah.

All valid points and all a result of fans’ stupidity.

When did fans get to the point that they would rather see Penn State-Nevada than Penn State-Pitt or Penn State-West Virginia?

Pitt fans have shown themselves not to be stupid enough to show up in big numbers for games against Ohio U. and Old Dominion but if their program were in the same position as Penn State’s, they’d stay away but also  think that scheduling guaranteed wins was a good idea.

The tired, old arguments about the Pitt-Penn State rivalry or non-rivalry always focus on what is best for the programs. What about the fans? If you’re a Penn State fan why wouldn’t you prefer a week of torturing your Pitt friends about how badly you’re going to beat them to trying to dredge up interest for a game against Nevada or Georgia State?

What happened to liking the game because of the game and not what the guaranteed win might do for you in a stupid poll?

If you hate Pitt, you should enjoy the chance to gloat over a blowout win every year. And if you’re a real fan, you might even enjoy the tension created when Pitt shows up with a chance to win.

There was a time when being a fan was about looking forward to the games you might lose because you might see a close, exciting game and they’re the best ones to win.

Why do more than 500 people show up to see Penn State play Georgia State or Alabama play Mercer? Are fans really so stupid that they don’t realize that showing up for garbage games like that just ensures more garbage games in the future?

So, the debate between the athletic departments at Pitt and Penn State isn’t the issue. It’s about the fans not only accepting the stupidity perpetrated on them by the two schools, but actually agreeing with it.

There is some good news, though.

College football attendance is going down.

Maybe fans are finally wising up and staying away from stupid matchups. Or maybe that’s giving them too much credit and it’s actually more about not wanting to pay the prices and deal with the traffic.

According to CBSsports.com, college football just had its largest attendance drop in 34 years. And, get this: colleges are starting to reduce the capacity of their venues, to create more demand for season tickets.

The average crowd for an FBS game in 2017 was 42,203, the lowest since 1997 and bowl games dropped an average of 1,409 fans per game, the biggest drop since 1983.

It’s the first time in college football that attendance has declined for four straight years.

Even the SEC had it’s biggest drop in 25 years.

College football is dealing with the same issues as the NFL. Live games are having a hard time providing as much enjoyment as a 60-inch, 4G TV with surround sound.

And DVR.

If the athletic directors are seeing fewer people show up for the games worth showing up for, what’s the future look like for cupcake games?

It may be unrealistic to think that fans are finally realizing that they’re being played for suckers when they allow their alma mater’s to force them to pay for stupid matchups as part of their season ticket plan.

Wouldn’t it be nice if people who were smart enough to do college work weren’t dumb enough to accept the notion that watching your team beat Mercer 73-0 is actually more enjoyable than watching it lose to Alabama 42-41?

Pitt and Penn State should play each other in football every year. They’re three hours away from each other and have a history going back 100 years. Forget the stupid arguments.

It’s a football game.

Just shut up and play.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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