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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, 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.


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10 Comments on "Steigerwald: Pitt vs. Penn State Should Be Played in Perpetuity"

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As usual you’re right on point, John. How many pairs of teams can say they’ve played each other, literally, over 100 times? Any PSU fan who can maintain, with a straight face, that playing against Nevada or San Jose State means the same as playing Pitt, is deluded. But I’ll tip my hat to the PSU faithful who remain in lock-step with one another. They all repeat the same mantra…they never go against their own family…they continue to drink from the same vat of cool-aid. It’s a cult that begins and ends with, “We are.” And nothing else matters to… Read more »

Your comments are on the money. However it takes two to Tango and Penn State does not want to play Pitt. Joe Paterno ended the 100 year old series in bitterness when Pitt joined the Big East. Franklin is bitter because losing to the Panthers 2 years ago cost them a chance to play for the national championship. A generation of fans has grown up not knowing what the series once was. It’s the older Pitt and Penn State fans want to see the series continue. At this point, I realize it’s not going to happen.


Where is the State Legislaure on this? Why don’t they demand that this rivalry continue. Also include Temple on a rotation basis with State and Pitt. All drivable games with a lot of emotion. State is the problem and they should be made accountable!


Right on John. Even Notre Dame is reducing capacity and having a tougher time selling tickets. Also, Steve is exactly right with his comments. Taxes support PSU, Pitt and Temple. Why is that money going to Nevada?

There’s a saying “Money talks and everyone else walks.” It’s as true in this case as any. PS has the largest alumni network in college sports, as a result,they can do things that my Alma mater can’t. More practice fields, own stadium, more perks, etc, etc, etc. Yes, we cost them a shot at the national championship two years ago and a LOT of money. As Alabama has shown, schedule one team out of conference that can beat you and cream puffs for the rest. We get large donations but use them in positive ways, i.e., Dietrich School of Arts… Read more »
Eric A. Payne

Penn States refusal to schedue Pitt goes back to J Paterno’s decision to end the series. That decision ruined football in the east not only for Pitt, but for Boston College, Syracuse and West Virginia. They all played each other every year, but now they don’t . Penn State continues to believe that they’re a national power, when all that they are is mediocre them in a mediocre conference. Pitt does not need Penn State. The road to the National Title goes through the ACC. When they start winning, the fans will come.


Steeler Stadium will only ever be filled on Sundays. Ubiquitous cellphones and an international student body offer a double whammy to filling the stadium on Saturdays. PS has a monopoly on entertainment in Central Pennsylvania so if you don’t go to see the Altoona Curve or the Harrisburg Senators you go to Happy Valley.

Steven Sedlak

It’s time to let this go. The foul stench of elitism that goes on at PSU will never allow for an annual game. Instead, Pitt should turn to WVU, and that will be the buzz game in this area. While we’re talking about buzz, nothing would generate more buzz than an on-campus stadium, as this writer advocates. That’s what Pitt should be thinking about for the future. Get it done!


Expect the Pennsylvania legislature to fork out money for the T to Oakland? Dreaming. What killed Pitt Stadium and would hamstring Pitt Stadium II is access. Yankee Stadium has little parking in da Bronx but numerous subway stops within blocks. Vehicular traffic in Oakland is limited to 5th and Forbes and Centre Ave. Not enough. It’s a subway or no stadium.
Oh, and forget tailgating.

Steven Sedlak

Pitt Stadium II would have to be self funded. Temple is doing it. Temple! It’s always what can’t be done.

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