PITTSBURGH — Pitt hasn’t given up on the dream of renewing its football series with Penn State.
Pitt and Penn State will play one anther at Heinz Field on Sept. 8 and again next fall in State College.
After that, there will be a hiatus of at least seven years, and it might be even longer than that. Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke said on Wednesday that she’s been in continued contact with Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour, and that Pitt has proposed another four-year agreement with Penn State that would start in 2026 and run through 2029.
But Pitt hasn’t gotten word back from Penn State regarding that proposal and the Panthers can’t exactly wait forever to fill their schedule.
“I’ve been in as much contact as I can with Sandy, who I have a lot of respect for at Penn State,” Lyke said. “She’s a tremendous leader, a tremendous mentor and a tremendous friend to me. … They have not (responded).”
Pitt has West Virginia scheduled from 2022 to 2025, a two-game series with Cincinnati in 2023 and 2024 and Notre Dame in 2023, 2025 and 2028, but other than that, the Panthers have a wide-open schedule for the timeframe they’d like to play Penn State. But that won’t stay the case forever.
“We have people that want to play us and good opportunities to play what I think would be a very attractive game,” Lyke said. “But I think out of the respect for Penn State and the opportunity within the commonwealth, we want to play Penn State. But if they don’t, then we will obviously shift gears.”
Penn State also doesn’t have any games scheduled after 2025, but space on the schedule hasn’t been the reason Penn State has been hesitant to schedule the Panthers.
With the Big Ten adding an extra conference game, Penn State is limited to three non-conference opponents and the Nittany Lions want two of those three games to be at home every year, with the third game at home every other year. That limits Penn State to one home-and-home opportunity.
After Pitt and Penn State’s current series ends in 2019, Penn State has scheduled series against Virginia Tech, Auburn and West Virginia.
Barbour told reporters at the Fiesta Bowl in January that there was “no progress” on an extension of the series.
The final game of the current slate will be the 100th game between the schools. They are 1-1 in the current series. Penn State leads, 51-43-4, all time.