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Steigerwald: Pitt-Penn State is Dead Thanks to College Football Stupidity



Okay, the Pitt-Penn State football rivalry is officially a gigantic pain in the ass.

They play each other two more times in the current four year package and each has won a game. Here’s a suggestion to add some interest and some college football magic to the series: Make a really nice trophy depicting two butt cheeks and award the trophy to the winning school every year. Imagine the thrill of seeing players from the winning team being presented the trophy by their athletic director and then running around the stadium holding it above their heads so everybody could see just how stupid the leadership at both institutions of higher learning have been for the past 18 years.

The Pain in the Ass Trophy could be proudly displayed in the office of the winning athletic director for a year.

Of course, that would make winning next year’s Pitt-Penn State game all that much more exciting because the winning AD would get to display the Butt Cheeks Trophy until 2030.

That’s apparently the earliest the two school can play after next season.

Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke, who has been AD for about an hour and half, has no reason to care about ever playing Penn State again. You have to have been around Pitt football for at least 25 years to have any real appreciation for what the rivalry was like.

Lyke spent some time at Ohio State. Do you think she can imagine Ohio State not playing Michigan? Do you think she knows that there was a time when Pitt-Penn State was as intense as Ohio State-Michigan and their games had higher TV ratings?

Sandy Barbour has been AD at Penn State since 2014. Before that she was at Cal-Berkeley and before that at Tulane.

Do you think she gets goose bumps when she thinks about those big games with Pitt long ago?

So let’s face it. The rivalry is done. It was fun while it lasted but it’s really been over for at least 17 years. They stopped playing in 2001 when Joe Paterno was still calling the shots.

It’s time to stop insulting everybody’s intelligence with quotes like this from Barbour: “We’ve had conversation (about playing Pitt). I think, at this point, we’ve both agreed that, based on Big Ten and ACC scheduling principles – and it’s a complicated puzzle nowadays – that we’re not going to do anything at this point.”

Penn State has home and home games scheduled with West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Auburn from 2020-2025 and Lyke let it be known that Pitt would like to start playing again in 2026.

But Penn State is playing games against the AFC North beginning in 2026 so there’s no room for Pitt.

Okay, that’s not true. But, at this point who cares why or who Penn State and Pitt have to play?

Virginia Tech is in the same conference as Pitt. Penn State can schedule home and home games with them for five straight years but not Pitt?

The only way that happens is if Penn State just doesn’t want to play Pitt.

It could have been figured out but it just doesn’t matter any more. There aren’t enough Penn State fans left who remember what a big deal the game was to put pressure on an administration led by someone who probably never watched a Pitt-Penn State game.

Penn State fans have bought into the stupidity of college football that rewards teams for playing opponents who have no business being on the same field with them.

If they could get away with winning a stupid championship by beating Georgia State 73-0 every week they’d take it in a minute and be running around campus with their “we’re number one” fingers in the air.

After all, their school belongs to a conference with 14 teams in it that is still called The Big Ten.

Pitt fans would like to see Penn State on the schedule because they have a hard time getting excited for Virginia Tech and N.C. State and they dream of seeing their team play before a sellout crowd at home.

Renewing the series in 2130 will do as much for the rivalry as renewing it 2030.

Penn State fans will fill the stadium next year for Idaho and Buffalo, who COMBINED couldn’t  give them a game worth watching.

Pitt fans will stay away in droves from the game with Albany this season and games against Delaware and Ohio U. next year.

And they’ll still be trying to shame Penn State into getting back on the schedule.

The Rivalry is dead. Let it go. College football stupidity ruined it and the fans all over the country have shown they’re more than willing to support that stupidity.

Just get crackin’ on that Pain in the Ass Trophy.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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