Penn State head coach James Franklin has weighed in on Pitt-Penn State scheduling — or lack thereof.
A caller asked Franklin Thursday night on his weekly radio show whether there’s a chance Penn State will renew series against Pitt, West Virginia and Syracuse in the near future.
Franklin didn’t sound particularly interested in scheduling any of the out-of-conference rivals at this point in time.
“The more conference games you play and the less regional the conferences are, then those games become more and more challenging,” Franklin said. “And you have to see ‘do they make sense?’”
The fan followed up by saying that the regional rivalries could help fill up Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, and again, Franklin remained tentative.
“That shouldn’t dictate whether we play them,” Franklin said. “If it’s the right thing to do for our conference, if it’s the right thing to do for Penn State, then I’m more than open to doing it. I think our ADs can get on a conversation, get on a call and talk about it.”
And when it came to resuming Pitt-Penn State games specifically, Franklin brought up attendance — which is often brought up from the Penn State side — and whether or not it would be a “fair exchange” that makes sense from the Penn State perspective.
“The thing I do know is when we went and played at Pitt, it was the second-largest, if not the largest sporting event, in the history of Heinz Field,” Franklin said. “And I don’t think you could buy a Penn State single-game ticket unless you bought their season tickets. So it was a very different deal.
“For us, it was an increase of 2,000 fans. To me, it needs to be an even exchange and it needs to make sense. But I think our ADs should get on the phone and work it out.”
It’s a stark contrast to the way Pat Narduzzi approached the idea of Pitt and Penn State renewing their rivalry in the future.
“You’d have to ask James Franklin,” Narduzzi told the 93.7 The Fan’s PM team of Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller in August. “My call is, ‘Let’s go.’ We’ve called, we’ve asked.”
However, Narduzzi was certainly complimentary of the athletic director currently in place at Penn State.
“I have faith in Pat Kraft, the AD,” Narduzzi said.
Narduzzi, who worked in the same conference as Kraft when Kraft was Boston College’s athletic director from 2020 through starting at Penn State in July 2022, said Kraft is a “great guy.”
But Narduzzi doesn’t feel optimistic that the rivalry will return.
“These schedules are filled out for six, seven years (in advance)” Narduzzi said. “It’s going to be a while. I’ll be retired for 10 years, 20 years. I’ll be 70, 80 years old. I’ll be coming back in a wheelchair and maybe a cane.”