We’re all of course looking forward to the big rivalry game with our friends from Happy Valley this weekend. And yes, as much as some of those friends may refuse to admit it, it is a rivalry. Having the Panthers and Nittany Lions play again the last few years after a decade and a half hiatus has been great for college football in the Keystone State. The first matchup in 2016 was of course a raucous affair at Heinz Field that resulted in a dramatic Pitt win. The game had ramifications stretching the rest of the season as Penn State went on a surprise run to win the Big Ten Championship Game, but were locked out of the College Football Playoff, likely due to their loss that September afternoon on the North Shore. Penn State got revenge the next year when the Panthers went to Happy Valley, dominating from the get-go despite Pitt keeping it close into the second half. Though the current series is currently knotted at only one game apiece, it’s already halfway over. When Athletic Director Heather Lyke took over at Pitt in 2017 she quickly opened a dialogue with Sandy Barbour, her counterpart at Penn State, about scheduling more games between the two schools. This culminated in Pitt presenting a formal proposal to Penn State about a new 4-game series beginning in 2026 this past April. Lyke stated though, that Pitt wouldn’t wait on a response from Penn State indefinitely. This proved to very much be the case when Pitt scheduled a home-and-home with Wisconsin for 2026 and 2027 in late May. This was likely worked out in response to Barbour announcing that they weren’t looking at putting Pitt back on their football schedule until after 2030, despite the fact that it could have easily fit in the late 2020’s. This brings up the main point, though there are legitimate challenges in trying to fit Pitt on their schedule, the imminent end of the current series and the fact that no future games
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