After not playing each other since 2000, Penn State and Pitt have signed an agreement to play in 2016 and 2017.
“We are very pleased that this two-game series is now in place,” Pitt AD Steve Pederson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “and a new generation of fans can experience the excitement of a Pitt-Penn state football game.”
The rivalry began in 1893 where the Nittany Lions beat Pitt at home 32-0 and lasted all the way through September 16, 2000 when Pitt returned the shutout favor beating State 12-0 at Three Rivers Stadium.
Penn State has the all-time series lead with a record of 50-42-4 against the Panthers.
The schools’ rivalry faded in the late 1990′s, due in part by each university deciding to take a different conference paths. Both Penn State and Pitt chose to leave college football’s independent rankings and join bigger conferences. Penn State became a member of the Big Ten and Pitt opted for the Big East.
Joe Paterno has also played a role in the cessation of the rivalry. He is still upset that Pitt joined the Big East and not an athletic superconference that Paterno tried to assemble, calling his defeat “one of the most disappointing things in my life that happened at Penn State”
Even when the two sides talked about a possible renewal, Paterno said it would be done on his terms. During a 2007 alumni fund raiser, Paterno said “if Pitt would say tomorrow that we’ll play twice up at your place and once down here” the series could continue, stating the financial aspects of playing another home game.
JoePa will most likely be finished coaching Penn State five years from now enabling the rivalry to ensue worry-free.
It will have been 16 years since the two Pennsylvania schools faced off. When Pitt and Penn State meet again in 2016, the rivalry will continue to see who is the king of the Keystone State.