Penn State and Pitt haven’t played in football since 2019 and have played only four times since 2000.
If one were to ask a PSU fan why this is the case, they’ll likely say something along the lines of “we don’t need Pitt.”
Penn State is nearly sold out today against Villanova. PSU doesn’t need Pitt. The only way Pitt is selling out is if they play Penn State. They better stick with Western Michigan’s of the world. Programs haven’t been close for the last 10 years if not longer. No point for PSU https://t.co/dJcZmz9QD2
— Taylor Kinsey (@taylor_gang152) September 25, 2021
If one asks the same question to a Pitt fan, they’ll probably say something similar to what 93.7 The Fan’s Adam Crowley said on the Pittsburgh sports station’s morning show Tuesday.
For Crowley, a West Virginia University graduate and fan, PSU and Pitt don’t play anymore because PSU is afraid of it’s in-state rival.
“Oh, yeah, Penn State’s scared to play Pitt,” Crowley said.
“They’re too good to play ‘that game.’”
Oh, I don't just think that. It's absolutely the case. https://t.co/FQgk2OHmCj
— Adam Crowley (@_adamcrowley) August 22, 2023
Crowley’s claim drew predictable reactions from both fanbases.
Like Delaware and UMass on homecoming.
— The Loyal Sons (@TheLoyalSons) August 22, 2023
Sooooo scared 😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/8Wa4SwggYU
— Rant Bruschi (@RantBruschi101) August 22, 2023
Jimbo Franklin has already said he wants to water down the schedule so get ready for ticket prices to increase while PSU plays an OOC schedule of Villanova, Coastal Carolina and Latrobe High School
— Jawn Cangelosi (Rate Limit Exceeded) (@JiveNarduzzi) August 22, 2023
PSU fans are happy to point out that PSU went 3-1 against Pitt in the rivalries’ renewal from 2016-19, featuring 2018’s 51-6 PSU win in Pittsburgh. Pitt fans will point out that Penn State has scheduled programs such as West Virginia, Delaware, UMass, Ohio and Marshall on its non conference slate, but not Pitt.
The Pitt-Penn State rivalry dates back to 1893 and has featured 100 meetings, with Penn State winning 53, losing 43 and tying four. When Penn State started playing in the Big Ten in 1993, the meetings became far less frequent. The series have a brief revival from 1997-2000 and than the aforementioned 2016-19 run, with Penn State taking three of four meetings in both of them.
More recently, each program has had success and stability. Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi has been running the program since 2015 and has a 41-25 record in the ACC. Penn State’s James Franklin’s been the boss since 2014. His time at Penn State’s featured a Big Ten title (2016) and four New Year’s Six bowl appearances, with a 3-1 record in those games.
PSU and Pitt have each had moments of glory over the past two seasons. Pitt won the ACC for the first time in 2021 and Penn State won the Rose Bowl at the end of last season.
If PSU and Pitt were to play this season, the game would generated much interest across the state. But because they aren’t, social media debates and subtle jabs by coaches will have to do.