Penn State and Pittsburgh have an agreement in place to play four football games between 2016 and 2019. What started out as a two-year schedule agreement was expanded to four games and it looks as though there is a discussion to make this an even longer standing agreement than initially expected. As the ACC is holding annual conference meetings, Pittsburgh Athletics Director Steve Pederson told ESPN's Brett McMurphy he is "very optimistic" this could become a reality.
Pitt AD Steve Pederson told me he's "very optimistic" Panthers will renew series w/Penn State— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 14, 2013
I realize this can be a polarizing issue for many Penn State and Pittsburgh fans, but I'm going to just say this...
My thinking here is pretty simple in concept, I would like to think. With the ACC and Big Ten moving to 14 members each in 2014 (ACC will be at 14 this season with additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, Big Ten next year with Maryland and Rutgers), scheduling is starting to get more complex for all parties involved. The Big Ten moving to nine-game schedules is going to make it difficult for some schedules to come together on a routine basis. Fans of both schools may prefer to see more games against bigger name opponents when possible, but there is mutual interest to be had by having Penn State and Pittsburgh continue to play each other.
For starters, it is a great recruiting tool. Having the states top two college football programs go toe-to-toe will spice up some recruiting battles and a potentially annual game will be seen as an opportunity to have a terrific bargaining chip on the recruiting table across the state. Interest in the two programs could benefit as a result. Or Ohio State could just swoop in and crush them both. Hey, it's something.
Second, having an annual clash of Big Ten and ACC schools will be good for the conferences and the schools. The strength of schedule would ideally be boosted on both sides, and if that is going to be a larger part of the College Football Playoff model, why not ensure any power conference opponent you can?
Third, it allows Penn State and Pitt to ensure one more game on the schedule within decent proximity. Under nine-game schedules, Penn State will be looking at losing a potential home game every other year. Playing games in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh won't cause much of a headache in terms of hitting the road in non-conference play. Pittsburgh will not have a nine-game schedule issue to worry about, at least not any time too soon. But the possibility will always remain.
How would you feel about seeing Penn State and Pittsburgh play on an annual basis? Are you in favor of it or not? Have your voice heard in the comment section.