Why Two Years of Pitt-Penn State is Enough

Reader mikeo90 comments on the recent news about Pitt-Penn State renewing the rivalry:

Very exciting -- and very unexpected -- news broke this afternoon when it was announced that Pitt and Penn State will renew their dormant rivalry with a home-and-home series for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.  After hearing the news this afternoon, I bumbled through my remaining few hours at work in a state of stunned euphoria.  The lore of this great game, which I grew up around, but only vaguely experienced as a kid, will finally be tangible to me.  That's great and that's why I'm so looking forward to this.  However what makes me most excited?  The series is only for two years.  That's ideal, as this should not be a long-term agreement.  

I'm without question one of the biggest Pitt fans you'll ever come across, but I'm thrilled this is just a two-year deal.  Disgruntled fans are already out there, calling for the series to be resumed past the 2017 game.  These people are simply foolish.  It doesn't need to be and it shouldn't be.  Pitt has 12 games during their regular season, around which to build a schedule.  Beginning in 2012, with TCU joining the Big East, Pitt will play eight conference games (WVU, Cincy, TCU, Syracuse, Rutgers, USF, UConn, and Louisville).  That leaves Pitt (and Penn State, because they also play eight conference games) with four "flexible" games.  For Pitt, two of those games typically go to smaller schools from mid-major conferences.  While these match-ups may not be the most riveting for fans, they're nice warm-up games to ease into the more consequential in-conference schedule.  More importantly, they bring solid revenue to the athletic department at almost no cost, because Pitt doesn't have to do a return game.  You don't have to be a financial savant to understand that revenue with few costs equals nice profit, so the fluff games aren't going anywhere.  That leaves two games on the schedule, one of which goes to storied Notre Dame, who have a deal in place with Pitt through at least 2015.  Add that up and it gives you one remaining game.  Sure, that slot could go to Penn State (assuming they would agree to it, which they wouldn't) but that would mean the Panthers would play the same schedule EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.  Sorry, but I'm no fan of that.  I like playing Utah from out west.  I like playing Big Ten power Iowa.  Suiting up against the heros from Navy is always cool.  Virginia Tech comes to Heinz Field in 2012.  I'd much prefer to play a different schedule every year, with new opponents and fresh logos, than the same damn thing year in and year out.  Even if that means passing on a long-term renewal of the Pitt - Penn State game. 

A two year set for the Pennsyvlania Classic is perfect.  It sparks excitement among two hungry fanbases and reinvigorates one of college football's classic rivalries, while giving both schools remaining flexibilty in their schedules.  A game here, a game there - sure.  But extending the series annually just isn't good business. 

Here's to raising the gold & blue on high on September 10, 2016.

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