"I would love to see that game played on an annual basis," O’Brien told the Tribune-Review on Friday. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Pitt coach) Paul Chryst and their program, and that’s a great rivalry. For the fans of Pennsylvania to be able to see that game every year, I think that’s pretty neat."
So we're again at the same place - is there room for Penn State on the schedule every year?Sadly, probably not. In the Big East, Pitt had nothing but space on the schedule since they played only seven conference games. With five openings for non-conference games, we've seen almost everyone under the sun: Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Iowa, not to mention the usual I-AA squads and MAC teams. I, for one, will miss that much flexibility in the schedule. Pitt was really able to not only schedule some quality teams, but also a few guaranteed wins along the way.
In the ACC, though, Pitt won't have nearly as much room, as we've discussed ad nauseum. And when you throw in the fact that Pitt has really made Notre Dame a priority, things get even tighter if the Irish are going to be an annual opponent. And, oh yeah, there's that whole Backyard Brawl thing to consider - though, Pitt has seemed lukewarm when that topic's been broached.
With only three non-conference games and the need for at least one or two lesser foes, it's pretty easy to see that there's no chance Notre Dame, Penn State, and West Virginia can all be annual opponents.
I've thrown out the idea before that Pitt should rotate the three on some regular schedule, but that would also depend on the availability of the other schools - each of which have their own opponents they'd like to schedule as well. Personally, I'd like to see one less ACC game to allow teams four non-conference games.That would open things up a bit. But if that doesn't happen, I'd lean towards wanting to see Pitt go the route of two cupcakes and one of the three aforementioned teams each year. The downside to that is that Pitt will only have a home game with each team every six years.
I doubt that would be the popular opinion, but with a more difficult schedule in the ACC as it is, I'd prefer to make the non-conference a little easier.