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Could Pitt and Penn State extend football series?

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Pitt and Penn State haven't even begun their most recent four-game series and already, it seems, there's talk of extending it.

Adam Bittner, who you might remember from this site and is now a writer for the Post-Gazette, took a look at a possible extension. As he noted, James Franklin and Pat Narduzzi, the Penn State and Pitt coaches, respectively, have expressed some interest (or, in Franklin's case, broached the possibility) of extending the four-game series set to begin next season.

Both schools have fairly new administration and the question is just how interested is each side in making this more than a four-game pact. Despite the change in leadership, I expect that Pitt will play Penn State for as long as they can. That's based on nothing more than Narduzzi's comments, the history of the Panthers pursuing that game, and the fact that it just makes good sense - particularly for Pitt, which will add guaranteed sellouts with the home contests.

Penn State's position is a little less clear. But what is known is that the Nittany Lions are much more interested in playing the game than before since the series was jumpstarted after a long absence.

As Adam notes, Pitt has some issues with the Notre Dame game eating up a non-conference contest and any desire that may be there to renew the West Virginia series. But my guess is that Penn State would move to the front of the line in terms of priorities for scheduling.

To the Mountaineers thing, too - Narduzzi's recent comments pretty much show you the priority of adding West Virginia to the schedule in relation to Penn State. While Narduzzi said he hoped Pitt and Penn State played for the next 44 years after this four-year pact, there's never been that kind of statement from him or the school administration regarding West Virginia. Whenever the Mountaineers are brought up, it's always a 'we'll see' kind of deal. It's clear that the Panthers continue to show far more desire to play the Nittany Lions.

Whether or not a long-term deal gets done is beyond me. But with both sides appearing willing to discuss it, it's not the long shot that it was even a few years ago.