There’s already been enough drama this week in advance of the Pitt-Penn State game to last an entire season.
First, there was some mixed messages regarding Pitt’s injuries.
There was Pitt playing things close to the vest by not changing the depth chart at all this week despite some possible health issues.
There was head coach Pat Narduzzi closing off all media access to players.
There’s Narduzzi avoiding talk of a potential use of Jordan Whitehead on offense.
And on the other side, there’s plenty, too. James Franklin and company barely acknowledging Pitt’s presence. Fans are trying to organize a white out for a road contest. And there are hot takes about how Penn State is too good for Pitt.
It’s late and we’re almost at game day, but another wrinkle was added earlier this afternoon. Behold, I give you our fearless leader, Scott Barnes dropping this knowledge to no doubt rub salt into a wound:
Visiting team returned tickets for tomorrow. Will be making them available for Panther Nation. Stay tuned. #H2P— Scott Barnes (@PittADBarnes) September 9, 2016
Now, Barnes’ tweet is funny on a few levels. First, there’s the obvious - that Penn State returned tickets for the game. Penn State was quick to point out that these were tickets from special groups that didn’t use their entire allotment and, as was later reported, that number was 59 tickets. Some groups may not use them all, but you’d also expect for a game this size that someone finds a way to take them. Obviously, Penn State didn’t open them up for sale, etc., since they surely would have been gone. So this is a case of some student groups, etc., not using them up. It’s just sort of funny given that it’s such a hot ticket right now.
Pitt, of course, was happy to take the tickets and sold them within a very short time.
Two other things were interesting here as well. First, it’s sort of amusing that Barnes doesn’t refer to the opponent as Penn State - simply calling them the visiting team, which of course sounds like a rub on some Nittany Lions fans claiming they will have a home type atmosphere at the game.
The even more subtle potential jab is the time of Barnes’ tweet, which was sent at exactly 1:07 p.m. On the surface, that seems trivial, but could be a dig at Penn State, which constantly refers to themselves as 107K strong, a nod to their attendance at sold out games.
Did Barnes tweet at that specific time for that reason? I would be surprised if ever admitted to that and it very well could have simply been coincidence. But given everything that’s gone down between the two sides, good luck convincing some fans of that.