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Penn State Football: Door Not Closed On Penn State/Pitt Series

by on September 10, 2019 3:20 PM

One of the most obvious questions this week is a simple one: When will the next Penn State/Pitt game take place?

With this weekend marking the final meeting in the recent four-game series and the 100th meeting overall, there are no immediate plans to renew one of college football's longest head-to-head rivalries.

But that doesn't mean Saturday will be the last game ever played between these two teams.

"One of the things that no one's really discussed is they play eight conference games. We play nine," Penn State coach James Franklin said on Tuesday. "That factors in to scheduling philosophies. That has an impact on it, and I don't think there's any doubt about it....I think if everybody was on a level playing field, if everybody was playing eight games or everybody was playing nine games, or even everybody was playing ten games, that would help."

"..I could see us possibly maybe doing a neutral site game with them," Franklin added. "I think that's a possibility. You know, we could have discussions. But we've got to be creative about it. Again, the challenges with us that have a ninth conference game and them having eight, there's some problems with home and home."

"But we're open. We're open to having discussions. But it's got to equally make sense for both parties. It's got to make sense for Pitt. It's got to make sense for Penn State. I think this game will be sold out, but we had 104,000 last week, so we're talking about probably an increase of 5,000 or 6,000. So it needs to be consistent for both parties."

In a practical sense Penn State's out of conference schedule is effectively set until 2024 with a single out of conference game left to be scheduled that season. While those schedules can be fluid, a non conference schedule featuring multiple meetings with Auburn and both West Virginia and Virginia Tech seems unlikely to be adjusted for the addition of a cross-state rival.

As for a neutral site, there are limited options that make sense for both programs. A meeting in New York, Philly or Buffalo would appeal to those needs without traveling too far for two programs in the same state.

But as Franklin later noted, the idea of a neutral site game is more a philosophical approach to extending the series than it is a practical solution.

"All I'm saying is we are not closing the door," Franklin said. "We are open to a bunch of different discussions, whether that is home and home, whether that is neutral site, whatever that may be. But it sure would make it a lot easier if we both playing eight conference games or nine conference games. That would help college football and that would help this game, too."

Then again, by the time 2024 and beyond is finally here, who knows what either program will look like, or which coaches and administrators are at the helm.

So enjoy Saturday, but don't say goodbye to the series just yet.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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