Penn State and Pitt are renewing their longstanding rivalry this fall.
But don’t expect the Nittany Lions to add Syracuse to their schedule anytime soon, new Orange coach Dino Babers said Friday at ACC media days. The two programs played every year from 1922-1990 and then again in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
“Someone told me that Syracuse University has the eighth toughest schedule in the country, and that for the next two years we will absolutely be in the top 10,” Babers said. “When you’re playing a schedule like that and you’re rebuilding a football team, I’m not quite sure we should add Penn State just yet.
“So give us a little time. Let us work it around a little bit and we’ll see what we can do about the Nittany Lions.”
Big Ten teams now play nine conference games, limiting the ability to bring back old rivalries.
But one of Penn State’s most notable football traditions started against Syracuse. During Homecoming Weekend, students and alumni guard the school’s Nittany Lion Shrine throughout the night to protect it from opposing fans’ vandalism. From LionsAmbassadors.com, Penn State’s tour guide group:
One of the best known stories about guarding the Lion Shrine comes from when Sue Paterno and a friend covered the shrine in orange latex paint to incite interest in [the 1966] homecoming football game against Syracuse. They left the scene in a getaway car because they thought they had been spotted by campus police. The paint washed off easily, but Syracuse fans later doused the shrine oil-based paint, making the removal process much more difficult.
Penn State holds a 43-25-5 edge in the series and won each game from 1971-1986.
Syracuse didn’t sell out the Carrier Dome when the two teams met in 2008, a 55-13 Lions win. The two teams played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey in 2013, a 23-17 Penn State victory.