Penn State and Pittsburgh will play for the first time in 16 years on Saturday at Heinz Field, and the build-up to the game has sparked the age-old debate of what constitutes a rivalry.
While many across the state of Pennsylvania are happy to see the two state universities back on the field, others aren’t so sure the game deserves the “rivalry” tag. From that camp comes this take from Penn State student-run blog Onward State.
Pitt, at least in its current state, is simply not good enough to be Penn State's rival. We deserve better. https://t.co/2o9M5VFKJ9
— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 8, 2016
Here’s an excerpt from the column, written by Penn State student Mike Reisman:
In my four years, I have never seen this amount of mutual trash talk between fan bases, nor have I ever seen students so invested in getting to a game played away from Beaver Stadium — or even in Beaver Stadium for that matter. This seems to be the rivalry for Penn State.
And yet, I feel very little. I think, aside from the western PA crowd, a lot of people share my sentiment — even if they engage in all the pre-game chatter with our comrades to the west. Because at the end of the day, Pitt simply has not been relevant to Penn State for a long time.
This seems to have re-opened an entirely different can of worms. If not Pitt, who exactly is Penn State’s rival? It’s an identity crisis Penn State has faced since it joined the conference in the early 1990s.
Here’s some of the reaction from around Big Ten Twitter:
Penn State vs. Michigan? They do play for a trophy, after all.
— mgoblog (@mgoblog) September 8, 2016
y'all are already playing for THE LAND GRANT TROPHY, what else do you want https://t.co/0J2t4WS8kh
— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) September 8, 2016
Penn State vs. Ohio State?
Don’t do this, fam https://t.co/kzUmRijoLh
— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) September 8, 2016
As for Penn State-Pitt?
Pitt is favored. https://t.co/kGUrXzFSUy
— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) September 8, 2016
Pitt is a six-point favorite. https://t.co/FI03dlJgLG
— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) September 8, 2016
Fun fact: Since 2000 Penn State has averaged just .437 wins more per season than Pitt (just 7 more wins in total) https://t.co/NjnNyPc6rO
— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) September 8, 2016
Man, I'm not sure Little Brothering a program now coached by a disciple of Little Brother U is a wise move https://t.co/SpYoRdLnQx
— Ramzy Nasrallah (@ramzy) September 8, 2016
Pitt hasn't earned the right to make the Tax Slayer Bowl and lose to a terrible Georgia team. One day, they might. https://t.co/aVhGhwPDDP
— Thomas Beindit (@tbeindit) September 8, 2016
Pitt is Penn State's rival. Thanks.
— Sam Cooper (@SamDCooper) September 8, 2016
A history lesson is always helpful.
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB) September 8, 2016