Dunlap: Time To Move On From Penn State for Pitt

Colin Dunlap
March 07, 2018 - 1:22 pm
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi and PSU coach James Franklin

Matthew O'Haren-USA Today Sports

Just move on. Forget about it. It's OK -- the world isn't going to end and both programs will continue to exist. 

To me, there has been very little as mind-numbing and time-wasting as the talk about the continuation of the Pitt-Penn State football "rivalry" which, to be frank, doesn't register as a rivalry all that much any more. This ain't 1976. 

The teams happen to be located in the same state, they sometimes go after the same recruits and Pittsburgh is a place full of alum from both places. Those things don't constitute a "rivalry" to me. Pitt and Penn State, at this point, are just a couple of teams from big conferences playing each other four consecutive times in the early-portion of the schedule. That's it, Fort Pitt. 

Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi speak of the Penn State game --- which will be played this coming season and next as it wraps up a four-year agreement --- when he joined our Fan Morning Show on Wednesday. 

"Obviously, the Penn State game is meaningful to the state," Narduzzi said. "We've got two more years of Penn State, I know [Pitt athletics director] Heather Lyke has worked her tail off on trying to get them. There's got to be a marriage, they've got to want to play us as well. I don't see that right now, but we'll find out here soon. Penn State right now has declined, as of today, and we'll find out where they are."

Those are strong words and, to be 100 percent forthright, words that point in the direction of a whole we-want-to-play-them-and-they-won't-do-it blame game. I get where Narduzzi is coming from and, for some there is value in the game being played annually, but I think I have finally reached the point where I wonder a couple things:

- Does this game benefit Penn State all that much? Certainly some of the Penn State people I know are haughty, not very self-aware and scream of pretentiousness, but what benefit does playing Pitt have for Penn State right now? Pitt is a team that's in-state and their kids will get up for the Penn State game in big fashion. Pitt is also a team just good enough that they might jump up and beat Penn State on occasion. But, as it is currently constructed and in the current states of the two programs, Penn State won't gain all that much from a win over Pitt --- and right now Penn State should beat Pitt. To me, I can see where Franklin and Co. see playing Pitt as a whole lot to lose and not a lot to gain. 

- I also wonder why a certain faction of the Pitt fans feel such an unyielding need to be validated in a sense by having Penn State on the schedule. Look, if they want to play, they want to play --- if they don't, they don't. Just move on, schedule someone else and try to grab wins and create excitement where you can. To me, that should be the focus as it is quite clear Penn State seems to be calling the shots in this on again/off again agreement. If you are Pitt's administration, the time has come to offer a hard and fast agreement and tell Penn State you want an answer. Do you want to play or don't you. No more fiddling around. The answer is simply yes or no and we need to know now. If the answer is no, then Pitt simply moves on and schedules someone else. I'm not understanding why this has dragged out so long. 

Look, college football is going to continue. The world will move on. Saturdays will still be filled with football whether you root for Pitt or Penn State. That said, the drama has been enough, the drawn out nature of the 'will they or won't they play' has become tedious. Pitt should either get a firm "yes" or just move on. It's time.