Could The Next Penn State Pitt Matchup Be At A Neutral Site?

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STATE COLLEGE -- Penn State will host Pittsburgh for the 100th matchup between the two Keystone State programs on Saturday at Noon.

When they’ll meet again, nobody knows.

The two sides are not scheduled to play again after this weekend for the foreseeable future, as the Beaver Stadium contest concludes a four-game agreement between the two sides that gave each of them a pair of home games starting with a Panthers win at Heinz Field back in 2016.

As kickoff nears in 2019, questions loom regarding when the longtime foes might meet again.

Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi would like to see the series continue, and PSU head coach James Franklin isn’t opposed to it, though he recognized the challenges presented by the Big Ten’s nine-game in-conference model while the ACC plays just eight conference games. In the College Football Playoff era, Penn State has focused on having one Power-5 peer on its non-conference schedule and two Group of 5 schools, and the Lions are booked up on that front under that philosophy until at least 2026.

Thus, a rekindling of a rivalry that seems to mean more to lettermen and veteran fans than it does to current players and those from younger generations might take some time. Franklin does have an idea to eventually bring it back, however, albeit in a unique format.


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“I could see us possibly maybe doing a neutral site game with them,” Franklin said Tuesday. "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.”

According to Matt Brown of The Athletic, PSU and Pitt have played outside of State College or Pittsburgh just twice, as they met in Bellefonte all the way back in 1900 and 1901. The town is no longer a feasible option, and venues in places like Altoona, St. Francis, or even Washington, Pa., figure to be too small. Hersheypark Stadium likely is, as well, and the minor league baseball stadiums all over the state probably would not be fits for any number of reasons.

That said, it’s an interesting idea if nothing else in a day and age where schools want to host as many home games as possible, which can make scheduling series, or even one-off games, challenging.

Could it happen in the future? Time will tell, but the conversations, both between the two schools and also from fans wondering when a rematch might take place, aren’t likely to stop anytime soon.

“Of course, we all want to play this game,” Narduzzi said. "It’s just a close game. We’re going to jump on the bus on Friday, it’s close enough to get on a bus. We don’t have to go wait at an airport, don’t have to go through customs, we don’t have to do anything. We don’t have to empty our pockets. We jump on a bus and we go. So we certainly want to play that game. But it doesn’t matter. And it’s a big game.

“It’s another game for us, but it’s a big game because it’s a rivalry game, in state. You know, again, I’m going to emphasize to our kids, you might be the last team to ever get to play this game. It might be. I don’t know if it’ll be played. I’m either going to be in a coffin or retired probably, so I don’t know which one it’ll be."

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Source : https://www.pennlive.com/pennstatefootball/2019/09/could-the-next-penn-state-pitt-matchup-be-at-a-neutral-site.html

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