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Pitt and Penn State Playing? Of Course Not.

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We all knew Pitt and Penn State weren’t playing anytime soon. The teams haven’t played in about 10 years, so frankly, I’m pretty much over it. I’d prefer they play, but I can live with it – basically because I've lived with it since 2000. What does irk me, however, is Penn State saying the series isn’t happening because of other series. PSU AD Tim Curley has particularly drawn my ire because he says, in a nutshell, he’s pulled in too many different directions by alumni:

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“There are 500,000 Penn State alumni, and, depending on where I am, whatever part of the country, I am catching it everywhere,” Curley said. "Our alums on the West Coast, which we have a lot of, want us to come out and play out there. We have a great base in Florida, and they want us to play there.

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Look, we get it. Seriously. Penn State has people everywhere. But if his argument about being spread too thin was really the holdup in playing Pitt, then why hasn’t Penn State spread the opportunities out to appease as many alumni as possible? Why did they play, say, Temple and Syracuse several times in the last decade rather than spreading the love to Pitt or even other schools? Penn State has its reasons for wanting more than a 1-1 with Pitt … and frankly, is perfectly within its rights to make the best deal possible for their school and seek out specific opportunities which allow for that. But fans also have the right to grow weary of hearing poor excuses such as the one Curley continually lays out.

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Pitt AD Steve Pedersen should also share the blame for statements such as these:

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“We would like to play the game every year,” he said. “We are scheduled for a while, but we would fit them in the future. If they are interested in talking about the game, we are interested in talking about the game.”

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What kind of blanket-statement nonsense is that? “If they are interested in talking about the game, we are interested in talking about the game?” It doesn’t exactly sound like Pedersen is reaching out to Penn State. This is what his statement should say:

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We want to play Penn State. Desperately. It would be great for fans of both schools. We’ve been knocking down their door each year asking to set up a game. Unfortunately, we’ve been able to get anything done. It’s frustrating not only for us, but for our fans. We’re committed to doing whatever possible to resume the series and hope they feel the same way.

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Problem is, Pedersen can’t make that statement. Why? Because according to the Trib article, Pitt and PSU have had exactly zero discussions since former Pitt AD Jeff Long departed. For Steve Pedersen to not actively pursue something that Long did is ludicrous. Even if Penn State doesn’t want to play, it’s Pedersen’s job to, at the very least, knock on the door.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.