Share This Page

Penn State's O'Brien would welcome return of Pitt rivalry

| Friday, May 4, 2012, 7:36 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Penn State's new head football coach Bill O'Brien coaches during the Blue-White scrimmage at Beaver Stadium in University Park on April 21, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Pitt and Penn State are set to resume a once-storied football rivalry in 2016.

If new Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien has anything to say about it, the archrivals will meet more than just the two times they agreed to last year during a thaw in relations between the two programs.

“I would love to see that game played on an annual basis,” O'Brien told the Tribune-Review on Friday. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Pitt coach) Paul Chryst and their program, and that's a great rivalry. For the fans of Pennsylvania to be able to see that game every year, I think that's pretty neat.”

Not that anything is simple when it comes to the rivalry that once was one of the preeminent ones in college football.

The schools haven't met since 2000, and they haggled over terms of scheduling after Penn State accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten in 1991. Pitt, a member of the Big East, moves to the ACC next year.

Like Penn State, Pitt has a limited number of openings on its schedule for nonconference opponents. Penn State has traditionally scheduled an extra home game per season since its football program largely underwrites the school's athletic department.

The schools will stage a home-and-home series later this decade with Penn State visiting Heinz Field in 2016, and Pitt traveling to Beaver Stadium the following season.

“I think it should be an annual rivalry,” said O'Brien, who was hired by Penn State on Jan. 6. “I think it's about both schools wanting to do it and making it happen.”

O'Brien has more immediate concerns than the Pitt-Penn State rivalry.

The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator has to pick a starting quarterback after Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Sto-Rox graduate Paul Jones competed for the job this spring. O'Brien said he anticipates naming two finalists in a couple of weeks and having them compete for the starting job during preseason practice.

Penn State's assistant coaches have been on the road recruiting since the conclusion of spring practice two weeks ago. O'Brien said he wants to meet with some of those coaches before making a decision on the quarterback position.

“I'm not a big two-quarterback guy,” O'Brien said. “If another guy can help us in certain areas, then we'll do it, but for the most part we'll be a one-quarterback team.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.