Penn State, WVU to renew football series in 2023
College Football Videos
When Freeport native Eric Ravotti was a standout linebacker at Penn State, the Nittany Lions were in the midst of their 43rd, 44th, 45th and 46th consecutive seasons in which they played West Virginia.
“It almost felt like a Western Pa. football game,” Ravotti said. “You were playing against kids you know, kids you played against in high school.”
More than 21 years since their most recent meeting, Penn State and West Virginia on Thursday announced they will play again — but not until the layoff reaches 31 years.
The Lions and Mountaineers resume a long-dormant football series with a home-and-home in 2023 and '24, with each school getting an opportunity to open its season against a former traditional eastern rival in its home stadium.
WVU will play at Penn State on Sept. 2, 2023, and the Lions will return the favor the following Aug. 31 at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“I know how exciting it was to play in Beaver Stadium and to have the Nittany Lions come to Morgantown,” former West Virginia quarterback and current athletic director Oliver Luck said in a press release.
“Both universities have rich traditions and history, and to be able to revive the memories and the fun is what makes college football so special.”
For both Penn State and West Virginia, the other is its third-most common football opponent (Pitt and Syracuse rank 1-2 for each). Penn State has lost just nine of 59 meetings with two ties. The series dates to 1904, including a game every year from 1947-1992.
“The renewal of our West Virginia rivalry is a series our alumni and fans have wanted to see on our future schedules,” Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said in a release. “I am appreciative of the efforts of Oliver Luck in getting our two schools together again.”
The Lions' conference schedule expands to nine games in 2016, the first season Penn State regains its bowl eligibility under the current NCAA sanctions. The Big Ten, joining a major conference trend, has announced it intends to schedule stronger nonconference opponents.
Schedule strength is significant under the criteria for selection for the four-team college football playoff that begins next season. The West Virginia game pairs with a meeting against Virginia Tech Sept. 16 to make for a strong Beaver Stadium nonconference schedule in 2023.
West Virginia is in its second season in the Big 12 after playing in the Big East since 1991. The Mountaineers regularly play Maryland out of conference and will open next season against Alabama in a neutral-site game at Atlanta's Georgia Dome. The closest conference rival to WVU in terms of proximity is Iowa State — a 13-hour drive.
“I think the renewal of this (Penn State) series will be great for the fan bases of the two schools as both locations provide an easy drive,” Luck said.
Penn State in recent years has reunited with some of its old rivals from its independent days. The Lions will play Pitt — a team they've faced just four times since 1992 — each season from 2016-19.
Penn State also played Syracuse for the third time in six years Aug. 31, and Maryland and Rutgers will join the Big Ten next season.
“It's nice to know that someone cares enough they take the time to make some of these games happen,” said Ravotti, a four-year Penn State starter who now is head football coach at Fox Chapel. “Anything that relates to Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia getting together again is good for the kids, great for the team and great for the region in general.”
Show commenting policy
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.
- Rossi: Beleaguered Steelers need MVP from Big Ben
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in 43-19 preseason loss at Bills
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Happ’s strong start, Ramirez’s homer pace Pirates past Rockies
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle’s faith in Polanco pays off
- QB Vick hits ground running in debut
- Architecture: Pittsburgh history in 10 houses
- Biertempfel: Pittsburgh native faced quick learning curve as Marlins GM
- Pitt star running back Conner remains grounded despite success
- Starting 9: Pirates place renewed emphasis on nabbing base-stealers
- Pennsylvania welfare employees targeted in crackdown