PSU: No room for Pitt on schedule
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley said Wednesday that Big Ten expansion and a limited number of open dates for non-conference games will make it difficult to restart the Pitt/PSU football series through the 2021 season.
Curley said discussions are underway that could result in a nine-game conference schedule — compared to the current eight — when Nebraska joins the Big Ten next year. Penn State also has unannounced, tentative agreements for non-conference games, said Jeff Nelson, the assistant athletic director for communications.
"That is one of the challenges I am struggling with as we contemplate going to nine conference games," Curley said. "That reduces your ability to move around the country to make these games happen."
Games that are scheduled include visits to Temple next year and Virginia in 2012. Penn State also recently announced a game against Syracuse in 2013 in the New Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., and a home-and-home series in 2020 and 2021.
"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.
"We had a really great series with Pitt and, certainly, with all our alumni in (Western Pennsylvania), we do hear it."
Curley, who said Penn State must schedule seven home games for budgetary purposes, said he talked with former Pitt athletic director Jeff Long about a renewal of the series. There have been no such discussions since Steve Pederson replaced Long in 2007, he said.
Pederson said Pitt's stance hasn't changed since the series ended after the Panthers' 12-0 victory in 2000 at Three Rivers Stadium.
"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."