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LAST CALL? Penn State adds another notch to prank war with Pitt … as series shutdown looms

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Unless the two schools come together on a long-term agreement in the coming months, the Penn State-Pitt football rivalry could unfortunately replicate the dissipation of Texas vs. Texas A&M.

The prankmasters at Penn State are certainly ready for Saturday’s showdown with in-state rival Pittsburgh.

When clicking on the Web site “PennStateRejects.com” … it automatically redirects to the University of Pittsburgh’s primary education portal.

(Please don’t ask us if this prank was an elaborate hoax, or simply a two-second flip of the switch.)

It’s a harmless prank, for sure; but it also comes with a tinge of sadness.

Unless the two schools come together on a long-term agreement in the coming months, the Penn State-Pitt football rivalry could unfortunately replicate the dissipation of Texas vs. Texas A&M — a pair of heated rivals that parted ways on the field in 2011 (after the Aggies joined the SEC) — with no scheduled games on the horizon and minimal motivation to reconvene the relationship.

And therein lies the crux of the matter:

Sure, Penn State (Big Ten) and Pittsburgh (ACC) have football lives to lead in different conferences — unlike the uber-dominant independent days of the 1970s and 80s — but there’s no excuse for Pennsylvania’s biggest programs ignoring one another in football.

The Pitt-Penn State rivalry began in 1893 with the Nittany Lions grinding out a 12-0 victory.

The ‘shutout’ theme would become popular over the next nine years, with Penn State allowing zero points five times from 1893-1902. (In case you’re wondering, Grover Cleveland began his second non-concurrent term as U.S. president in 1893.)

In fact, for that inaugural six-game span, the Nittany Lions outscored the Panthers by a cumulative tally of 167-4.

Pittsburgh finally got a grip on the rivalry from 1913-38, going 20-1-2 during this prolific stretch.

After that, however, Penn State recaptured command of the series, never surrendering more than three straight wins and enjoying a 25-8-1 mark since 1966, coinciding with the early days of Joe Paterno’s tenure in Happy Valley (409 career victories, two national titles, three Big Ten championships).

How will the geniuses at Pitt respond to Penn State’s Web prank? We’ll find out over the next 48 hours.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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