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