— Despite my dislike for Penn State (fans), I still follow the program and watch most, if not all their games. Today, I will have my Pitt t-shirt jersey on as the Panthers host the Nittany Lions at Heinz Field for the battle of Pennsylvania. This is the 96th meeting between the two teams, the first in 16 years, with PSU leading the series 50-42-4. Here are some crazy facts from the rivalry, definitely worth the click.
I remember looking forward to this game every year growing up, but when Pitt joined Big East in 1991 and the Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, the annual rivalry was discontinued. They briefly revived the series from 97-00, but troubles in scheduling and rumors of Joe Paterno being against playing them annually grinded the the series to a halt.
There have been some great games over the years, but none more than in 1981. Described as the worst loss in Pitt history, Dan Marino led the top ranked Panthers against the 11th-ranked Nittany Lions. At one point that season, the Nits were ranked 1 and the Panthers 2, but losses to Miami and Alabama tossed them out of the top 10.
If Pitt wins the game, they are off to play for the National Championship in the Sugar Bowl. Early on it looked like it was going to be a route, as Marino led the Panthers to two early touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead. But then Penn State scored 48 unanswered points and Pitt’s heart was forever broken
— I’m not going to pretend that I know much about this season’s Pitt team and I’m still learning about Penn State. A great Penn State Blog, Black Shoe Diaries, gives an in-depth preview of the game. I’m not sure it should be a good game, but I guess it could be a good game. Either way, I’ll be paying attention….while I’m sitting at the beach.