Penn State Football: Pittsburgh on the Schedule Does Matter

Kevin McGuireAnalyst IINovember 1, 2016

19 Sep 1998:  Tailback Cordell Mitchell #32 of the Penn State Nittany Lions in action during a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Pitt Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions defeated the Panthers 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stew
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State.

Florida vs. Florida State.


Texas vs. Texas A&M.

Without question, the states of Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and California are home to some of the top talent in college football, and it just seems fitting that they also have some great in-state rivalries to look forward to on an annual basis.

Oregon vs. Oregon State.

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia.

Utah vs. BYU.

Washington vs. Washington State.

Even states with fewer top prospects in the game have some pretty enticing rivalries within the state borders. Maybe the games do not routinely have as much riding on them, but they can still make or break an entire season for many.

Michigan vs. Michigan State.

Alabama vs. Auburn.

It seems as though everywhere you look around the country, every state with two major college football programs has one game everyone can circle on their calendars and prepare for a year's worth of bragging rights.

While Penn State and Temple have made a habit of playing each other over the last few years, it lacks the importance that a series of games between Penn State and Pittsburgh would, and used to, have.

All of that will change in 2016 when the old-time rivals will meet for the first time in 16 years for the first of a home-and-home series. While some Penn State fans have brushed aside the news of the series, it should be noted that this is, and will be, a big deal.

It should continue for a longer stretch of time too.

Two programs in BCS conferences and with alumni throughout the state will generate excitement leading up to and between the games. Recruits will trash-talk and be more inspired to win this game against a program that either didn't believe in them or give them enough credit.

A showcase game like this in the state can be a great recruiting chip in itself. Coaches will get a chance to tell kids that they'll play in the biggest game in the state, and if it can somehow be extended beyond 2017, then it could be a tradition to look forward to.

With all due apologies to Temple, Pittsburgh is the rival Penn State needs.

Penn State vs. Pittsburgh.

It matters.


Kevin McGuire is the national college football writer for Follow his college football discussion on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.