- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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You already knew the Penn State-Pitt rivalry would resume in 2016. It's going to last a while, too.
The two schools announced Friday that two additional games have been schedule for 2018 and 2019, so the Nittany Lions and Panthers will meet in four consecutive seasons.
Here's the breakdown:
2016: at Pitt
2017: at Penn State
2018: at Pitt
2019: at Penn State
The schools played every season from 1900-31 and from 1935-92. Pitt and Penn State met from 1997-2000 but haven't faced one another since. Penn State leads the all-time series 48-42-4 (first meeting: 1893, two Penn State wins were vacated).
"We are thrilled to have the University of Pittsburgh back on the schedule for several consecutive years," Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said in a prepared statement. "Regional rivalries in college football are special. I have been involved in a few as a coach. Penn State versus Pitt is a rivalry rich with history and tradition. We have a great deal of respect for Paul Chryst and the Pitt Panther football program and we are looking forward to competing against them on the gridiron."
I'm guessing most Penn State fans are fired up about the news. Penn State's four-year postseason ban expires after the 2015 season, so the Lions will be aiming for bigger goals when they face Pitt.
The interesting thing to monitor is whether the Big Ten goes from eight to nine conference games with the upcoming expansion. My fear is that more conference games means fewer attractive non-league series like this one. But the bottom line is a rivalry that always made sense will rev up again in 2016.
7hBrian Bennett and Austin Ward