Behind (Not Quite) Enemy Lines

First off, I would like to thank PSUGirl for inviting me to write on her wonderful blog. She may revoke those privilages after a few posts from me.

I graduated from Penn State in 2004 and prior to that I did not follow college football. However, since then, I have become quite a big fan. And a fan living almost entirely in enemy territory. I spent three years in Columbus, OH and recently moved back to Pittsburgh, PA. While living in Columbus, I could understand the HATE coming from the Buckeye fans, though their vitrol was saved largely for scUM fans. But now that I live in Panther land, I don't quite understand the Hate I receive.

I know, as a Penn Stater, I should hate Pitt. But I can't. Maybe it's because a good portion of my family went to Pitt. Maybe it's because I didn't start to follow Penn State until after the series has ended. Whatever the reason, I don't hate Pitt. Strong dislike, sure, but Hate with no fuel does not grow.

This seems to be true of most Penn Staters nowadays. Sure, we all Hate Pitt, but it's kind of like hating the kid that pushed you down on the playground in the first grade when you've graduated from college. What's the point in hating then? You haven't talked to the kid in years and you've ended up with the the better job, house, car, family...seems sort of silly to hate then.

However, Pitt fans seems to HATE Penn State. I was harassed at the Pitt/ND game. Taunted at the local bowling alley. And when I ask why they hate Penn State, their response is always the same, "Because you're too afraid to play us!"

WHAT?! Really? Your hate is because we won't play you? Penn State would love to play Pitt again. It was a wonderful rivalry. And Penn State has made the offer, come to Happy Valley twice and we will return the favor and come to Heinz Field. But Pitt turns it down. Who's afraid to play who?

This inevitably always leads to the great debate about JoePa and PSU greed. And so what? Other than money, what possible benefits could there be for playing Pitt outside of moohlah. Sure, a slightly better OOC schedule. But that is a moot point starting next fall with Alabama, Virginia, and Miami coming up over the next couple years.

And it's not like playing Pitt would greatly improve our OOC that much. Until recently, Pitt, and the Big East, has been highly irrevelant in the BCS. The Big11Ten often looks good thanks to the Big East. Say what you want about the epic fails of Ohio State at the big dance, but they at least are representing the Big11Ten in the BCS Championship game recently. The last time the Big East was represent was in 2001 with Miami before they fled for the ACC. It could be worse Big East, you could be the ACC.

The only was Penn State benefits from playing Pitt is in a lopsided series. Yes, it's about money, but so what. The football program supports all of the other sports at PSU, so I am ok with greed (though, the Women's Volleyball team is starting to rival the football program in attendence I think). Penn State must play eight home games a year. And if you want us to forgo one of those, there better be a great benefit to us. Yet the revenue generated from playing Pitt in Pittsburgh would barely be enough to pay for our boys to get there and back. Heck, Pitt has an average football attendence of 48,000 in 2008, one of the best years Pitt has had in awhile. PSU averaged 108,000 in 2008. There would probably be more PSU fans in attendance and State would get none of the money.

So again, why should PSU play Pitt again? And please, back up that Hate with some facts Pitt fans.

Oh, and get ready to hate us more. Rumor has it we're playing WVU pretty soon.


WFY said...

Pitt hosted something like 65% of the meetings in the series, so their demand for home-and-home is downright hypocritical. They need us more than we need them.

PSUgirl said...

Yea Amanda!

When I was growing up Penn Staters really disliked Pitt. It was a constant, you rooted for Penn State and whoever was playing Pitt that week. As a kid, I learned how to swear by reading, and repeating, certain bumper stickers/shirts/pins.

But even I was surprised to discover that the pitt "students" had basically re-written the words to their fight song to chant about their own breed of hatred for Penn State - and that they sang the words no matter the opponent.

As you wrote, most Penn Staters have kinda "let it go" - joining the Big 10 has a lot to do with it; every week is a "big game" and having a whole new group of "rivals" leaves little ire left for the panthers.