Monday, September 26, 2011

The addition of Pitt to the ACC could help spark old rivalry

Conference realignment kills rivalries.

Syracuse and Georgetown? Goodbye. Texas and Texas A&M? Thank you for your time. Pitt and West Virginia? You cannot use our backyard anymore. Sure, the prevailing though is that "fans will get over it" and that "new rivalries will be born". But do you think Jim Boeheim will want to waste one of his valuble non-conference games by traveling to Georgetown every other year?

Now, it is likely that "The Backyard Brawl" does continue in some fashion. Even if West Virginia stays put, this rivalry is too passionate to dissolve. The profiles of the two schools are too similar to just discontinue competition between each other.

But the addition of the Panthers to the ACC could help spark another non-conference rivalry that has been dormant for some time.

The last time Pittsburgh and Penn State played on the hardwood was 2005. From 2000 to 2005 they played five times, with the Panthers winning four of five. Despite this, The Nittany Lions still hold the edge 78-68 in a series that dates back to 1905. In fact, the two schools played each other every year from 1935 to 1982. But since '82, in which Penn State won in double-overtime 52-46, the schools have faced just seven times, including the 1992 N.I.T game .

Pittsburgh and Penn State are the two largest universities in the state of Pennsylvania, separated by just 140 miles. While Pitt's success comes on the court and Penn State the gridiron, a rebirth of this rivalry in both sports would be a good thing for the state, the universities and the conferences.


What better way to welcome Pittsburgh to the ACC/Big-10 Challenge than with a tilt against their in-state rivals. Of all the cross-conference challenges that exists, the ACC/Big-Ten Challenge is the only one that is held in high regards by the basketball community. Yes, it's true, the Big East/SEC Invitational is trying to get revitalized, but while Pitt/Tennessee might be a great game, it's nothing more than that. Pitt/Penn State would be a story, an atmosphere, a rivalry.

A meeting between the two schools in the Panther's first ACC/Big-Ten Challenge could revitalize a rivalry that existed for nearly half a century but hasn't been relevant for quite a while.

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