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Football: Penn State officials doubtful of restarting series with Pitt

Saturday, June 01, 2002

By Ray Fittipaldo, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Penn State is nearing an agreement to resume playing longtime rival Syracuse later this decade, but the likelihood of resuming its series with Pitt is doubtful.

The matchup is a dream of local fans, but Penn State and Pitt have not had formal discussions about renewing the series since the teams last played in 2000.

If negotiations were reopened, the earliest possible date for Pitt to include Penn State on its schedule would be 2006.

Penn State probably couldn't schedule Pitt until 2008 or later.

"I have not talked to Steve [Pederson] about it, and to the best of my knowledge, no one on our staff has to talked to anyone at Pitt about it," Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley said.

The reason the series ended between Pitt and Penn State was because Penn State wanted two home games for every one at Pitt.

The reason the Penn State and Syracuse rivalry ended in 1990 was because Penn State wanted six home games and four road games against the Orangemen.

Penn State's newest non-conference series against Virginia, Nebraska and Boston College and tentative deals with Notre Dame and Syracuse are all home-and-home series. All of those series are two-game series.

Curley said the reason Penn State and Pitt broke off discussions the last time around was because Pitt wanted something more than a two-year deal, while Penn State was and is married to the two-game contract.

Pederson refused comment.

Curley seemed open to reviving talks with Pederson about a two-game deal but said it is "not on his immediate radar screen."

"I don't know for sure. I can't read the crystal ball," Curley said. "We'd have to talk. We couldn't come to an agreement before. They wanted a longer series. We weren't interested in doing that.

"Our paths will be crossing again, so we will probably look at it again."

Pitt is playing at Texas A&M and at home against Notre Dame in 2003, at Notre Dame and at home against Nebraska in '04 and at Nebraska and at home against Notre Dame in '05.

In '06 and '07, the only scheduled game is a home-and-home series against Michigan State. No non-conference games are scheduled for '08. In '09 and '10, the Panthers have a home-and-home scheduled against Clemson.

Penn State plays at Nebraska and at home against Boston College in '03, at Boston College and at home against Alabama in '04.

In '05 the Lions complete the Alabama series on the road.

Another two-game series with Notre Dame is tentatively scheduled for later this decade.

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