After going over a decade and a half without facing one another on the gridiron, Pittsburgh and Penn State will renew their rivalry on Sept. 10 at Heinz Field. For the two coaching staffs, that date can’t come soon enough.
Since Pat Narduzzi was hired at Pitt 14 months ago, coaches from the two programs haven’t always held back publicly taking jabs at each other. Most recently, it was Penn State head coach James Franklin adding fuel to the fire.
On Signing Day, just days after the Panthers landed in-state cornerback Damar Hamlin and flipped former PSU commit Aaron Mathews, Franklin talked to SB Nation about what he sees as a higher expectation in State College:
“Take another program where we go 7-6. There’s other programs that have very similar records, and because the expectation is not the same at those programs, at those places, it’s viewed completely different. There’s programs within hours of here that had one more win, but you would think they played for a national championship. But again, that goes back to the expectation at Penn State.”
This isn’t the first time in recent years an ACC coach has butted heads with a rival coach from outside the league. In 2011, Dabo Swinney reacted to negative comments he thought had come from Steve Spurrier by stating that Clemson would fire a coach who won only 35 games in five years.
Pitt won its last meeting against Penn State, picking up 12-0 shutout over the Nittany Lions at home in 2000. Penn State won the previous seven contests and leads the all-time series 50-42-4.