One of the nation's fiercest football rivalries will be renewed in 2016 for four games.
Longtime rivals Penn State and Pittsburgh announced on Friday the addition of two more gridiron clashes.
Dave Joyner, Penn State Acting Director of Athletics, and Steve Pederson, Pitt Director of Athletics, announced that the long-time rivals will meet every season from 2016-19. The Nittany Lions will visit Pittsburgh on September 8, 2018 and the Panthers will visit Beaver Stadium on Sept. 14, 2019.
In June, 2011, the schools had announced they would meet Sept.10, 2016 in Pittsburgh and Sept. 16, 2017 in State College. The teams last met in 2000.
"We are excited to extend our upcoming series with Pitt to four consecutive years," Joyner said. "The Penn State-Pitt game was a premier rivalry that was anticipated by college football fans across Pennsylvania and the nation. There are more than 50,000 Penn State alumni and fans in Western Pennsylvania and we look forward to playing in their backyard."
"We are thrilled to have the University of Pittsburgh back on the schedule for several consecutive years," said Coach Bill O'Brien. "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."
The 2012 Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year, O'Brien has spoken about his desire to play Pitt on several occasions during his first year as coach of the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions have met the Panthers more than any other opponent - 96 times - with Penn State owning a 48-42-4 series advantage. The teams first met in 1893 and played every season from 1900-31 and 1935-92, often in a compelling final game of the regular season. The teams did not meet from 1993-96, when Penn State began play in the Big Ten Conference, and then played a four-game series from 1997-2000, with the Nittany Lions winning the 1997-99 contests on the field. The Panthers won the last meeting, 12-0, in Three Rivers Stadium 12 years ago.
Penn State owns a 16-6 record against Pitt in State College, while the Panthers have a 34-27-4 advantage in games played on their home field. Penn State leads, 5-2, in neutral site games, the majority of which were played in Pittsburgh.
Penn State completed a two-game series last year with Alabama, the 2011 BCS National Champion. During the 2012 season, Virginia returned to the Nittany Lions' slate and the Cavaliers will visit Beaver Stadium on Sept. 14, 2013, as will Kent State, ranked No. 25 in the final BCS standings.
The Nittany Lions and long-time rival Syracuse played in 2008-09 and will meet in the 2013 season opener on August 31 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Penn State and old rival Rutgers are scheduled to meet in 2014-15. The Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten Conference on Nov. 20.
Penn State's regular season non-conference opponents during the past 12 years include: Pitt (2000), Southern California (2000), Miami, Fla. (2001), Southern Miss (2001), Virginia (2001-02, 2012), UCF (2002, '04), Boston College (2003-04), South Florida (2005), Cincinnati (2005), Notre Dame (2006-07), Oregon State (2008), Syracuse (2008-09), Alabama (2010-11) and Ohio (2012).
The Nittany Lions also played Nebraska in 2002-03 before the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten in 2011 and became Penn State's annual divisional crossover opponent.
Penn State completed the 2012 season, its first under O'Brien, with an 8-4 record, winning eight of its final 10 games. The Nittany Lions were 6-2 in Big Ten Conference play, with the only setbacks coming to division winners Ohio State and Nebraska. Under O'Brien, a finalist for several national coaching honors, Penn State finished the season by defeating eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin, 24-21 in overtime, on Senior Day.