MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In a revelation that’s only a few contract signatures and seven years away, West Virginia and Penn State are on the verge of renewing their football series.
A few details, talking points and observations:
♦ Officials with the two programs are reportedly finalizing a home-and-home contract that wouldn’t begin until 2020. Considering the series has been in hibernation since 1992 (Penn State’s final year as an independent), what’s another 2,555 days.
♦ The schools are approximately 180 miles apart, making Penn State the kind of mid-Atlantic matchup WVU craves to counter all these long-distance opponents from the Big 12. (The Mountaineers have Virginia Tech slated for 2021 and ’22, with Maryland scheduled annually through 2017. There’s also a 2016 game against BYU at Landover, Md.)
♦ Assuming Penn State-West Virginia restarts in 2020, that’s enough time for the Nittany Lions to have rebounded from the sickening child-abuse scandal and the almost-as-sickening university coverup. Penn State’s bowl ban is scheduled to end after the 2015, at which time the program also regains full utilization of its full 85 scholarships. So it’s entirely plausible that Bill O’Brien or his successor could be shepherding a top-10 program by the time these two finally get together.
♦ Impatient for the series to renew sooner? Well, Penn State has one nonconference slot to fill in 2015 and 2017, and two openings in 2018 and ’19. WVU has one opening in 2017, two in 2018, and a clean slate of three vacancies in 2019 and ’20. Bear in mind, however that Oliver Luck is angling to return Pitt to the schedule intermittently.
♦ We’ve thus far refrained from labeling it a rivalry, seeing as how Penn State owns a rather noticeable 48-9-2 edge. But rather than getting flummoxed over the .152 winning percentage, West Virginia fans should focus acutely on Oct. 29, 1988, and the 51-30 throttling Major Harris invoked.