As of today, Penn State and Pitt have scheduled four games over the next several years that will officially renew what used to be one of the great rivalries in college football.
More games could be on the way. Speaking to ESPN during the ACC’s spring meetings, Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said he felt “very optimistic” a series with the Nittany Lions occurring on a regular basis can happen.
“Whether it’s every single year or not, we’ll have to see how it works out,” Pederson said. “My hope is to try to make that work on a regular basis. I do feel like both sides would like to have it happen. I’m very optimistic.”
Penn State AD Dave Joyner echoed that sentiment during Big Ten meetings.
“We’d be interested in talking about that. It’s a great series,” Joyner said. “It’s been a great linchpin in Pennsylvania for everyone there. Steve and I will definitely talk about doing that. We’ve always threatened to meet halfway on the turnpike somewhere at one exit.”
The Panthers and Nittany Lions have played 96 times since 1893, including annual series from 1900-31, 1935-92 and 1997-2000. The teams are slated to play in a pair of home-and-homes from 2016-19.
Scheduling, as we say so many times on here, is a puzzle that can be difficult to put together. But if the two sides can make it work, we’d love to see them play as often as possible. However, it appears another dormant Pitt rivalry, the Backyard Brawl with West Virginia, has little signs of future life.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah