Each week, we’ll highlight things we enjoy about Penn State football’s upcoming opponent, its campus, its alumni and more. There may be no week more difficult than this week, but I will take a stab at it since it’s a place I grew up around.
Outside of our own Tom Kelly, who has the time to focus on the hate?
This week: The Pittsburgh Panthers.
1. James Conner
There may be no better story in college football than that of James Conner. On December 4, 2015, Conner announced that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Conner underwent twelve rounds of chemotherapy and on May 23, he was declared cancer-free. Conner scored two touchdowns in his return to the field last Saturday. The rest of the list will pale in comparison to this, but he’s an article Conner wrote himself for the Player’s Tribune.
Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges” with a total of 446 bridges within the City. That number nearly dropped to 445 when the Liberty Bridge caught on fire last Friday.
Pittsburgh has annually hosted Anthrocon since 2006, which is the world’s largest Furry convention. In June, the Furries overtake downtown Pittsburgh as the members dress in animal costumes and do things that people in animal costumes do.
4. The Original Hot Dog Shop
Located on Forbes Avenue in Oakland, “The O” or “The Dirty O” as it is called is one a few places in Oakland worth stopping in. If you can get past the initial smell, you can get a decent hot dog and an absurd amount of fries for a reasonable fee. I’d suggest stopping by Hemingway’s Cafe after for a beer as well also located on Forbes and then feel free to exit Oakland at your earliest convenience.
5. Rental Market
Pittsburgh has been named one of the most affordable big cities in the United States. This is great for rentals too. If you’re into yellow, there is a great rental property available for you and some of your closest friends.
6. Penn State Alumni
Hey, how’d this get in here? More than 50,000 Penn State alumni live in Allegheny and the surrounding counties in the region. For comparison purposes, 50,000 people went to Pitt home games last year. (This is only an estimate, but it is a fairly liberal one.) The Penn State Alumni Pittsburgh Chapter host various events throughout the year and you can check out their website here.
7. Rolling Cones
Like most cities, food trucks have become popular over the last few years. Rolling Cones is a Pittsburgh based trucked owned by Mike and Kristin Baughman that sells Creamery ice cream. Since Pitt ice cream probably has cole slaw and french fries on it, Rolling Cones provides a great option for Penn State fans craving some quality ice cream. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tell them RLR sent ya. They won't know what it means, but it'll make us feel good.
8. Joe Moorhead
9. Museums, Plays, Concerts, Etc.
Penn State fans like to take shots at Pitt fans over attendance, but fail to realize why that may be. Luckily for us, the reasoning can be found on Twitter.com. If you have ever been to the Andy Warhol Museum at noon on a Saturday, you would understand.
10. Beano Cook
Former college football personality graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954. He then became the sports publicist for Pitt from 1956-1966. Cook gained national fame when he joined ESPN in 1986 as a studio commenter, and he was always known for his quick wit along with his love for college football and his hatred for baseball. In 1981 when the American hostages were released from Iran, MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn offered them lifetime passes to major league games to which Cook famously said, “Haven’t they suffered enough?”
After the 1996 season, athletic Director Steve Pederson and the wizards of the Pitt athletic department unveiled the "torch-cut" Panther that is more affectionately known as Dino-Cat. With the addition of Dino-Cat, Pitt was able to land apparel deal with sponsor Aéropostale. Pitt fans shunned Dino-Cat and setup a Facebook page Free the Script to revert back to their iconic helmet. Dino-Cat lived a good life and will be remembered fondly by us here at Roar Lions Roar.
12. Jerome Lane
With the legendary Bill Raftery on the call, this smashing dunk by Jerome Lane was admittedly pretty cool. It should be noted that the assist on the play came from almost-Pitt coach, Sean Miller (not really).
PREDICTION: Josh Reaves one-ups this at least four times during his Penn State career. Do not @ me.
13. The 2012 Spring Football Game
Not often can you really reach out to the local community, but Pitt found a unique way in 2012 when they moved the Pitt Spring Football Festival and Blue-Gold Scrimmage to North Hills High School. North Hills, the Alma mater of Penn State legend Lavar Arrington, only hosted the spring game one year before it moved to Heinz Field in 2013. The 2014 spring game was canceled so the players could “maximize limited practice time,” according to the coach at the time, Paul Chryst. Pitt ended up going 6-7 that year.
Pitt has since moved its spring game to the Highmark Stadium, the home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on the South Side of Pittsburgh.
14. James Conner
I may have mentioned this prior, but it’s worth repeating, Conner is great, an inspiration to many, and while there's a lot of trash talk going down this week, we wish him nothing but the best.
I probably could have come up with 48 reasons, but decided 14 was the number to stick with. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a nasty rivalry. If you’re in Pittsburgh this weekend, consider a museum or a play, but in all likelihood, that will be sold out as well.