Every since Syracuse left the ACC, fans have been clamoring for a big conference rival. Syracuse-Georgetown is awesome and will be there in December. But, there’s just something special about rivalry games later in the season. There is always the conversation of “Is Syracuse-Duke a rivalry.” It is not. But, even if you think it is, the Orange are the fourth or fifth rival for the Blue Devils.
Another team in the ACC is going through the exact same thing. Depending on who you ask, Pittsburgh’s biggest rival is either West Virginia or Penn State. Panthers fans are in the exact same spot as Orange fans. Both teams are hoping to go back to the glory days where they play those squads twice a year. Everyone needs to embrace SU-Pitt as the rivalry that is here because it can be a great one.
History is one of the biggest factors of a rivalry. There isn’t a team that Syracuse has played more than Pittsburgh. Dating all the way back to 1914, the Orange and Panthers have played each other 125 times. As independents, SU and Pitt played each other almost every year. Once the Big East was founded, Pittsburgh was one of the first teams to join. All of the makings of a massive rivalry are there.
In addition, the two schools have a lot in common. Both are based in cities, have a strong alumni base and truly care about their sports teams. It’s time for SU fans to embrace Pitt as their top ACC rival. It’s time for the athletic department to embrace the rivalry and market it like it markets Duke. Most current students see Pittsburgh in the same way they see Florida State or Wake Forrest. Ask a lot of them and they’ll say they hate North Carolina more than Pittsburgh. That should never be the case for Orange fans. It’s time to focus on the Panthers.