I don't have any scientific polls or TV ratings info to point to, but Penn State is closer to Pittsburgh than Philly and is able to sellout a 100,000-plus seat stadium every week no matter who they are playing while Pitt has only been able to sellout 65,000 seats at Heinz Field for games against West Virginia and Notre Dame. This is also based on conversations I've had with my relatives who live in Pennsylvania (and have no allegiance to either PSU or Pitt).
Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I have a feeling that in a typical year, Penn State draws more interest and media coverage in Pittsburgh than Pitt. It's possible that Pitt might have drawn more coverage the last couple of years because they have been performing better than PSU, yet how did the atmosphere in the city of Pittsburgh around Pitt compare to the atmosphere in the city when Penn State was contending for national championships in the not-so-distant past?
All things being equal, does PSU draw more interest than Pitt in Pittsburgh? My educated guess is yes. However, a person from Pittsburgh, preferably someone who doesn't have a rooting interest in either school, would be able to shed more light on this.
First, State college is about the same distance from Both Pittsburgh and Philly. ITs about 3 hr 22 min from Pitt and 3 hrs 47 min from Philly - this is from Yahoo Driving Directions.
Second, you are talking apples and oranges with teh Cubs and WhiteSox compared to PSU and Pittsburgh as both baseball teams are LOCATED in Chicago.
Penn State is a State-Wide team and draws fans from all over the State. PSU has large Alumni Associations in Pittsburgh and Philly Area and is a much larger undergrad and overall enrollment than Pitt. Pitt is primarily a regional team. However, Pitt has more alumni than PSU in WPa.
Pittsburgh is a city with a population of 335,000 and State College is 38,000. State College is a college town and you will notice that the whole town is PSU. If I had to compare, I would compare Pittsburgh to Atlanta in a sense of covering colleges. BOTH UGa and GT share coverage (maybe Gunner can clarify this) while only one school is located in Atlanta (GT). However, UGa is a lot closer to Atlanta than PSU is to Pittsburgh.
If you would like to know the who gets more coverage all you ahve to do is to count the number of articles they have on Pitt vs. PSU. That'll give you the answer. I can tell you that Pitt gets more articles than PSU but its not an overwhelming majority - I would say its close to 50/50 but Pitt is definetely not a PSU town. ITs a Steelers town First.
THe Pittsburgh newspaper follow the college teams in this order:
1 - Pitt
1A - PSU
3 - WVU
4 - Smaller colleges (Duquesne, Point Park, Waynesburg, etc).
If you are talking about coverage with PSU to say Villanova or Temple in Philly, then no doubt about it that PSU wins.