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College football notebook: Date moved up for Pitt-Penn State game

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt running back James Conner works with youths at the Harbor Creek football camp Monday, June 16, 2014, at Harbor Creek High School.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014, 7:21 p.m.

The wait for the first meeting between Pitt and Penn State at Beaver Stadium in almost two decades just got a week shorter.

On Thursday, PSU announced that its 2017 game against the Panthers will be played Sept. 9. The move was made in conjunction with the addition of Georgia State to the schedule Sept. 16, 2017.

The 2017 Penn State-Pitt game will be the first in University Park since 1999. The schools met at Three Rivers Stadium the following year and are scheduled to play at Heinz Field in 2016, the first of four seasons (at alternating venues) the teams will renew their rivalry.

Penn State leads the series 50-42-4 and has won seven of the past eight meetings.

The Nittany Lions additionally announced a Sept. 15, 2018, home game against Kent State.

Also Thursday, the release of the Doak Walker award (nation's top running back) preseason watch list included two players from Penn State (seniors Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton) and one from Pitt (sophomore James Conner).

Conner had 799 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns last season; Belton had 1,036 all-purpose yards, and Zwinak 989 rushing yards.

Oklahoma favored in Big 12

Oklahoma is the overwhelming favorite to win the Big 12 title in a preseason media poll.

The Sooners, who have won eight Big 12 championships, received 47 of the 56 first-place votes cast. They had 548 total points in voting by media members who cover the league.

Defending champion Baylor, led by senior quarterback and league preseason offensive player of the year Bryce Petty, got the other nine first-place votes and had 508 votes.

Kansas State was picked third, one point ahead of Texas. Oklahoma State was fifth, followed by Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas.

Alabama tabbed as SEC favorite

Alabama was again declared the SEC's favorite at the league's media days, and is regarded as one of the likely national contenders.

League media picked Alabama to win the West over defending league champion Auburn and the overall title. South Carolina was picked to top Georgia in the East.

Former Washington coach charged

Former Washington football coach Jim Lambright, 72, faces a court appearance next month on an assault charge.

He was arrested June 18 and has been charged with fourth-degree assault on his 23-year-old granddaughter.

His arraignment is set for Aug. 4.

Conference USA lands deal

Conference USA reached an agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group and its new American Sports Network initiative to produce and distribute 100 league events each of the next two years.

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