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Pitt football notebook: Renewal of Backyard Brawl could be in offing

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 9:12 p.m.
 

• Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said Friday night that playing eight ACC games in 2013, instead of the previously anticipated nine, will allow greater flexibility in scheduling nonconference opponents, including a possible renewal of the Backyard Brawl with longtime rival West Virginia. A hopeful expansion of the two-game Penn State series beyond 2017 also is possible, plus dates with Iowa and other Big Ten schools, he said. “(West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck) and I kind of talked about it, but it was hard to do without any definitive planning on our part,” Pederson said. Pederson attended meetings this week with ACC officials during which the decision was made to play eight conference games, with each school getting Notre Dame five times in a 14-year period. He said scheduling nine conference games could have forced teams to play 11 of 12 games against BCS opponents. “That's not what the Big Ten is doing; that's not what the SEC is doing,” he said. Pederson said Pitt's nonconference schedule for next season isn't complete but will include home games against Notre Dame and Villanova and a trip to Navy.

• Long snapper Kevin Barthelemy (hand injury) was replaced by redshirt freshman David Murphy on Friday night against Syracuse.

• Middle linebacker Dan Mason received his first significant playing time since suffering a serious knee injury in 2010. He replaced Shane Gordon, who was injured covering a kickoff in the second quarter. Mason played the fourth quarter against Gardner-Webb.

• Freshman guard Gabe Roberts said on his Facebook page that he had labrum surgery. Before the injury, Roberts was not expected to play this season.

— Jerry DiPaola

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