Pitt football notebook: ACC schedule format announced
• After Pitt joins the ACC next season and settles into the conference's Coastal Division, opponents from the Atlantic Division will visit Heinz Field only once every 12 years. The ACC announced an eight-game conference schedule Wednesday in which Pitt will play its Coastal rivals — Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia — every year. The other two games will be against Syracuse, which will be Pitt's annual crossover partner, and one of the other Atlantic teams on a six-year, home-and-away basis. Pitt also will have four nonconference openings, one fewer than it has in the Big East.
• Coach Paul Chryst said linebacker Todd Thomas, who has missed the entire season after January knee surgery but has been practicing for several weeks, might play Friday at Syracuse. Thomas started six games last season. “I am certainly looking forward to watching him play,” Chryst said.
• Defensive tackle Aaron Donald and fullback Mark Giubilato are expected to return from knee ailments, but defensive end Jack Lippert (undisclosed injury), who started the opener, remains out.
• Running back Rushel Shell, who has dealt with back issues off and on since training camp, appears ready to play. “We'll find out more (Thursday), but I think he'll be fine,” Chryst said.
• Quarterback Tino Sunseri needs 22 passing yards to move past John Congemi and into fifth place on Pitt's all-time list. He is 278 behind fourth-place Rod Rutherford. The top three are Alex Van Pelt, Dan Marino and Tyler Palko.
• Wide receiver Mike Shanahan needs five receptions to move past Billy Davis and Oderick Turner and into 10th place all-time.
• Running back Ray Graham needs 53 rushing yards to move past Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin and into eighth place on the school's all-time list.