Pitt announces football schedule; Old Dominion replaces Villanova
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 12:12 p.m.
Meetings, phone calls and back-and-forth emails too numerous to count finally brought Pitt and Florida State together to open the ACC season Labor Day night, Sept. 2, at Heinz Field.
The game could become the most anticipated home opener since 2005 against Notre Dame, former coach Dave Wannstedt's first game.
Now, it's time for the hard part — playing the game.
Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said coach Paul Chryst was “aggressively in favor” of opening against defending ACC champion Florida State.
“What we do with the opportunity, that's the challenge in front of us,” Chryst said of a game that will be televised at 8 p.m. on ESPN. “We have to make sure we play well.”
Pitt and the ACC released their football schedules Monday, and the Panthers have one of the most challenging in recent memory, with home games against Florida State, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Miami. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are two of five road opponents.
Florida State (12-2 last season) is breaking in a new quarterback after E.J. Manuel exhausted his eligibility. Six assistants and four top defensive players are gone, but the Seminoles return another talented team.
“I am excited about going up against the best athletes in the country,” senior-to-be wide receiver Devin Street said. “Watching Florida State and Miami (growing up) is a big part of me wanting to play football.”
The ACC approached Pitt about the opener after Pederson had scheduled Villanova of the FCS for Aug. 31. Following weeks of negotiations, Pitt canceled that game with the promise of playing Villanova in 2016 or '17. Villanova was willing after it managed to replace Pitt with Boston College. Pederson said there were no buyouts.
Meanwhile, Pitt found a 12th game when Old Dominion, which led the FCS in scoring last season with an average of 45.2 points, decided to upgrade its schedule. Led by quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who won the Walter Payton Award last season as the top offensive player in FCS, ODU visits Heinz Field on Oct. 19.
Pederson said the schedule has become an attraction, with new customers making up 47 percent of season-ticket sales.
The schedule is also more traditional, with 10 Saturdays after several Wednesday and Friday night games in recent Big East seasons.
“I hope we never do that again in my lifetime,” Pederson said of Wednesday games. “We have normal college football.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ACC Tournament manages to deliver an inherent history lesson
- Pitt rallies in final seconds of regulation en route to OT win at Clemson