Using the Associated Press’ 2019 preseason poll and the final poll from 2018 as guides, Pitt’s football schedule appears slightly less daunting than it did a year ago. But it is not an easy schedule, either.
The Associated Press released its preseason poll Monday, six days before college football gets underway Saturday when Miami plays No. 8 Florida in Orlando, Fla.
Three Pitt opponents are ranked in the Top 25 – No. 15 Penn State, No. 17 Central Florida and No. 22 Syracuse. Among others receiving votes are three members of Pitt’s ACC Coastal Division — No. 29 Miami, No. 32 Virginia and No. 36 Virginia Tech.
In last season’s final poll, four Pitt opponents were ranked. Notre Dame was No. 5, followed by No. 11 UCF, No. 15 Syracuse and No. 17 Penn State. Pitt was 1-3 against those opponents.
Pitt will run into only two members of the ESPN preseason All-American team — Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall in the opener Aug. 31 at Heinz Field and Syracuse kicker Andre Szmyt on Oct. 18 at the Carrier Dome. Hall recorded 22 pass breakups last season and Symyt hit 30 of 34 field goal attempts.
Defending national champion Clemson is ranked No. 1 by the AP in the preseason, followed by Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State.