Pitt’s 2019 football schedule released with seven home games
Pitt’s 2019 football schedule was released Wednesday, and it revealed some good news for the Panthers.
Pitt will play seven of its 12 regular-season games at Heinz Field for the third time in the past four seasons. Plus, the first five games will be contested within the confines of Pennsylvania.
And it’s not the most grueling schedule in the nation, unlike last year. Only three of Pitt’s 12 opponents were ranked in the final Associated Press poll: No. 11 Central Florida, No. 15 Syracuse and No. 17 Penn State. Pitt was 1-2 against those teams last season.
There also is one interesting quirk in the schedule that is a relatively new occurrence in college football: Pitt is off on four fall Saturdays: two off weeks plus one game each on a Thursday and Friday.
Pitt opens with ACC Coastal rival Virginia on Aug. 31 at Heinz Field. It will mark the first time since 2013, when the Panthers played Florida State in Pitt’s inaugural conference game, they won’t encounter an FCS team in the opener.
Then, after a home game Sept. 7 against Ohio of the Mid-American Conference, Pitt travels to Penn State on Sept. 14. That will be the 100th, and possibly last, game between the historic in-state rivals. Their four-game contract expires this year, and there have been no substantive talks to renew it.
Two more home games follow — Group of 5 powerhouse Central Florida on Sept. 21 and Delaware of the FCS on Sept. 28.
Finally, Pitt leaves the state Oct. 5 to play Duke, followed by an off week and a Friday night game Oct. 18 at annual Atlantic Division crossover rival Syracuse on Oct. 18. Pitt has played Syracuse every year since 1955.
Pitt’s closing five-game stretch includes home games against Miami (Oct. 26), North Carolina (a Thursday ESPN contest Nov. 14) and the regular-season finale Nov. 30 against Boston College. North Carolina is Pitt’s only opponent that didn’t advance to the postseason.
In between, Pitt visits Georgia Tech on Nov. 2 and Virginia Tech on Nov. 23.
Here is the schedule in a nutshell:
• Aug. 31, Virginia: Pitt is 5-0 all-time against the Cavaliers in Pittsburgh.
• Sept. 7, Ohio: Pitt’s most recent game against the Bobcats was a 16-10 overtime loss on the road in 2005.
• Sept. 14, at Penn State: Pitt’s all-time record against the Nittany Lions is 43-52-4.
• Sept. 21, Central Florida: The Knights’ 25-game winning streak was snapped by LSU, 40-32, in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
• Sept. 28, Delaware: In the teams’ only encounter, James Conner scored four touchdowns in a 62-0 Pitt victory in 2014.
• Oct. 5, at Duke: Kenny Pickett’s 25-yard pass to Maurice Ffrench with 5 seconds left lifted Pitt past Duke last season.
• Oct. 18 (Friday), at Syracuse: The Panthers have won 14 of the past 17 games against the Orange.
• Oct. 26, Miami: Pitt toppled No. 2 Miami, 24-14, in 2017, the most recent time the Hurricanes visited Heinz Field.
• Nov. 2, at Georgia Tech: For the first time under coach Pat Narduzzi, Pitt will face Georgia Tech without coach Paul Johnson, who resigned after last season.
• Nov. 14 (Thursday), North Carolina: Coach Mack Brown hasn’t faced Pitt since he was Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 1984. Pitt lost 42-10.
• Nov. 23, at Virginia Tech: The Panthers amassed a school-record 654 yards in last season’s 52-22 victory.
• Nov. 30, Boston College: Pitt has won five of the past six against the Eagles, who visit Heinz for the first time since 2004.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .