Pitt Panther’s head coach, Kevin Stallings, announced the out of conference schedule for his first season at the helm. It will be interesting to see if they can improve upon last season’s promising 11-1 record versus out of conference opponents.
-2K Classic (Nov. 11, Nov. 14, Nov. 17-18)
-Yale (Nov. 22)
-Morehead State (Nov. 25)
-At Maryland (Nov. 29)
-Duquesne (Dec. 2)
-Buffalo (Dec. 7)
-Penn State (Dec. 10)
-Rice (Dec. 17)
-Omaha (Dec. 21)
-Marshall (Dec. 28)
There are some notable matchups, but for the most part it looks similar to a Jamie Dixon schedule. What I mean by that is most of these are basically cakewalks, which could be related to the fact that this season’s ACC schedule will be brutal. But in this out of conference schedule it appears as though the Panthers will have only one match up against a ranked team. That one match up is at Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, it is almost as if the ACC is now forcing Pitt to play at least one ranked out of conference team per year.
When Stallings took over he mentioned how his Vanderbilt team from a season ago made the NCAA Tournament even with a questionable record, because of their out of conference schedule. I hope this is not the schedule revitalization we were promised, because even though Yale and Buffalo both made the tournament last season those are not big time games.
However, with all that being said two particular areas of the schedule intrigue me, one the 2K Classic and two being the December 10 matchup in New Jersey versus Penn State. The 2K Classic will present the 2016-17 Panthers with a chance to prove their metal on the national stage against teams like Marquette, Michigan, and SMU. While the Penn State game should be fun, since it will give us even more bragging rights after we dominate on the gridiron in September.
Finally, this schedule has just a lukewarm feeling to me. It is some slight highs in Maryland, Yale, and Buffalo, but those highs do not even come close to matching up with the lows of Rice, Omaha, and Marshall. At least this soft schedule should have the Panthers with a rather clean record as the Late December ACC games come around.