Pirates Game Could Complicate Pitt Football Opener

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Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Pitt will open its 2014 football season Aug. 30 against Delaware at Heinz Field, only hours before the Pirates play the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park, creating potential parking and traffic snarls on the North Shore.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said the school had planned for a 1 p.m. kickoff, assuming the Pirates would play at their normal 7:05 p.m. start time. But Major League Baseball moved the game to 4:05 p.m. to accommodate a Fox Sports 1 national telecast.

No start time has been announced for the Pitt game, but Pederson said it won't begin before noon.

"The reality is there is no time we can play that is not going to impact a 4:05 game," Pederson said. "We are in discussions on how to sort that out."

The ACC announced its football schedule for the entire 14-team conference Wednesday.

Duke is the only Pitt opponent that was ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the end of the 2013 season.

Pitt will begin its ACC schedule Friday night, Sept. 5, at Boston College, a game that will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2. Boston College is Pitt's Atlantic Division crossover foe, replacing Florida State from last season's schedule.

After playing Boston College, Pitt plays back-to-back-to-back non-conference games at Florida International (1-11 last year) on Sept. 13 and at home against Iowa (8-5) on Sept. 20 and Akron (5-7) on Sept. 27. The opener against Delaware (7-5) will be Pitt's only game against an FCS school.

Starting Oct. 4, the remainder of Pitt's schedule will be against ACC opponents. Pitt visits Virginia on Oct. 4 before its first of two off weeks.

Then, Pitt has a stretch of three consecutive home games in 17 days. It starts with an ESPN Thursday night telecast Oct. 16 against Virginia Tech. Pitt also plays Georgia Tech on Oct. 25 and defending Coastal Division champion Duke on Nov. 1.

After an off week, the closing stretch includes games at North Carolina on Nov. 15 and Miami on Nov. 29 and a home game against Syracuse on Nov. 22.

The Miami game will be played on a Saturday and will be the last regular-season game. Pederson said both schools are hopeful of making it an annual Thanksgiving week event. Last year's game was played the day after the holiday.

"It's an exciting way to close out every regular season, if we can do it," he said.

This is the first season since 2007 that Notre Dame does not appear on the schedule. The Irish return to Heinz Field in 2015.

Pederson said early release of the schedule allows more time to sell tickets.

He said season-ticket sales will be capped at 45,000, with an additional 10,000 student tickets. For the first time, Pitt will sell three-game packages at 65,050-seat Heinz Field in which buyers can choose games they want to see.

The price will be determined by the opponent, with conference games valued higher than those outside the conference, assistant athletic director Justin Acierno said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.


January 24, 2014




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