No Schedule Update, ACC Closer?

Pitt announced some non-conference dates for its 2012 schedule last week. There's still no news about when that full schedule may be out, but there might be some news about when Pitt could join the ACC.

There's still no Pitt football schedule out year—at least not any conference games. Last week, Pitt announced home games with Youngstown State (September 8), Virginia Tech (September 15), Gardner-Webb (September 22), at Buffalo (October 6) and at Notre Dame (November 3).

At this point, the only real hold up appears to be getting Temple a fifth non-conference game. Once that is schedule, Pitt will have that 2012 schedule finalized. Pitt athletic director took time to address some of the remaining issues with the schedule and the eventual move to the ACC, following Paul Chryst's spring football press conference.

"We're anxious to get a schedule," Pederson said. "Nick Carparelli from the Big East communicated with us (Tuesday) that they're working diligently with us to get the schedule finalized. The one issue seems to be is Temple needs a fifth non-conference game. I think they're trying to factor that into this. Hopefully, that will get done quickly and we'll get our schedule resolved."

The biggest concern at this point, is getting info out to season ticket holders. Last week, the athletic department sent out information to season ticket holders about renewals. Of course, there were no dates.

"We had to do this in kind of an odd fashion," Pederson said. "We sent out our season ticket renewals. We knew when a couple of games were going to be, but we had a lot of people ready to renew their tickets. We wanted to get moving, and so we did. The response has been great, and now everyone knows what the two teams are. We'll start to solidify this and get some dates on people's calendars too."

Included in that schedule is FCS opponent Gardner Webb. Technically, that Gardner Webb game replaces a non-conference game that was initially set for Central Florida. Pitt then had to buy itself out of that game in the fall of 2010, when it was announced that TCU would be joining the Big East. TCU, of course, was able to free itself and head to the Big XII alongside West Virginia. Has the conference come up with a plan to compensate Pitt for that buyout? It sounds like there have been discussions. However, like everything else, Pitt wants to play this one as close to the vest as possible.

"Certainly, in the discussions we've had, they understand what we've been in and how we've tried to approach this and that we've done the things that we were asked to do as part of the league at that time," Pederson said. "That's why I feel we'll arrive at a good conclusion here. They are going forward, and they have a good, bright future. We're on our way to the ACC. We'll have a great, bright future and we're very excited about that. I think that's the way this thing can conclude. I'm hopeful that's what happens."

Outside of a solution for that loss, it does sound a little bit more feasible for Pitt to be able to begin playing in the ACC in 2013. Since Pitt and Syracuse decided to make this move in September, the Big East has been able to recruit SMU, San Diego State, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and most recently Temple. The Owls are able to join immediately for this football season, then will join for basketball the following year. That currently gives the conference eight football schools. If Pitt and Syracuse can leave after the 2012 season, the six teams coming in can give the new Big East a total of 12 teams.

"Our attitude has been all along, that the Big East has been able to reform itself with; with more teams than when we announced we were going to leave," Pederson said. "They'll have 12 football teams, and they'll be ready to go by 2013. It really does seem to make sense on both ends that we'll be able to get there. We're anxious to get that resolved and get that moving forward so we can kind of focus on where we're going to be in 2013."

Pederson also feels that Pitt and Syracuse can do so with minimal or no buyout.

"We're hopeful to reach a good conclusion that is beneficial to everybody," Pederson added. "I think one of the things we feel good about is whether it was Pitt, or Syracuse or our new partners in the ACC. We all try to do the right thing which was to make sure we gave the other schools of the Big East the opportunity to play a full schedule this year. It would have been a very difficult year if Syracuse and us decided to leave. We kind of came to the conclusion that it was in the best interest of the student-athletes, and the decision-makers at Louisville and UConn and everywhere else that we be a part of this and stay through this. I hope, and I believe that they see this is the right way to deal with this as well from our standpoint. I think that we'll be able to arrive at a good conclusion with everybody."

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