Pitt's 2008 Football Schedule

The Pitt football team announced its 2008 schedule Monday, as anticipation is building for the upcoming season.

Pittsburgh, which finished at 5-7 with a stunning 13-9 win against West Virginia in the 100th Backyard Brawl, has six solid home games at Heinz Field in a 12-game schedule that includes seven teams that advanced to bowl games.

"If you look at this schedule, it fits well for our team and for our fans,'' Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. "We have said previously that this will be an exciting home schedule. Now that we have the dates, it solidifies the fall for our fans at Heinz Field.

"We are also pleased that we have so many national television opportunities already in place. We have six home games that will be very special and ones that the people of Pittsburgh will not want to miss.''

Other highlights include four national-television games with more likely. The Panthers will also face traditional Big Ten power Iowa (Sept. 20) for the first time since 1952. The 101st Backyard Brawl with WVU is at Heinz Field Nov. 28. It isn't the season-ending game like in past years, but it's expected to be just as exciting as many of its predecessors. It will be televised by ABC.

Two other key home games are with Louisville (Nov. 8) and Rutgers (Oct. 25), as the Scarlet Knights are gunning for a fourth straight bowl trip. The Cardinals, ironically, did not make the post-season after going to nine straight bowls. Iowa was not in a bowl game, either, so with the seven bowl teams on the schedule already Pitt has an extremely competitive set of opponents this year.

The Panthers will also renew their historic rivalry with Notre Dame (Nov. 1). Pitt visits South Bend, Ind. for the first time since its heart-stopping 41-38 win during the 2004 Fiesta Bowl season. The game with the Irish will be televised nationally by NBC at 2:30 p.m.

Pitt will also visit the Naval Academy (Oct. 18), which has advanced to five consecutive bowl games, for the first time since 1987. The season-opener is Aug. 30 against Bowling Green, a 2007 GMAC Bowl participant. On Sept. 6, the Panthers play host to Buffalo, which finished as co-champions of the Mid-American Conference's East Division last year.

The four-game Big East road slate includes three teams that advanced to bowls in 2007: South Florida (Oct. 2), Cincinnati (Nov. 22) and Connecticut (Dec. 6). The USF game will be an ESPN Thursday night national telecast, while the UConn game will be on either ESPN or ESPN2. Pitt also visits longtime eastern rival Syracuse (Sept. 27).

"From start to finish, I believe this is one of the most challenging and exciting schedules that we have had in recent memory,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "The Big East continues to prove itself as one of the very best conferences in the country.

"In non-conference play, we will face two outstanding independents, two contenders in the MAC and a traditional Big Ten power. We are enthused about the challenge, and it is a definite motivating factor for our players in their offseason preparation.''

Season-ticket packages are currently on sale at Pitt.

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