Pitt Announces 2009 Football Schedule

The Pitt football team begins preparation for the 2009 season and the Big East Conference title with spring practice sessions March 19, and Friday the Panthers announced when they'll compete for that crown.

The 2009 Pittsburgh football schedule includes 12 regular-season games, including seven at home and nine opponents that advanced to bowl games after this past season. Five dates already are scheduled for national television, and five home contests include bowl opponents.

"This fall at Heinz Field will be exciting for our team and our fans,'' Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. "Not only do we have a competitive and exciting group of opponents coming to Pittsburgh, but also a season-ticket package that is very affordable and of great value.''

Two national websites -- CollegeFootballNews.com and SportsIllustrated.com -- have listed the Panthers among the nation's top 25 teams for 2009. Coming off last season's 9-3 regular season and bowl berth, Pitt will look to build off that momentum while facing a challenging schedule.

"Last year's success has made us a very hungry football team,'' Panthers coach Dave Wannstedt said. "We took a big step last year, and our program is working very hard to build off that momentum.

"Each offseason we display the upcoming schedule in our weight room. Seeing nine bowl teams on the wall should provide us with excellent motivation all the way through fall training camp.''

That slate includes the return of the historic Notre Dame series (Nov. 14) to Pittsburgh. The Panthers play host to the Fighting Irish for the first time in four years. Last year's meeting in South Bend was an instant classic with Pitt outlasting Notre Dame, 36-33, in four overtimes.

The regular-season finale at Heinz Field is against Cincinnati (Dec. 5), a game with potential bowl and Big East title implications. Last year's "River City Rivalry'' game produced the Conference's BCS representative and wasn't decided until the final seconds, as the Bearcats secured the title at home.

The Naval Academy, which has advanced to six consecutive bowl games, visits Heinz Field Sept. 19. Other Big East home games are against Connecticut (Oct. 10), South Florida (Oct. 24) and Syracuse (Nov. 7). UConn and USF both won bowl games last year, while Syracuse ranks among Pitt's oldest foes.

The schedule also includes Pitt's first visit to North Carolina State (Sept. 26) in 21 years. The Panthers face the Wolfpack in Raleigh,N.C. for the first time since 1988. The schools last met in the 2001 Tangerine Bowl, a 34-19 Pitt win.

And the 102nd "Backyard Brawl'' against West Virginia will be the day after Thanksgiving for the second straight seasnon. Pitt travels to Morgantown, W.Va., site of its historic 13-9 victory in 2007, for a national telecast Friday, Nov. 27 on either ABC or ESPN.

The Panthers open the season Sept. 5 against Youngstown State, one of the country's most accomplished programs on the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level. Pitt then travels to defending Mid-American Conference champion Buffalo (Sept. 12).

The schedule also is highlighted by two nationally televised Friday night road games with Louisville (Oct. 2 on ESPN2) and Rutgers (Oct. 16 on ESPN).

Season-ticket packages are currently on sale for as low as $82 and can be purchased on-line (PittsburghPanthers.com), by phone (800-643-PITT) or in person at the Petersen Events Center ticket office. Current season ticket holders who renew on-line by March 30 will receive a $10 discount.

2009 Pitt Football Schedule

Date Opponent (TV) Time

Sept. 5 Youngstown State TBA

Sept. 12 at Buffalo TBA

Sept. 19 Navy TBA

Sept. 26 at North Carolina State TBA

Oct. 2 (Fri.) at Louisville* (ESPN2) 8 p.m.

Oct. 10 Connecticut* TBA

Oct. 16 (Fri.) at Rutgers* (ESPN) 8 p.m.

Oct. 24 USF* TBA

Nov. 7 Syracuse* TBA

Nov. 14 Notre Dame (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) TBA

Nov. 27 (Fri.) at West Virginia* (ABC or ESPN) TBA

Dec. 5 Cincinnati* (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) TBA

*denotes Big East Conference game

Due to TV considerations, TBA kickoff times will be announced at a later date.

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