When Jeff Long decided to become Boss Hog at Arkansas, the former Pitt athletic director left behind a mess with the football schedule.
Long, inexplicably, allowed Clemson out of a contract – without any penalty – to play two games against Pitt in 2010 and 2011. That forced Long’s predecessor and successor as athletic director, Steve Pederson, to find the Panthers three non-conference opponents in 2010, to go along with games against Miami and Notre Dame.
You have to give Pederson, as well as football coach Dave Wannstedt, credit for having the nerve to schedule Utah. The Utes are 59-16 in the past six seasons – including undefeated campaigns in 2005 and ’08 – and the Mountain West Conference member beat BCS programs (Pitt and Alabama) in bowl games in each of those seasons.
Pitt now has one open date remaining on its 2010 schedule, which includes non-conference games against New Hampshire on Sept. 4 at Heinz Field, at Utah Sept. 11, at home against Miami Sept. 25 and at Notre Dame Oct. 9. In 2011, Pitt will visit Iowa and play host to Buffalo, Maine, Utah and Notre Dame in a schedule that features eight games at Heinz Field.