Pitt Has the 9th Toughest Non-Conference Football Schedule

Pitt has a tough non-conference schedule in 2012. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

So says a man from Oklahoma.

Which is somewhat odd when you consider that the Big 12, by Berry Tramel's standards, play the fewest games against "National Powers" and games against major conferences among the power conferences. So what do they know anyways?

Regardless, as much as we disliked having to play two FCS opponents in 2012, Tramel still feels that games at Notre Dame and against Virginia Tech are enough to be considered a tough non-conference schedule.

9. Pittsburgh: Youngstown State, Virginia Tech, Gardner-Webb, at Buffalo, at Notre Dame. The Panthers have to feel a little deprived. They keep losing traditional rivals. Penn State won't play anymore. The Backyard Brawl with West Virginia is on hold until conference realignment settles down.

If you remember, Pitt had a tough non-conference schedule last year that was rated as one of the toughest as well.

This is pretty consistent with how Big East teams have been scheduling in the past.

Since the play in conference is weaker, Big East teams usually bulk up their schedule in non-conference play. The same is true for this year. Syracuse, USF, and Pitt all rank in Tramel's top 10. Louisville (#13) and Temple (#23) are also ranked highly. Even Rutgers, who normally never schedules tough non-conference games, ramped up their schedule with a road game at Arkansas.

By comparison, the ACC also has tough non-conference schedules, with four schools in the top ten (#3 Miami, #5 Clemson, #8 Georgia Tech, #10 Virginia), while playing more games against major conference opponents than any other power conference.

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