Which Nonconference Opponent Should Pitt Schedule?

USA TODAY Sports

Sound off on which opponent you'd like to see as a staple of the Panthers' schedule.

One of the points a lot of readers brought up in my Jamie-Dixon-As-Paterno piece last week was that they'd rather see several other rivals on the schedule every season before Penn State. The purpose of that post wasn't to argue those folks were right or wrong, as some took it. Nevertheless, I'm glad the discussion took us in that direction because it leads me to following question for you to answer in the attached poll:

Which of Pitt's non-ACC rivals would you like to see it play every year?

Connecticut - There's a ton of great recent history here. From all the Big East Tournament championship games the two programs played in the aughts to the struggles for the No. 1 ranking in 2008-2009 to the mundanely exciting brand of basketball the series generally produced for a decades plus, there's a lot to like about getting the Huskies back on the schedule every year, or at least until the next round of expansion pushed them into the ACC.

West Virginia - The BasketBrawl probably didn't measure up to the football version for all but a few years when West Virginia was really good. That said, West Virginia as a whole has been enemy No. 1 for a full generation of Panthers fans and getting the Mountaineers on the schedule every year would consistently stir the passions, even in years where one program is clearly superior to the other.

Georgetown - This series didn't generate the Garden classics with UCONN or the animosity with West Virginia. But it did produce some good, #physical hoops and offered us one of the first signs that Pitt was at the dawn of a basketball renaissance.

Penn State - This was an annual game from the dawn of time until eight years ago, and we saw last week that it can be competitive again. It certainly doesn't have the recent history, but it could bring a rivalry feel to slots Pitt traditionally uses for teams that are often of the directional variety.

Villanova - When both teams had good backcourts, it was always great to watch them go at it. When Pitt had big interior threats like DuJuan Blair and Aaron Gray, it was fun to watch the contrasting styles play out on the floor. Like Georgetown, it's probably not the series for your if you want a rivalry, but it'd sure be an interesting game to have back on the schedule.

Cincinnati - The Bearcats were kind of late to the party, arriving in the Big East after Pitt's initial surge under Ben Howland/Dixon. But they were another tough out that could beef up a nonconference schedule.

Rotate them - Looking at the list, it's hard for me to pick one, so feel free to vote with this if you'd rather have a rotation that one of these teams locked in. If you vote for this option, though, drop a ranking in the comments of which teams would be your priorities to rotate so everyone knows what your ideal situation would be. Do you want two or three teams in rotation? All of them? Explain yourself!

Other - This list is mostly dominated by old Big East teams and rivals. But is that what you want? Would you rather see Pitt play a more national nonconference that's not so focused on the past? Again, definitely drop your thoughts in the comments if you vote for this one.

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