Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
After some back and forth, the much anticipated Pitt-Florida State game for Labor Day appears to be on, according to the Trib-Review. To make way for the game, the Panthers have apparently canceled their game with Villanova. I was of the opinion that the schools could make their game still happen at a later date, but it's looking like that's off the table here.
The good news? Pitt will jump to the forefront of college football for a day when they take on the Seminoles in their first game as a member of the ACC. Big time opponent, big time spotlight with the game being on ESPN - that type of hype is always good for the school. First game of the season against a good team, Pitt really has no excuse for this game not to sell out.
On the flipside, I've always been skeptical about playing such a difficult game right off the bat. The positives may outweigh that here, but it's still something to consider. Let's be honest - Pitt won't be ready for this one. Few teams are truly ready for their opener and playing a ranked team in a big game won't make that happen. Heck, Pitt couldn't even be ready for Youngstown State and Cincinnati this past season. They'll also be starting a new quarterback. If you think the Panthers will be ready for this game, you've got more faith than me.
Could they win the game anyway? Sure. Florida State won't be truly ready, either, and at home, the Panthers will get a bit of an advantage there. But to pretend that alone will help Pitt win this game would be foolish. Again ... Youngstown State. The game will come down to which team is the most prepared to start the season. And based on how the Panthers started last year, you'll excuse me for not being all that optimistic that Paul Chryst will have the team ready.
The other amusing thing I read on Twitter recently was that we'll know a lot about Pitt after the game. To the contrary. If the Panthers win, you don't really know just how much of it to chalk up to being at home, the guys getting up for a big game. If they lose, we still won't know just how good they can be. Losing to potentially the best team in the conference is hardly a terrible thing. Fact is, unless Pitt wins in a blowout, we won't have much of an idea of how good or bad they actually are.
In the end, I'm fine with this, I guess. It will get a lot of people excited an should really help the program financially and with a big spotlight. But as far as actually helping the football team, there's a real question there for me. I've got to think the team would be better served starting off with, say, Villanova, and easing their way into things. And remember, this is a conference game. A loss to a big time out of conference team doesn't hurt you in the conference standings. A defeat here, though, would.
Either way, though, one thing is for certain: Heinz Field will be the place to be on Labor Day.