The Countdown: 20 days until the ACC

Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Road trips are about to get a whole lot better for Panther fans.

20 days until the ACC: Fun road trips ahead

With a fresh Pitt degree in one hand and a couple grown-up paychecks in the other, the terrific road trips which will come along with ACC membership are what I'm most looking forward to. Gone are the days of crummy weekends in Morgantown, Cincinnati, and New Brunswick; Tobacco Road, the Old Dominion, and the Sunshine State define our new conference footprint.

At about 20 hours, the drive from Pittsburgh to Miami - home of our Coastal Division rival and the Orange Bowl - is likely the longest trip for Panther fans. The U travels to Heinz Field over Thanksgiving weekend this year, but the hope is that Pitt will be making a trip to south Florida come January for a more important game. Atlanta, at about 11 hours from Pittsburgh, should also be on Pitt's radar. Home of the Chick-fil-A Bowl (the ACC's #2 bowl) and Georgia Tech, another coastal division opponent, Pitt fans could be doing some traveling to Georgia. I know I certainly will be.

If car sickness or getting that extra day off from work is an issue, have no fear as Pitt's four remaining coastal division foes are all pretty reasonable drives for a fall weekend. Duke and UNC, both in the Research Triangle, are about eight hours from Pittsburgh. Even easier for a fun jaunt are Virginia Tech and Virginia - both about five and a half hours from Oakland.

Even if the football team has a down year...or several, the road trips to appealing, warm-weather college towns will certainly keep it fun.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlogfor our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow me on Twitter @mikeo90.

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