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Making a case for Pitt's ACC rival

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To find a rival in the ACC, Pitt should look no further than an old Big East foe. But probably not the one you're thinking of.

Justin K. Aller

The idea of finding Pitt football a new rival in the ACC has been talked about many times, even on this site. Everyone has their hopes and wishes, but quite frankly, Pitt probably isn't going to have that "rival" in the ACC anytime soon. There isn't a Penn State. There isn't a West Virginia. Notre Dame isn't an option for many reasons, one being that they already have about a half dozen other "rivals". Pitt will play Syracuse every season as a crossover opponent, but many years together in the Big East has never yielded an on-field rivalry, and the present scenario will probably be no different.

So what options does Pitt have? Looking at the divisional setup, a team from the Coastal Division would make the most sense. However, finding a rival from that group is much easier said than done. North Carolina? Most people in Chapel Hill use football games as a weekly event to talk about the upcoming basketball season. The same can be said for Duke. Plus, they have each other, so we move on...

Miami has Florida and Florida State. Virginia doesn't really inspire hate for me. They are geographically closer than the other schools mentioned, but the Hoos already have traditional rivalries with other founding ACC schools and also with Virginia Tech. Speaking of the Hokies, a lot of people see them as Pitt's best chance to find a rival in the ACC. I guess it's possible, but you can't force a rivalry. Yes, Pitt had their number before they left the Big East, but I don't think the feeling is mutual. A rivalry has to be a partnership. A give and a take. Both teams will have to amp up the hate level in the coming years.

Finally, that leaves us with Georgia Tech. The Atlanta-based Yellow Jackets don't scream hate, unless you really don't like the triple option offense, Delta Airlines, or Coca-Cola. Or unless you're a Georgia fan.

So where do we turn for an annual hate-fest? I'll propose one option. Louisville. We'd have to wait an extra year, but like Pitt, the Cards have no history with many of their soon-to-be conference foes. Yes, Louisville still has Kentucky, but I think Pitt and the Cardinals have a chance of developing some hate on the field. During the their last eight meetings, the Cards are 4-4 against Pitt. Geographically, the two cities are close. Out of all the possible scenarios, a rivalry with Louisville is the most realistic option. It may take time or never happen at all, but finding a rival doesn't happen overnight. In terms of national perception, Pitt has a long way to go to catch up to Louisville, but if Paul Chryst manages to turn the program around, our old friends down the Ohio River could be the perfect match.

And look at it this way, if Cincinnati doesn't mind, we can even reuse the River City Rivalry trophy.

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