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ESPN ranks Pitt football non-conference schedule among worst in ACC

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We've been over Pitt's 2014 schedule quite a bit. The Panthers' slate is a pretty favorable one all things considered and if things really go Pitt's way, competing for the ACC Coastal Division might not be as much of a reach as it sounds. Pitt doesn't have it easy when it comes to bye weeks, but one thing they do have is a light non-con slate.

We already knew that but ESPN reaffirmed it and also put it into perspective given the rest of the ACC. The Panthers' out of conference games aren't just light but the schedule is one of the easiest in the ACC, according to the site as they ranked them 12th out of the 14 schools:

Quick take: The Panthers have a much easier nonconference schedule, now that Notre Dame is no longer on the slate every year. Iowa is a solid team, but that game at home should be very winnable for the Panthers. FIU was abysmal a season ago, while Akron has made some strides under coach Terry Bowden. Still, Pitt has a realistic shot at going unbeaten in nonconference play for the first time since it began playing a conference schedule in 1993.

That's really hard to argue against. The headliner is Iowa, who could be a ranked team when Pitt faces them. But even in that case, the game is at home. And games against FIU, Akron, and Delaware? Woof.

Pitt fans like to bemoan the fact that the non-conference schedule is pretty light, but have a look at the two teams below them - North Carolina State and Duke. Duke's toughest OOC game is against Tulane or Kansas while the Wolfpack's may be against a 2-10 South Florida team.

The non-con slate is weak for sure, but it ain't that bad. And truth be told, it's really what this young team needs having to replace so many key players. Fans won't like it but it's actually a good way to break in a new quarterback.

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