Game Information - October 4, 2014; Scott Stadium; Game Time: TBA
Location - Charlottesville, Virginia
Enrollment - 21, 095 (14, 641 undergrads; 6.454 postgraduates)
Stadium - Scott Stadium 61,500 capacity
Notable Alumni - Robert F. Kennedy, former US Senator; Tina Fey, actor/comedian; Boyd Tinsley, violinist for Dave Matthews Band.
Conference Affiliation - ACC (1953-present)
National Championships - None
Head Coach - Mike London (18-31, 4 seasons at Virginia, 42-36 overall)
Series History - Pitt leads 4-2; Pitt won 14-3 in 2013.
Pitt looked well on their way to a comfortable win against Virginia last season, as the Panthers raced out to a 14-0 first quarter lead at Heinz Field. The 14 points would be all they would score, though. Fortunately, it held up for Pitt, as they won by a final score of 14-3 in a rather uneventful game. Perhaps this year's game will be a bit more exciting with both teams needing to play with more urgency for their head coaches. Chryst needs to break through with a big season eventually and Mike London is either on the hot seat or very close to it. Despite reaching the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2011, Virginia has only mustered six wins in the past two years.
Virginia will likely return David Watford as their starting quarterback for the 2014 season. Watford had his ups and downs last season. He proved to be a good runner, but threw 15 interceptions to just eight touchdowns. Kevin Parks returns after a 1,000 yard season at running back last season. Also, look for Taquan Mizzel to make more of an impact this year. Mizzel was London's prized recruit two years ago as a five-star running back out of Virginia Beach. We may get to see true freshman, Jamil Kamara, at wide receiver. Kamara was a four-star receiver last year and you may remember that his final college choice came down to Pitt and Virginia.
Virginia's defense was also suspect last season, as they surrendered 33 points a contest - good for being 99th in the country. Their defense could see a boost from some true freshmen in 2014, though. Quin Blanding was a top five recruit in the nation last year that elected to stay home and play for the hometown Cavaliers. He could join Anthony Harris as one of the starting safeties. Harris is an All ACC type performer, and could be a future first round pick next Spring.
Despite Virginia's lack of on-field success, Mike London has recruited well. While not a lot is expected of the Cavaliers, they do have some of the best young talent the ACC has to offer, and that alone makes them dangerous. By the time of the Pitt game, Virginia will have played three difficult games with UCLA, Louisville, and BYU. It could be desperation time for them by that point, thus making it a difficult game for the Panthers.
Side note - If I may make a recommendation, this should be your Pitt road trip this season. Charlottesville is a beautiful town and a reasonable weekend trip. The campus is gorgeous, and early October should make it even better.