Game Information - November 22, 2014. Heinz Field. Game Time: TBA
Location - Syracuse, New York
Enrollment - 21,267 (15,097 undergrads; 6,170 postgraduates)
Stadium - Carrier Dome 49, 262 capacity.
Notable Alumni - Dick Clark, TV host; Lou Reed, musician; Jim Brown, NFL Hall of Fame running back.
Conference Affiliation - ACC (2013-present)
Head Coach - Scott Shafer (7-6 in one season at Syracuse, 7-6 overall)
Series History - Pitt leads the series 35-31-3 (Pitt won 17-16 in 2013)
Pitt and Syracuse have a football history that dates all the way back to 1916. Needless to say, the programs, players, and fans are all very well acquainted with one another - especially since both schools moved into the ACC at the same time. Both schools struggled in their inaugural ACC season, but ended the year with a bowl victory to finish 7-6. In fact, last year's meeting came down to a near dead lock if it weren't for Aaron Donald blocking an extra point. Pitt is without Aaron Donald this season, so who will be the difference maker?
Syracuse football has not had much to talk about in recent seasons. You would have to go back to 2001 the last time the Orange posted a 10 win season. Much like Pitt, they have had their fair share of coaches over the years, and they are hoping Scott Shafer will be the guy to turn things around for the program. Life will not be easy for Syracusre this season, as they do play a very difficult schedule that features Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Louisville. Those are all teams Pitt gets to avoid this season.
Syracuse does have hope for their offense with Terrel Hunt returning after a fairly successful junior season. The dual-threat QB was able to make things happen with his feet, and did a nice job throwing the ball, and he should be improved as a senior. Pitt was able to bottle him up last year, thanks in large part to Aaron Donald tracking him down all day. Tyson Gulley and George Morris II were not starters last season, but did see some carries. Overall, Syracuse had a strong running game that finished 25th overall in the country.
The Pitt-Syracuse game falls late in the season, and it is just too hard to predict where both teams will be by November 22. As we have alluded to all off-season, Pitt does have a favorable schedule, and this could be a very meaningful game this late in the season. Still, it is hard to predict where Syracuse will be. Taking a look through their schedule, it would be hard to imagine them being more than 5-5 coming into this one. So obviously, they will likely be playing for bowl eligibility more than anything. Heck, if Pitt does not come out how many of us think they can, Pitt could be playing for bowl life too.