The University of Pittsburgh is going to make good on their commitment to play Villanova in football after all. The Panthers cancelled last year's scheduled Labor Day contest in favor of playing a televised game against FSU as part of their "welcome" to the ACC. The Wildcats would up swapping them for another ACC school in Boston College, where they revived a rivalry game that had been dormant since 1980 for a one-off game.
So #Pitt’s non-ACC home games in 2016 are Villanova (Sept. 3), Penn State (Sept. 10), at Oklahoma St. (Sept. 17) and Marshall (Oct. 1)— Sam Werner (@SWernerPG) October 7, 2014
That Villanova game in 2016 is a make-good for the game the teams were supposed to play in ’13, but got bumped for the FSU opener.— Sam Werner (@SWernerPG) October 7, 2014
Pitt and Villanova apparently agreed to move their game to the 2016 season, which was the next available year for the 'Cats without a I-A school already scheduled. Nova had planned games against Syracuse for this season and will travel to Hartford to play UConn to open the 2015 season.
The Wildcats last played the Panthers in football on September 5, 1998, losing 48-41 despite a record 428 yard effort by 'Cats legend Brian Westbrook. The tailback scored on a fake punt, 89-yard kickoff return, and caught two touchdown passes. The Wildcats didn't get the win, but managed to show up the Panthers, who were expecting to easily demolish their I-AA opponent.
The 2016 game is scheduled for September 3rd, a Saturday during the Labor Day Weekend.
To everyone tweeting at me on this topic, yes, the FCS games are awful, but they’re going to exist as long as NCAA/Power Five allow it.— Sam Werner (@SWernerPG) October 7, 2014
Pitt fans seem less than excited to take on the Wildcats again, but 2016 will be a good year to host the Wildcats.
In 2016, the Wildcats will be replacing John Robertson at quarterback, and will be working a lot of new faces in across both the offense and defense. The 'Cats will have young talent, but whether they have the experience and execution to really challenge an ACC program like they did in Syracuse last month will be a question-mark until after kick-off. Pitt would have faced a much more dangerous Villanova team last Fall, but in 2016, the outlook for the Wildcats is likely a rebuilding season.
They very-well could turn out to be a winner in 2016, of course, but the expectations for a first-time starter at quarterback have to be held in check, especially against a I-A opponent. The game will, however, bring the 'Cats out to Western Pennsylvania for the first time in a long stretch, and will allow a decently-sized population of alumni to get a look at the team and rally together around alma mater in their own backyard.