Let's move on in our series taking a look at the most important game on each team's schedule.
Most important game: at Virginia Tech, Oct. 12
Why it's important: I debated this choice for quite some time, and nearly chose the season opener against Florida State. Not only is that a huge conference game against a nationally ranked opponent, it also could set the stage for the rest of the season for the Panthers. That will be their first taste of ACC play, and it does not come tougher than that. But because these two teams are not in the same division, I decided to choose the contest against Virginia Tech in October. The two teams are already former conference rivals, and are sure to become division rivals into the future. Their meeting last year exposed Virginia Tech's flaws and was a harbinger to come for the remainder of the Hokies' season. Pitt, a team with its own flaws, played a nearly flawless game against the Hokies in the upset win. If Pitt can play that way for its entire ACC schedule, the Panthers have an excellent shot at getting into the ACC title game. Virginia Tech, which has represented the Coastal more than any other team in the title game, obviously stands in the way of that happening. Even if Pitt drops the opener to Florida State, it can get into the ACC title game if it runs the table in the Coastal. A win over FSU and a loss to Virginia Tech, and obviously its chances of playing for a league championship grow harder. Pitt has won four straight in the series, and I believe there will be plenty of fuel for both teams headed into this October rematch.
For more in this series, click here.