Clemson-Pittsburgh unlikely 'rivals' in new ACC football landscape

The Clemson Sports Blog

Pittsburgh running back Rushel Shell (4) stiff-arms Virginia Tech safety Detrick Bonner (8) in the fourth quarter of their game Saturday in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 35-17. (AP File Photo)

Pittsburgh running back Rushel Shell (4) stiff-arms Virginia Tech safety Detrick Bonner (8) in the fourth quarter of their game Saturday in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won 35-17. (AP File Photo)

Perhaps more so than any school involved in ACC shuffling and expansion, Pittsburgh arrives in the ACC with few, if any, longstanding football rivalries.

The ACC has positioned the Panthers as advantageously as possible, adding them to the Coastal Division roster, where they'll play former Big East opponents Virginia Tech and Miami each season. Another familiar match-up was maintained by designating Syracuse as Pitt's Atlantic Division crossover rival.

Pitt has been handed an attractive first-year conference schedule, which includes home games against Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Miami, as well a previously-scheduled game against Notre Dame.

As Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently noted, the Panthers also have a historical connection with Georgia Tech. The teams met in back-to-back Sugar Bowls and Gator Bowls in 1955-56.

“Certain schools, not by design or pre-selection, will develop rivalries just because the competition sort of works,” Georgia Tech AD Mike Bobinski told the Tribune-Review. “I don't think you can predict that moving forward. Those things will naturally evolve.”

Pittsburgh is hoping something new develops along the lines of what has happened between Clemson and Boston College after the Eagles joined the ACC:

'Rivalries can develop between unlikely opponents. Clemson and Boston College are separated by 990 miles, but they play for the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy, named after players from the schools' leather helmet days,' DiPaola wrote. 'The trophy was created in 2008 by the Boston College Gridiron Club, whose members liked traveling to Clemson after BC joined the ACC in 2005. Likewise, Clemson fans enjoyed the trip to Boston.

'The teams have met only 22 times, with Clemson holding an 11-9-2 edge, but they played in the 1940 Cotton Bowl and there were spirited games when Doug Flutie was the Boston College quarterback. In the three games immediately prior to the trophy's inception, BC won all three — in overtime, double overtime and by three points. That's how you build a rivalry.'

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney noted recently that rivalries also develop during the week-to-week course of competition.

“When you only have 12 games and you work hard for those 12, it doesn't matter who the name is, whether it's Pitt or East Bogo Community College,” Swinney told the Tribune-Review. “It's big, and people want to win. That's why they have that big, old scoreboard hanging up. And they keep making it bigger and bigger and bigger to remind me that it matters.”

Another promising development for Pittsburgh is that after 16-year break, the Panthers have scheduled four meetings with Penn State between 2016 and 2019. Officials at both school are hoping for develop a long-term scheduling strategy to continue the rivalry.

The downside to the schedule, since the ACC divided into divisions, is that opposite-division schools that are not designated crossover rivals meet only occasionally - just twice during six-season cycles, once at home and once on the road.

Clemson, then, will soon get to know Syracuse quite well, but will infrequently cross paths with Pittsburgh.

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Comments » 9

TigerMarine writes:

Well my opinion on future ACC rivalries "The Clemson Tigers are the ONLY orangemen in the ACC" so let the rivalry begin.

TigerFan95 writes:

I can’t understand why the ACC didn’t show any interest in getting WV into the conference when they had the chance. Having a rivalry like the Backyard Brawl is exactly the type of thing the conference needs. WV in the Big 12 just makes no sense at all.

radtiger writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

I can’t understand why the ACC didn’t show any interest in getting WV into the conference when they had the chance. Having a rivalry like the Backyard Brawl is exactly the type of thing the conference needs. WV in the Big 12 just makes no sense at all.

West Virginia????? really......do you remember what they did to us in the ORANGE BOWL game???? it was embarrassing....that was a " ORANGE CRUSH BOWL GAME" and you think they should be in the ACC, we will never win our conference if that happens.

Clemorange writes:

I don't think they wanted West Virginia because it wouldn't really effect the acc footprint, we already have vt and Virginia. And rad tiger that just ain't right, there's no reason not to amp up competition. If we don't play better teams how can we expect to be better ourselves. In that case we'll have more bowl games like wv then we will lsu. Winning conference is great but I care just as much if not more about beating georgia and sc this year. We beat them plus our conference then it'll be 1981 again. I have the sports illustrated from that year with clemson on the cover, I sure would like to have two

KIMOSAMI writes:

in response to radtiger:

West Virginia????? really......do you remember what they did to us in the ORANGE BOWL game???? it was embarrassing....that was a " ORANGE CRUSH BOWL GAME" and you think they should be in the ACC, we will never win our conference if that happens.

radstuff...

You try to sell yourself as chicken salad, but you're nothing but smelly, runny chicken stuff.

You apparently think everyone is as dumb as you, and troll this site giving false and darning praise. While you insult anything and everything Clemson.

Why don't you put on a striped searsukker jacket, some white pants, a flat straw hat...and prance on back down to Columbia...home of the twangy drunk. Y'all have Danny Kaye's themesong for your team anthem, so dress like her/him. And use the (snicker, snicker) fake smoke and 2001 song for an entrance. IT'S 2013 ALREADY.

PHONEY.

TigerMarine writes:

The Tigers of that orange bowl folded under adversity and a fumble returned 99 yards for a TD was apparently enough to do it. A DC having a legitimate mental episode repeatedly calling plays that weren't even in the Clemson play book didn't help either! After the truck load of heart and dominance on the D line in their victory over LSU I'm pretty confident those issues are in the past. In short bring on WVU or anybody for that matter Clemson is a team on a mission and I have a good feeling that mission will be a success.

radtiger writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

radstuff...

You try to sell yourself as chicken salad, but you're nothing but smelly, runny chicken stuff.

You apparently think everyone is as dumb as you, and troll this site giving false and darning praise. While you insult anything and everything Clemson.

Why don't you put on a striped searsukker jacket, some white pants, a flat straw hat...and prance on back down to Columbia...home of the twangy drunk. Y'all have Danny Kaye's themesong for your team anthem, so dress like her/him. And use the (snicker, snicker) fake smoke and 2001 song for an entrance. IT'S 2013 ALREADY.

PHONEY.

" false and darning praise" Did I say anything about that game that wasnt true??? No , Im just a fan that doesnt live in a fantasy world...being positive is one thing but being in denial is another. Name calling doesnt change the facts but do what you got to do to make yourself feel better....it fans like you that makes most people pull for SCAR...you may bleed orange but your neck is RED.

KIMOSAMI writes:

in response to radtiger:

" false and darning praise" Did I say anything about that game that wasnt true??? No , Im just a fan that doesnt live in a fantasy world...being positive is one thing but being in denial is another. Name calling doesnt change the facts but do what you got to do to make yourself feel better....it fans like you that makes most people pull for SCAR...you may bleed orange but your neck is RED.

radstuff...the devotee of Steve(hiccup)Spurrier.

(Note: I was wrong about Danny Kay being the singer of "And let a sinner lead the way...")

But his style fits the gamecocks.

And radstuff is no half- empty- glass tiger....he's a gamecock plant.

Review his posts.

SoCalTiger writes:

I think it would great to have West Virginia in the ACC. They would be feared the same way that Florida State and Virginia Tech used to be feared, but Clemson has figured out how to beat those two teams enough times that the playing field is level now. West Virginia is beatable and Clemson could beat them. A potential Clemson-West Virginia ACC rivalry would be explosive and I wish they would join one day.

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