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HTS 2019: Pittsburgh, PA

If you forget the “PA” when you’re there, they WILL remind you. Trust me on that one.

Georgia Tech v Pittsburgh
Oh! Hey! It’s TaQuon Marshall! I remember that guy!
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

I mourn Pitt Stadium, just as I do the Miami Orange Bowl. Fortunately, though, this week we don’t have to worry about NFL stadiums, since it’s Pittsburgh’s turn to visit us this year. They’re coming off a loss to that aforementioned Miami team. And we’re coming off a win over said Miami squad, by way of the Fightin’ Bye Weeks, so, what I’m saying is that there’s a chance.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Opponent Background:

  • Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (2013 - present)
  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • All-time Record: 729 - 537 - 42 (.573)
  • Home Stadium: Heinz Field (Capacity: 68,400)
  • FBS National Championships: 9 Claimed (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1976)
  • College Football Playoff Appearances: N/A
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games (italic - wins, bold - opponent was Tech): 12 — Rose (4 - 1927, 1929, 1932, 1936), Sugar (3 - 1955, 1976, 1981), Fiesta (4 - 1973, 1979, 1983, 2004), Cotton (1 - 1982)
  • Conference Championships: 2 — (Big East: 2004, 2010)
  • Division Championships: 1 — (2018)
  • 2018 Season Record: 7 - 7 (6 - 2 ACC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 5-8-0 (.385)
  • Recent Meetings:
    2018: 19 - 24 (Pittsburgh, PA)
    2017: 35 - 17 (Atlanta, GA)
    2016: 34 - 37 (Pittsburgh, PA)
    2015: 28 - 31 (Atlanta, GA)
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record against Pittsburgh in this week’s venue: 2-3-0 (.500)

2019 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes Attendence
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes Attendence
August 29 8:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Clemson (1) Atlantic Coast 51-32-2 Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC 14 - 52 L Rivalry 79,118
September 7 2:00 p.m. (ACCN) South Florida American Athletic 1-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 14 - 10 W Group of Five, Whiteout 46,599
September 14 12:30 p.m. (ACCRSN) The Citadel SoCon 10-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 24 - 27 L (OT) FCS 42,871
September 28 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN) @ Temple American Athletic 0-1-0 Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA 2 - 24 L First Meeting, Group of Five 31,094
October 5 4:00 p.m. (ACCN) North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-22-3 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 22 - 38 L Family Weekend, Hall of Fame Game 45,044
October 12 12:30 p.m. (ACCNX) @ Duke Atlantic Coast 51-35-1 Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC 23 - 41 L 21,741
October 19 12:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Miami (FL) Atlantic Coast 13-12-0 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 28 - 21 W (OT) "54,106"
November 2 4:00 p.m. (ACCNX) Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-9-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 10 - 20 L Homecoming 41,219
November 9 12:30 p.m. (ACCNX) @ Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-20-1 Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA 28 - 33 L 44,596
November 16 3:30 p.m. (ACCNX) Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast 7-10-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 0 - 45 L Rivalry, Heroes Day 43,263
November 21 8:00 p.m. (ESPN) NC State Atlantic Coast 19-10-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 28 - 26 W 38,198
November 30 12:00 p.m. (ABC) Georgia Southeastern 44-68-5 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 0 - 0 TBD Rivalry, Senior Day, Toy Drive
2019 Football Schedule Jake Grant

John Heisman and an Annual Game Against Pittsburgh: A Match Made in Heaven

When Pittsburgh came into the conference in 2013 with their fellow Big East refugees, the Syracuse Orange, it was somewhat of an interesting move away from a lot of the Panthers’ historical rivals and their center of gravity. Sure, playing the likes of North Carolina and Duke every year was a different story than the Backyard Brawl. However, the story of Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech may not be as long as, say, West Virginia, and it may not be the most storied or poignant to a modern fan, like some place like Penn State, but the Panthers have been a reliable part of some of not just Tech’s most significant moments, but some of the biggest moments in the history of sport, most prominently the 1956 Sugar Bowl.

Pittsburgh football began in 1889 under the auspices of two students. The Western University of Pennsylvania, as it was known then, played its first game against a local high school called the Shady Side Academy, which still exists today. Like many schools that started playing football in the waning days of the Gilded Age before rising to prominence as the sport grew, Pittsburgh was most unremarkable in those early years. I have posed this question before earlier in this column, but, if all these teams were losing to random teams back in the day, it would be fascinating to see, well, who the heck was winning all of them. Perhaps a story for a future history column.

Pittsburgh’s 10-0 1904 season didn’t so much as bat an eye from the sport’s Ivy League focus, though Michigan and Chicago were increasingly turning heads farther west. 10-0 for anything past Philadelphia, though, at the time, hardly batted an eye. Even less so for teams from points south. Pittsburgh’s first zenith came at the same time as the climax of a certain leading edge Southern institution’s coaching czar. Sidenote: This is by far the wordiest, most dense sentence I’ve written for this website, but it carries over from last year’s edition for posterity’s sake. By that time, sportswriters were all too eager to pick the Panthers as national champion. When Heisman challenged Pop Warner to a winner-take-all bout for the title, he was rebuffed. Think about it - before there was even a second major bowl, the 1916 Tech and Pittsburgh, likely the two best teams in the country, could have faced each other in a true intersectional national championship. Pitt was coming off their first national title in 1915 and the risk of contesting their second in 1916 while the undefeated Yellow Jackets suffered the same fate as the Panthers did in 1904, not to mention the financial costs of travel, were too much for Warner to stomach. While Tech got the last laugh in 1917, finally taking a title after two dominating seasons, bookended by the unholy 222-0 clobbering of Cumberland in the former and the demolition of Eastern juggernaut Penn in 1917, the two schools squared off to decide it all in 1918. Or, at least, Warner finally agreed to a regular season matchup with the Jackets. With Tech having lost much of its best and brightest to the war effort, the Panthers, who hosted the game at Forbes Field near campus, proved the better team. The resulting third championship was more of a formality, then. The two teams played twice more before the uppity Southerners were cut off in a schedule reshuffling in 1921.

The two wouldn’t see the same gridiron again for more than thirty years, with Tech taking another championship in the interim while Pittsburgh garnered five of their own. The 1956 Sugar Bowl was rife with controversy - the idea of the Tech men playing an integrated team didn’t sit well with many Georgians, including the governor. Overwhelming opinion at Tech favored playing the game and supported coach Bobby Dodd’s squad to play the game. I covered it a while back in Rearview Mirror in much more depth than I could give it justice here, but, since that was a bit piecemeal, keep an eye out for a re-release and updated addition with a couple new sources in a few weeks.

On the football field, Tech won the game, their first against Pittsburgh. Tech got another win within the calendar year over the Panthers in the Gator Bowl following the 1956 season, which Bobby Dodd purports to be his most talented ever. Tech took two more losses to Pittsburgh in the 1970s, including one in the year of the Panthers’ most recent championship, 1976. Fast forward another three and a half decades, and the two schools have found themselves division-mates in the ACC.

Tech and Pittsburgh are an even 3-3 since the Panthers became an annual fixture. The 2015 and 2016 games, the first two of the four between Paul Johnson and Pat Narduzzi, were both decided on heartbreaking Chris Blewitt field goals. The two teams traded flustering losses - Pittsburgh’s inability to put anything together in 2017 offsetting Tech’s similar frustrations in 2018 - in the last two, leading us to where we stand today, with Geoff Collins coming off his inaugural ACC win in time for his first Homecoming as Tech head coach.

Since Pittsburgh and Tech have such an intertwined history, we’ll forgo the boilerplate introduction to Georgia Tech football this week, because talking Heisman and Dodd really encompasses a big swath of Tech’s two great golden ages of football. The Jackets have an all-time record of 737-505-43.

Tomorrow, Tech returns home for the first time since the first weekend of October for the annual Homecoming football game. Honestly, it feels a little weird that we aren’t playing Duke. That just screams Homecoming to me. But I digress. The game will be shown on ACC Network Regional Affiliates and can be heard over the radio in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM and the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Radio Network, featuring the voice of the Yellow Jackets, Andy Demetra, as always.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!