Although there isn't a lot of passion around our series with Pitt, there is plenty of history. The teams first played each other in 1959 and then faced off fairly consistently as both were eastern independents. After the formation of the Big East Football conference, the teams played annually until 2004. Pitt leads the series with 16 wins, but both teams dominated long stretches of the matchup. Since we won most of the Pitt games since I became a real BC fan, I only tend to remember the losses and their importance. Two truly standout.
BC played Pitt on Halloween in one of ESPN's Thursday night games. This was at a time when Thursday night games were a huge deal. BC seemed to be in a daze the whole night and there were plenty of missed tackles and blown assignments. The performance was so bad that rumors started spreading that some players purposely threw the game. That wasn't the case, but the gossip and investigation led to the infamous "Gambling Scandal."
At the time this we didn't know the importance of the loss, but it would cost us a Fiesta Bowl appearance as much as the loss to Syracuse did in the season finale (the Panthers actually won the Big East's BCS slot by virtue of a four-way tie). BC came back to tie the game late in the fourth during a huge day for Paul Peterson. However, TOB played for OT on the final possession and we lost in OT. It was a bitter way to end it all since we had lost to Pitt two years earlier on sloppy Heinz Field while TOB played it to conservatively.
As we renew the series, I know it won't all be easy, but I hope the rare losses are less painful or impactful.