Not a single player on Virginia Tech's roster had started high school the last time Tech and Pittsburgh met on a football field in 2003, but Tech coach Frank Beamer was more than willing to offer a recent history lesson.
Though it's been a while since Tech and Pittsburgh were regular combatants when both programs were Big East members, it's time to get used to the idea of Pittsburgh making an annual appearance on Tech's schedule again starting next year when the Panthers join the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division.
Another Big East blast from the past, Syracuse, also will be make semi-regular visits to Tech's schedule when the Orange become an ACC Atlantic Division member next year.
With a Saturday trip to Pittsburgh (0-2 overall, 0-1 Big East) coming up for No. 13 Tech, Beamer is focused on the task at hand. He's made sure his players know what went down the last three times the teams played each other.
"We talked about it (Monday)," Beamer said. "We went over the last three games (against Pittsburgh). They beat us 38-7, 28-21 and 31-28, and I think we were favored in all three of them. That's a part of the history."
ACC basketball fans are giddy over what Pittsburgh and Syracuse will offer the overall quality of the conference. Yet, the jury is still out on whether the two teams will provide a football boost to a conference that's had no recent success producing a program capable of challenging the Southeastern Conference's dominance in the national championship picture.
The Pittsburgh program that will host Tech (2-0 overall, 1-0 ACC) at Heinz Field is nothing like the one from a decade ago and beyond Beamer talked about with his team. This year's version of the Panthers hasn't been terribly promising, losing to Football Championship Subdivision opponent Youngstown State 31-17, and at Cincinnati last Thursday 34-10.
Syracuse? Well, it's been more competitive than Pittsburgh, but the Orange is still 0-2 after losing 42-41 to Northwestern and 42-29 to Southern California. Syracuse has a seven-game losing streak dating back to last season.
When Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the ACC, both programs could be going through significant transition periods on at least one side of the ball, which doesn't bode well for their immediate prospects for prosperity.
As it stands right now, Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst could lose six starters on the offense after this season, including quarterback Tino Sunseri (back-to-back seasons with more than 2,500 yards passing) and running back Ray Graham (first team All-Big East last season).
Though Pittsburgh surrendered 422.5 yards per game (80th in the nation in total defense) in the first two games, there's the possibility the Panthers could improve considering five of their defensive starters are redshirt freshmen and sophomores.
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is set to lose at least 10 starters. Those departures will include quarterback Ryan Nassib (67 percent completions, 804 yards passing, six touchdowns and three interceptions this season; 2,685 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season) and the team's most dependable wide receivers in Alec Lemon (68 catches last season) and Marcus Sales (already 20 catches this season).
The Orange has struggled to win games of late, but they have a capable offense which is producing 525.5 yards per game (21st in the nation). On the defensive side, Syracuse will have to replace half of its starting defensive line and half of its starting secondary after this season.
Recruiting could help answer some of the immediate question marks for Pittsburgh and Syracuse, but it'll be interesting to see how deep the programs begin to penetrate into southern territories to compete with established ACC and SEC teams. It may behoove them to continue to mine the northern states, where both teams have garnered talent they hope carries them into a brighter future.
Pittsburgh has a 2013 commitment from Tra'Von Chapman, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Kent, Ohio, who is considered by most recruiting analysts to be one of the nation's top 30 quarterbacks. Syracuse has a good handle on where it needs to get better, as all eight of its current '13 class commitments are from quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers and defensive tackles — half of whom are from Florida, Maryland and Texas.
Of course, the relevance of both programs will be based on results. Pittsburgh has been to bowls in four straight seasons, but it hasn't played in Bowl Championship Series game since the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 2004 season. Syracuse, which was a regular contender for Big East titles in the 1990s when Tech was in the league, has played in one bowl in the past eight years.
WHO: Virginia Tech (2-0) at Pittsburgh (0-2).
For more on Pittsburgh's woes this season, read David Teel's blog at dailypress.com/teeltimeCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun