Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
The Bearcats are only two seasons removed from a CFP berth, and they are now embarking upon their first Big 12 campaign. Their roster may not be completely ready for a Power Five schedule, but they aren’t as far off as some of their former Group of Five brethren.
They will get a solid early test when they visit Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers. Pitt is only two seasons removed from an ACC championship. They are flying under the radar somewhat, and they would like nothing better than to introduce themselves against a Bearcats team that is probably better known than Pitt is nationally.
While the Panthers aren’t considered a favorite to play in the ACC championship game this season, they are considered on the next tier of teams in the conference. While a win will get them (and the ACC) some positive attention, a loss will likewise hurt them. Cincinnati might technically be in the Big 12, but the perspective of many is that they still boast a Group of Five roster. A Bearcat victory would continue to erode the ACC’s reputation.
Narduzzi can be an abrasive personality, but if you take a step back and look at all the active coaches in the ACC, he is one of the most tenured and respected. He is the only active coach besides Dabo Swinney who has won an ACC championship.