Notes: Pittsburgh ready for first test in ACC

The Pittsburgh Panthers spent nearly two years touting the better life that awaited when the school made the jump from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The talking points always included league stability, academic excellence, and — oh by the way — a lucrative TV contract.

The ACC isn’t wasting any time making Pitt earn its keep.


The Panthers will make their long-anticipated ACC debut Monday night, hosting No. 11 Florida State in the kind of nationally televised spectacle the program hopes comes with a fair amount of regularity in their new conference home.

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The way Pitt tight end J.P. Holtz looks at it, why wait to see how you stack up?

‘‘I would rather start off with all big games to tell you the truth,’’ Holtz said. ‘‘You come to Pitt, that’s what you come to do, that’s why you come to play Division 1 football, you come to play the best of the best.’’

And nobody in the ACC has been better through the years than the Seminoles, last seen crushing BCS crasher Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.

After spending his first season on the job ‘‘finding out who liked football,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst believes he’s got the right players in place to make the Panthers competitive immediately.


‘‘When guys think of college football, they think of games like these,’’ Chryst said. ‘‘All of that is great, and we’re appreciative of the people who made this happen. Joining the ACC in this fashion is pretty impressive.’’

Louisville routs Ohio

Teddy Bridgewater threw five touchdown passes and Michael Dyer had a 46-yard scoring run as No. 9 Louisville thrashed visiting Ohio, 49-7, on Sunday. Bridgewater kicked off his Heisman Trophy campaign by going 23 of 28 for 355 yards.

Bridgewater completed his first nine passes for 121 yards. He also moved into fifth in program history for yardage and fourth in touchdown passes.

Dyer, the former Auburn star, helped the Cardinals outgain Ohio, 615-273. Damian Copeland and Kai De La Cruz each caught two touchdowns and DeVante Parker and Robert Clark had one apiece.

Ohio’s Beau Blankenship had just 22 yards on 12 carries while Tyler Tettleton completed 11 of 23 passes for only 140 yards and was briefly replaced by Derrius Vick in the first half.


The sound of music

Nearly two years after a drum major’s hazing death silenced the music at Florida A&M games, the famed Marching 100 band returned to the field with its familiar booms, drum rattles, and other tones for the Rattlers’ season opener in Orlando. Florida A&M beat Mississippi Valley State, 27-10.

It was the band’s first game appearance since a season-long suspension. The scrutiny following Robert Champion’s 2011 death thrust the school into the national spotlight and led to more than a dozen arrests and the resignation of top officials. Champion died in Orlando in November 2011 after he collapsed from what prosecutors call a savage beating during a hazing ritual. It happened on a bus parked in a hotel parking lot after FAMU’s final football game that season.

In addition to the suspension, Champion’s death led to the departure of the band’s longtime director and the abrupt resignation of university president James Ammons.

As the band marched into the Florida Citrus Bowl on Sunday, fans stood and cheered, and some had tears in their eyes. Alumni said they celebrated the reappearance of a school symbol whose absence caused a core of its fan base to stay away on game days.

At 126 members, the band that returned Sunday was much smaller — there were more than 400 at the time of the suspension.