Pitt entered the 2019 season knowing they had one of, if not the most difficult opening four games of any college team in the country.
Instead of scheduling a few cupcakes like Idaho, Pitt challenged themselves with Penn State, Central Florida, Ohio and had to start off with preseason conference favorite Virginia.
The purpose of playing such a challenging schedule to open your season is to hopefully prepare and get yourself better for the start of conference play.
Every week at his Monday press conference, Pat Narduzzi has mentioned how he wanted his team to be better every week and to his credit, the Panthers have improved and are a better team today then they were on August 31 against Virginia.
The most exciting aspect of this for Narduzzi and his coaches has to be that they made this improvement against good football teams. How many teams in football can say that three of their first four games were against ranked opponents? State College is one of the most difficult road assignments in football and UCF had won 27 consecutive non-conference games.
Despite those challenges, Narduzzi’s team wakes up today with a record of 2-2 and I believe have EARNED a place in college football’s Top 25 rankings. Unlike some teams that get ranked because of the history of their program, the strength of their conference or playing inferior competition, Pitt has made a case for themselves by performing on the field.
I’m not saying that Pitt should be in the Top 10 but I do believe that they have a legitimate case to be somewhere in the Top 25.
Here are a few of the teams that were ranked last week and that Pitt can make an argument of having a better resume against:
#25 TCU (2-1): Lost this week to SMU and one of their wins was against Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
#24 Arizona State (3-1): Lost this week to Colorado and wins were against Sacramento State and Kent State.
#19 Washington State (3-1): Lost this week to a winless UCLA team and wins were against New Mexico State, Northern Colorado and a bad Houston team.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re ranked on September 22 but let’s face it, it’s an image thing for a program to be able to show fans, recruits and even players inside the locker room.
Since the college football voting system is so flawed and with them not receiving votes last week, it’s highly unlikely that Pitt will find themselves ranked this week but it just may be a matter of time until they are.
Considering the really challenging portion of their schedule is behind them and with upcoming games against Delaware, Duke, Syracuse, Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina, Pitt has a chance of getting on a roll and stringing some wins together.
With the way this Panther defense is performing, the continued development of Kenny Pickett and the way this team competes for Narduzzi, it’s not out of the question that Pitt can win five of their next six games.
If that scenario plays out, not only will Pitt find themselves ranked but they’ll also be in the hunt to make a repeat trip to Charlotte to play Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
Although the losses to Virginia and Penn State were disappointing, yesterday’s win over Central Florida could be the game that jumpstarts the Pitt season.
This season is at the quarter mark but let’s see if the “Pitt Special” is the play that turns the 2019 season into a special one for Pitt.