Are the Pitt Panthers a good team? The computers said no, not really. Coming into this week’s game, Bill Connelly’s SP+ put the Panthers at number 52, ESPN’s FPI said the Panthers were 55th. Yet the coaches and AP voters were on the cusp of putting the Panthers in the Top 25. Win one more game and there was little doubt they would have been rewarded with a Top 25 ranking for the first time since November of 2018, the week after the team secured their first ACC Coastal division championship by stomping Wake Forest. That following week the Panthers were beaten by the Miami Hurricanes.
But back to this week. The Panthers were coming off another narrow victory, the Hurricanes were licking their wounds after losing to Georgia Tech, arguably the worst team in the Power 5 conferences.
It played out about how you’d expect (as a Pitt fan), the Panthers committed more penalties than Miami (7-55 to 3-35) and turned the ball over more (3-1), scored field goals instead of touchdowns and basically did all the other things that you’d do to lose a game where you hold an opponent to 208 yards.
The Top 25 is now at least a few more victories away. The ACC Coastal crown is still attainable thanks to Virginia’s loss to Louisville, but its looking unlikely. Since it’s the ACC Coastal, literally anything could happen. However, even if the Panthers win out, they’ll still need some help in another Virginia loss.
So, is Pitt a good team? Check back in a month.
THE FINAL SCORE
THE PUNDITS SPEAK
- Vukovcan: Pitt and Narduzzi playing to lose
- Saunders: Five takeaways
- DiPaola: ACC title race the least of the Panthers’ problems
- Gorman: Narduzzi gets it wrong on 4th-and-goal again
- Steigerwald: Pitt still Pitt
- State of the U: Good, bad, and ugly
THE NUMBERS SAY…
Pitt managed to move up in the SP+ rankings from 52 to… 51. In ESPN’s FPI, the Panthers clock in at 54. It should be noted that Miami was ranked in the top 30 in SP+. Despite their record and general malaise on a week to week basis, Miami has a top 15 defense and is capable of beating most teams… when they show up.
Georgia Tech. The aforementioned Yellow Jackets, who no longer run the triple option, are in a transition year. AKA they are really bad. So bad, that in ESPN’s FPI, only Rutgers is worse amongst Power 5 schools. GT is 100 out of 130 FBS teams. For comparison’s sake, Ohio is 91st, Syracuse is 66th and Duke is 48th.
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Wake Forest is #23, Clemson is #4 and that’s it for the ACC. … Virginia’s loss to Louisville is exactly what the ACC Coastal needed for max chaos.
Clemson 59 – Boston College 7
North Carolina 20 – Duke 17
Florida State 35 – Syracuse 17
Louisville 28 – Virginia 21
ONE FOR THE ROAD
Good news: A seven-way tie in the ACC Coastal remains possible into November.
Bad news: There's no way left to rig it with everyone at 3-3 in the Coastal. Can't flip Duke-Miami into Duke's column without leaving Miami with four Coastal losses.
Week 9 Coastal Chaos update: pic.twitter.com/rcoSlah2Tr
— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) October 26, 2019