In PSN’s Five Takeaways following Pitt’s regular-season-ending loss to Boston College on Saturday, I referenced the Panthers’ -21 point differential for the season as a sign that Pitt was fortunate to finish 7-5.
Now that all the games have finished and I have a moment to look at the results, I can put that in even further context.
No FBS team with eight wins finished with a point differential worse than -7 (Arkansas State) and no Power Five team with eight wins finished with a point differential worse than -1 (Oklahoma State).
Of the seven-win teams, only Miami-Ohio, Western Michigan and Nevada had worse point differentials. The only other Power Five team to have a negative point differential and finish 7-5 was Louisville (-14).
Furthermore, no Power Five team that finished 6-6 had a point differential as poor as Pitt’s.
Of the 5-7 teams, the Panthers finished about in the middle, with worse point differentials than Nebraska (4), TCU (-3), but better than Syracuse (-29), Duke (-47), West Virginia (-99) and Colorado (-100).
So, based on Pitt’s aggregate performance this season, when compared to its Power Five brethren, the Panthers should have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.5 wins this season.
As I said on Saturday, the number of close games the Panthers played this season left them tantalizingly close to a greater accomplishment, but they won more of those close games than they lost, and things could have — and maybe even should have — been much, much worse.