Your new highest ranked Football Power Index team from the ACC is the Pitt Panthers.
Coming in as the seventh-highest ranked team according to ESPN’s FPI, Pitt surpassed Clemson and now sits as the highest-ranked team in the conference with a 17.0 index score — 0.1 points behind Cincinnati.
Pitt’s 17.0 rating and seventh-ranked seed is a four spot jump after Saturday’s 28-7 win over Virginia Tech to secure a commanding lead in the ACC Coastal.
Pitt’s new win projection is 10.4-2.5 — which is a 5.4-1.5 record the rest of the way. With six games remaining this season, Pitt holds a 17.4% chance to win out and a 100% chance to reach six wins and become bowl eligible.
With the win over Virginia Tech, Pitt’s chances to win the division and the conference have both spiked. The Panthers hold an 88.2% chance to win the Coastal division and a 57.5% chance to win the ACC outright. Clemson holds a 10.6% chance to win the ACC, but it’s North Carolina State with a 19.5% chance that appears to have surpassed the Tigers in the Atlantic division.
While Pitt’s conference championship chances have steadily risen, the Panthers still appear to be a bit too much of a dark horse to make the playoff this season. Pitt holds 14.9% odds to make the College Football Playoff and a 5% chance to make the championship game.
And with a 1.8% chance to win the national championship, Pitt officially wins the championship just about twice every 100 simulations. So… are you feeling lucky?
Of course, Pitt will need a lot of help to make the playoff even as a potential one-loss ACC champion, but the Panthers will need to take care of their own business over the second half of the season. A win over VT was an excellent start though.
After playing Clemson this week, Pitt will be heavy favorites in each of the remaining five games this season. However, Clemson still feels like a hump to be cleared.
Clemson is 4-2 this season, but the Tigers haven’t played like a team that’s deserving of that record. A 17-14 win over Syracuse on Friday night continued a trend of underwhelming performances this season. With a 15.3 rating, 10th-best in the nation, FPI still thinks highly of Clemson but gives Pitt a 63.1% chance to win.
Miami’s disastrous season continued on Saturday with a 45-42 loss to North Carolina, but even at 2-4, FPI still ranks the Hurricanes as the 29th-best team in the nation with an 8.4 rating. FPI gives Pitt an 81.2% chance to win.
Duke is overwhelmingly the last ranked team in the ACC, holding a -7.6 rating that is good for 96th in the nation. At 3-4, coming off a 48-0 drubbing at the hands of Virginia, Pitt holds a 93.4% chance to win.
Virginia, sitting at 5-2 with a high-powered offense, could be the toughest game remaining on Pitt’s schedule. UVA’s Brennan Armstrong is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and a Kenny Pickett-Armstrong battle could be a high-scoring affair. UVA has an 8.3 rating, good for 30th in the nation, but Pitt holds an 80.5% chance to win.
Pitt ends the regular season with a game against a Syracuse team that has a -0.4 rating, good for 69th in the nation. At 3-4, the Orange aren’t favored by FPI, and Pitt holds an 85.5% chance to win.
Pitt controls its own destiny in the ACC, and at this point, the ACC is likely Pitt’s to lose. At the halfway point of the season, the Panthers have done enough to position themselves well — outside of the Western Michigan debacle — but it all comes down to Pitt’s ability to finish.