Has anything happened to Pitt since the last release of Bill Connelly’s SP+ preseason projection on Feb. 9? Well, I guess the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner has left for USC, but otherwise, Pitt is in a good place. And the model reflects that.
Connelley’s most recent SP+ projections (which, loosely described, is a power ranking based on returning production, recent recruiting and recent history) saw Pitt drop from No. 13 in February to No. 19 in May.
Pitt’s projected SP+ sits at 14.8, which is a 1.4-point drop. Of the teams in the SP+ Top 20, Pitt’s six spot drop is the most drastic.
With a 35.8 offensive SP+ rating (good for 20th in the country) and 20.9 defensive SP+ rating (good for 30th), Pitt is still well regarded when compared to the rest of the upper echelon of college football.
With some losses — especially when factoring in Jordan Addison’s losses — on both sides of the ball, Pitt’s returning talent on offense and defense leaves both units well-equipped for continued success.
Clemson remains the top-ranked ACC team, ranked sixth with a 20.3 SP+ rating, and Miami (15.6, 14th) and North Carolina State (14.9, 18th) are also ranked ahead of Pitt. Miami actually made the largest leap, six spots of its own, to bypass Pitt in the rankings.
Florida State (12.4, 28th), Louisville (12.3, 30th), North Carolina (10.7, 34th) and Wake Forest (6.4, 49th) round out the ACC schools in the Top 50.
Virginia (4.7, 55th), Syracuse (4.5, 57th), Virginia Tech (3.9, 61st), Boston College (-0.9, 76th), Georgia Tech (-5.3, 90th) and Duke (-14.3, 119th) round out the ACC’s rankings.
Pitt’s non-conference slate includes games against a West Virginia (-0.7, 75th) team that suffered a 13 spot decline after a few starters left Morgantown, Tennessee (18.5, ninth), Rhode Island and Western Michigan (-7.3, 95th).
In games against Tennessee, Miami and Louisville, Pitt is playing teams that SP+ currently has as Top 30 teams in college football. And in games against WMU, WVU, Georgia Tech and Duke, Pitt is playing teams that currently hold negative ratings.