The Kelly Gramlich and Eric Mac Lain podcast has featured some of the most prominent names in college football, and that includes ESPN’s top color commentator Kirk Herbstreit and the host of College GameDay Rece Davis.
When it came down to predictions for the 2022 ACC championship, the two College GameDay analysts both predicted a matchup between presumptive Coastal champion Pitt and presumptive Atlantic champion Clemson. Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy predicted a North Carolina-Clemson championship.
While both Herbstreit and Davis (along with McElroy) predicted that Clemson would return to the pinnacle of ACC football and win a conference title for the seventh time in eight seasons, Pitt’s recent success and subsequent retooling haven’t gone unnoticed.
We’ve had some big-time #CFB analysts on the pod recently & here are their ACC picks ⤵️ @KirkHerbstreit @ReceDavis @GregMcElroy #ACCKickoff starts on Wednesday. Who are you picking this year? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/8aAVaY4LXY
— Kelly Gramlich (@kellygramlich) July 18, 2022
As the reigning ACC champions, Pitt has commonly been ranked anywhere from the second, third, fourth, even fifth best team in the conference entering the 2022 season. With a favorable conference schedule, avoiding a regular season matchup with Clemson, Wake Forest and North Carolina State, Pitt’s regular-season finale against at Miami could potentially decide the Coastal division.
Coming off a 30-23 overtime win over North Carolina at home last season, Pitt does play North Carolina in Chapel Hill this season. Which is a game that McElroy sees as a pivotal conference tilt.
Clemson and Pitt last met in 2021, a 27-17 victory at Heinz Field (RIP) courtesy of Kenny Pickett’s 300 yards and touchdowns and SirVocea Dennis’s pick-six. While it was considered a down season, a 10-3 season without a conference title or playoff appearance, the idea of another ACC season without Clemson in contention seems unlikely.
Clemson’s offense still faces some question marks at quarterback and wide receiver, but that defense — the front seven especially — is going to be ferocious.
Regardless, Pitt’s quest to repeat as ACC champion begins Sept. 1 at Acrisure Stadium against West Virginia in a renewal of the Backyard Brawl.