As the official start of the college football season approaches, everyone will start making their yearly predictions.
These will range from the standard season win totals to conference champions, team MVPs, breakout players; the usual.
I’ll touch on a few of those next week, before the West Virginia game, but I have a couple early predictions about the 2022 Pitt Panthers.
I guess the first one is more of a statement and it’s that this group of players and overall team isn’t getting enough credit for how talented they are and how good they can be.
It’s a bit strange that a team that’s coming off winning the ACC Championship and returning a large number of starters isn’t getting more national respect. I guess that’s part of the growing pains that come with trying to build a college program into one that’s nationally respected and recognized.
Right now, I think Pat Narduzzi’s program is viewed as one that had a special season but isn’t a program that has fully arrived.
It’s funny that despite being average for better part of the last decade plus, the Miami Hurricanes are being declared back by everyone simply because of the hiring of Mario Cristobal. That’s the benefit that teams with a national brand like Miami, Texas and USC get. They still need to actually win games and championships to be back, so let’s see over the next few years how that works out.
Unfortunately, Pitt isn’t viewed nationally like those programs are. And aren’t given the benefit of the doubt. The Panthers need to a few more successful seasons before they’re automatically put into the Top 25 like some teams seem to be, despite not deserving to be there.
Despite having already thrown for over 7,000 yards and 58 touchdown passes, Kedon Slovis is being viewed as a question mark. Why do I think if the situation was reversed and Slovis was transferring from Pitt to say USC or Ohio State or Georgia, he’d already be viewed as a Heisman candidate?
You know that’s true.
Here’s a spoiler alert, Slovis will be more than fine, and the quarterback position won’t be an issue for Pitt in 2022.
As far as my prediction that I mentioned earlier, here goes. The wide receivers will be the strongest position group at Pitt and overall, they’ll be a better unit than they were a year ago.
No, I’m not saying that any of the receivers will have a better season than Addison did a year ago. What I am saying is that from top to bottom, this is a more talented group of players and will be better as a whole than the ones Pickett threw to in 2021.
The 2022 Panthers wide receiver’s room isn’t short on talent, the only thing they’re missing is national recognition. Very few people aside from the coaches and players on the South Side really know how talented guys like Jared Wayne, Konata Mumpfield, Bub Means, Jaylon Barden, Jaden Bradley and Myles Alson really are. That won’t be the case at the end of the season.
This group of wideouts has everything you need in terms of overall size, a few home run hitters, a couple guys that can be physical, make combat catches and be excellent route runners.
When you combine that, with a deep and talented running back depth chart, probably the most talented offensive line in the conference and a ton of talent returning on defense, it’s hard to find many true weaknesses on this Pitt team.
That’s why I’ll give you another one of my predictions that I was going to save.
Book your rooms in Charlotte because the Pitt Panthers will be playing in the ACC Championship Game again.