Pat Narduzzi has changed Pitt football in a good way.
He has created expectations for the football program and that’s a good thing.
More importantly, after some years of instability following the firing of Dave Wannstedt, Narduzzi has turned Pitt into a winning program and one that has challenged for (and won) championships the last couple of years.
Following last night’s domination of Miami, a program that’s still searching for all of the things I just listed above, Pitt finished the 2022 regular season with a record of 8-4.
While that doesn’t constitute a terrible season, the Panthers fell short of what they wanted and honestly what they should have accomplished, which is winning another Coastal Division championship.
It’s disappointing because now that the season is over with, it’s easy to see that Pitt had the most talented team in the division.
But the most talented teams don’t always win. That stretch of games against Louisville, Georgia Tech and North Carolina in October will no doubt haunt the Panthers all offseason.
Instead of focusing entirely on what wasn’t accomplished this season, fans shouldn’t lose sight of what Narduzzi and his program was able to accomplish.
First of all, Pitt finished the month of November with a record of 4-0, which was the same record that had last November.
That means Pitt is 8-0 in November in 2021-2022. In those eight wins, six of them have been by double digits, which means Narduzzi’s teams are getting better as the season goes on.
The biggest thing that I take from this is that despite the criticism Narduzzi gets from fans and media, his players love playing for him and don’t quit.
Following that loss to North Carolina, which dropped their record to 4-4, plenty of people wondered if Pitt would even qualify for a bowl and, considering the problems on offense, if Narduzzi was in danger of losing this team.
We now know the answer to this is a resounding no.
People on the outside (like me) can have our opinions about certain things that happen at Pitt, but the bottom line is that Narduzzi and his assistants create relationships and have created an environment within the program that is player friendly and family like.
The proof is really in the pudding. Look back over the years of the number of players that have decided to stay an extra year when they could’ve gone to the NFL and also the few numbers of starters at Pitt that transfer. Unlike many programs, Narduzzi hasn’t lost many key players or starters to the transfer portal.
Jordan Addison was an exception to that but that also coincided with the start of the NIL. there’s no better compliment you can give a coach than players love to play for you and that’s certainly with Narduzzi. His players love him.
While the regular season is over with, this Pitt team still has important things left to accomplish.
With the 8 wins this year and the 11 from last year, Pitt has 19 wins over the last 2 seasons, which is their best stretch since 2008-09.
If they’re able to win their upcoming bowl game, that would give them 20 wins, which would be the first time they’ve done that since 1981-82. Win the bowl game and Pitt will likely finish the season ranked in the top 25.
While the ultimate goal wasn’t accomplished, the 2022 season can still be a good season for Pitt.
Disagree? That just shows you the expectations that Narduzzi has created at Pitt, where a 9-win season can be looked at as disappointing.