It looked bleak after a brutal 42-24 loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Oct. 29 dropped Pitt to 4-4 on the season, but Pat Narduzzi preached that Pitt’s goals, while no longer able to repeat as ACC championship, were right there for the taking. And Pitt’s players echoed the sentiments.
Pitt rattled off wins over a then-No. 21 Syracuse, Virginia, Duke and Miami to cap the regular season and a win over then-No. 18 UCLA in the Sun Bowl to conclude the season and cap a 9-4 season.
And for their efforts, Pitt has finished the 2022 season ranked, checking in as the No. 22 team in college football.
After finishing the 2021 season ranked 13th in the country, it’s Pitt’s first back-to-back seasons ranked in the final AP Poll since 1982-83 — when Pitt finished 10th and 18th, respectively.
BREAKING: National champion @GeorgiaFootball tops the final AP Top 25 of the season, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama round out the top five.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) January 10, 2023
A 9-4 season, capped by a Sun Bowl win in dramatic fashion over a Pac-12 foe, also gives Pitt 20 wins over a two-season stretch since the 1981-82 season.
Pitt put together final finishes of 15, 1, 8, 7, 2, 4, 10 and 18 between 1975-83, with just the 1978 team finishing the season unranked.
It may not have been a season in which Pitt actualized its preseason goals of a second consecutive ACC championship, but it’s legitimate progress. It’s progress that hasn’t been seen since the early 1980s — and it likely will continue into the 2023 season, too.
National champion Georgia finishes the season ranked No. 1, followed by TCU, Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama. Tennessee, Penn State, Washington, Tulane and Utah round out the Top 10.
Florida State (11) and Clemson (13) are the only ACC schools ranked ahead of Pitt in the final AP Poll of the season — with Duke (the first team out), North Carolina and Louisville also receiving votes.
It was a wild ride of a 2022 season for Pitt football, but it ends with nine wins, 20 wins over a two-season stretch and a Sun Bowl win. It also, somehow, ends with UCLA still somehow ranked one spot ahead of Pitt.