There’s a little over two months until Pitt kicks off its season against Wofford at Acrisure Stadium on Sept. 2, but that doesn’t the first preseason polls won’t start popping up.
It’s only June 26, over a month before fall camp begins, but Pro Football Focus has released its preseason college football Top 25, and Pitt just managed to sneak into the poll. Right at No. 25.
Pitt is the third-ranked ACC team in the poll, following Clemson and Florida State.
Preseason College Football Top 25 per @PFF👀
— On3 (@On3sports) June 26, 2023
PFF used its ELO scores to rank all 131 teams, with an emphasis on the Top 25, and what exactly is ELO? Well, it’s PFF’s way of ranking teams after each game based on how well that team played against its opponent and how that team was expected to play against its opponent. It uses PFF’s offensive, defensive and special teams grades to do so.
So, here’s what PFF’s Max Chadwick wrote about Pitt checking in at 25:
“For the second straight season, Pittsburgh will be starting a transfer at quarterback. Phil Jurkovec comes in from Boston College and takes over from Kedon Slovis, who departed for BYU. Jurkovec has missed 10 games over the past two seasons due to injuries and earned a 71.8 grade in 2020, his only full season as a starter. The defense should thrive in coverage as it returns two starting corners in Marquis Williams and M.J. Devonshire. Not to mention, Shayne Simon’s 90.8 coverage grade last season was second only to Jack Campbell among FBS linebackers.”
Pitt finished the 2022 season at No. 22 in the AP Poll, its second consecutive finish in the AP Top 25 in a row for the first time since the 1980s, and while Pitt lost six players to the NFL Draft and a few more across the roster, there’s an expectation for continued success.
With former Pine-Richland star Phil Jurkovec leading the offense and a defense that has reloaded across all three phases, there’s an expectation to once again push for double-digit wins — and a conference championship.
Only Clemson (6) and Florida State (14) ranked higher in PFF’s ELO. Pitt will not play Clemson in 2023, but Florida State will travel to Acrisure Stadium in early November.
The PFF ELO features Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Texas rounding out the Top 5, while Clemson, Penn State, LSU, Tennessee and USC round out the Top 10. It’s June, and it’s just PFF, so this isn’t a list to get worked up over, but it is one media outlet’s interpretation of preseason rankings.
I don’t expect Pitt to be ranked by the early AP or Coaches’ polls, personally, but it also doesn’t really matter all that much early in the season either.
For a full ACC ranking:
Florida State: 14
North Carolina: 29
Wake Forest: 32
North Carolina State: 37
Virginia Tech: 69
Georgia Tech: 94
Boston College: 97