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247Sports’ ACC Power Ranking Features Pitt Toward Bottom of the Conference

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Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi

247Sports expects Pitt to be in the bottom half of the ACC this season.

In 247Sports’ preseason ACC power ranking, released Sunday by Grant Hughes, Pitt checked in all the way down at No. 9. Pitt finished tied for third last season, and like most national outlets, the rationale for such a steep drop comes from a loss of production.

Hughes wrote:

“New quarterback Phil Jurkovec hasn’t looked the part of a top-tier ACC quarterback since his first year at Boston College in 2020 but could return to form as he reunites with former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti in Pittsburgh. The Panthers’ offense lost two of its best playmakers to the NFL this offseason in running back Israel Abanikanda and wide receiver Jared Wayne. The defense also faced attrition, losing sack leaders Calijah Kancey and SirVocea Dennis. Pat Narduzzi is one of the best coaches in the league, but this may be one of his toughest tests to date.”

While it’s true that Pitt lost a lot of production to the NFL, it’s not as if the cupboards are bare. Pitt’s largely second-string defense limited a high-powered UCLA offense in Sun Bowl, and those first-time starters and contributors have had nearly a full offseason to grow.

And, yeah, Izzy Abanikanda and Jared Wayne are gone, but an offense led by Phil Jurkovec should be more equipped to run the kind of offensive scheme that Frank Cignetti Jr. wasn’t able to achieve last season with Kedon Slovis under center. Jurkovec certainly has a lot to prove himself, but he’s in the perfect scenario to bounce back.

He’s got a surprisingly veteran offensive line, one that will help alleviate the serious pressure he faced on drop backs at BC last season, and a running back in Rodney Hammond Jr. that is poised for a breakout campaign.

The wide receivers may still be a bit of a question, but also a unit that expects to take a step in Year 2 of Cignetti’s offense, but there’s a deep tight ends room to supplement when needed. If Jurkovec offers any sort of improvement over Kedon Slovis’ 2022 production, Pitt’s offensive production will be more balanced. And definitely nothing to worry about.

247Sports expects Florida State to win the ACC this season, with a top five in the look division-less ACC featuring Clemson, North Carolina, Miami and North Carolina State.

247Sports ACC Power Ranking

  1. Florida State
  2. Clemson
  3. North Carolina
  4. Miami
  5. North Carolina State
  6. Duke
  7. Louisville
  8. Wake Forest
  9. PITT
  10. Syracuse
  11. Virginia Tech
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. Boston College
  14. Virginia

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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TJ
TJ
10 months ago

with the ACC, there will be upsets and a few key turnovers/plays along the way can mean the difference between 9th and 6th. in any case, 9th seems a little low to me and I just don’t see it. if we end up at that position, it means that nearly everything went wrong … like PJ was bad/injured and, CV, wasn’t any better. folks are sleeping on Rodney as well as the TEs and receiving corp. plus, compared to Slovis, PJ should be a much better game manager and should be able to extend drives more consistently. I think 6th… Read more »

Jason L
Jason L
10 months ago

I love this and hope that is used in the locker room to provide additional motivation!

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