Pitt football hasn’t received many plaudits or recognition from the national media heading into the 2023 season, but there are some at ESPN who believe that they are still a team that has talent.
ESPN college football television announcer Rece Davis and writer Pete Thamel both had positive things to say about the Panthers in their ACC preview on their podcast, ESPN College Gameday, on Monday.
Thamel spoke the most on Pitt and says that Boston College transfer and Pine-Richland alum redshirt senior quarterback Phil Jurkovec will play a large role in their success.
He spoke on the fact that Jurkovec and Panthers offensive coordinator, Frank Cignetti Jr., had a previous relationship as Eagles. Thamel also likes Jurkovec as a dual threat quarterback and is excited to see the Panthers offense as a whole.
“They have a good o-line,” Thamel said. “Bub Means, the senior receiver, some folks there in the spring told me was really poised to take a step this year. Phil can obviously get the ball down the field and I really think that’s an important part of this.”
Thamel said that he “believes” in Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi and the culture he’s built with his defenses.
He looks ahead to the matchup between Pitt and No. 21 North Carolina at home on Saturday, Sept. 23. Thamel sees that game as one that the kind of game he “expects North Carolina to lose,” and that one that Pitt could come into ranked and if they win, assert themselves as one of the best in the conference.
“So I am bullish on Pitt, just because they have proven year in and year out that they will produce sound ACC defenses, swing above their weight,” Thamel said.
Davis praised Florida State in the podcast and predicts they’ll be one of the best in the ACC and also the country. Still, he says that their matchup in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 4 will be “dicey.”He also expects Pitt to do much better than their 6.5 win prediction from Vegas
“I’m going to take the over on Pittsburgh too,” Davis said. “I think they’re a proven commodity that win total feels a little low to me.”