There was a preseason expectation that Pitt might have been able to enter the bye week this season at 4-1, maybe even 5-0, if everything went according to plan.
It certainly has not gone to plan. With losses to Cincinnati, West Virginia and No. 15 North Carolina, Pitt will now be fortunate if it’s able to enter the bye week at 2-3. Virginia Tech is certainly one of the teams Pitt needs to beat this season.
ESPN’s Football Power Index does not view the Panthers favorably going forward.
Pitt’s FPI score now sits at 3.1, which is good for a four-spot drop to 48th in the country (one spot ahead of Georgia Tech), and the index does not have Pitt doing much else this season.
The new projected record sits at 4.1-7.9 (4-8 basically), and only Virginia, Boston College and Virginia Tech are projected fewer wins than Pitt this season.
The FPI gives Pitt a 14.2% chance to win six games and become bowl-eligible, a 0.1% chance to win the ACC outright and a 0% chance to make the College Football Playoff. And all of that is rather unsurprising at this point.
If Pitt loses to all three of its ranked opponents on the schedule (No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 5 Florida State and No. 17 Duke), that would leave zero margin for error against Virginia Tech, Louisville, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Boston College to reach bowl eligibility. It’s not exactly murder’s row, but the Panthers hasn’t shown the ability to beat even average teams yet this season.
Florida State remains the highest-ranked ACC in the FPI, with a 19.9 score and No. 10 ranking, and Miami (16.9), Clemson (14.1), UNC (13.5) and Syracuse (13.4) round out the top five. And Pitt will play No. 6 Louisville (11.6) and No. 7 Duke (10.8).
Despite Pat Narduzzi proclaiming that Pitt “will be back” this season, there isn’t any indication — at least on the field — that the Panthers are on the brink of some sort of breakout. In fact, it seems like Pitt is in line for some tough times if things don’t drastically change.
And ESPN’s FPI doesn’t expect any drastic changes in the near future.