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Pitt Opens as Heavy Favorite Against Kent State in Season Opener

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Pitt football in NCAA football.

There’s a little under 100 days until the 2024-25 college football season kicks off, but it’s never too early to look ahead to what’s to come.

Pitt has opened as a heavy — way-too-early — favorite against Kent State in the season opener, set as a 23.5-point home favorite. A bet for either team to cover the spread currently holds -110 odds. An over/under and Moneyline have not been set yet.

It will be the seventh time that Pitt and Kent State have met all time when the Golden Flashes come to Acrisure Stadium on Aug. 31, with a time still to be announced.

The Pitt-Kent State series dates back to a 27-6 win against the Golden Flashes in 1970. Pitt has won all seven games in the series by an average of 27 points — with matchups in 1970, 1987, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2003.

The most recent meeting came back in 2003, a 43-3 victory in which Rod Rutherford threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns — three of which went to Larry Fitzgerald.

Kent State is coming off a brutal 1-11 (0-8 MAC) season, the first in the Kenni Burns era. He walked into a tough situation, following former coach Sean Lewis bolting for the Colorado offensive coordinator job and a mass exodus to the transfer portal. But it doesn’t seem as though the Flashes are positioned for any sort of major bounce back.

To be fair though, Pitt is looking for a major bounceback of its own.

Pitt is coming off a 3-9 (2-6 ACC) season, the worst of the Pat Narduzzi era, and there’s not an easy fix. If the Panthers can get better quarterback play from Nate Yarnell (and maybe Eli Holstein), that’s a strong start. The offense returns an experienced offensive line and returning starters at running back, wide receiver and tight end.

It may take a couple of seasons for Pitt to install new offensive coordinator Kade Bell’s offense. Still, if it’s able to hit the ground running, it will likely make the difference between being bowl eligible and not.

Pitt has lost a lot of production on the defensive side of the football, either to the transfer portal or NFL Draft/graduation, but there are exciting young players all over the roster. The late additions of Kentucky transfer Jaremiah Anglin Jr. and Nebraska transfer Chief Borders, at cornerback and defensive line, respectively, bolsters two units that needed reinforcements.

But the Panthers will still rely on young players across the lineup stepping up in a major way in order to get back to bowl eligibility.

The only other early game line for Pitt is the Backyard Brawl, scheduled for Sept. 14 at Acrisure Stadium, and West Virginia is favored by 4.5 points — with odds for either spread set at -110.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Kelvin Byrd
Kelvin Byrd
24 days ago

Pitt will win 7 games this season. But they usually start slow under Narduzzi and win this one by 10.

katuracassells@gmail.com
katuracassells@gmail.com
24 days ago
Reply to  Kelvin Byrd

Probably win 6-8 games, but Kent State essentially has nothing left on their roster as a threat. Coach Bell will have a field day against their defense.

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