Pitt Football: Will The Panthers Be ‘Bowling’ In A Few Weeks?


Last weekend, Paul Chryst’s Pitt Panthers had a bye week to shake off the heartbreaking 51-48 double overtime loss to the Duke Blue Devils. The crushing blow essentially eliminated Pitt from winning the ACC Coastal Division.

Had Pitt beaten Duke, they would be in the thick of the race with a multitude of 2-loss ACC teams at the top of the division.

ACC Coastal Standings:

  1. Duke (4-1 ACC, 8-1 overall)
  2. Georgia Tech (5-2 ACC, 8-2 overall)
  3. Miami FL (3-2 ACC, 6-3 overall)
  4. North Carolina (2-3 ACC, 4-5 overall)
  5. Pitt (2-3 ACC, 4-5 overall)
  6. Virginia (2-4 ACC, 4-6 overall)
  7. Virginia Tech (1-4 ACC, 4-5 overall)

Furthermore, the loss dropped Pitt to a disappointing 4-5 record with three games remaining, and bowl hopes are in serious jeopardy.

The Panthers travel to North Carolina this Saturday, host the Syracuse Orange on the 22nd, and then travel to face Miami on the 29th.

What are the chances that Pitt can win two of three and make a bowl?

Not good in my opinion.

I don’t see Pitt knocking off North Carolina or Miami on the road. Pitt is certainly capable of beating any of its next three opponents, but based on this year’s performance and disappointment, I cannot see Pitt winning two of three.

The Tar Heels have the same record as Pitt, and they have also had a disappointing season, considering they were ranked earlier in the year. Miami started the season off slow, but they have improved and will be a difficult task for the Panthers.

Can Pitt stop Hurricane junior running back Duke Johnson? I’m not so sure they can, considering what Georgia Tech and Duke did on the ground against Pitt.

Nov 1, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Tyler Boyd (23) makes a catch between Duke Blue Devils cornerback Breon Borders (31) and safety Evrett Edwards (rear) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Panthers star playmaker Tyler Boyd indicated that a “select few” Pitt players are willing to go all out.

And I 100 percent agree with him, as we have seen letdowns against Iowa, Akron, Virginia, and Duke. Those are four games that the Panthers could have certainly won (If so, Pitt would be sitting atop the ACC Coastal with a 4-1 ACC record and an 8-1 overall record). The win against Virginia Tech was exciting, but the Hokies have fallen off the map this season, and currently sit in last place of the ACC.

Instead, we are in jeopardy of missing a bowl appearance, and many will question if Chryst is the right guy for the program.

I think Paul can turn this program around, and I will give him a pass on the disappointment season thus far. Pitt may win two of three and end the year on a strong note, but I have my doubts.  In my opinion, the defense has had multiple costly lapses, and the offense has not been dynamic enough, solely depending on Conner and Boyd.  The quarterback play is an essential part of college football, and Pitt has struggled at times this season.

I, along with many other Pitt fans, have cringed when I see former Pitt coach Todd Graham’s No. 6 Arizona State Sun Devils (8-1) in contention for a playoff spot.

Regardless, next season will be a huge indicator on the direction of the Pitt Panthers. Pitt will have a junior trio with Boyd, running back James Conner, and quarterback Chad Voytik to lead the way. And there will be high expectations from Pitt fans, as Boyd and Conner may decide to go pro following the season.

I had very high hopes for Pitt to start the year, predicting the Panthers to win the ACC Coastal and square off against the Florida State Seminoles.

But now that the disappointment has sunk in, at least there is basketball to turn to.