College Football Preseason Top 25: #15 Pittsburgh

Al Dannity | Updated Oct 04, 2017

The Panthers have been close to claiming a Big East title for several years now but Al Dannity believes 2010 will finally see Pittsburgh make the breakthrough.

The schedule Pitt’s non-conference slate wildly varies in strength from week to week. A tough road game at Utah to open the season is followed by a cupcake at home to New Hampshire before the Miami Hurricanes come to town. That’s followed by another safe bet against Florida International before the Panthers travel to South Bend for a game against an unpredictable Notre Dame team.

Conference play begins with a trip to Syracuse before vital home games against Rutgers and West Virginia and testing road dates at Connecticut and Cincinnati. These four games will decide where Pittsburgh plays in the post-season.

The players The Panthers return just 5 offensive starters but they’re good ones. In 2009, Dion Lewis became the first player to ever win the Big East Rookie of the Year and Big East Offensive Player of the Year in the same season. The Panthers will once again lean heavily on the talented running back. All-Big East wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin will also prove a potent threat for Pittsburgh. The one concern for College Football betting fans is to see how Pittsburgh replaces its 3 interior linemen.

On defense Pittsburgh has 6 returning starters, including All-Big East talents Greg Romeus at defensive end and strong safety Dom DeCicco. The Panthers also have Dan Hutchins back in 2010 to resume punting and kicking duties.

The forecast Part of me looks at this team and it screams 2009 Cincinnati, a 12-0 season that could slip in under the radar. Another part looks at it and says a 7-5 failure. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Realistically Pittsburgh will be doing well to come out of its nonconference slate with a record better than 3-2. A 4-1 run is certainly possible but I can’t see the Panthers winning against both Utah and Miami. Things certainly look a lot brighter in the Big East where the schedule largely favors the Panthers with one notable exception. Pittsburgh finishes the 2010 season on the road at Cincinnati, in a game which could decide the Big East title. I don’t see any team going undefeated in Big East play this year but I like the Panthers to enter this game with a 5-1 record. After so many years knocking on the door I see 2010 as the season where Pitt makes the breakthrough and returns to the BCS by winning the Big East title.