2013 Pitt Panthers
Schedule and Odds
The hopes were high for Pittsburgh entering their first season of ACC play, but with some offseason drama which includedthe transferring of top running back Rushel Shell, expectations may be a little lower than last season. Paul Chryst had a reasonable first year as the head coach of the Panthers, but the team finished with the same record as in 2011 at 6-7. Losses against Youngstown State and Connecticut marred the season, but a late win over Rutgers showed what they could be.
Isaac Bennett will likely take over at the RB position after rushing for 114 yards and a TD in the spring Game, but the quarterback spot is still in question. Three-year starter Tino Sunseri is out and two newcomers will fight for the job. Freshman Chad Voytik will compete with senior transfer Tom Savage until the fall. Whoever the QB is, they will likely lean on Devin Street who is the top player returning from last year’s offense with 73 receptions. Pitt’s offensive line has moved a lot of guys around and they will be using a new center this year which was problematic in the spring.
While the offense is a work in progress, the defense returns nine starters and even though they lost their defensive coordinator, Matt House got promoted from the secondary so he has a good feeling of things. The defensive line is the strength of this unit led by tackle Aaron Donald. As long as other positions can stay healthy, Pitt will remain largely competitive in their first ACC season. Sure, they also have to play more consistently which they didn’t do last year, giving up 14 points to Syracuse one week, but 45 to Louisville the next.
2013 Pitt Panthers Football Schedule
Sept. 2 vs. Florida State
Sept. 14 vs. New Mexico
Sept. 21 at Duke
Sept. 28 vs. Virginia
Oct. 12 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 19 vs. Old Dominion
Oct. 26 at Navy
Nov. 2 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 9 vs. Notre Dame
Nov. 16 vs. North Carolina
Nov. 23 at Syracuse
Nov. 29 vs. Miami
Instead of opening the season with Youngstown State, Pittsburgh gets a real welcoming to the ACC by having to face Florida State. If their offense can move the ball at all in that Game, it will be considered a victory considering the position they are in at the moment. Apart from that Game, they have a relatively easy start to the season with the next hardest Game coming in early October at Virginia Tech who they beat last year.
The problem with an easy early Schedule is that the end of the year will be even harder. In their final five Games, the Panthers will get the best three teams in the Coastal division starting at Georgia Tech, then get a possible Top 10 team in Notre Dame and also a road Game at a familiar team in Syracuse. All of those Games could mean trouble for Pitt unless their defense can come up big multiple times.
Another 6-6 regular season could be in sight for this Pittsburgh team, but depending on how their new QB plays, they might be left with a losing record.