The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Pitt Panthers.
No. 45: Pitt Panthers
Spring Practice Starts: March 12
Spring Game: April 14
Pitt Panthers Spring Status
Pitt is supposed to go bowling every year, no matter what. But it struggled offensively, inexplicably lost to bad Syracuse and North Carolina teams, and missed out on the post-season for the first time since 2007.
The Panthers were able to hand Miami its first loss of the year in the regular season finale – that was almost better than a bowl. There just wasn’t the free swag to go along with it.
So, how do you get better than five wins with just four starters returning on offense? There’s hope for the quarterback situation to be solid, and the running backs are strong, but the receiver combination of Jester Weah and Quadree Henderson is done, and three starters are gone up front.
The defensive side gets back all the experience, losing safety Jordan Whitehead and corner Avonte Maddox, but everyone else of note returns.
Yeah, Pitt is supposed to go bowling every year. And this season, it will.
Pitt Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. The receiver situation is more than fine, and the offensive line isn’t going to be all that big a problem as the offseason goes on. However, someone has to get everyone the ball – the program needs a quarterback to build around.
Max Browne is done, and Ben DiNucci transferred to James Madison, but Kenny Pickett is a great-looking young option with the talent to grow into the job – head coach Pat Narduzzi has already said Pickett is the starter and top guy. However, JUCO transfer Ricky Town didn’t choose Pitt just to sit on the bench.
Town might be coming in as the backup, but … he’ll get his opportunity to show what he can do.
Pitt Biggest Issue
Scoring. The Panthers scored 532 points in 2016 – okay, so that was helped by the 76 hung on Syracuse. Last year. 287 points.
They managed to score 28 or more in every game two years ago, and scored more just three times last season. They have to get more explosive, and they need an identity.
Improving and settling the quarterback situation is a start, and keeping the chains moving is a must. The Panthers need to be better on third downs, better running the ball, and stronger at scoring whenever there’s a chance.
Pitt Biggest Positive
The tacklers are back. Jordan Whitehead might be done from the secondary, but infall, eight of the top nine, and 13 of the top 15 tacklers from last season return. The pass defense might have been a rumor at times in the Narduzzi era, but it improved a bit last year, and with so many key parts back, the entire D should be better overall.
Really, Why Are The Pitt Panthers Ranked Here?
Don’t expect a run to the ACC Championship, but the team showed at the end of last year against Miami just how good it can be. As long as the skill guys on offense are good right away, and the defense can take the experience and improve, at least seven wins is a must.