Virginia vs. Pitt fearless prediction and game preview.
Virginia vs. Pitt Broadcast
Date: Saturday, August 31
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Network: ACC Network
Virginia (0-0) vs. Pitt (0-0) Game Preview
It was the big moment of the 2018 ACC Coastal season. Pitt came to Charlottesville on an early November Friday night and left with a bad-weather 23-13 victory.
It’s a better Coastal this year – Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech are all expected to be stronger – so while this is hardly an elimination game in the ACC title race, the loser will have an uphill climb.
The Cavaliers get there straight home games to follow this, but they have to go to both Miami and North Carolina. The Panthers don’t leave Pennsylvania until October, but they have a rough run with a plucky Ohio team up next, and then comes the trip to Penn State, and then UCF comes to Heinz.
Why Virginia Will Win
How did Pitt win last year’s game? Pitt ran wild, but Virginia’s defense was also banged up.
Darrin Hall tore off 229 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s now a Green Bay Packer. The Panthers have running back talent, but it’ll be missing Hall along with Qadree Ollison. Now the ground game has to go up against a loaded Virginia defense that gets back eight starters and most of the top tacklers.
Can new Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple crank up the air attack? That’s the idea, and he has a good group of receivers to work with, but there wasn’t any downfield passing game last season. The improved Cav defensive front likely won’t get gouged again, and the secondary should be just fine.
Why Pitt Will Win
The passing game really will be better. Kenny Pickett is a veteran quarterback now, his receiving corps is strong, and there are plenty of dangerous playmakers who can hit the home runs like Hall did in last season’s game.
The one big concern for the Panther offense early on will be to improve the pass protection with a line full of new starters, but Virginia won’t have enough of a pass rush to exploit it.
On the other side, the Panthers – even with star end Rashad Weaver out for the year with a torn ACL – should be able to attack and get to Cav QB Bryce Perkins just enough to be a problem. It’s not as easy as simply shutting down Perkins to stop the Virginia offense, but it’s a big key.
What’s Going To Happen
Pitt’s four game winning streak in the series comes to a stop.
Virginia’s defense will rise up and slow down the Pitt offense from the start, and Perkins will get the Cavalier passing game going just enough early on to get up. Pitt will have to play catchup, and it won’t be able to – Virginia will out-Pitt, Pitt in the time of possession battle.
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Virginia vs. Pitt Prediction, Line
Virginia 23, Pitt 17
Line: Virginia -2.5, o/u: 47.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
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Must See Rating: 3.5
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