Well well well, if it isn’t the eve of another ACC Coastal road game. Pitt visits Georgia Tech on Saturday for a 4 p.m. kick, and I’m excited about that because I live about 40 minutes away from “The Flats” as they call it in Atlanta, and I’ll actually be able to watch the Panthers in person.
What I’m not excited about is Pitt’s tendency to play down to their competition. And lets make no mistake, Pitt is better than Georgia Tech. Pitt has more talent on defense. Pitt has more talent on offense (Hard to believe but yes it is true). Pitt’s developing offensive line should be able to get some push in the running game. Pitt’s defensive style is geared towards stopping the run – which is pretty much the only thing Tech has done well this year.
Basically all Pitt has to do is tackle the running back, pressure the quarterback, and cover the deep passing routes (all of which they can do well), and they could very well pitch a shutout.
But they won’t.
Because Pitt’s offense is going to make mistakes. Kenny Pickett will make at least one bad decision. Someone will fumble trying to gain a few extra yards. There will be a false start. There will be holding. Passes will be dropped. Pitt’s 115th ranked offense will do everything they can to prove to the world that they’ve earned that 115 ranking. Oh, and does anybody want to give me odds on a muffed punt?
So yes, I expect the offense to be sloppy, and I predict that Pitt will lose the turnover battle. That in and of itself will keep Georgia Tech in the game.
Still, Pitt is more talented, by every single measure.
Sagarin shows Pitt 11 points better than Tech. Even if you give the Jackets 3 points for home field advantage, Pitt should still be able to cover the 7.5 point spread.
- Pitt 73.3
- GT 62.8 (65.8)
The newfangled “S+P Rating” (it measures every team in the country on a play-by-play basis by calculating efficiency, explosiveness, field position, and finishing drives) ranks Pitt 51st. It ranks Georgia Tech 92nd.
Here is the ESPN prediction. Pitt hasn’t been favored this much since Ohio.
And here are the ESPN comparative stats:
Some more food for thought:
- Tech 2-1 vs the spread when playing ACC Coastal this year
- Pitt 3-0 against the spread on the road this year
- Pat Narduzzi 3-1 vs Georgia Tech
So yes, the numbers all point to a Panthers victory, but at the end of the day, Pitt is Pitt. Sure, we could show up in Atlanta, kick an inferior team in the teeth and never look back. We could just as easily show up and roll out the Keystone Cops offense that we displayed against UVA, Ohio, Penn State and Miami, and make this a very long afternoon for all involved. Sad as I am to say it, but the Keystone Cops is probably what we should expect.
Oh yea, and by the way, if Pitt does manage to lose this one, the wheels are going to come off the season pretty fast. Losing to a slight-underdog-but-ultimately-more-talented Miami team is one thing. Losing to the Georgia Tech Ramblin’ Wreck (and this year that is a very appropriate name) is another.
Lets hope Pat has the boys ready.
Panthers 17, Yellow Jackets 10.
Hail to Pitt