I think to successfully understand a Pitt – Miami game, you have to look at the history of Pitt vs Miami.
For example Pitt beat Miami in 1976, a 36-19 victory at Pitt Stadium. Then they didn’t play again until 1984. Pitt lost that game, 7-27, in Miami. Pitt proceeded to lose the next eight games against the Hurricanes. (1986 though 1996)
Pitt did manage to upset Miami in 1997 on a nationally televised Thursday night game. That also happened to be my first-ever Pitt game as a student. In some ways it might have been better if Pitt had lost because then I might not care about the team and I would have saved myself much wasted time and heartache over these last twenty years. But alas, the Panthers won, and here we are.
Pitt then went on another eight game losing streak (1998 – 2013). They pretty much got boat-raced every single time. The only exception was 2002 when Pitt lost by only a touchdown (21-28).
Pitt managed to win in 2014, 35-23. They, of course, lost the next two games.
We all remember 2017 (Pitt wins!), and I also think we remember the Pitt’s dismal performances each of the last two years. (Two Pitt losses with a combined 15 points scored)
So if the current trend holds…
I kid. No mentally competent person could possibly pick Pitt to win here. The lynchpin of Pitt’s already one-dimensional offense (Kenny Pickett) is questionable at best, and even if he does play, his mobility will be severely limited and this throwing will likely be impacted by his injury. Meanwhile Miami’s offense is run by a mobile and athletic quarterback who’s looked like a world- beater against everyone except (eventual national champ) Clemson. Also, Miami’s leading receiver is their Tight End. Stop me if you’ve heard this before but Pitt seems to have a hard time stopping athletic pass catching tight ends. (Hard time recruiting them too…)
Miami’s lead running back is also very good. Pitt has done an excellent job stopping the run so far this season, but the talent level of the Miami O-line and CamRon (sp?) Harris are going to be a cut above what Pitt’s faced so far. That could lead to a few broken tackles and a couple long runs. (And yes I know Miami’s o-line may be a work in progress as far as technique and actual execution…but there is no denying that Miami recruits some of the best pure athletes in the ACC.)
So to recap: Pitt probably won’t have Pickett and if they do he’ll be less than 100%. Pitt can’t run the ball. Miami’s offense is great. Pitt’s pass defense sucks. Miami features an athletic tight end. Pitt can’t stop the tight end. The line is Pitt +13.5. Pitt never beats Miami.
Absolutely no reason to be optimistic about this one. And I haven’t even mentioned special teams.
Miami 35. Pitt 9.