Here is Joe L.’s take on the Atlantic Coast Conference games. His out of conference games predictions can be found here: https://pittpov.com/2022/08/15/to-repeat-or-not-repeat-that-is-the-question/
Please share with us your thoughts and predictions in the comments section below – HTP!
Game 5 – A HOME game versus Georgia Tech When did the law that compelled Pitt to play all its games versus the Yellowjackets in Georgia change?!
Win or lose, I normally stay for the entirety of Pitt games I attend. However, I did walk out of a 2014 Georgia Tech – Pitt game at the end of the 1st quarter. And that’s because the Panthers had an awful case of explosive diarrhea on the field that day… I believe the turnover count was 5 on Pitt’s part in the first half? The worst of the bunch was a James Conner fumble into the endzone when a Pitt score was certain to occur. So, I walked out. My BP was so high after that you could have popped my head with a pin – and it makes me angry just thinking about it now.
That is not going to happen this year. I guarantee it. Pitt wins this game on superior talent and experience. It’s the ACC opener for us with a chance to do something special…meanwhile the Ramblin’ Wreck will be just that, entering this game at 1-3 with losses to Clemson, Ole Miss and UCF. Folks, this is Geoff Collin’s curtain call before he is outsourced to the macroeconomy unless he has a buddy among the GT boosters with the patience of Job. Hopefully Collins shook the boosters hand at fundraising events.
Yes, we could lose this game because Collins is due against Pitt – but for gosh sakes they have the least number of starters returning in the ACC. They aren’t likely to have enough guys wanting revenge from the past few years’ losses. We could take them for granted though – especially if we somehow went 4-0 in the OOC slate. But I really doubt that, don’t you? With a win, our quest for a repeat Coastal Division title is off to a good start.
Game 6 – HOKIES FOR HOMECOMING! Pitt had their choice of Rhode Island, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech for Homecoming and chose the Hokies… let that sink in for a moment. Think Frank Beamer would have taken that as a slight?
When “Tech” got the ACC invite in 2003, folks down here were grateful – and smug. Many believed the Hokies belonged among college football elite programs. After all, they had Michael Vick and in the early 2000’s thought the good times would go on forever. Which made spanking their #5 ranked rear ends 31-28 in a 2003 national prime time game – with College GameDay at Heinz no less – very sweet. And yet they continued to look down their noses at Pitt – for years later. Not so much these days.
I enjoy it when Pitt beats Virginia Tech. Half of my extended family are VT alums and my mom’s cousin was a major booster – they even named a building after him. (My immediate family – except me – are Cavaliers). On top of that, I work in a company full of VT engineering grads who wear those awful Chicago maroon and burnt orange VT colors in the office. The local (Richmond) Hardywood Brewery thought it would be cute to produce a Hokie beer as well. With the program’s regression to the mean following the Beamer/Foster glory days, the chatter is a little muted lately – which is as refreshing as one of those Helles Lagers on ice.
I think Brent Pry was an excellent choice for VT and they may very well enjoy a resurgence under his leadership. But not this season. Pry will need a couple years to get his guys in and establish a defensive oriented team (sound familiar?). Justin Fuentes left a rather bare cupboard, especially on the offensive side of the ball. QB has been a bit of a revolving door and while a few interesting guys transferred in, OL protection and exactly who is going to catch passes are big question marks. That said, they could come into this game at 3-2 or perhaps 4-1 with an upset win over the Hoopies or the Tarholes. But I struggle to see them generating the offense they will need against Pitt’s defense. So, I like Pitt in this game.
Game 7 – The Ville I still don’t get why these guys are in the ACC. Perhaps UL won over John Swofford with overflowing glasses of Pappy VanWinkle and a Kentucky Hot Brown at The Camberley Hotel? Hope he remembered to take his statin after that meal.
The folks in Lou-a-ville are trying to run a sleaze-free athletics program these days. An unnatural act for them… kinda like me trying to golf left-handed. Perhaps ACC conference leadership nudged them.
With Pitt possibly coming into this game at 5-1, this game could make for a nice primetime game as I think the Cardinals will have a similar if not the same record at this point. Both teams will be coming off bye weeks, so there will be plenty of time for each coaching staff to game plan.
The question for this game is how Malik Cunningham plays. Like Hendon Hooker, Cunningham is generating Heisman talk and many think he will be an NFL first rounder. He’s a dynamic playmaker and Pitt will have its hands full containing him (although Pitt did just that the last time they faced him). They have one of the best OL’s in the conference and the RB room looks very good. The receivers are a question mark and so we will see a lot of running plays. Pitt matches up well with its emphasis on stopping the run.
On the other side of the ball, they have not shown an ability to shut down teams not named Syracuse. They have a really good CB in Kei-trel Clark Jr., but the rest of the unit looks just OK.
A lot of folks believe Pitt will get torched in this game because of Narduzzi’s defensive scheme. I’m struggling with this one because of the unknowns at receiver for the Cards… and of course QB at Pitt. This game could go either way. Anybody have a coin? Pushed to choose, I think Louisville pulls this one out late given the home field and former QB and current head coach Scott Satterfield outfoxing Narduzzi… despite the presence of Matt in the Ville, who finally doesn’t have to drive forever to see a game.Matt, at least the ride home will be short!
Game 8 – Tarholes I keep waiting for the second coming of Mack Brown to actually live up to expectations. No one north of Coral Gables has done less with more than Brown and the Tar Heels. At least they love him down in Chapel Hill. If he were coaching at UPMC Southside, the complaints from Pitt fans would be unending.
As for the game, one thing we can count on is the Heels will put forth a really good defensive unit this year. Another thing we can count on is home cooking in Chapel Hill. We can reasonably expect a dropoff at QB. Im told by the local insiders that Drake Maye, the highly-touted, wundkerind redshirt freshman from Charlotte will get the starting nod over Jacoby Criswell. If he develops quickly, Pitt might have its hands full because the receivers are good.
Coming off a loss in Louisville, I believe Pitt bounces back and takes this one – the first down in Chapel Hill ever. Heel fans will be dumbfounded. Bless their hearts.
Don’t buy that? OK, I will say this then: I believe they will go 1-1 vs Louisville & UNC. I can make an argument for winning or losing either; I just don’t see them losing both at this point. And a bowling we will go.
Game 9 – Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Syracuse comes to Are Yinz Sure Stadium in early November, so its more likely to be muddy running than dusty – but you get my point. Sean Tucker is the real deal and despite Pitt’s ability to stop him last year, he has a motor. Pitt will need to be ready to play this game because he will be. And their QB Garrett Shrader runs the ball well also. So, stopping the run will be important. Fortunately, Pitt has done a nice job there.
The Orangemen have a strong back seven, so Pitt will want to establish the run. Hopefully by this point, our starting QB will have established good chemistry with one of the WRs and Gavin Bartholomew.
I think they will and Pitt wins this game but maybe not by the margin folks here would like to see.
And by the way, that’s not BigB on a bootleg vs Jeanette in the photo. Its Ernie Davis – just in case you might have been fooled.
Game 10 – Mr. Jefferson’s University Living in the shadows of Charlottesville, I spend a little bit of time watching the Cavaliers. One of the great traditions at Scott Stadium is when Cav-man enters on his horse.
The game last year vs UVA could have gone either way. A collective sigh of relief was heard at Heinz Field when Jordan Addison went up and claimed a ball that was rightfully his. My, it was exciting to watch him jet down the field after the catch to seal the game. And then the ensuing late night celebration at Red5A on “Light Up Night” dahntahn.
I’m sorry Bronco Mendenhall left UVA. Solid guy and a good football coach. His departure may have been a blessing for the Cavaliers, who might have peaked under Mendenhall. I believe they nailed it with Tony Elliott. He’s got one of the best QBs in the ACC in Brennan Armstrong and a WR unit that is at least as good as Pitt’s. But their OL is entirely new this year and no one on this unit stands out. I think Armstrong will be running for his life in this game. But Pitt may get torched a couple times if they don’t get to him. On defense, the Cavaliers are switching to a 4-3. Last year’s unit was porous and it’s still a question mark.
I believe Pitt will have found its offensive footing by this point and the Panthers will leave Scott Stadium with another victory.
Game 11 – Duke The Blue Devils are rebuilding following David Cutcliffe’s retirement and that will not be done before they reach Pittsburgh in mid-November. I’m not sure this requires much more analysis. Pitt wins this one handily.
Game 12 – The de facto Coastal Division Championship in Miami? I believe that the Miami Hurricanes will come into this final regular season game at 5-2, with losses to Clemson and Florida State, although I can see them beating the Noles and getting to 6-1. I believe their overall record will be 9-2 or 8-3. If you are keeping track of my picks, you will note that I have Pitt at 6-1 (9-2 overall) at this point. So, yes folks I believe this game will decide the final winner of the ACC Coastal Division.
The Canes are loaded with talent as usual. That starts with Tyler VanDyke, who IMO is the best QB talent in the ACC. (Again, just my opinion) He’s gonna play on Sundays. They are solid in the skill positions and with Christobal taking over, I believe the OL will be a point of emphasis.
It could be a close game if Slovis has a good game. Pitt will be at its offensive best barring injuries. That said, Miami has an excellent front 7 on defense (the DL in particular). Did they improve in their tackling during the offseason?… I’m guessing yes.
Can Pitt win this game? Heck, yeah they can. They will need to play to their potential to win it and perhaps being the underdog (which they will be) can push them over the top. I will reserve the right to change my position on this come game week. Let’s hope Pitt makes me want to do that.
In the end, I think Miami’s OL will wear down Pitt’s defense and Miami will claim the Coastal title. Wish and hope it won’t be so, but going with my head and not my heart. Would love to drive to Charlotte again in early December as I believe the Championship game will be something to see.
To sum it up, I see Pitt going 9-3 overall and 6-2 in ACC play, with +/- 1 game in the win column. A good season…Pitt could finish with 10 wins and I see them in the mix right up until Thanksgiving weekend.
Here are a couple bonus predictions:
While Slovis will start the opener, both he and Patti will start games due to injury.
Izzy becomes the face of the Panther offense.
Daniel Carter makes George Aston and Henry Hynoski proud as an impact FB
No one will register a pick six off of a shovel pass this year.
There you have it; time to weigh in with your own predictions for the season!
There you have it; time to weigh in with your own thoughts and predictions in the comments section below – you know you want to!