We have a continuing argument on here about the impact of last year’s 31-26 bowl loss on Pitt’s national reputation after the 2016 season’s dust had settled. More importantly perhaps is what impact all of last season’s games, won and lost, had on the national media’s perception of our program going into this 2017 season.
But wait – let me backtrack a bit here. This isn’t about Pitt’s football program per se – but is about how the national media viewed the Pitt football team at the end of 2016, then again now and how the team might be gauged going into battle in September.
The people on the Southside I had conversations with when attending spring practices three months ago sure felt… no, they sure knew… that the bowl loss cost us dearly in perceptions and in the actual standings. By that I mean not only the final 2016 standings but our 2017 preseason rank (or lack thereof).
Here is the AP Final Top 25 list for last year:
I believe that had we won the bowl game combined with our big PSU rivalry win (which is a match-up of historical importance to the national media) and win over #3 ranked Clemson; both games nationally televised and both teams finishing high in the final rankings with one as champs, we would have been ranked between #13 and #17 at the end of the season.