I think I have been a little bit hard on the Pitt football team lately. I could be right or I could be dead wrong about their chances this season, but either way the future holds the answer. But for now I think that I should give Pitt a little bit of a chance. Given their loss to Bowling Green, I am going to break down the Pitt schedule and do a best case/worst case for the Panthers. Here it goes...
Best Case Scenario
OK. Let's break down the schedule and do a best case scenario for Pitt. Even though they lost to Bowling Green, which alot of people think they should have won, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt and just say they had opening day jitters. This week Pitt plays Buffalo. It's a big game because the Panthers need to rebound to have any chance of a winning record this year with Iowa coming in to Pittsburgh the following week. So we'll say Pitt beats Buffalo and then loses to a tough Iowa team. Pitt would be 1-2 after three games. Pitt then beats a lousy Syracuse team and then loses a close game against USF, giving them a record of 2-3. Pitt then reels off 5 wins in a row over Navy, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Louisville and Cincinatti giving them a 7-3 record. With two games left against West Virginia and Connecticut Pitt goes 1-1 with a loss to WVU and win over CT to finish the season with a record of 8-4. That would probably make them bowl eligible and then Dave Wannstedt could keep his job.
Worst Case Scenario
Lets say things don't go so smoothly for the Panthers. Pitt loses to Buffalo and Iowa to open the season at 0-3. They chalk up win number one against Syracuse and then lose to USF giving them a record of 1-4. Pitt then gets victories over Navy and Rutgers to improve to a 3-4 record. Pitt would then lose three of their last five games to Notre Dame, Cincinatti and West Virginia to finish with a record of 5-7 on the season.
Pitt faces a tough uphill climb after the opening loss to Bowling Green, so lets say Pitt beats Buffalo and loses to Iowa to open the season at 1-2. Give Pitt wins over Syracuse and Navy and a loss to USF. Their record at that point would be 3-3. Going into a home game against Rutgers Pitt will win and then carry the momentum to a victory in South Bend giving them a record of 5-3. Pitt loses to Louisville at home and loses to Cincinatti and West Virginia. Ending the season with a win over Connecticut would give the Panthers an overall record of 6-6 on the season. It is really hard to say how Pitt will respond this week. If they lose to Buffalo we are looking at a worst case scenario. Somehow though I don't think they can beat Iowa. The Big Ten seems to be better than the Big East. Pitt should have at least one guarenteed win over Syracuse. If Pitt would lose to the Orange, all hope is lost for the Panthers in 2008.
Pitt plays Buffalo on Saturday at Heinz Field. The game starts at 6pm and as far as I know won't be a televised game.