The Pittsburgh Panthers are off a 7-6 year in their first season in the ACC, but a last second Bowl win over Bowling Green has them coming into 2014 with some momentum. Paul Chryst is in his 3rd year at the helm of Pittsburgh and looks as if some stability has been brought to the program. Could the Panthers be a surprise team this year? Schedule & Preview below.
The Pittsburgh offense had many struggles last year, ranking 80th in points scored, but they may have gotten a glimpse into the future when Chad Voytik came in for Tom Savage in the bowl game and led them to the comeback win. He went 5-9 for 108 yards in that game. Voytik has the luxury of having Tyler Boyd back (85 catches, 1174 yards last year), along with 8 of the nest 9 top pass catchers from last year. The running game is solid with Conner & Bennett back, after the two combined for 1596 yards and 15 TDs last year. The OL was young and inexperienced last year and struggled, as they were 118th in the nation in sacks allowed, but with 4 starters back this year they should be a much tougher group. The Panthers allowed 27.2 ppg last year, but just 368 ypg, which was 34th in the nation last year. Replacing Aaron Donald and his 28.5 total TFL last year will be tough, but Chryst feels his line will do okay. The LB corps has 2 of three starters back and looks to be the strength of the defense. Ray Vinopal led the secondary with 3 INTs last year, but overall this group had just 8 INTs on the year, with 4 of them coming in one game. They look to be stronger this year.
The offense has plenty of skill players and if Voytik can build on what he did in the bowl game then this offense will flourish this year. The DL is very weak, but it looks as if the back 7 are set to have a nice year. I feel this will be an improved defense overall. The Schedule is not really that tough for this team and they are improved overall. The Coastal Division is wide open this year and Pitt will take a step forward, but I don’t see them cracking the top 3 in the division. A Bowl game for sure though. KEY TREND: 0-10 ATS last 10 on the road vs the ACC.
2014 Pittsburgh Panthers Football Schedule
Sat, Aug 30th, 2014 Delaware
Fri, Sep 5th, 2014 at Boston College
Sat, Sep 13th, 2014 at FIU
Sat, Sep 20th, 2014 Iowa
Sat, Sep 27th, 2014 Akron
Sat, Oct 4th, 2014 at Virginia
Thu, Oct 16th, 2014 Virginia Tech
Sat, Oct 25th, 2014 Georgia Tech
Sat, Nov 1st, 2014 Duke
Sat, Nov 15th, 2014 at North Carolina
Sat, Nov 22nd, 2014 Syracuse
Sat, Nov 29th, 2014 at Miami-Florida
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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