Now that camp is over, the depth chart is for the most part set and we've analyzed and over analyzed every position, let's look ahead to the Panthers first game at Utah.
Obviously this is not a game that is going to be easy to win, it is not the ideal game to begin with - going on the road against a very good team -- BUT if the Panthers can win the game it really would be a huge boost to them, not just for their confidence but also it would solidify their national profile and likely vault them into the top ten. Then if they were to beat Miami, boy the sky is the limit.
However, remember this --- Regardless of whether the Panthers win or lose this game it is only one game and it is an exhibition game that is meaningless to the goal of winning a Big East championship. So keep that in mind when the reactionaries around you are declaring either a lost season or a national championship based on the outcome.
For instance, if they lose, and look bad doing it, tell yourself it is not the end of the world. And then consider Oregon last year. The Ducks went on the road to play at a very good Boise State team - the infamous "LeGarrette Blount channels Kermit Washington" game -- in their opener and the Broncos pounded them into the blue turf. Yeah, it was only 19-8 but if you watched the game you got the feeling it could have gone on for four more quarters and Oregon wasn't going to score again. The Ducks offense looked terrible in that game. But they rebounded to win their next seven games, won the Pac-10 and went to the Rose Bowl and also became one of the most prolific offensive machines in the nation.
On the other hand, USC last year went on the road and beat a top ten team - Ohio State - in the second game of the year and that had people again thinking that the Trojans were headed for another special season. But USC promptly lost the next week to an unranked team - Washington - and finished a pedestrian 8-4, and ended up in the Emerald Bowl. Ohio State, incidentally rebounded to win the Big Ten and then went on to beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
So in short, don't read too much into the results of the first game of the season.Yes, you'd like Pitt to win it to get off to a good start and to grab some momentum, but if they do it doesn't mean much more than they are 1-0. And if they lose, it doesn't mean much more than they are 0-1.
Incidentally, I find it hilarious that I'm getting a barrage of e-mails from people calling me essentially a "typical negative yinzer media type" because I have the audacity to predict that Pitt is likely an 8-4 or 9-3 team, as if going 9-3 against that schedule (the schedule is very tough) -- with the concerns on the offensive line, a first-year starter at quarterback and some real questions about depth at certain positions -- is something to sniff at. As if saying that going 11-1 is something the Panthers do with regularity.