With an easy schedule and a conference that for the most part is down, the Pitt Panthers have an opportunity to gain major exposure by reaching the ACC Championship Game. Here are 3 reasons why the Pittsburgh Panthers will reach the ACC Title Game this season:
The Panthers have as favorable of a schedule as a team can have this season, especially in the ACC. Pitt has just five away games this season, and of their 11 remaining games this season, only one team (North Carolina) was ranked in the Top 25. Pitt’s toughest test comes against Virginia Tech in an October home game. While Pitt’s non-conference games are not very difficult, the Panthers also avoided facing top ACC teams’ Florida State, Clemson, and Lousiville. While they would likely face Florida State in the ACC Championship, the Panthers have a definite opportunity of having a nine win season, which should be enough to get them to the ACC Championship contest.
Pitt may have lost decorated defensive lineman Aaron Donald and starting quarterback Tom Savage, but the rest of Pitt’s key contributors returned, especially on offense. With an offensive line that is returning all of its starters, and a running back corps of proven players, the Panthers already put themselves in good shape to replace their quarterback. For Chad Voytik to be behind a tested offensive line, and have the ability to hand the ball off to somebody like James Connor, it makes his job much much easier. Also, when Voytik looks to pass, he’s looking to returning receivers like Tyler Boyd and Ronald Jones. On defense, there may be a few new players starting, but they are players who were able to see some playing time in their prior time at Pitt. Also, the new playmakers like Reggie Mitchell and Terrish Webb are playing among proven veterans like Ray Vinopal and Lafayette Pitts, taking a lot of the pressure off of themselves knowing they can count on those around them.
3. Tyler Boyd
It’s hard to overlook a player of Boyd’s caliber, and to say that he would not single-handedly help Pitt win games would be incorrect. Boyd has incredible playmaking ability, whether it be catching the ball, getting handoffs on jet sweeps, or returning punts, the Panthers do a good job of getting the ball into their star players hands and letting him make plays. Boyd is among the best receivers in the entire FBS and as long as he can stay healthy, the Panthers will see direct results. Lower caliber teams are not able to handle Boyd’s talent, and this season gives him the opportunity to showcase that.