Before the season started, I told my friends Pitt was going to start 2-3 and finish 8-4. Here we are five games in, and lo and behold, we're 2-3. And I still think we'll finish 8-4.
Any realistic fan would have known that the Pittsburgh media hyped the Panthers way too much entering this year. The team lost a lot of leadership last year (in guys like Bill Stull, Adam Gunn, and Gus Mustakas), plus this year's schedule wasn't friendly either. Those factors, coupled with a rookie quarterback and a reshaped offensive line led to my skepticism. To expect anything more than 9-3, in my opinion, was unreasonable. This Pitt team just isn't good enough to beat Utah, Miami, and Notre Dame. I thought maybe we'd pull out a win in one of those, but the fact that we haven't doesn't concern me.
The goal this season is to win the Big East. Pitt still has every opportunity to do that. In fact, their 2-3 record is essentially meaningless at this point, because it's all been out-of-conference play--and no, I don't care about how this start has hurt our ranking. Rankings only really matter if you're going to be competing for a national title which Pitt isn't. The fact of the matter is that the Big East is a markedly weak football conference, one that Pitt can easily compete in. Pitt fans should be excited about the start of conference play, as their team is one of the best in the conference. In the big picture, Pitt just isn't that good yet (as evidenced by their underwhelming out-of-conference play), but the middling Big East is an entirely different story.
I stand by my preseason prediction of 8-4. Pitt, as one of the best team's in the Big East, ought to win out from here, save for one game--as Pitt has a proclivity to drop games they shouldn't--probably against West Virginia. That will put their conference record at 6-1 which will be good enough for 1st or 2nd in the Big East and a berth in a respectable bowl. The world is not ending, Pitt fans, you're just being brought back to reality from the Bob Pompeani/John Seibel induced delirium.