I think it's safe to say we'd all be feeling a lot different about Pitt's chances if they had beaten Syracuse on Friday, right?
Truth be told, Pitt's season is now back to the question mark stage rather than one that indicates the team is moving forward. It's back to the drawing board in a sense and any momentum the Panthers had gained from wins over Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb is lost.
The counter argument is that Pitt only lost by a single point on the road to a team that's a little better than expected in a Friday night game. But when you think about the fact that the Panthers could easily have won the game, it doesn't make it any easier to digest.
Here's the thing, though. While Pitt will again be buried alive and left for dead by many, I'm actually giving the Panthers a fighting chance to beat undefeated Louisville at home on Saturday. Here's why.
As much as we all groaned about the 11:00 a.m. start, I've got to think that benefits the Panthers. They'll be at home while Louisville will have to travel and get ready for an early game to boot. And while the Cardinals had a bye this week, I still think the lack of travel helps Pitt in this one. Along those same lines, they also have the home crowd on their side.
In addition, it's homecoming week. Despite the early start time, I think Pitt has a good chance to draw a decent crowd if the weather holds up. Thousands of people will be in town for their annual pilgrimage back to the Burgh and many of them will go because it's their only chance to get to a game all year. The alumni events should draw some people to the game and even if some of the locals choose to stay home, there should be some out-of-towners in Heinz Field.
More importantly, Pitt just gets up for these types of games. The Youngstown States and Bowling Greens of the world? Not so much. But if there's one thing Pitt likes, it's their chance to shock the world. They did it earlier this season against No. 13 Virginia Tech. They did it against a 16th-ranked South Florida team last year. They've done it against Notre Dame before. Against West Virginia. Pitt loves big games and while they don't always come out on top (see Miami in 2010), most of the time, they put together a good effort. I expect Pitt will be hyped up for this one and ready to show they're still kicking.
Lastly, as I wrote Sunday night, Pitt has actually had success against Louisville recently, winning the last four games.
Will Pitt win? Beats me. And with a 2-3 record in my game picks this season, I strongly suggest you don't pay attention to much of what I've got to say. But that said, I'm still calling for Pitt to put forth a very good effort and potentially upset Louisville.
At first glance, I think Pitt shows up for this one.