Another set of post-spring college football rankings are out there and CollegeFootballNews.com isn't all that high on Pitt. The Panthers didn't even make the site's top 50.Guess that's not a huge surprise, but just makes you realize how far the program has fallen since even the Dave Wannstedt days. That said, Pitt comes in just outside their top 50 at No. 51:
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)
The offense wasn't explosive enough and the defense has to keep getting into the backfield. Getting RB Ray Graham back healthy and back to form is a must, while the O line has to keep QB Tino Sunseri upright. New coach Paul Cryst will be creative, but he'll want to bang away as much as possible and use Graham as much as he can handle. Can the line continue to produce with three starters gone? The secondary will be a plus early on, but the run defense will have to do the heavy lifting early on against Cincinnati and Virginia Tech in the first three games. Getting hot before November is a must with three of the final four games on the road including tough dates against Notre Dame and South Florida. On the plus side, two of the Big East favorites, Rutgers and Louisville, have to come to Pittsburgh.
As the season goes on, we're bound to hear more about that tough late stretch. And about that last line, I'm really not all that sold on Rutgers and Louisville. The fact that Pitt gets them at home could be a reason they might contend in the Big East.
That No. 51 ranking, by the way, puts Pitt right in the middle of the Big East conference.