NCAA Football 2013 Preseason Polls: Athlon Ranks Pitt No. 45

Stability's the name of the game when it comes to Paul Chryst (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

In the latest preseason college football poll, Athlon ranked Pitt No. 45. With four head coaching changes, the name of the game is stability for the Panthers.

Here's Athlon's take:

One word: stability. That is what the Pittsburgh program covets. It has been a tumultuous year-and-a-half, with the firing of Dave Wannstedt, the hiring and firing of Michael Haywood after 16 days due to a domestic violence charge, the one-year tenure of Todd Graham, who bolted for Arizona State, and now the Paul Chryst era. Unlike the smooth-talking Graham, Chryst is more of a blue-collar Pittsburgh-style guy. He has done a solid job of restoring faith among the fan base, but his biggest challenge will be re-focusing a group of players who have witnessed a revolving door of coaches. Pittsburgh, in its final year in the Big East before moving to the ACC, could compete for a league title, but Panthers fans would probably take stability over winning in Chryst’s first year as a head coach.

That last part was a bit interesting. As much as I want to see Pitt win this season, I'd probably agree with that. I'd mentioned this ad nauseum in the Dave Wannstedt days, but despite not getting to the BCS, there was a steadiness around Wannstedt that I really enjoyed Pitt having. If Chryst brings that back, I'd probably sacrifice a year or two in terms of actual wins/losses.

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