Let's be honest - on the surface, Pitt has little chance of winning this game. The Panthers have looked bad against both Youngstown State and Cincinnati, and the Hokies are another step up in class.
If you're desperate (and/or unreasonable) enough, you can come up with any number of reasons Pitt can be competitive. You could argue the team will play with a greater sense of urgency. Or that the school has had some success against Virginia Tech in the past. Or that the game is at home. Or even that Virginia Tech could be overlooking the Panthers. But the reality is that if Pitt is able to hang close with Virginia Tech, let alone pull off a shocker, it will be incredibly difficult to rationalize.
The Panthers have looked bad in both games they've played thus far and to expect them to flip the switch and become significantly better is unrealistic. The only way, and I mean the only way, Pitt wins this game is if it's an ugly affair and the Panthers catch some breaks. I'm talking turnovers, a key injury, special teams gaffes, and everything else you need to beat a much better team.The Hokies are 2-0 this season, having defeated Georgia Tech and Austin Peay at home. I'm not convinced that they're as good as their Top 15 ranking indicates, but there's no question they're coming into Heinz Field as the favorites.
Leading the way for Virginia Tech is quarterback Logan Thomas. Thomas has been solid this year, completing about 60% of his passes and throwing for 442 yards through two games. He has four touchdowns to no interceptions so far and as a junior, has been around the block a bit. Last year, he threw for more than 3,000 yards and with 19 touchdowns to 10 picks, proved he's more than competent.
The Hokies have also made some big special teams plays in their first two games. Their kicker Cody Journell hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired to send their game against Georgia Tech into overtime (where he kicked another short field goal to win the game). And in their game against Austin Peay, they had a long punt return to set up a short touchdown and a blocked kick. Virginia Tech usually has a strong special teams unit and that looks to be the case again.
If that weren't enough, the Hokies secondary has also forced three interceptions already this season.
Narrowly beating an unranked conference foe at home and beating up on a bad team isn't the most impressive resume in the world. But putting it mildly, they're going to be difficult to beat for Pitt which has all the look of a bad team at this point.
More on the game later this week, of course, but at first glance, it could be a long day for the Panthers.