Look, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know we're not full of homerism. Nothing, perhaps, is a truer indication of that than our season records on our picks. We've gone against Pitt early and often this year, so I think it's pretty clear that we don't drink the blue and gold Kool-Aid.
With that in mind, four of our six writers went with Pitt this week. Call it any number of things, but as I mentioned earlier, I actually think this game sets up fairly well for the Panthers. Pitt has lost the past three but kept all of them close. The game last year was a huge disappointment, obviously, and looked like a win. Fact is that the Panthers just always play Notre Dame extremely tight.
Other than the game being at home for what should be a jacked up atmosphere, the biggest factor personally is that Notre Dame's pass rush hasn't been all that effective this year. I've already covered this point, but they rank near the bottom of the FBS in sacks with only 13 on the year. Heck, Aaron Donald has nine by himself and Pitt has played one fewer game so far than Notre Dame.
That sack statistic is important because when Tom Savage has had time to throw, he really hasn't been that bad. Notre Dame's defensive line is probably still superior to Pitt's offensive line, but if the Panthers can just keep Savage upright most of the time, I think he could have a big game.
One thing I was glad to see was the involvement of Tyler Boyd in the offense last week. He had 11 catches for over 100 yards and a touchdown. I've said over and over that Pitt needs to get him the ball and they finally did that.
This isn't a cakewalk for Pitt, of course, and a win would certainly be an upset since Notre Dame is the better team. But Pitt is usually good for one of these kind of upsets each year and we're calling our shot here.
Anson (7-1): Pitt
Jim (7-1): Pitt
Mike (7-1): Notre Dame
Bryan (6-2): Pitt
Pat (6-2): Notre Dame
Chris (5-3): Pitt