Pitt football ranks #41 in ESPN's preseason index poll

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It's early for even preseason college football rankings, but ESPN took a shot at theirs. Specifically, they've created a preseason football index to predict offenses, defenses, and special teams of college football teams. This post breaks down their methodology a little.

Overall, Pitt ranked as the 50th best offense, 37th best defense, and 50th best special teams. Add it all up and you get No. 41 overall to start the season. Here are the complete team rankings.

I'd have to delve a little more into the methodology section, but at first glance, I'm a little surprised that the offense ranks so low while the defense ranks so hit. Really, those numbers look flat out backwards to me.

Pitt lost quarterback Tom Savage and wide receiver on offense, but they have a highly-ranked recruit under center in Chad Voytik, return their best offensive weapon in Tyler Boyd, return their top three running backs, return all of their tight ends, and also return almost their entire offensive line. If Voytik doesn't completely crumble, that offense looks pretty solid - maybe even downright good.

Conversely, the defense loses 3/4 of their starting defensive line including star Aaron Donald, their starting middle linebacker, and half of their secondary. I'm not convinced the defense will be a train wreck, but there are considerably more question marks there. Even some of the guys coming back like Lafayette Pitts have big questions surrounding them.

But hey, I'm no expert, folks.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

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