Paul Chryst for ACC Coach of the Year in 2014?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There's been a lot of talk about Pitt having a breakout season in 2014 and even potentially winning the ACC's Coastal Division for the simple fact that the race could be so wide open. I'm still not on board with that kind of season, but ESPN.com continues to put Pitt out there as a legit contender for next season.

ESPN takes a look at some coaches that could walk away with the ACC's Coach of the Year and Paul Chryst gets some mention as a potential candidate:

Paul Chryst, Pitt: Chryst is also in his third year. And he also coaches a team considered to be a darkhorse Coastal Division title contender. (Hey, at this point, who isn't?) The schedule breaks right for the Panthers to have a chance at a strong season. And if that happens — in just their second year in the ACC, after losing key players like Aaron Donald, Tom Savage and Devin Street — you can bet Chryst will receive a ton of credit.

I agree with a lot that ESPN has to say here, including that Duke's David Cutcliffe is probably going to be out of contention just because he's won it the last two years.

For Chryst, it really is going to come down to what Pitt does as a team. For him to win the award, The Panthers will have to win a minimum of nine games. But Chryst could have an outside shot just because the schedule is so light and a three- or four-game improvement would attract a lot of attention.

Even that might not be enough, though, if another team like Florida State runs the table again. Even though history has gone against it in the ACC, Jimbo Fisher could finally get some sympathy after having won the national championship but not even getting the award with a perfect season last year.

Again, for me it's a long shot just because of all of the question marks surrounding the team that I've already covered such as a new quarterback and only five returning starters on defense. But I get the logic here.

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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