Pitt now enters the meat of its conference schedule and all games from here have to be considered must-win.
My thoughts about challenging non-conference schedules are well known. In football, they're suicide. But if there's one good thing that came out of Pitt's tough out of conference games, it's that the schedule got easier from there. And the team has obviously gotten better.
Out of Pitt's remaining four games, I'm not sure which is the most difficult. This might sound foolish, but I can realistically see Pitt losing any of the four. Don't get me wrong, Pitt can and probably should win out. But with three road games and a home game against West Virginia, none are gimmes. Just when it looked like Connecticut could be penciled in as a win, they went out and beat the Mountaineers at home last weekend.
Paul Zeise of the PG doesn't think much of the team's remaining four games:
And is there any team among the four remaining on the schedule – Connecticut, South Florida, West Virginia and Cincinnati – that has shown any signs of life in recent weeks? I mean, really – the Huskies are a terrible offensive team, West Virginia is in dissarray and now likely has a lame duck coach and Cincinnati is banged up and can’t stop anybody. The Bulls have some explosive players but should not be able to score many points against Pitt’s defense.
All may have been struggled a bit, but as 2007 proved, the Backyard Brawl is still the Backyard Brawl. I don't care how lifeless WVU looks or how much of a lame duck their coach is. Heck, that's probably a reason they'll play even harder. I have a hard time believing that game won't be a challenge.
And any road game in-conference always has the makings of a tough game. In the end, though, Zeise is correct about Pitt having no excuses for not winning the conference. Pitt has a stacked deck heading into its final four games and if it can't win the conference this season, there's no reason to think it ever will.