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Dealing With Lessened Expectations

This wasn't supposed to be how it went. Sure, there was a new coach and a new offense and defense, but with eight home games, a good season was realistic. Now eight games in, yeah, not so much.

At the beginning of the season, I expected a minimum of eight wins. Now, that's Pitt's ceiling in the regular season.

Things went from bad to worse last week with the news that Pitt lost Ray Graham, Cam Saddler, and Matt Rotheram for the season. As if Todd Graham's job weren't hard enough this season, things are about to get even more difficult. Saddler wasn't having a huge year, but he had started to pick it up a bit, catching at least three passes in three of Pitt's last four games. Rotheram was a backup forced into duty and his absence makes the line even worse.

So with the poor win-loss record and all the injuries, what exactly would constitute a good season now?

The BCS is still in reach, so that's got to be the goal, obviously. But to get there, Pitt probably needs to run the table and I just don't know how realistic that is.

So for me, it's probably 7-5 and a bowl game. That would mean Pitt would need to win three of its final four games against Louisville, Cincinnati, Syracuse, and West Virginia. That's doable and I think the Cincinnati game is one that could be won. If Pitt finished 7-5 at this point, that would be a good way to win the season. 

If Graham is able to get this team to seven regular season wins without its best player, that would be something. Here's the thing, though. Even more than that, I'd be happy with more consistency on offense. Graham's got a full month of games left and the team can use this time to not only get better for this season, but use it as a springboard for next year.

Todd Graham is getting a bit of a pass this year with the new systems and injuries, but another .500-ish season next year will have more people jumping off his bandwagon. It likely won't be enough for him to lose his job over, but there will definitely be more grumbling than there is this year.