Athlon revealed its 2011 Big East predictions and slotted Pitt third overall. Of particular note is that the site calls for seven of the eight teams to be bowl eligible and has Louisville, in last place, as just missing eligibility.
So how does the league break down according to Athlon? And how does Pitt rank nationally?
They put West Virginia in first and South Florida second. I've said repeatedly that I think it's fair to put the Mountaineers first and while I think that relying on South Florida to live up to expectations is like, well, expecting Pitt to do so, don't see a huge problem with that pick.
But back to the bowl eligibility thing for a second - just another expectation of a mediocre league. And it's really hard to argue with that. No truly great team a bunch of mediocre ones and a cellar dweller or two. That's really the way I expect most analysts to see it this year as well.
As for those rankings, Athlon has it: West Virginia, South Florida, Pitt, Syracuse, Cincinnati, UConn, Rutgers, and Louisville.
And about Pitt individually, Athlon ranks them #41 in the nation in their somewhat banal preview. But they do go on to say that the Panthers can compete for the conference crown.