We were feeling a lot more optimistic about this game a week ago, weren't we?
Nevertheless, Pitt heads to Cincinnati for its first game against a Big East foe on the road. To make matters worse, Pitt is up against a quick turnaround time, playing only five days later.
Look, Pitt can win this game. And despite what happened Saturday night against Youngstown State, if the Panthers win on Thursday, a lot of the bad vibes about the team will go away. For now. Despite the nightmare against Youngstown State this weekend, there are a few reasons why Pitt could come out on top.The team will get back six suspended players. As I pointed out in my recap over at SB Nation Pittsburgh last week, having those players probably wouldn't have meant a win against the Penguins. But getting Tyrone Ezell back as a starter on the defensive line will hopefully result in a bit more pressure on the quarterback. Plus, Ronald Jones is a bit of a playmaker on offense and special teams that could make a small impact. The bottom line is that getting those players back will only help matters.
On offense, Pitt showed some promising signs last week. Quarterback Tino Sunseri had a solid game and Ray Graham and Isaac Bennett ran for 113 yards on 4.7 yards a carry. The offense is capable of having a nice game against a defense
Looking at the Bearcats, Cincinnati is playing their first game of the season. While it was a horrible experience, Pitt has a game under its belt and you'd hope they'd be better for it. The Bearcats are also without some of the major offensive weapons they had in racking up ten wins last season, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead.
It won't be easy (and it's hard to see Pitt as the favorites in this one), but at first glance, the Panthers have a chance in this one. We'll have much more this week on Cincinnati before the game.