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Notre Dame win gives Pitt chance to salvage season

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into this weekend, there wasn't a lot of optimism surrounding Pitt's football team. After a respectable 4-2 start, the Panthers stumbled against Navy and then lost to Georgia Tech on the road. With a ranked Notre Dame team in town, there wasn't only a chance of the Panthers falling below .500, it was likely.

Don't tell that to the Pitt players, though - they had no interest in a losing record for the first time since the Florida State game and the Panthers promptly went out and won this past weekend.

It's not a conference win and the Panthers won't reach the ACC title game. Still, the win over the Irish meant Pitt would have a good chance to salvage its season.

At 5-4, the Panthers only need one more victory to become bowl eligible. And while North Carolina and Syracuse are far from gimmes, Pitt should be in both games at the very least. The benchmark this season for many, including myself, was seven wins and the Panthers have a chance to get there by winning two of their final three games.

While that would be a good season, a very good one would be to reach eight with a bowl win. Pitt hasn't reached those heights since 2010 and while Chryst still has a lot to do to get this program back into national relevance, eight wins in his second season with a team with so many question marks would be quite a feat.

Going into the Notre Dame game, that was looking impossible. Now, though? Not so much.

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