After the Akron loss, I asked the question if Pitt's season was over. Of course there's a lot of football to be played, but that's the kind of game that can make you think it's difficult to win much more in a season. With two consecutive losses, things look bleak for the Panthers.
A win against Virginia this week, however, would turn things around and get Pitt back on track.
Through six games, many of us expected Pitt to be 4-2 or 5-1. 6-0 seemed like a pipe dream because, well, we're talking about Pitt here. But while 4-2 wasn't ideal, it was at least respectable considering the Panthers would have faced three major-conference teams by that point. And here's the thing - if the Panthers find a way to win here, as bad as the last two weeks have been, they'll reach that mark.
There's, of course, the little problem of Pitt looking so bad against Akron last week. After all, playing like that, it might be hard to find many games left that appear winnable. But here's the thing - while a win may seem unlikely, this is really what Pitt does. The Panthers almost always lose a game they shouldn't and win one or two that they shouldn't as well. Here's to hoping the team can cash in and make one of those unlikely wins this weekend. If past history is any indication, the Akron loss, bad as it may be, may just be one of those things before the Panthers win several more games.
Just as important as the 2-0 conference win the team can reach with a victory, a win at Virginia would just be extremely important in boosting fan morale. The team is in danger of losing the casual fan right now and a win will help keep more people interested. Of particular note is that Pitt's next game is a Thursday night home date against Virginia Tech. If the Panthers can pull out a win this weekend, ticket sales should increase for that contest and the game suddenly becomes a lot bigger.
If Pitt is able to win on Saturday, they won't exactly have achieved that mark the conventional way. But 4-2 is still 4-2 and the Panthers would remain unbeaten in ACC play. Judging by what we've seen from the team in the past six quarters, I think most of us would gladly take that.
I stand by my earlier assessment that the Akron loss was a tremendous step back for a program that looked like it was making progress. But a lot of ground can be made up with a win this weekend at Virginia.
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