Pitt will head to Blacksburg on Saturday, and unsurprisingly will be the underdogs in Lane Stadium against Virginia Tech. In fact, most Vegas sites have Pitt catching 4.5 points this weekend. Considering Pitt's track record the past
three seasons, four seasons...okay, a really long time, it adds up for Pitt to be the underdog despite Virginia Tech's average start to the season.
The Hokies are coming off a humbling defeat at the hands of East Carolina by a score of 35-28. The score was actually closer than the game probably was. Virginia Tech played most of the game two or three scores behind and looked really "blah" throughout much of the afternoon. Virginia Tech has two wins by wide margins, but Purdue and Furman aren't much to speak of this season. It seems like a while ago, but the Hokies also lost to #1 Ohio State on Labor Day night.
Virginia Tech has done some good things this year, but also have done some bad stuff. This is not a dominant program right now and it hasn't been for a few years. Pitt has a legitimate window to come into Blacksburg and possibly pull an upset. Pitt has fared well against Virginia Tech through the years, but mainly those big wins have come at home. Lane Stadium has given Pitt (and most programs), some serious trouble. Despite their great home field advantage, you cannot help but think the weather may hurt that on Saturday. Virginia is in a state of emergency with flooding, and the impending effects of Hurricane Joaquin could also drive away their usually proud fan base away for this game.
Virginia Tech is also dealing with injuries, which is pretty common in the ACC these days it seems. Star cornerback Kendall Fuller has been ruled out for the season as of yesterday, and obviously starting quarterback Michael Brewer has been out since the Ohio State game. They have other key injuries mixed in there as well.
The jury is still out on what this Pitt team is capable of, but we know they will fight to the end. The Panthers were on the ropes in a hostile crowd at Iowa, and played them very well and lost on perhaps what was a fluke field goal. Even when they seemed out of it, Pitt kept coming back into the game. The quarterback situation appears settled, the defense is improved, and Tyler Boyd will be the best player on the field Saturday. All those reasons alone have to make Pitt fans feel at least somewhat confident going into this game.
If I were a betting man, I wouldn't hate this 4.5 point line. I think the usually hostile Lane Stadium might not be so hostile. I think the Pitt staff will have their team ready after two weeks of preparation. And having a win of Virginia Tech last year, we know the talent is comparable. Pitt can win this game, but I think they can keep the margin to a field goal if they do lose to the Hokies.