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Halfway through season, Pitt football right on track

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With Pitt's win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Panthers are officially at the midway point of their regular season. And while things haven't gone perfectly, the team is still right on track for a solid year under head coach Pat Narduzzi.

The Panthers sit at 4-2 on the year and while they were a hair short in their two losses, that record is right where most predicted they would be at this point. In defeating Villanova and Marshall, they took care of the two games on their schedule that looked like wins. Georgia Tech was winnable but no guarantee, and they managed to come out on top there. And the Penn State game, which the Panthers won, of course, could have gone either way.

To the two losses, both were games you'd expect Pitt to drop. Sure, winning either was possible but those weren't surprise losses. When you add it all up, even 3-3 was a very realistic proposition. It would have been disappointing but with such a tough schedule to this point, a .500 record was entirely possible.

Instead, Pitt has done one game better and despite the early disappointments, is on track for a nice year.

Clemson and Miami look like two games that the Panthers will be hard-pressed to win. Not only are both very difficult opponents, but they are road games. Impossible to grab one of them? Maybe not. But both will be tough contests where Pitt almost certainly won't be favored.

Other than those two, things are much easier. Sure, there's Virginia Tech, who dismantled North Carolina this weekend. But Pitt has always played the Hokies well and has defeated them the past two years. The Panthers also get that game at home and will have a good chance to be 5-2 heading into that game. Pitt takes on a pretty weak Virginia team next weekend, then after Virginia Tech, has very winnable games against Duke and Syracuse.

Seeing Pitt go 4-2 over the next six games shouldn't surprise many people. The possibility exists for a 3-3 finish to the year, but if the Panthers manage to win a Bowl game and reach eight wins for the second straight season, it would be hard to be too disappointed with that given the schedule.

One other noteworthy thing to keep in mind is that the team hasn't exactly been all that healthy. Pitt is down a starting defensive end, linebacker, and wide receiver, losing them for all or much of the season. They just lost a starting cornerback this past week and another potential starting cornerback, Damar Hamlin, was injured for a good chunk of the year. All of that makes the Panthers' 4-2 record even more impressive.

In other words, they are right about where they need to be.

The goal surely is to win the ACC's Coastal Division - let's be clear about that. And the program as a whole needs to continue to show improvement and eventually get back to double-digit win seasons. Continued 7-8 win seasons won't always be enough. However, the season isn't exactly lost if they don't reach the conference title game this season. Pitt still has the chance to put together a successful year and through the first six games, they've put themselves in good position to do that.

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