OK, I am puzzled by this one, as Pitt is an eight point favorite over Georgia Tech for Saturday’s homecoming game. 8 points seems like a whole lot for a divisional game in October. Sure, Georgia Tech is coming off an average 4-8 season, and they are only off to a 3-2 start. But their two losses are to top ten teams in Miami and Clemson. It’s hard to know what they have just yet, as most teams would lose to Miami and Clemson. Pitt is only 3-2 themselves, and have shown some weaknesses. Pitt being an 8-point favorite certainly caught my attention.
The Yellow Jackets run the tricky triple-option offense. In Pat Narduzzi’s short tenure at Pitt, his teams have been carved up by the misdirection offense twice. In last year’s meeting, Georgia Tech rolled up 482 yards of offense with 376 of them coming on the ground. Pitt was able to keep up, however, and beat Tech on a Chris Blewitt 56 yard field goal in the final seconds.
Now this year, at least from what we can gather, Pitt’s rushing defense is better. Although their pass defense is worse. Fortunately for Pitt, the Yellow Jackets’ passing offense is pretty non existent. Starting quarterback, Justin Thomas, is averaging less than 100 yards passing a game and has only throw two touchdowns all season. Georgia Tech’s ground game does rank 28th nationally however, and the fakes and pitches should definitely concern the Panthers. They don’t have that one back that should strike fear into the team, but the scheme itself is worrisome enough.
Now here are some positives for Pitt. The Panthers rushing offense is actually the better of the two, as it is 16th nationally, and second in the ACC only to Louisville. Pitt has been scoring points at a high level as well, and would be better prepared to win in a shootout, mainly to the passing game. While Pitt does not have a great vertical passing game overall, it’s leaps and bounds better than the Yellow Jackets. Nate Peterman is more likely to make a big throw or two in this game than Justin Thomas.
So what does everyone think? Is Pitt’s home field advantage enough for a win here? Pitt is 3-0 at home on the season, and there should be a good crowd on hand for Homecoming, and of course the debut of the brand new throwback uniforms. I definitely anticipate the energy at Heinz Field to be very solid, but I keep coming back to eight points. It just seems like a lot. Pitt’s two losses have been tight games. The Penn State game was only a three point margin of victory. Heck, even the Marshall game took two touchdowns in the final minute to make it a 16 point victory instead of the three point lead they were clinging to before Weah’s big catch. My point is, Pitt is finding themselves in a lot of close games. I’m having trouble seeing this one being more than a one score game.
Let’s hear your thoughts below.