Before the season, many people predicted that Pitt's hire of Pat Narduzzi was a good one. CBS Sports was one of those, previously saying that his hiring was the seventh best one in all of college football.
With the season over, they recently evaluated things again. This time, he was ranked even higher.
Narduzzi finished the season at 8-5 and as a result, ranked fourth in CBS Sports' post-season review.
Breakdown: Establishing an identity for your program can be a difficult task for a first-time, first-year coach. But Narduzzi has everyone in on the plan at Pitt and nothing showcases that more than how the Panthers responded to adversity this season. When reigning ACC Player of the Year James Conner went down for the year with an injury, freshman Qadree Ollison stepped in to become just the fifth freshman in program history to run for 1,000 yards, earning ACC Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. Narduzzi also found his next secondary star in the backfield with safety Jordan Whitehead winning ACC Freshman of the Year, along with ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year.
The three guys ahead of him are hard to top. Tom Herman was No. 1 after a 13-1 season at Houston. Jim Harbaugh finished second with 10-3 year at Michigan. Jim McElwain was third after a 10-4 season at Florida. I suppose you could make a claim that Narduzzi could have been third based on losing Conner and expectations being much lower at Pitt, but overall, it's hard to complain much.
Noteworthy, too, was the look at Paul Chryst. I'll have more soon on Chryst and Narduzzi in a separate article, but as I've said numerous times, the Panthers look to have come out ahead here.