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ESPN reviews best/worst cases for Pitt football in 2016

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN rolled out its best and worst cases for ACC teams this week, and that of course included the Panthers.

Best case for Pitt? It's something we've heard quite a bit from ESPN over the years - the Panthers could win the Coastal Division and reach the conference title game. Pitt has remained a trendy pick to win the division the past few years despite not coming all that close. Still, ESPN says if everything breaks their way, a trip to the ACC title game is possible.

Worst case says ESPN? The Panthers struggle with new coordinators and wind up with a 6-6 season.

Both of those sound about right to me. Pitt brings back a veteran starting quarterback, returns a pretty nasty two-headed rushing attack in James Conner and Qadree Ollison, and should have an improved defense with few losses there and key additions in Dewayne Hendrix and Damar Hamlin. For those reasons, you can see them competing for the Coastal Division title if everything went their way.

The flipside is that if the Panthers lose starting quarterback Nathan Peterman to an injury (or if he struggles) and the passing game is a flop, they could become a very one-dimensional team on offense. Looking at the schedule, it still would be hard to not see six wins there. Villanova, Marshall, Syracuse, Virginia, and Duke all look very winnable and stealing another win or two wouldn't be all that hard, either.

Overall, I mostly agree with ESPN's assessment. What do you say?

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