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Against the Odds: Pitt at Oklahoma State

Looking at the point spread for Saturday

Penn State v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pitt is coming off one of the more gratifying wins in recent memory. Let’s face it, beating Penn State felt good for everyone that follows the program. So is that win enough to make you feel the good waves of Pitt football into this week’s showdown against Oklahoma State of the Big 12?

Pitt is currently a six point underdog to the Cowboys. It seems like a fair spread for now. Oklahoma State was a preseason ranked team and they are coming off a 10 win season in which they made it to the Sugar Bowl. Mike Gundy has built this program into a consistent force in the Big 12 during his twelve year tenure. Mason Rudolph is one of the better quarterbacks in the country, and he highlights a high-powered, pass happy offense. There is a lot going for this program at the moment.

There is however, Central Michigan. Look, Oklahoma State won that game. The refs got it totally wrong, there’s no doubt about it. Still, shouldn’t a preseason top 25 avoid being in that situation entirely? Central Michigan was picked 4th in the the MAC West after all. They aren’t the type of team you would envision Oklahoma State losing to early in the season.

Pitt, on the other hand, is riding high. They beat their in-state rivals in an emotional 42-39 win. The game was hyped internally by Pat Narduzzi, and there was a lot of national attention on the game as well. So is there a letdown factor? Can they get up again for another big time program? That’s the question that has some concerned.

From a pure football standpoint, Pitt looks pretty good. They have a great offensive line and a great stable of running backs. Oklahoma State’s defense looks suspect, so Pitt should be able to score points. While Pitt’s defense surrendered some yardage and points to Penn State, it feels like they are a “big play” defense. They are tied for the national lead in sacks with ten as a team. Pitt is also towards the top in turnovers. They may give up some big plays, but they’ll turn it around and make some just the same.

I think this really comes down to this, Can Pitt make enough stops on defense? I think Pitt will move the ball on the Cowboys with James Conner and company. Nate Peterman will need to make some throws this week, but the running game should be there. It really comes down to pass defense.

So what say you? Are you feeling good about the Panthers after the big Penn State win? Can they go on the road on national TV and beat a good program like Oklahoma State? Or will the Cowboys protect their home turf? Let’s hear your thoughts.