As has been customary in recent years, Pitt will begin the season with a game against the FCS. While these teams almost always represent a win, the Panthers could find themselves with their hands full against Youngstown State.
Coached by Bo Pelini, the Penguins were one of the best teams in the FCS last year and that should again be the case in 2017. The Penguins went to the FCS championship game, ultimately losing to champion James Madison, 28-14. 12-4 on the season, Youngstown State did its fair share of scoring, topping the 35-point mark six times. In the team's last five wins before the title game loss, they scored a whopping 42.6 points per contest.
The team looks to be another strong one this year.
The Penguins return quite a bit and are ranked in both of the FCS top ten preseason polls - 8th in the Coaches Poll and 9th in the FCS STATS Poll.
We all know that there's a decent dropoff from the FBS to the FCS but with FCS teams pulling off the occasional upset, there definitely should be some concern from Pitt's vantage point. And while I think the attitude of the team is markedly different with Pat Narduzzi than it was under Paul Chryst, the Panthers still don't have to look beyond the 2012 upset and the close game in 2015 to see that an upset is possible.