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Pitt football team cracks the Top 25

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After surging past Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest over the past four weeks en route to an ACC Coastal title, Pitt has been recognized by the Associated Press and various FBS coaches and earned rankings in both the AP poll and the Amway Coaches Poll. Pitt is ranked 24th in the AP poll and 25th in the coaches poll.

This is not only the first time the Panthers have been ranked in the 2018 season, but the first time they have been ranked since December 2016, when they placed 22nd in the AP poll and 23rd in the CFP ranking. Pitt hasn’t been ranked in the coaches poll since October 2015.

Pitt’s latest win was a 34-13 victory in its first-ever meeting with Wake Forest. That clinched the Coastal, earning Pitt a spot opposite Atlantic champion Clemson in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 1. It also brought the Panthers to 7-4 overall and 6-1 in conference, marking an astounding turnaround after a 3-4 start to the season.

With that said, three of Pitt’s losses came against ranked teams in Notre Dame, UCF and Penn State, and of those three teams, Penn State is the only one that is not undefeated.

The Panthers’ final challenge of the regular season will come in Miami on Saturday, when they face a Hurricanes team that they toppled in 2017. Entering that matchup at Heinz Field, Miami was undefeated and ranked second in the country in the AP poll. However, Pitt was able to pull off a 24-14 upset and send the Hurricanes into a tailspin that has seen them go 6-8 since then.

The division rivals are set to square off at Hard Rock Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. The matchup will air before a national audience on ESPN.