Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi was in Detroit on Wednesday for a press conference ahead of the Quick Lane Bowl, which the Panthers are slated to take part in on Dec. 26. But when the subject shifted to Pitt's progress during his tenure, Narduzzi brought up another postseason game and made a bold prediction about his team and the heights it will reach.
”We’ve reached an ACC championship,” Narduzzi said. “Our goal is not just to get there. Our goal is to get there and win the thing. And in the next couple of years, we’re going to win one. I can guarantee you that.”
Given that the statement comes on the heels of a 7-5 campaign at a presser for a bowl game that is considered 2019's worst by Yahoo Sports and among the worst by CBS Sports, many may well dismiss the claim as unrealistic bluster. However, this is not Narduzzi's first seemingly wild assertion about the future of Pitt, and it would be wise to heed the coach, considering his track record of following through on similar promises in the past.
In 2018, Narduzzi famously concluded his press conference at the ACC Kickoff event in the preseason by saying, “Next time we’ll see you is in Charlotte for the ACC championship game, because we’re going.”
At the time, the prediction was viewed dubiously. But sure enough, Pitt was back in Charlotte on Dec. 1 to take on Clemson for the conference title. And the year before, Narduzzi called Pitt’s Black Friday upset of Miami, which was then the No. 2 team in the country. Pitt, which was 4-7, would win that game 24-14.
”It happened in West Virginia, where we knocked off No. 2,” he told ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams at halftime of the game. “It happened in South Carolina, and it’s happening in Pittsburgh today.”
An ACC title is a lofty aspiration for Pitt, especially with national powerhouse Clemson likely to be standing in the way, but it is not an entirely unrealistic one. Narduzzi has already led Pitt to the ACC title game, and he has led Pitt to victory over Clemson on the road.
To make good on his guarantee, Narduzzi will have to repeat both of those feats in the same season. That will require a much more potent offense than the one Pitt fielded in 2019, but the team has an elite defense in place, suggesting it could at least contend for the ACC Coastal in the coming years. And if history is any indication, Narduzzi does not issue promises he doesn't intend to keep.