The Pittsburgh Panthers had high expectations coming into the 2022 season based on the success of the previous season. While the Panthers fell short of their goal there still are positives to take away from this year. The Athletic released an article on Tuesday that gave a grade to every Power 5 school for the year and the Panthers came away with a B-.
The Panthers couldn’t follow up their ACC championship with another, finishing second in an eminently winnable Coastal Division. But they still won eight games for the fifth time in Pat Narduzzi’s tenure and got a star turn from running back Israel Abanikanda (1,431 yards, 20 touchdowns)
For comparison, the only two schools in the ACC that received A’s were the Duke Blue Devils who had an A, and the Florida State Seminoles who received an A-. Miami and Virginia Tech both received a D- and Boston College was the only school to receive an F. (Better luck next year BC.)
Overall the B- grade feels fair for the season the Panthers had. Ending the season 8-4 and getting a respectable bowl game against UCLA with numerous players earning conference and national recognition feels like a good response to the early season adversity. Still, losing winnable games against Georgia Tech and Louisville due in large part to a struggling offense will always leave a what-if for what could have been if the Panthers were 10-2, both for the postseason and the recruiting trail.
At least it wasn’t as bad as West Virginia, who earned a D- for the season. Not only are the Mountaineers not going to a bowl game, but the article also poured a little salt on the wound.
What transpired instead was a 5-7 season that saw athletic director Shane Lyons scapegoated and coach Neal Brown retained because he was too pricey to fire. The defense ranked 108th in yards allowed per play, 114th in points surrendered and 127th in takeaways — numbers that illustrate why WVU didn’t go bowling.
With only one game left to play in the 2022 season, we will continue to reflect back on the year that was here at Cardiac Hill.