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Pitt football ends the season in the AP top 25

The Pitt Panthers end back to back seasons in the top 25

NCAA Football: Sun Bowl-Pittsburgh at UCLA Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a journey of a season for 2022 but the Pittsburgh Panthers finish it where things began. Pitt ends the season ranked 22nd in the AP Poll, their first time being ranked since the upset against Georgia Tech to open up ACC play. Interestingly enough, Pitt finishes one position behind UCLA even though the Panthers are coming off a victory in the Sun Bowl over the Bruins.

While it was a rollercoaster ride to get here, the Panthers have finished with two top-25 seasons consecutively for the first time in 40 years. Pitt was one of three ACC teams to represent the top 25 in the conference. Florida State finished 11th and Clemson finished 13th with North Carolina falling out of the rankings.

After a 4-4 start to the year after their loss to those Tar Heels, things were looking tough for a Bowl appearance, let alone a chance to get back into the top 25. Regardless of how things were looking previously, Pat Narduzzi continued to preach that there was still plenty ahead of the Panthers and the team took the message.

The Panthers from there rattled off 5 straight wins, including a thrilling victory against the now-ranked 21st UCLA Bruins, to help Pitt start and finish a season ranked for the first time since 1989. With a new benchmark set, the Panthers will look to continue to stabilize the program and try to ride this late-season momentum into the new season.