NCAAF Profiles: Pittsburgh Panthers

 

The Pittsburgh Panthers college football program is one of the league’s most prominent teams. The team offers a consistent defense and also has a very long and detailed history that dates back to 1890. During this time, the Panthers have achieved many amazing victories.

 

But it’s not down to just luck. The team plays solidly as a cohesive unit and has won over 50% of its games during the last five years. 

 

You can take a closer look at NCAAF betting odds to place your bets for the upcoming season. But if you want to learn more about the team, this article will reveal all.

But if you want to learn more about the team, this article will reveal all. But they are not going to be in the NFL Superbowl!

 

Who Are They?

Located in the heart of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Panthers (or Pitt Panthers) football team are the representatives of the University of Pittsburgh in college football. 

 

The team competes in the highest level of collegiate athletics in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision for American football and has done so since the school’s first sponsorship of the sport in 1890. The Pittsburgh Panthers also compete as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

 

Football began at what was then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania (WUP) in the fall of 1889. In 1908, the university changed its name from the Western University of Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”). The following year, the school officially adopted the Panther as a mascot. 

 

Home games are played at Acrisure Stadium which is shared with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. 

 

Team History

In 1889, the first WUP team consisted of three players, including Bert Smyers and John Scott, and went on to lose their first game. 

 

The first game for the university was played on October 11, 1890, when the opposing team for the Allegheny Athletic Association, Shadyside Academy, failed to appear for its game. The WUP team was brought in as a replacement, suffering a defeat of 38-0.

 

WUP closed its inaugural three-game season with the school’s first victory over Geneva College while its next season paved a path to a 2–5 record.

 

After falling under the leadership of head coaches Hart and DePasqua (1966-1972), the university chancellor Wesley Posvar hired head coach Johnny Majors to resurrect the Pittsburgh Panthers program. His impact was immediate.

 

Under his leadership, the Pitts were invited to play their first bowl bid since 1956 against Arizona State in the 1973 Fiesta Bowl. Though they lost 28–7, the stage was set for the 1976 team to run for the national championship.

 

The 1976 season started with the Panthers ranking ninth in an AP preseason poll. Due to their success, the Panthers attended the 1977 Sugar Bowl to face the fourth-ranked Bulldogs. Pitt achieved a satisfying victory here and eventually went on to claim their ninth overall national championship – the first since 1937. 

 

Major Achievements

The Pittsburgh Panthers claim a total of nine national championships which is the 11th most in college football history. They’ve also participated in 28 bowl games under the guidance of renowned coaches Pop Warner, Jock Sutherland, and the iconic Johnny Majors.

 

Due to their high performance since the 70s, they rank among the top 20 college football programs in terms of their all-time wins. 

 

Its teams have had many different coaches and players that are extremely notable figures throughout the history of college football. This includes the fifth most Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, the 12th most College Football Hall of Fame inductees, and has seen at least 133 All-American selections.

 

How Are They Currently Performing? 

When you think of Pitt football, you immediately think of a dominant defense. Especially under the current leadership of seventh-year head coach, Pat Narduzzi. 

 

The Pitt Panthers have counted their elite defensive line over the past few seasons. This is the deepest unit on the team in defense or offense and is stacked full of high-end talent played with an aggressive style.

 

The 2021 season was Pitt’s ninth season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). They finished with an 11-3 record and a 7-1 conference record, which is their best to date. They also won the Coastal Division of the ACC Championship by winning over Wake Forest (45-21) and lost to Michigan State to officially end the season.

 

Summary

The Pittsburgh Panthers have a rich history in the world of college football with an amazing roster of incredible talent. There’s hope for a similar defensive strategy in the 2022 season. If their performance over the past few seasons stands strong, they’ll have no issues.

 

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers made perhaps the best coaching hire of the off-season by landing former Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck. Fleck is only 36 years old, but he helped turn Western Michigan’s football program around in only four years. He went 1-11 in his first season, but he was able to recruit at a high level, finishing with the 36th best class according to 247sports.com before the 2014 season. The Broncos finished 8-4 in 2014 and Fleck was named the MAC coach of the year. In 2015, he finished 7-5 but led the program to its first ever bowl victory with a 45-31 win over the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders in the Bahamas Bowl. Fleck was able to put together the 4th consecutive best recruiting class in the MAC, and the talent acquired from those four years really proved to be special in 2016. The Broncos went undefeated in the regular season with a 12-0 record, then won the MAC championship, and qualified for an at-large bid to play Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. They lost 24-16, but it was the best season in program history. Minnesota has talent and has competed in the Big 10 in the past, and they are in the much weaker west division. This is huge because they play Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue every year. They also play Nebraska and Wisconsin, who are both steady, consistent programs but it is not nearly as difficult as the east gauntlet of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. Fleck is a proven winner, and a great recruiter, plus he plays a manageable schedule every year.

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