Glass half-full: Pitt played a brutal opening road game with a new QB and several new offensive linemen. The team forced turnovers. They came together in the second half. Made adjustments. Defense actually blitzed. Saw the new QB mature and gain confidence from the 1st Q to the 4th Q. Lost by 3 to a team that has won 23 games over the past 2 years in OT. It is just the 1st game.
Glass half-empty: Secondary looked horrid. Defensive line struggled to get pressure without a blitz. Offensive line had little going for it in the middle. Baldwin let himself get bumped out of the game for 3 quarters. Unable to get the running game going. After finally getting aggressive with the offensive play calling when coming back, played for the tie and overtime in the final 47 seconds. So many, many missed opportunities.
You know, losing a close game makes it hard. I mean really hard not to get ticked about the missed chances. One, two or just a few tweaks and the game is Pitt’s. Missing a FG. Failing to capitalize on turnovers. How do you not feel frustrated about the loss?
Here’s the deal in college football. This isn’t the NFL. There is no playoff. If you want to play on the national stage, you have to win. You have to win all of the time.
There is no shame in losing to the Utes. They are a good team. They were at home, and I can’t say that Pitt exactly deserved to win (well, neither did Utah, but a sloppy opening game is not unexpected). If you want to claim to be one of the better teams in the country you have to win these games. Falling short is nice when you aren’t expected to compete or are rebuilding.
Right now, Pitt showed that the weaknesses and question marks outweigh the strengths and answers.That can change over the course of the season. I hope so, but the question is: how long will it take?
Pitt has tough games with Miami and ND as two of its next four games, so there isn’t that much time. It can’t just be about how the team finishes. If the only concern is the Big East, then why ever care about any non-con game since they are only exhibition games?
Maybe that allows justification of the fact that aside from Notre Dame in 2008, Pitt has not won a non-conference game where they were the underdog. Right now Pitt is a decent to good team, but not much more than that.