Reporting Troy Clardy
PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- College football camps have started, and the season will kick off Labor Day weekend. The Pitt Panthers kick off their inaugural ACC season Labor Day night at home against Florida State. Phil Steele of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview told Troy Clardy that the ACC will bring tougher competition for the Panthers.
“I do think it’s a pretty good sized jump,” Steele said. “You look at the first opponent right out of the box, Florida State. (The) Big East really didn’t really have any teams that caliber. Virginia Tech, one of the top teams out there. So I think when you look at the caliber of competition, it’s a large step up for Pittsburgh.”
Steele plugged in nine sets of power ratings into Pitt’s schedule. Four of the nine called for Pitt to be bowl eligible, but five did not.
“It’s going to be one of those years where they’re going to have to win a close game or two, probably pull at least one upset during the course of the season to get to that six win level or higher this year,” Steele said.
Penn State won eight games in 2012 in Bill O’Brien’s first season. Despite a lack of depth due to scholarship limitations, Steele thinks that Penn State could reach eight wins again in 2013.
“I think they’re going to have another solid year, and getting to that eight win level that they did last year, I give them a better than fifty-fifty chance. I think it’s probable that they do it,” Steele said. Steele added that freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg could perhaps surpass Matt McGloin’s 2012 production.
West Virginia enters their second season in the Big 12. After a fast start, the Mountaineers finished 7-6 in 2012. Despite giving up 50 points or more four times in 2012, Steele told Clardy that he likes the Mountaineers defense entering this season.
“The defense is going to be improved,” Steele said. “Last year they gave up almost 500 yards per game, 472 yards per game. This year they’ve got seven starters back on the defense.” Steele added that the Mountaineers will overachieve in 2013 after underachieving in 2012.