(10-3, 8-4 ATS in 2009)
(10-3, 6-7 ATS in 2009)
Give the Panthers credit for scheduling this game, especially on the road. U-Pitt is generally a program that is willing to take on anyone willing to give it a shot, and this is a great showing for a BCS conference team and one that has already busted the BCS in its history and is on the way to a BCS conference. The Panthers are going to be riding the back of RB Dion Lewis all season long, and for good reason. Should he stay for all four years and keep healthy, Lewis will clearly rewrite all of the record books at Pittsburgh, which is saying something considering the fact that Tony Dorsett is an alumni. Lewis racked up 1,799 rushing yards and 18 total TDs last season, fumbling just twice in the process. QB Bill Stull is gone, but that doesn’t mean that the Panthers aren’t going to have a good passing attack. Hopes are high for Tino Sunseri in this game against a solid Utah ‘D’.
Keeping Pittsburgh’s defensive line off of QB Jordan Wynn is going to be the primary goal of the Utah offense on Thursday night. The Utes know that the Panthers don’t bring a lot of heat at the quarterback, but the front four gets tremendous pressure on a regular basis. The rushing game is going to be a big help as well if all goes according to plan for the Utes, as RBs Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata are both big time rushers that can carry the load. The two combined for 1,400 yards and 16 rushing TDs a year ago. However, it’ll be ultimately up to Wynn, now a sophomore to make plays after he threw for 1,329 yarsd and eight scores in limited action last year.
There’s too much pressure on Utah to pull this game off. The Panthers are one of the more underrated clubs in the Big East, and we tend to think that this is a very winnable game in what should be a heck of an environment for college football. Pitt’s defensive line makes the difference, as Lewis rushes for his 120+ yards and two scores to lead the Panthers to a narrow victory.
Selection: Pittsburgh Panthers +2.5