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Pittsburgh Panthers Betting - 2011 Pittsburgh Panthers College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 6/30/2011 6:28:49 PM
pittsburgh panthers betting

After a 2010 season in which the Big East Conference turned out to be the hardest BCS conference to peg in college football, one should expect more volatility this year. The Pittsburgh Panthers will not be very friendly if you make them a part of your next sports bet.

Here’s the thing to understand with the Panthers: They have a coach that they didn’t initially choose. Pitt fired longtime coach Dave Wannstedt after the season and then tabbed Miami University coach Mike Haywood as its new boss. However, just a few weeks after hiring Haywood, Pitt was rocked by the news of a nasty domestic violence incident involving Haywood and his wife. The new coach was fired before he was able to do much of anything on the job. Then Pittsburgh scrambled to hire another new coach, Tulsa boss Todd Graham. The fluctuations and disruptions that have defined this offseason will hurt Pittsburgh. On the other hand, the program is gaining recruits thanks to the implosion of the Ohio State athletic department, which is hemorrhaging recruits. Pitt might be really good in 2012, but 2011 will be a bumpy ride. Even MLB baseball betting students know that they shouldn’t expect consistency with Pitt this year.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri will be surrounded by an appreciable amount of weapons in Graham’s new offensive system. After splitting carries with Dion Lewis in 2010, Ray Graham has the running back job to himself. Graham is a bigger and more physical back than Lewis was, and that will make him a go-to guy for Pittsburgh. The offense will use a three-receiver set, and while Jon Baldwin is now gone to the NFL, Mike Shanahan, Cameron Saddler, and Devin Street are very capable pass catchers and route runners.

The Panthers’ defense will use three defensive linemen instead of four. The Panthers bring back Brandon Lindsey, who was an All-Big East selection as a junior. Khaynin Mosley-Smith, a highly-rated prep school recruit, could contribute early on the defensive line.

The back seven returns almost entirely intact, but with new roles. Max Grude, Tristan Roberts, and Kevin Adams are all seniors with plenty of experience, albeit in a different system during the Wannstedt era. Still, they’re a quick, agile group that can stare down Big East offenses. Safety Jarred Holley returns after an All-Big East season in 2010, along with talented cover man Antwuan Reed. The Pitt defense is replacing some vital contributors relative to last season, but the new scheme should allow some of the previously unheralded players on this team to gain a lot of repetitions and make the new defense look different for all the right reasons.

The schedule is definitely challenging for the team under a first-year coaching staff. After opening with cupcakes against Buffalo and Maine, the Panthers travel to Iowa and then host Notre Dame and South Florida. They host Utah two weeks after that mini-gauntlet and travel to Louisville and West Virginia on consecutive weeks before hosting Syracuse to close the season. This will be a challenging first season for Graham and the Panthers, but there is plenty of talent on hand. The question asked by sports betting gurus is simple: Can Pitt put its talented pieces together under new leadership?

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