2020 season: 6-5, 5-5 in the ACC (7th in the ACC)
Head coach: Pat Narduzzi (7th season)
The 2020 season was one of ups and downs for the Panthers. After winning its first three games, Pittsburgh lost its next four, ultimately finishing just above .500. Two of its losses were within one point, and three of their contests were against top-15 opponents. One of these high-ranked opponents (Notre Dame) is not slated on the schedule this year and, with that mind, the Panthers are positioned for a much-improved 2021 season and are not as far from an eight-plus win year as their previous record indicates.
The Panthers return a significant portion of their core players from the 2020 season and will look to channel this experience into victories. Pittsburgh is returning its leading rusher, junior back Vincent Davis, who ran for 632 yards last season. The Panthers also bring back their quarterback, redshirt senior Kenny Pickett, who threw for 2,408 yards in the 2020 campaign. They return four of their five leading receivers from last year, all of whom logged over 300 yards in 2020, including their top receiver Jordan Addison, who was a constant big-play threat. Pittsburgh also returns six of its starting defenders for this 2021 season.
Pickett performed well last season, averaging just over 267 passing yards per game with 21 total touchdowns. However, he left some room for improvement, particularly against top-end opponents and most notably in his four-interception game against Clemson. He enters his fifth season with the Panthers looking to play on his experience and dual-threat nature.
Excitement is high for the Panthers as they hope to ride their depth and experience to contend in the ACC.