Ranked: Pitt football now No. 24 in Week 14 AP poll


Pitt RB James Conner scores the first of his three touchdowns on a 35-yard reception in the first half against Syracuse. The score, and the Panthers' subsequent win, would push Pitt to become ranked for the first time this season. Steve Rotstein | Contributing Editor

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

After toiling just outside the top 25 for most of the season, the Pitt football team is now ranked, coming in at No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday.

The ranking is Pitt’s highest mark since Pat Narduzzi took over the squad last year.

The Panthers (8-4 overall, 5-3 ACC) finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak after a record-setting 76-61 victory over the Syracuse Orange at Heinz Field on Saturday. The win followed a 56-14 home blowout over the Duke Blue Devils on Nov. 19 and a 43-42 road upset win over the then-No. 2 Clemson Tigers on Nov. 12.

This is Pitt’s first time being ranked in the AP poll since October 2015, when a 23-20 win over Syracuse propelled the Panthers to a 6-1 record and the No. 25 ranking.

Pitt holds a pair of wins this season over teams ranked inside the current top 10 in the AP poll — No. 3 Clemson and No. 8 Penn State. Meanwhile, all four of the Panthers’ losses have come against teams from Power 5 conferences with at least eight wins, three of which have come by a combined total of 11 points.

Two of those losses were to teams ranked inside the current top 25 — a 45-38 loss at No. 11 Oklahoma State and a 39-36 home loss to No. 19 Virginia Tech. The other two teams to beat Pitt — North Carolina and Miami — both spent multiple weeks inside the top 25 during the season.

The Panthers finished the regular season with eight wins for the second year in a row, the team’s first time accomplishing that since the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The team will have a chance to make it to nine wins by winning its bowl game, which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 4.

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