Team: Pittsburgh Panthers
W-L: 6-7 (1-0)
Top Offensive Performer: Ray Graham, RB
Top Defensive Performer: Aaron Donald, DT
Looking back, it seems that the only good thing to happen to Pittsburgh football this year was the announced move to the ACC. Despite missing five of the team’s 13 games, running back Ray Graham was still its best offensive player, and now he’s headed to the NFL. While they beat Syracuse in dramatic fashion to clinch a bowl berth, they proceeded to get pummeled by SMU. And now-former head coach Todd Graham, after just one season in the Steel City, bolted for Arizona State to take a job most people view as on par with the Pitt position. For every close win, they had a close loss and for every step forward, it was a step back. it was a mediocre, frustrating year for the Panthers all around.
As an offense, Pitt only managed 24.2 points per game, including four different instances of scoring 14 points or less. The passing game, atrocious before Graham’s injury, continued to suffer under the guidance of Tino Sunseri, leading some to call for the quarterback to hit the bench. The inconsistent Sunseri was more maddening to watch than ever in 2011, throwing 10 touchdowns to 11 picks, and connecting on just 247 of 385 throws. Backup running back Zach Brown, while serviceable, would still fall short of 400 rushing yards and only score five times in Graham’s absence. The group’s top four receivers only caught 10 touchdowns (see Sunseri’s stats), and none caught more than 53 passes total (Devin Street). Continue reading