Top 50 teams in 2019: No. 50 Pittsburgh

Top 50 teams in 2019: No. 50 Pittsburgh

Coach: Pat Narduzzi

2018 Record: 7-7

Projected 2019 record: 8-4

Circle the date: Sept. 14 at Penn State

Bowl trip: Independence

Why No. 50: Nothing better than a head coach who recognizes a problem with his program and decides to do something about it. Unhappy with his offense, Narduzzi dumped coordinator Shawn Watson and replaced him with former UMass head coach Mark Whipple. ... Kenny Pickett returns at quarterback after throwing 12 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. ... If anything happens to Pickett, you are familiar with the backup. Former Illini Jeff George Jr. returns for his final year. He threw three passes last season. ... The Panthers need to replace two 1,000-yard rushers and four-fifths of the offensive line. .. The receiving corps is solid with returnees Maurice Ffrench and Taysir Mack. ... Kicker Alex Kessman hit 13 of 17 field goals in 2018. ... The team's leading tackler, safety Davar Hamlin, is back. So is defensive end Rashad Weaver, who had 6 1 / 2 sacks. ... The early schedule is tricky, with games against Virginia, Penn State and UCF. The Panthers have a midseason game at Syracuse, but don't play ACC favorite Clemson during the regular season.

Last year's ranking: NR