No one has a crystal ball, certainly not me. But, if the Pitt football team does not have a good season in 2008, I will be shocked.

Everything is in place. An explosive offense featuring three outstanding receivers, and of course, LeSean McCoy in the backfield. The defense is led by “The Human Tackling Machine” Scott McKillop at linebacker.

The key will be on game day. Coach Dave Wannstedt is entering his fourth season and has yet to lead his alma mater to a bowl game. I believe that will change this year.

Wannstedt knows this is the year that the program has to take a giant step. I see it in his eyes when I talk to him. Dave’s always a personable, friendly guy. But this year, you can tell he’s more focused than ever. Wannstedt will need to be.

The margin for error is paper thin. Expectations are high. All the tough games will be at the friendly confines of Heinz Field. In short, there are no more excuses! Time for the Blue and Gold to get it done.

Be sure to catch our exclusive one-on-one interview with Coach Wannstedt every Thursday during the season on “The Last Word” — Thursday nights on WTAE Channel 4 Action News at 11 p.m.

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The Pitt Panthers basketball team certainly endured a roller coaster season in 2007-08.

Injuries to key players and inconsistent play at the end of the regular season left a lot of fans wondering how long they would stick around in the postseason. After a magical run to the Big East Tournament championship, the Panthers lost to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Now, I’m not one of those people who think the program is underachieving, but I do think they need to step up their recruiting. Take a look at the teams in the Final Four.  They all have five-star, McDonald’s All-American recruits.

Pitt has not been able to land the stud talent over the years.  Coach Jamie Dixon has done a great job of working with his players and getting the most out of their abilities, but it has been proven time and time and again that the top programs get the top talent.

Pitt has everything the top players want.  The Panthers are on TV all the time, they play in a great arena and they reside in one of the top conferences in the nation.

They’re not far away, but Pitt needs a few more studs in the stable in order to have a shot at the brass ring.

The Pitt Panthers are headed to their seventh straight NCAA tournament and many are calling this the best coaching job by Jamie Dixon since he took over the program. I’m not sure I disagree.
Pitt overcame injuries to key players and a tough Big East schedule, not to mention facing the challenge of winning four games in four days to win the conference tournament.
The common thread has been Dixon. He never gets too high or too low and his players will run through walls for him.
The key player for the Panthers has to be Sam Young. He made quite a turnaround in the last year.
I remember trying to interview Young after Pitt beat VCU in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. He simply shook his head “no.” He was disappointed in his playing time and was rumored to be considering transferring out of Oakland.
But look at him now. He’s first team All-Big East, was the conference tournament MVP, and he’s playing with a ton of confidence. (And he’s talking to the media!)
Bobby Knight says Pitt will run the table and win the NCAA’s. I’m not sure I would go that far, but after what I’ve seen lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a big run.