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click to enlarge Pitt Panthers - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
Pitt Panthers

After several seasons clinging tightly to the bottom rung of mediocrity, the Pitt Panthers football team made big strides when it hit eight regular-season wins. And now, as the 2016 regular season prepares to end Saturday, consider the corner turned. 

Yes, the Panthers have four losses going into the finale, but only one of those was a blowout; the others were by a combined 11 points. Pitt beat three teams that either were or are now ranked in the NCAA’s top 10, including second-ranked Clemson. And if that’s not enough, rival Penn State would likely be in consideration to play for the national championship if Pitt hadn’t taken care of the Nittany Lions at Heinz Field on Sept. 10.

After years of head coaches bouncing in and out of the program, the past two seasons under Pat Narduzzi have shown what this program could become. The team is positioning itself for future runs at the ACC Conference championship and the kinds of bowl games that make more top recruits take notice.

Pitt hosts Syracuse at Heinz Field at 12:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 26.

There’s also more high school football playoff action this week. The final two WPIAL champions will be crowned this week when the Steel Valley Ironmen take on the Neshanook Lancers in the Class 2A championship at 6 p.m. Sat., Nov. 26, at Robert Morris University. Before that, though, the 1A championship game features the undefeated juggernaut Clairton Bears taking on the Jeannette Jayhawks at noon, at RMU.

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