Duke vs. Pittsburgh - 9/26/20 Early Look College Football GOY Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Duke vs. Pittsburgh - 9/26/20 Early Look College Football GOY Pick, Odds, and Prediction Photo by James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Duke Blue Devils (0-0) at Pittsburgh Panthers (0-0)

College Football: Saturday, September 26, 2020 (Heinz Field)

The Line: Pittsburgh Panthers -9.5

The Duke Blue Devils and the Pittsburgh Panthers meet Saturday, September 26th in college football action from Heinz Field. 

Duke is coming out of a 5-7 overall season in 2019, going 3-5 in the ACC, finishing in sixth place in the Coastal Division and missing bowl eligibility. As for Pittsburgh, they were more successful last year with an 8-5 overall record, a .500 ACC mark and a Quick Lane Bowl victory 34-30 over Eastern Michigan. Get Free College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for every game all season long at Sports Chat Place. 

Let’s take a closer look at both teams and see if we can get an idea of how things might play out when the Blue Devils and the Panthers meet on September 26th. 

Duke showed some flashes early last season after predictably falling to Alabama in the opener. The Blue Devils went 4-1 in the next five games (interestingly enough, the lone loss was at home to Pittsburgh 33-30) and looked primed to make a bowl spot, but a five-game losing streak extinguished those hopes. This year, 13th-year head coach David Cutcliffe will need to find a new starting QB after an up-and-down season, as Quentin Harris is gone. The good news is that Duke has some viable options there, including Clemson transfer Chase Brice and redshirt junior Chris Katrenick. On the defensive side, the Blue Devils lose their top two tacklers from a season ago, so look for some new Devils faces to step up as leaders on that side of the ball. 

Over on the Pittsburgh side, their 8-5 season in 2019 could have been even better, as the Panthers were sitting at 4-2 in the conference on November 23, but then fell to Virginia Tech and Boston College to close out the regular season. That pair of defeats prevented Pitt from having any shot at the Coastal Division title. Sixth-year Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi will try for an ACC Championship Game spot once again in 2020, and he’ll look to guide senior QB Kenny Pickett (who had 3,100 pass yards and 13 pass TDs last year) toward another step forward. Pittsburgh will also likely concentrate on offensive line play to get the running game going; the team boasts RB talent like AJ Davis and Vincent Davis, who could really do some damage on the ground in 2020. 

Pick: I like Pittsburgh, but not by a whole lot. The Panthers’ schedule opens up with a trio of relatively less-demanding matchups in comparison to the ACC; those games should help Pitt gather themselves and find some rhythm before the tougher games kick in, and I expect the team to be running smoothly by game four. 

Duke gets some manageable matchups to begin with as well, but considering the Blue Devils have a few more things to tweak over last year, I don’t think they’ll start off as effectively. I think Duke will post an improved record this year and will probably make a bowl game, but it’ll be a bumpy ride in spots. 

Andrew’s Pick Pittsburgh Panthers -9.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.