New Mexico non-conference preview: Pittsburgh Panthers

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

New Mexico goes on the road to ACC country to take on Pitt on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be shown on ESPN3 and the ACC Network.

New Mexico goes on the road to ACC country to take on Pitt on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be shown on ESPN3 and the ACC Network.

Coach: Paul Chryst (6-7, entering second season; 6-7 overall)

2012 record: 6-7 (3-4, fifth in Big East)

2012 season in review: Pitt did reach a bowl game in Chryst's first year on the job, but the Panthers fell 38-17 to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Despite losing the bowl game, Pitt finished strong since they started the season 2-6 and fell to Youngstown State to open its season. Pitt's claim to fame in 2012 was the near upset over Notre Dame, which was a triple overtime 29-26 defeat. Basically, outside of that game they were nothing all that special in Chryst's first year.

Offensive starters returning: 5

Defensive starters returning: 8

Top returnees: WR Jason Hendricks, DT Aaron Donald, WR Devin Street, S Jason Hendricks

2013 Strengths: For the first time since 2010 Pitt will not have a new coach heading into the season, and that has to be a big advantage for continuity. Having Chryst there for a second year also should help with some stability since Pitt is now playing in the ACC. The defense will be the teams strength once again as Pitt returns eight of their 11 starters from a unit that finish 17th in 2012.

2013 Weaknesses: Pitt is bringing in a new quarterback and running back since Rushel Shell is transferring to West Virginia. The offensive line does return key players so maybe the Panthers can offset the loss of its starting quarterback and running back. Chryst has also not named a starting quarterback just yet but it is likely to be Chad Voytik, and the sooner the better would be the mantra for Pitt to help the offense get going early on. Also, the move to the ACC from the Big East will be a fairly sizable adjustment.

For more info on Pitt, head over to Cardiac Hill.

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