Pitt Looks to Exorcise Demons Against North Carolina

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Pitt is currently in the midst of their 7th season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Since joining, the Panthers have established themselves as an above average program in the conference hierarchy. Overall, they have a 30-24 record in league play and at least a .500 mark against 5 of their 7 annual opponents. They have won their division only once, but they have been in contention most seasons and maintain a shot at winning it again this season. Finally, they are one of only three teams in the country to have beaten Clemson since 2015 (Syracuse and Alabama being the other two) and their 2016 upset of the Tigers remains the last time that they have lost at home. The fact is though, that Pitt doesn’t generally have the perception of being anything more than an average ACC team. A large part of that seems to be due to their puzzling inability to beat the North Carolina Tar Heels. Since entering the league, you could pencil in that game as a loss at the start of the season every year with confidence, as they have gone 0-6 against them.

he frustrating aspect of Pitt’s games against North Carolina has been the types of teams that the Tar Heels have had over the past 6+ seasons. In 2015, they went 11-3 overall, undefeated in ACC play, and were ranked as high as 8th in the country. That year they beat Pitt 26-19. However, in the past two seasons North Carolina has only won a total of 2 conference games. Yes, both wins were against Pitt. It was really these two losses, each by 3 points to what were very bad teams, that have fostered the notion that Pitt is somehow cursed against UNC. Regardless of the strength of the team they are facing, or their own strength, Pitt has been unable to get the better of the Tar Heels.

Pitt also seems to have a knack for losing to North Carolina in particularly devastating ways. Overall, the Panthers haven’t lost by more than a touchdown and the average margin of defeat has been just over 4 points. In 2013, Ryan Switzer had two punt return touchdowns that proved to be the difference in