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The thing I really miss about basketball season is, if Jamie Dixon were at the podium, he would concoct a way to make this seem not so bad.
Kidding aside, the whole point of even staging this matchup at the beginning of the season was to find out if Pitt is ready to be "it" again. It should come as no surprise they clearly aren't.
Tom Savage, though he did make some impressive plays downfield, showed us what happens when a quarterback doesn't play for three years.
The defense, particularly the linebackers, looked sloppy and quite over-matched. And even if you don't think that unit was maladjusted, Chryst and company still erred by not putting the ball in the hands of their best player (Boyd) more regularly.
In stark contrast, the Panthers had few answers for Florida State's linebackers, led by Telvin Smith, who finished with eight total tackles and two for loss. FSU, as a team, sacked Savage three times and registered seven hurries, along with five breakups and two picks.
"I think a lot of it is my eyes. I got a little antsy staring down some receivers," Savage explained. "I'll take full responsibility, and we'll go from here."
The upside to getting humbled by a potential two-time champion of a power conference is we now know what the Panthers have to work with.
"We saw a lot of bright spots in our offense, and I'm excited to build off of that," Savage added. "I think our offense is going to be something special, and I'm excited to watch it progress."
Besides Boyd's big night, former All-Big East honoree Devin Street posted a career single-game best 141 yards receiving on six catches. Meanwhile, Savage, with help from those two, proved the Panthers can afford to take more chances deep this year. The ground game, buoyed by Parrish, showed an ounce of promise here and there, and special teams appeared sound.
The Panthers couldn't have begun their first year under Paul Chryst much worse. But they ultimately found a way to earn bowl eligibility, and to play well in games in which few expected them to do so.
No loss should be taken lightly, but there's a distinct difference between getting embarrassed at home by an FCS team and getting embarrassed at home by a BCS bowl participant that's probably going to embarrass several teams this year.
"That was a good team we played. They beat us in a lot of phases," Chryst said. "I liked our guys' approach, guys certainly competed, but we've got to do more that. This is where we're at right now, and it's all about going forward."
Either Monday's game will be remembered as the first of many ho-hum stumbles by Pitt, or a game from which, like any responsible team in transition, it learns and grows. We'll find out soon enough.
(All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.)