Few teams disappointed as much as the Panthers did in 2010. The offseason hasn't been much better as it has been filled with controversy; beginning with the dismissal of former head coach Dave Wannstedt and ending with a Sports Illustrated report that had Pitt leading the country with 22 players with police records.
Few schools can boast two head coaching hires in between all of that.
With all of that in the past, pretty soon it will be time for the Panthers to concentrate on nothing but football.
Here are ten reasons why they can rebound and win the Big East in 2011.
Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri was thrown right into the fire in 2010. His first career start was against Utah at Rice-Eccells Stadium, a tough place to play for even a seasoned vet.
Sunseri's play was erratic at times and often it cost the Panthers, but he wasn't as bad as most people would like to say.
His second year on the job will be just as difficult, going from Wannstedt's pro style offense to new head coach Todd Graham's spread option attack.
The new offense isn't exactly built for Sunseri, but if he is the Pitt quarterback in 2011, playing mistake free football will go a long way into helping Pitt contend for the Big East crown.
Last season's schedule was brutal, considering the Panthers had a new signal caller. Opening the season at Utah turned out to be a very bad decision, considering Wannstedt's reasoning of wanting an extra day to prepare for New Hampshire the following week.
Pitt failed miserably a season ago against tough out of conference opponents. At least they scheduled them though, which is more than most teams in the Big East can claim.
The 2011 season won't begin with a tough road game, but instead with games at home against Buffalo and Maine.
That should be enough to build confidence before heading to Iowa in Week 3. Pitt also has tough out of conference tilts against Notre Dame and Utah at home.
Unlike last season, this year the Panthers should be able to get their legs underneath them before playing the big boys.
The 2010 season began with Pitt ranked No. 15 nationally. It may have been a case of reading their own press clippings, but the Panthers never lived up to those expectations.
This season, there will be nothing to live up to. No preseason expectations to fulfill. Less pressure usually means a better season for Pitt.
Gone are two of Pitt's primary play makers from a season ago in running back Dion Lewis and wide receiver Jon Baldwin as both declared for the NFL Draft.
Also gone is the predictable, slow and boring Pitt offense that quite frankly didn't produce nearly what it should have.
In its place will be what promises to be an exciting, wide open offensive attack that should put up some points.
Graham's offense will focus on speed and big plays and while he may not have the pieces in place just yet, it will be difficult for other teams to game plan for.
One thing that Todd Graham's teams do is score points.
The 2011 season could be a fun one to watch.
To run Todd Graham's spread option attack effectively, there has to be a running back that can become a game changer.
That man just may be Ray Graham.
Graham waited patiently behind Lewis and now likely will assume a feature role in the offense.
He has the ability to make big plays and will be given every opportunity to do so in 2011.
Looking for a surprise player in the Big East next season? It just may be Graham.
While defensive ends Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard led the way for the Pitt defense the past two seasons, Lindsey could now become the big play maker.
Lindsey did well in place of the injured Romeus in 2010, racking up 10 sacks in a few starts.
Lindsey along with a healthy Dan Mason could go a long way to making the Pitt defense a formidable one.
Look for a huge season out of Lindsey in 2011.
Graham's main focus once landing the Pitt job has been speed. It showed with his recruiting class and as the years go by, expect Pitt to become the fastest team in the Big East.
There is no substitute for speed.
Speed can be a game changer and even though the Pitt roster is nowhere near as fast as Graham would like, Pitt has enough.
Their speed could turn into a bonus in 2011.
No longer will the Pitt coaching staff hold this team back. Since being hired, Graham has said and done all of the right things.
He has the Panther Nation believing in him already without ever winning a game.
As much heat as Wannstedt took (most of it he deserved), you have to think that Graham is out to make a statement right off the bat.
Pitt shouldn't be predictable any longer and that alone could translate into more wins.
Let's be honest here. Pitt can bounce right back to the top of the Big East, because it's Big East Football.
If we were talking the SEC, it may be a different story.
TCU doesn't join the conference for another year, so this is the opportune time for Pitt to make a move.
The Big East likely won't be nearly as bad, as teams like Syracuse and Louisville will be greatly improved, but it's still the one conference that anyone can win.
With all that's gone on the past 12 months and all the disappointments both on and off the field, if there is any team in the nation that really has something to prove, it very well could be the Pitt Panthers.
That could be the main goal during the 2011 season.
Prove that 2010 was a fluke and prove that all the off field issues are behind them.
The only way to do that is win.