THE PROBLEM WITH PITT FOOTBALL

Pitt's win over Central Florida is huge.

But it also contained a microcosm of Pitt football.

Pitt led 21-0, at home – then surrendered 31 straight points.

It came out good at the end, thanks to a gutsy coaching decision: A trick play that saw QB Kenny Pickett catch the winning touchdown in the final minute.

The week prior, Pitt lost to Penn State because of gutless coaching at Penn State's goal line.

In 2016, Pitt beat Penn State and No. 3 Clemson. But the Panthers finished a mediocre 8-5 and lost to a mediocre team (Northwestern) in a mediocre bowl (Pinstripe).

Pitt has brilliant, memorable moments. But they never add up. Inconsistency has dogged Pitt under Pat Narduzzi.

It's OK to enjoy beating Central Florida. It's enjoyable when the self-proclaimed "national champions" get put in their place by a Power Five school. (To Central Florida's credit, it doesn't happen often.)

But imagine the momentum Pitt would have had it beat Penn State and Central Florida on consecutive Saturdays. Not just for the rest of the season, but for recruiting.

Saturday's game was an extremely enjoyable watch. It was good to see the announced crowd of 42, 056 rock Heinz Field.

But Pitt is still just 2-2. Will Narduzzi ever win more than eight games? This team seems capable. But will it?

I may have underestimated Pickett.

Pickett was just 25-for-47 for 224 yards, but made all the throws he had to. He also rushed 12 times for 61 yards.

It seems like Pitt has playmakers on defense - but still gave up 34 points. Another microcosm.

Pitt hosts I-AA program Delaware on Saturday. It's impossible to imagine Pitt losing.

But that's often where the trouble starts.

Central Florida v Pittsburgh

Courtesy of Getty Images.

Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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