Pittsburgh placed 15th in both The Associated Press rankings and USA Today coaches' poll. The lofty rating was earned following a 10-3 season that included a 19-17 victory against North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
In the fifth season for Coach Dave Wannstedt, the Panthers achieved many milestones:
Pitt's highest final rankings since 1982 when the Dan Marino-led Panthers finished in the Top 10 of both major polls.
The 10 victories this season were the most since 1981.
A combined 19 victories over the past two years, Pitt's most in back-to-back years since 1981-82.
The Panthers' three losses this season were by a combined 11 points, an average of just 3.6 points per game.
Wannstedt welcomes back a strong nucleus of players for next season, including an array of players who will rank among college football's finest at their respective positions.
Tailback Dion Lewis was the country's most decorated freshman in 2009 after rushing for 1,799 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. Lewis was voted the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year by league coaches. He additionally was named the National Freshman of the Year by both Sporting News and CBSSports.com.
Lewis is already being mentioned as a major contender for college football's highest individual honors in 2010.
Jonathan Baldwin enters his junior season as a viable candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, annually presented to the country's top receiver. Baldwin compiled 57 catches for 1,111 yards (19.5 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns en route to first-team All-Big East honors this past year.
Senior defensive end Greg Romeus will be one of the country's most disruptive defenders in 2010. Romeus was named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year (sharing the honor with graduated Pitt tackle Mick Williams) after collecting 43 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception and a blocked kick.
Additional returning All-Big East performers include senior safety Dom DeCicco (88 tackles and three interceptions), senior offensive tackle Jason Pinkston (second team All-American by SportsIllustrated.com) and senior place-kicker Dan Hutchins (a Pitt kick-scoring record 115 points).
Pitts 2010 non-conference schedule highlights include a home date against Miami (Fla.) and road games at Notre Dame and Utah. In Big East play, the Panthers will play host to West Virginia, Rutgers and Louisville, while playing road games at Connecticut, Cincinnati, Syracuse and South Florida.
Pitt Ranked 15th In Final Polls
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