Team preview: Pittsburgh

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college football season, exclusively on Insider.

Originally Published: July 28, 2004
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It has been heady times over the last few seasons for coach Walt Harris and the Pittsburgh Panthers.

They're playing in a sparkling new stadium, Heinz Field, where they set a school record in 2003 with an average attendance of 59,197. They have been ranked as high as No. 3 in the country, have been to four straight bowl games after going to just two in 17 years before 2000, and won bowl games in 2001 and 2002.

And Pitt fans were treated to one of the most breathtaking college football players in recent memory in consensus All-American wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up and Biletnikoff Award winner after his sophomore year last year, then was taken No. 3 overall in the National Football League draft by Arizona. All in all, it has been the best times for Pittsburgh football since some guy named Marino first donned the black and gold a quarter century ago.