Well fall camp is wrapping up, and next week the team starts their Virginia game prep in earnest.

The depth chart won’t be published until Monday, but I think we’ve watched enough videos and read enough camp reports to get an idea of who will be on the field.

The question is, will they be any good?  There is a momentum behind the program that has not been felt in many years, but good vibes can dissipate rapidly with a blown coverage, a missed tackle, a sack surrendered or an untimely interception thrown.

Pitt still doesn’t have enough talent, detractors will say.  Nothing we saw last year shows that we’ll improve, they will say again.

And it’s possible that they are right. 

In the college game, unless your team is a blueblood, recruiting depth, talent evaluation, scheme fit and player development are the lifeblood of a winning season.  And after following Pitt Football for twenty-two seasons, I can say that Narduzzi has build more depth in more positions than nearly any other coach of my era.

The jury is out on the the other three areas (talent evaluation, scheme fit and player development).  We can assume that the staff is better-than-average at finding talented two-and-three star players.  A handful of staffs are (Wisconsin, TCU come to mind).  We can hope that Narduzzi has recruited well for his scheme.  We can pray that the coaching staff has been able to develop players across all the positions.

But assumption, hope and prayer are not a strategy, and the truth is that until 7 p.m. on August 31st we don’t know how good we are.

What we do know is that the expected starting lineup comprises mostly upperclassmen, though many of them are inexperienced.  Still, in the college game, older is better.  The physical and mental difference between a 19 year old and a 21 year old is significant.  While I haven’t done the analysis recently, I believe the large majority of Pitt’s starting 22 have been in the program for three years or more.  In a game where strength, technique and discipline can often compensate for a talent (to some degree…), this is encouraging.

We also know that twelve positions return starters or players with significant playing time.

On offense, we return two Receivers that posted 500 yards in our lovely 120th ranked passing offense.  That has to count for something.  The Tight End position simply can’t be any worse than last year, even though that is a small bar to clear.  Our Center is primed for an all-ACC season, and if there is one position on the offensive line that can lift the rest out of mediocrity, it is the Center.  And most importantly, our Quarterback has a year of seasoning under his belt.  He is older.  He is wiser.  Time will tell if he takes the leap that we need him to take.

On defense our secondary, for the first time in a long time, is projected to be strength.  Safety Damar Hamlin is a four-star talent, and he’s entering his senior year.  His play could mean the difference between a $300,000 NFL payday and $3 million.  You’d have to think he’s motivated.  Senior Cornerback Dane Jackson was the highest-rated corner on third and fourth downs last year in the ACC.  He also has NFL aspirations and motivation.  Cornerback Jason Pinnock played meaningful snaps last year and performed well.  Paris Ford bring energy and playmaking ability safety spot opposite of Hamlin.  Ford is undoubtedly an upgrade over Dennis Briggs, but can he stay disciplined?  Our defensive tackles run three deep with Keyshon Camp coming back off of injury, Jaylen Twyman completely transforming has body and drawing rave reviews this fall, and Amir Watts returning from injury as the spiritual leader of the locker room.  

Replacing graduation losses of course will be key.  The prevailing wisdom is that the guys coming in are as talented or more talented then the guys that left.  That remains to be seen.

The loss of Defensive End Rashad Weaver, of course, is the exception.  He was expected to be one of the best pass rushers in the ACC., and despite what you are hearing out of camp, Weaver will not be easily replaced.

The linebackers are another question mark. The middle will be solid if unspectacular.  Reynolds and Brighwell have both been to combat, but I don’t think anyone classifies them as elite.  The Money linebacker should be an upgrade.  Florida transfer Kyalan Johnson bring athleticism and motivation.  Redshirt Junior Chase Pine brings athleticism and size.  Has he matured mentally enough to make an impact?  The star linebacker is more of a question mark, and reading between the lines of the camp reports, it may even be a concern.  Pitt is forced to choose between youth and inexperience.  Cam Bright has been a linebacker since he came to Pitt, but he’s just a redshirt Sophomore.  Phil Campbell has been in the program for four years, but he’s a converted Safety.  There will be growing pains on the outside…

Flipping back to offense, Pitt is replacing four offensive linemen.  If you believe the camp reports, they are more talented then their predecessors, and they are doing everything that is being asked of them.  But they are also opening up under the lights in a nationally televised game against a seasoned and talented defensive front.  The first quarter, and indeed the entire first game could be a learning experience.

Running back is also a concern, since we graduated two 1000 yard rushers and have nothing but an unproven stable of backs to replace them.  Although I believe that if the offensive line can open the holes, Pitt will find someone to run through them.

Special teams will likely be a mixed bag.  Kicker Alex Kessman is seasoned, and he has a strong leg, but Pitt is breaking in a new holder.  Reports indicate that it will be Aussie Punter Kirk Christodoulou.  Has he improved his holding ability since his inauspicious debut last year against Penn State?  We can hope he has.

We can also hope that he has become less erratic in his punting.

The return game should be strong with Maurice Ffrench handling both punt and kick return duties.  He was named preseason first team all-ACC this season.  Lets hope he stays healthy.

Coaching should be an improvement, especially on offense.  The “Mark Whipple is better than Shawn Watson” horse was dead well before the spring game, and it does not need to be beaten.  On defense, Randy Bates enters his second season.  This continuity will pay dividends.

But, the schedule is daunting.

Pitt 2019 Football Schedule ESPN

Virginia is the trendy pick to win the Coastal.  They return a Heisman-candidate Quarterback and an experienced defense.

Ohio is an option team and also features a Heisman candidate at QB.

Penn State has been recruiting better than Pitt for years and has the home ref field advantage.

UCF still has all that Florida speed.

Syracuse is just hitting their stride as a program and we play them on the road.

Miami has always had our number.

We’ve never beaten North Carolina in this decade.

That’s seven potential losses, even if we take care of business in the games we’re “supposed” to win.

And so, with that, I will give you my prediction.  It stands at 7-5, and that may be optimistic.   Yes, we will probably beat Ohio.  And yes we have played pretty well against Syracuse of late, but heck they are due.  Virginia and UNC are still toss-ups at best (and oh how it pains me to say that).  Miami, Penn State and UCF all outclass us on talent (and yes it pains me to say that as well).

Still, until the team takes the field, hope springs eternal.  Fall camp is a time for optimism, and there is the slimmest of chances that this year it will all come together.  Oh and believe me, this is a fantasy.  Whipple waves his magic wand and Pickett turns to gold.  Borbley works some ancient and arcane wizardry with our offensive line.  Taysir Mack and Maurice Ffrench catch 2000 yards and twenty touchdowns between them.  Aaron Matthews and Tre Tipton produce mystical senior years.  Jaylen Twyman morphs into the second coming of Aaron Donald, and Deslin Alexandre turns into a hybrid of Greg Romeus-Jabaal Sheard.  Harley rides those linebackers into a freewheeling band of gang-tackling Hell’s Angels, and Paris Ford ignites our secondary into an incendiary no-fly zone.

Sure, it could happen,

But it sure as heck isn’t likely.

Either way, we’ve got one more week to revel in the fantasy folks, and then it gets real.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

 

 

 

203 thoughts on “2019 Football Preview & Prediction Thread

  1. OK – so I’ve finally figured out a strategy that should work for predicting Pitt’s season record. The foundation of my approach is based around the fact that I’m always wrong. For the past few years, I’ve predicted 7-5 records. Prior to that, I typically predicted 7,8, or even 9 wins. We never met any of those expectations. So, based on the theory that my prediction will be proven wrong, this year I’m going with 4-8. I figure this virtually guarantees at least 8 wins. Of course knowing that we’re talking about Pitt here, this could be my breakout year for prediction accuracy. Ugh.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Tone is article “ It’s time to get down to business.” Good job Mike…I will say we go 7-6 or 8-5 pending bowl outcome… heck, they added a couple of more bowls- we could get in with a losing record…I expect either a mediocre record… don’t see 9 -10 wins anytime soon … nor do I see the wheels falling off the wagon.

    Hope, some of missing posters get back on here for the season/ games.. we need more point and counterpoint…As a Tweener I love hearing from all sides. I want you guys to quit whining about each other and bring it on the POV… I love it- educational and entertaining at the same time.

    Shout out to my frat Brother Sheldon one of the long time readers… see you at lastrows tailgate …

    Like

  3. 8 wins. Most college teams lose one they shouldn’t and win one they shouldn’t, so I am not giving it game by game, LOL.

    No ideas on a bowl win.

    If they are below 8, PN’s seat should get extremely hot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent coverage MM!

    I want SO much to believe….that this is THE year…but alas my head tells my heart 5-7 and that’ll be a push. We are outmatched vs UVA ( unless it rains)Penn State, UCF, Cuse and Miami. We will be facing a talented and upcoming Ohio team at home (still remember Palkos pick 6 pass intercepted in the flat in OT last time we played) coming off a bad loss to UVA. NC is NC who we’ve not beaten in a decade.

    I don’t care how talented our defense is supposed to be, if you leave your corners on an island vs spread offenses, you’re dead!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OT: Team Captains, Ffrench, Jackson and Morrissey. 2 Seniors and a Junior. Hmm! I’m guessing the election of Morrissey tells us all how much the team thinks on having him front and center for our program.

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  6. Thru the HCPC and HCPN years, I’ve heard how we only get MAC and lowly 3* recruits. And yet (miraculously) somehow, we continually (save for one year) put multiple players into the Big Leagues. Tells me we know something of how to develop the boys we recruit into men, over their 5 years here.

    I think we’ll have a very good D (I’ve been waiting forever to say those words), which will:
    1.) Give us MANY more O possessions; and
    b.) Let us start our possessions with MUCH better field position;
    III.) This will lead to many more points. (And we want need that many more points, due to our newly minted D.)

    That said, I foresee 9-3. Don’t know who our 1/1/20 bowl opponent will be, so I’ll hold off on that.

    I think we lose to CFU, Syr, and V-Tech ( we always gotta lose one we should win.)

    I KNOW we’ll beat Miami, cuz I’ve read here so many times on POV, that a team that hires a former DC as it’s new HC CAN NOT win.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Super article MM. It touches close on something that I have been thinking about and that is which players really will break out this year because I believe (my lowest level of knowledge) that this year we are going to have a wealth of break outs.

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  8. Nice event at the Kickoff Luncheon.

    Curtis Martin gave an awesome speech. Best part was the tribute he paid to his mother — even better was that Mom was there.

    What a class guy Curtis Martin is. Spoke about how he realized at Pitt that it was up to him to change his life. Thanked Johnny Majors for inadvertently pushing him in the right as a senior by telling him what a bone-headed move it would be to try leaving early for the NFL. Curtis actually later wrote Johnny a thank you letter, a copy of which was put up on the big screen, saying how what Johnny told him made him focused and determined.

    Curtis mentioned that he addressed the whole team last night. Cool!

    Coach Duzz revealed this year’s Panther captains at the end of the program. Interesting to see the reactions of Dane Jackson and Maurice Ffrench— obviously meant a lot to them. Course Morrissey wasn’t there…

    In her remarks, Heather said she’s observed the growth of Coach Narduzzi as a head coach – an interesting comment, I thought…

    I got to say hello to Curtis Martin, Coach Capel, Coach White, Coach Duzz, EJ Borghetti, Maurice Ffrench and Amir Watts. And some cheerleaders. 😊

    And, wait for it, — Dr. Freddie Fu was in the house!! Along with a portion of the Pitt Band.

    Hail to Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Over/under for the season is:
    Pitt 6
    WVU 5
    PSU 8.5
    This is for regular season and does not include bowl or conference championship games.
    James Conner rushing yards for the season is 1079.5. That’s alot of yards considering his injury history

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  10. I felt very good about this year before the loss of Weaver. The defense may be better but I thought they had a chance to be dominant against many if not all of our Coastal opponents with Weaver at DE and the resulting pressure from our front 4. Now I’m not that confident about what our defense will be like.—On the O it’s all on Whipple turning our returning Cinderella QB into a prince and not a frog. If we get a prince at QB then Pitt may return as Coastal champions. If we get the frog I don’t think we will end up being bowl eligible.—So with a prince in mind I think Pitt can be an 8 and 4 team.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well, this is rather early to make predictions, I need another week to waffle on my picks.
    They’ll do what 90% of teams do, that is win one that you think they’ll lose and lose one you think they’ll win. Last year they did what no one thought was possible….. win a division and go 7-7. Think about it, that’s pretty amazing!
    History tells us they will hover around .500. A game on either side, sigh… My objective this year is to maintain. You want so much more from them, maybe the three games they were roadkill jaded me. Three really, really good teams, but those hurt bad. And NC didn’t help either!
    I actually like a lot about this team, but every time I get excited before the season starts I get let down. Sort of like the Muddogs in the Waterboy when the game starts and they get crushed “Oh no, we suck again”.
    All that is a long winded way of saying 5-7.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I know what you’re saying Doc. PITT will lose to both Ohio and Delaware. I read that somewhere?

      What would happen if PITT wins the Coastal again and goes on to win ten games including a bowl win? Would that be a sign that the end of the world is near? I surely think so. After-all Hackett couldn’t hacket a hundred years ago. Holy Moses!

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      1. Where did you read that Ike?

        My thoughts are Ohio may well be a loss and that Pitt shouldn’t sleep on Delaware as they are reported to be better this season than they have in the past. But I’d be very surprised and disappointed if the Blue Hens beat us.

        BTW Jim G. and I will be at that game.

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      1. Wife forgot to pickup my favorite flavor of Koolaid when she was grocery shopping last week. Temporary setback.🤣🤣🤣

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  12. Virginia (L) – Tempted to put a “W” here but unless Pickett made a quantum leap over the offseason, Virginia has an edge at the most critical position, QB. That and the fact UVA returns 15 of 22 starters spells trouble for the Panthers.

    Ohio (W) – Another talented QB will give Pitt fits, but I think Pitt has the edge at enough other positions to eek out a too close for comfort win at home.

    @ Penn State (L) – Big talent gap and the first road game of the season equals a loss in the finale of this series.

    UCF (L) – I expect a close game this year, but Pitt was just overmatched last season and the gulf hasn’t closed enough to reverse the outcome, especially coming on the heels of a physical game against PSU. Losing a QB huts but UCF is the type of system and speed team that has had success against Narduzzi’s defenses and the ND transfer at QB should be enough to keep the engine going.

    Delaware (W) – Not expecting a repeat of the 62-0 rout the last time these teams met, as Delaware has been producing a few pros lately and returns almost its entire offense, but Pitt should be able to run the ball efficiently and when they do that, they usually win.

    @ Duke (W) – I expect Pitt to split the Duke and Syracuse games and I don’t have a real strong feeling about which way that will go down. It’s just hard to see Pitt going on the road in back-to-back weeks and knocking off two teams of similar strength. Pitt’s been living dangerously against the ‘Cuse and was somewhat fortunate to beat them at Heinz last year. This year, the game is in the Carrier Dome. Also, Pitt usually runs on Duke with great success, so I’ll put the W here.

    @ Syracuse (L) – See above.

    Miami (L) – Pitt is rarely competitive let alone victorious against Miami and with, rare exceptions, looks like its playing in quicksand when matched against Canes.

    @ Georgia Tech (W) – Georgia Tech tends to play Pitt tough but the transition from an option offense should prove too much to overcome, even if the Yellow Jackets have homefield advantage.

    North Carolina (W) – Curses don’t last forever and while Mack may still have his fastball for recruiting purposes, not sure that translates to on-field performance (Texas’ recent resurgence suggests it doesn’t), so I’m going with Pitt to get off the schneid against the Tarheels.

    @ Virginia Tech (L) – Pitt typically exceeds expectations against Virginia Tech and I flirted with marking this down as Pitt win (Think Syracuse and Va Tech are the most likely predicted losses to flip into the win column). In the end, the Lane Stadium crowd swayed me toward the Hokies here.

    @ Boston College (W) – It’s at home and B.C. is the kind of Big 10-style team Narduzzi’s D matches up well against.

    Predicted Wins: Ohio, Delaware, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Boston College (6)
    Predicted Losses: Virginia, Penn State, UCF, Syracuse, Miami, Virginia Tech (6)

    Actual Final Prediction 6-6 /
    Best (realistic) Case Scenario: 9-3 / Worst (realistic) Case Scenario: 3-9

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My name is Mark and I’m a KoolAid drinker (Hi Mark). Looking down the schedule I am call 9 and 4. My regular season losses are to PSU, Syracuse, and Miami. Looking for Pitt to get off the schneid with NC and UCF. Given the pretty good season ending record, Pitt will draw a very competitive bowl opponent, and lose to slow the momentum of an otherwise good year.
    Why such optimism…? I expect on offense that the passing game will DOUBLE their yardage from last year, while the running game will decrease 25%. I expect the defense to be statistically about the same as last year. Hope I’m wrong on the bowl game. H2P !

    Liked by 2 people

  14. OT:For the STAR gazers that frequent this board a little statistic on our current Captains Jackson, Ffrench and Morrissey. Our 3 captains had a grand total of FIVE power 5 offers prior to committing to Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hmmmm, not sure what point of that post is really. Maybe because they are team captains they are supposed to be great FB players? That dog doesn’t hunt in this case as between all three of those captains only one (1!) made an All-ACC team and that was Morrissey…as a 3rd team All-ACC’er.

      That is according to the official ACC head coaches and writers poll.

      http://theacc.com/news/2018/11/26/2018-all-acc-football-team-announced.aspx

      Morrissey’s a good ballplayer. The other two are average ball players playing on an average team. We can speculate they will rise above other ACC players this coming season but that’s what we fans do – speculate.

      The Captain are voted on by the players so obviously these kids are well liked in the clubhouse but if talent and production were the criteria I’d think Weaver would have been one.

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        1. Again – wake me when they play well enough to be on a post-season All-Whatever team. That is what matters to the production toward wins. Let’s hope they actually produce well enough to be on those come January.

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  15. Hard for me to believe in KP and the offense even though Whipple will be far more that key than anything or anyone else. No way do I question KP’s heart, it is his head that may falter unless his o-line prevents it. That is not a formula for success, when a hodge-podge line even though anchored in the middle needs to come through. I’m not even sure we have the play makers around KP, but I think Wake last year was a fluke and will not ever be repeated even v. Delaware.

    I think the D is our strength but the Weaver loss matters. CFB is tons of offense and our D will have their successes, but they aren’t shutting anyone out and without the offense to balance them and maintain time of possession and mostly field position, they need to be nearly perfect. They aren’t.

    I said it earlier, UVa is the key and a win there gets us a chance at 8-5 with another bowl loss. Loss there and I see 4 wins and then PN’s seat really gets hot and reality and then some(upitt) is back with a vengeance.

    My call is 8-5 with the hope that UVa at home saves the day/year and KP proves me wrong.

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  16. Narduzzi goes 12-0 and becomes the first ACC team to repeat as Coastal champs. Pitt beats Syracuse in the ACC championship game. Plays Texas in the first round of the BCS and beats them by a last second field goal from 55 yards. Plays for the National Championship against Washington State and wins on a Kenny Pickett Hail Mary pass to Mathews. Narduzzi quits Pitt and becomes the new head coach of Missouri.

    Drunk Tex from Risky Rita’s in Fort Worth

    PS: The sober Tex will have his prediction tomorrow

    Liked by 5 people

  17. 7-5.

    I divided the games into three categories. I figure that we will win the one game that we should (one W), that we will win two-thirds (six Ws) of the games that we can, and none of the games that we should lose.

    Games we absolutely should win based on talent (games with a greater than 90% chance of winning):
    1. Delaware

    Games we can win based on talent (games with a 40% to 65% chance of winning):
    1. VA
    2. Ohio
    3. UCF
    4. Duke
    5. Syracuse
    6. VaTech
    7. UNC
    8. Georgia Tech
    9. Boston College

    Games that we should lose based on talent (games with less than 40% chance of winning)
    1. PSU
    2. Miami

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  18. 6-6 regular season. We finally beat North Carolina. We play in a terrible bowl but win it. Next year Narduzzi is on the hot seat.

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  19. The lights go in for KP, the Whipple effect magically inspires creativity in the offense, the D plays solid throughout, and we finally get some good breaks.

    10-2 regular season/ 11-3 and a top 10 overall.

    Love the pre-season!

    Hail to Pitt!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Pitt got the Cleveland o lineman. Needed him. Got the size. Good offers so he may have the talent as well. Down goes another tequila.

    You see Whitehead tonite?

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Liked by 2 people

    1. “Somethings happening here,
      what it is ain’t exactly clear…”

      Lookin’ like a pretty nice class coming in — if we can hold on to the verbals…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. But Pitt fans want wins and entertainment. Character is a nice to have but shouldn’t be a prerequisite for a player. Otherwise, Pitt should just drop down.

      Like

      1. Up till this one you were being really positive. Was it that painful that you had to find a problem.
        Character guys are important, just ask the Steelers about Antonio Brown.

        Like

        1. character is something you brag about when you don’t have the talent. I seldom hear the elite schools talking about how their 4 star recruits are men of high character. I hear about how the coaches think they will play on Sunday and help us win championships on the field.

          But at Pitt since there is little talent, we hear about ‘leaders’, men of ‘character’. We hear about their graduation rates, GPA’s, community service projects, helping old ladies cross Forbes Ave and saving little kittens from high trees on the Cathedral lawn.

          Liked by 1 person

  22. Ya know, the most impressive thing to me about that kid committing to Pitt was the reaction of his teammates. They seemed really excited he picked Pitt. Cynic that I am, I was impressed!

    Like

    1. Where is he a 4* Gordon?

      247 lists him as a 3* 0.87 rated player

      https://247sports.com/college/pittsburgh/Season/2020-Football/Commits/

      ESPN has him a 3* 78 rated kid.

      http://www.espn.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/player/_/id/237890/branson-taylor

      And Rivals has him as a 3* 5.6 rated kid…

      https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/2020/branson-taylor-236282#school-interests

      247 may bump him up but they just posted him on their website after the article was written with those numbers above. He’s a good pickup I’m just clarifying the ratings.

      Like

  23. The Kickoff Luncheon honors the senior class.

    Here are the 15 seniors:

    -Saleem Brightwell
    -Chase Brown
    – Maurice Ffrench
    – Jeff George Jr.
    – Will Gragg
    – Nakia Griffin-Stewart
    – Damar Hamlin
    – Dane Jackson
    – Kylan Johnson
    – Aaron Mathews
    – Jim Medure
    – Jazzee Stocker
    – Tre Tipton
    – Nolan Ulizio
    – Amir Watts

    Some talent on this list that will be missed.

    Biggest losses, IMHO, will be Ffrench, Hamlin, and Jackson. But I also think we have some talent behind these guys.

    Hopefully some of the others have outstanding senior years and make us very sorry to see them go.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Last year I broke ranks for the first time in over a decade of 6-6 predictions and predicted 7 wins. Despite winning a weak Coastal Division in 2018, last year’s season left a bad taste in my mouth. Blowout losses to PSU, UCF, Miami, and Clemson by an average of 32 points. Home wins against Syracuse and Duke where the defense gave up 37 and 45, respectively. And the bowl loss to a Stanford team that had 10+ players sitting out or injured in a game that set offense back 10 years.

    Not sure how this board drums up optimism for Pitt football every summer when 30-years of data says otherwise. While Narduzzi has been building roster depth over the years, I’ll remain skeptical until they prove it on the field. I like Phil Steele as an objective data source rather than the beat writers. Steele has Pitt ranked 79th out of 130 teams in terms of experience. He has Pitt 8 out of 14 in ACC power rankings and 4th place in the Coastal Division.

    Official prediction for 2019 season is 6-6. While picking individual Ws and Ls is a crapshoot, I like to look at the season in 2 game increments. Here’s how I see it…

    Split 1-1 against UVA and Ohio. Totally envision Pitt beating UVA and raising expectations only to lay an egg in a sandwich game against a good Ohio team;
    0-2 against Penn St. and UCF;
    2-0 against Delaware and Duke;
    0-2 against Syracuse and Miami; and
    3-1 in the final 4 games of season;

    I really think the bid-ask spread on this team’s win total could be wide. If Whipple can be QB whisperer to Pickett, I could see a scenario where Pitt gets to 8 wins. On the other hand, I’m concerned that Pickett doesn’t have the pocket accuracy and presence to complete 60%+ of passes and execute a pro-style progression read offense. In the event Pickett struggles with the new offense, I can see a 4 or 5 win season. If they have 6 or more losses after Georgia Tech game, I think you see George or Patti get a shot at UNC after 12 days of preparation.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Question for all hardcore Pitt fans: What NFL position (QB, RB, OL, TE, DL, LB, DB) currently has the most players who played for Narduzzi at Pitt. If you knew it is the much maligned Pitt DB’s, give yourself a cookie and a star. As a matter of fact, in 2016 there were 3 future NFL DB’s in Pitt’s defensive backfield (Ryan Lewis, Avonte Maddox, and Jordan Whitehead). In addition, Lafayette Pitts plays for the Bills and before Narduzzi era, the 49er’s current starting nickel back K’Wuan Williams graduated from Pitt. So Pitt is not RBU, but DBU.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I agree with Ike that Pitt will finish 8-4 and then finally win its bowl game to go 9-4. It just seems to me that while there are no real stars standing out at the beginning of the season, there are enough good football players in the two deep that the subs can play without a major drop off. This should prevent upsets and maybe let them steal a win somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I hate this prediction crap – I admit I haven’t a clue.

    If pressed, I will guess that Pitt will surprise with 8 wins.

    After a rocky start in the first couple of games, the offense gets it going. In the second half of the season, we are very tough to beat. At that point we have big-play guys making big plays…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Love the Dr. Tom and Jay91’s role reversal!!! You guys in therapy???

    See you at the tailgate on Saturday!

    Whether we win or lose each day is a blessing/gift to be enjoyed.. just like all of you who post on here… positvos and

    Howdy Drunk Tex… funny, funny!!! How ya feel’n this morning?? My buddy once asked me “ Do you know what causes hang-overs?” to which I replied “sleep.” He said “Nope, it’s sleep” adding” remember all the fun you had last night before you went to bed?”

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  29. Happy we landed this OT.. need 2 more. There is no running or passing without the BIGGIES….

    I am not sold on KP based on his performance in 18 based on what I saw. Lack of accuracy/ pocket presence, holding the ball too long, taking terrible sacks at time when he could of got rid of it.

    We all blame Our dear Watson… what if KP made dear Watson look bad… Watson must know something about FB.. best made a living off of the game for a long time.. ir maybe he has everyone fooled… he’s now at Georgia that middling southern school.

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    1. That’s why the pressure is on Kenny this season and I am one happy to see that there is pressure on the young man to deliver. The picture with Jay Z only gets you so far until the fans start demanding wins from its starting QB.

      I do hope Whipple utilizes Pickett’s running ability but ultimately it will come down to his arm to score points. A big game from Pickett and a win over Virginia next week can really energize this team and fan base.

      Like

  30. 7 wins – a little better than the historical average over the past 35 years
    The team should get better as the season progresses especially the offense
    But Pitt football will have more players make honor roll than wins

    Don’t underestimate how difficult it is for an inexperienced line to jell
    Don’t underestimate the loss of Weaver
    Don’t underestimate the change in systems and playbooks from Watson to Whipple
    Don’t underestimate the loss of two 1,000 yard backs

    Next year should be the break-out year if Kenny reaches his goals this year and gains confidence
    Otherwise, Narduzzi will be on the hot seat
    I still think of him as a 9 win ceiling coach and for many of you that is fine as long as Pitt produces graduates like a military academy
    I’d rather be entertained and see Pitt beat the Pedos and get ranked come year’s end by winning their bowl
    I really don’t care about the ACC network showcasing our student athletes saving kittens on the 30th floor ledge of the Cathedral or walking old ladies across Forbes Avenue

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I am sober now after my morning coffee

    I do think that the season is a loss if Pitt gets beat by the Nitters

    I don’t think many realize its in all likelihood the very last game to be played between those schools in our lifetimes. It may take another 20-30 years until they play again.

    And I think many have forgotten that Penn State is Pitt’s most hated rival. I treat it as such. And as stated previously, all can be forgiven if Pitt just beats the Pedos in Creepy Valley.

    A 1 win season with the sole win against the Nitters means more to me than any 9 win season

    Like

  32. Hey Tx, glad you survived your happy few hours don’t at Risky’s. As far as I’m concerned though, they could cancel the psu game and I would not care one bit. That place and everything about it sickens me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The pedos can go play with themselves. But I’d like to beat them one last time.

      That school deserved the death penalty.

      There is only one school I have always rooted against. And it will continue that way even in death.

      Like

  33. ATTN:GEORGIA TECH GAME… just bought tickets through Stubhub… good seats available in “ premium” upper deck sideline section 224 and 226… price $56-60 plus the $15 add on… these sections are between the 30-40.

    Like

  34. Tx and everyone else, I would love nothing better than to WUP those pedo enablers butts in their erector set stadium. jimmie “one finger” knows where he can stick it too.

    Like

  35. My crystal ball sez…..7-5….with the losses coming to UVA, State Penn, UCF, the Cuse & Va Tech. I hope the crystal ball is little fuzzy …the O.Line matures quickly, we develop Tight End(s), Kenny Pickett grows into a competent QB….and Pitt does a little better.

    HTP!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. School is back in session so we need to approach this mathematically. The player’s are responsible for 50% of the losses. They are also responsible for 50% of the wins. The coaches have responsibility for the other 50%. In a nutshell, I always predict that Pitt will go 1-0 each week along with how they will accomplish the task.

    Will study Virginny during the week and then deliver on the 1-0 prediction.

    Majors – thanks for the update on the luncheon. Most interesting comment that I read from you is that the AD said that the coach was “growing in his role. My only response to that is …..compared to what? How does she measure growth since she herself never was an AD at a power 5. Before you all go crazy, think about that first. Has she grown in her role? Seems a lot of folks question what’s going on.

    Also, and to further TX’s non-alcohol related post, I had the chance to speak to a few folks in leadership roles at Pitt and they really don’t like the Dairy High School. West Virginny is not seen the same way….at all.

    I wonder how much it cost Pitt to bring in 5 star Paris Johnsons dad to “coach”. I applauded that move until it was determined that the coach was estranged from the player and his mother. Bad move in the PR department. Looked cheeesy, then sleeezy!

    Like

    1. Hey Huff —. I don’t think you have to be an AD at a P5 to recognize whether a head coach is growing in their job.

      While at Ohio State, for example, I doubt she had blinders on and only noticed what was going on relative to compliance – though that’s what some on here seem to think.

      Hell, without any access to what’s going on behind the scenes, even us fans have noticed a bit of a different demeanor from Coach Duzz in his interviews. More business-like; less snarky.

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Also, I do like the OL pick-up for sure. There is some good high school football being played in cleveland and they do turn out some quality D1 players. Hopefully, this is one of them and I will say he will be a player to watch on our OL in a couple of years, unless our recruiting of the OL improves dramatically.

    Like

  38. Huff, I agree completely that the statement by Heather was a little strange and somewhat condescending. This from an AD who offers up Fanta and tents as solutions to Pitt’s many athletics problems. It seems that this comment reflected more on HL than on Narduzzi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VoR, not to be contentious here but again, Barnes thought of the Fanta give away idea years before Heather came to PITT.. Yes she carried it forward.

      #2. The students LOVE the tent idea as she moved their tailgating experience closer to the stadium but it came at the cost of an overhead cover from the bridge so she merely and thoughtfully gave them tents for shelter from the storm and sun.

      Just to clear that up.

      Like

      1. Ike, I’m not specifically questioning those “creative” solutions to Pitt’s problems, only the glaring lack of proportion to the problem at a time when big solutions are needed. To say that PN is growing into the job is somewhat laughable coming from someone with her credentials

        Like

        1. Not at all. It wasn’t like she was making a big deal about it. I think that one sentence she said, out of many sentences she said, just caught my ear because I happen to think Coach Duzz has progressed as a head coach too.

          Not just in his interaction with the media, but more so the way he has continued to shape his coaching staff. Keeping Partridge, and adding Bates and Collins looked like good moves. Now adding Beatty and Whipple.

          I’m not one that thinks a head coach arrives as an all- shiny finished product. Everybody learns and progresses in their job – or you won’t have it long.

          And Coach Duzz strikes me as being Pitt football 24/7/365. He thanked his wife several times at the luncheon, as well as the other coaches’ wives, for putting up with them being away from home so much…

          Just my .02…

          Go Pitt.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Major, you were there so I will defer to your reading of the context of the comment. By pointing that statement out it perhaps got too much attention…

            Liked by 2 people

  39. Huff the Third:

    Wonder if we should approach this scientifically as well as mathematically since school is now in session. 🙂

    I knew from the beginning that Paris Johnson was not raised by his father yet PITT was criticized by some as hiring a coach with intentions of recruiting his son. You see how askew things can become with all the different opinions. It’s why I say, sometimes there is no winning for Narduzzi and this PITT AD department. PITT’s flanks are surrounded by doubters.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. The first snap from scrimmage as I type this. And Villanova stops Colgate after a 4 yard gain

    Later on ESPN, it’s YSU at Samford and this evening it’s Miami v Florida followed by Arizona at Hawaii

    Like

  41. I don’t know T-man, from my view is that Maddox was often in the right position but just didn’t finish the play at times. He was maligned unfairly by many, color me very un-surprised by his NFL success. I could see it coming miles away. Coaches helped him get to where he is now.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. They went 7-7 against a much tougher schedule last year and as a worse team. I think they’ll be better this season. I’m going 10-2 regular season. 11-3 after losing in the ACC championship and winning a meaningless bowl game. They’ll lose one conference game and one OOC game. Pitt will have the number one Coastal offense and a top 3 conference defense with a very solid special teams. Luckily not a murderer’s row of passing teams. I’m not sure Weaver’s loss hurts the team much with that schedule.

    Ffrench (WR/KR), Hamlin, Pinnock, Taysir, AJ Davis and Pickett will be scattered across the All-ACC teams. Emphasis on scattered!

    Only one RB will hit 1K yards this season but so will Taysir Mack at WR … and Ffrench will have over 800 yards and more TD’s.

    Biggest surprise: Offensive Line pass protection
    Biggest disappointment: Pass rush
    Best unit: Secondary
    Team MVP: Ffrench/Pinnock

    Like

  43. I am also going with an 8 win 4 loss regular season.

    For high caliber kids, look at the latest NCAA penalties levied against Mississippi State. :High character” athletes from the football team & one basketball team were “lead astray” by one female student tutor. She in some cases completed all the course work. Good thing that the Mississippi state compliance office self reported or penalties would have been harsher.

    Like

  44. 7 wins. I predicted 6 last year so hopefully I am one or more low again.

    Can’t afford any more major injuries though. I fear the weaver injury will have us wondering what could have been in a close loss this year. That one hurts.

    Have to hope the defense is as advertised to carry us while the offense comes along at beginning of season.

    Like

  45. This is an in a vacuum prediction … Only two schools have a clear talent advantage. Miami and Penn State. 10-2 is a realistic expectation IMO. I’m going to be disappointed with anything less. Realistically, we all know Pitt will win between 6 and 8 games … But where is the fun in saying that!

    Liked by 2 people

  46. 9-3 regular season. The only ACC team we play who I think is decidedly better Is MIA. I’ll add a PSU loss and a loss to either VT or SYR. Remember Virginia was rolling until we went to their house and beat them. This year they have to come to PGH and play; the pressure is on them. Also, we thump NC and narrowly beat UCF. KP will be a better QB and Patrick Jones II will have a breakout year on D. FG kicker will play a critical part in several victories. Having said all of this I think the U wins the Coastal.

    Like

  47. Let’s see, a coach who never played college ball, was a talking head, and daddy, who was the Mayor of Miami got him his first job,hummmmm, wonder how that resume would go over here?? That said, I still, after several years, do not know if Diaz will be a successful head coach. Assistants can get away with a lot, head coaches get exposed. I can just imagine the blowback if Pitt hired someone with that resume.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miami beating # 8 Florida at the half. Did they find a quarterback or is the rest of the team that good?

      Like

      1. Miami has amazing looking athletes on both sides of the ball. Better tighten that chin strap against this bunch…

        Go Pitt.

        Like

  48. Well, I predicted 5 wins in ’17 and 7 wins in ’18 (but not the Coastal Champs) so I’ve been pretty on point lately.

    Here is how I see this season in a nutshell. I do not feel that this team is any more talented or has any more depth then any teams under other coaches as some fans on here do. If anything I feel that Narduzzi’s recruiting has been so poor over all that we lack sufficient depth to run a talented two deep with linemen rotations as needed to win many ball games.

    We’ve zero experience at RB – this will be the first time in in 11 years, since 2008, that we don’t have at least one previous 800 yard rusher returning. That is meaningful.

    I do not think the OL will be able to both pass protect and run block. It takes true athletes to be able to do both. We couldn’t do it last season and that was with experienced upperclassmen. Borbely turned them into good run blockers but could balance it out. I’ve a feeling we may see the same thing but maybe reversed. With no established run game Narduzzi may toss the decisions over to Whipple and the passing game and Borbely will focus on that aspect – but it is something he has never done well where he’s been OL coach. Good run games; poor pass protection.

    In his stint as OL coach at Maryland his OL did this for pass protection:

    2016
    Sacks Allowed – 127th
    TFLs Allowed – 125th

    2017
    Sacks Allowed – 113th
    TFLs Allowed – 106th

    Then at Pitt…

    2018

    Sacks Allowed – 79th
    TFLs Allowed – 87th

    That was with a highly mobile QB in Pickett who could avoid sacks better than an average QB still he was sacked 33 times.

    Our QB is a huge question mark and if he fails in the passing game as he did big time last year ( seven games with less than 150 yards passing) or gets injured I see the season tanking – we just do not have Power 5 QB talent behind him…and forget about playing Belville – the surest way to screw a young QB up is to have to play him as a true freshman.

    No TE and if they put one in he’ll have to be the 6th OL anyway. Seven TEs listed and not one gets me excited. WRs should be good for YAC if Pickett can actually get past his primary receiver in his progressions which he couldn’t do last year.

    The DL took a hit with Weaver but we still have starters there who haven’t done much. Our defenses under Narduzzi have never broken the Top 50 in Total Defense and would you have thought that given his pedigree as a defensive Guru? Of course you wouldn’t but there it is.

    We gave up 30+ points in six games last season and after four years I really don’t see that changing. I just don’t think he’s been getting impact players on defense like we thought he would, and it’s showing. Preseason hype is strong for Jones and Alexandre and while they did a few things well (Jones anyway) I don’t see any game changes in any of the D units.

    Which brings me to this: PITT thrives on star power – always has and always will. We have 8+ winning seasons when we have 2, 3 or 4 true STAR!! performances in those seasons. We didn’t have that last year and the year before especially and we’ve been playing sub-.500 ball.

    You may say that Ollison and Hall were star players and for Pitt they were – but I mean star power on the conference and national stage. True game changers and guys who produced wins on their backs. Narduzzi hasn’t had any one player who committed to him reach star pinnacle yet and that is the problem.

    So looking at the schedule I see a possible 6 wins. but I think we lose one we didn’t expect to and don’t have a real upset in us this season. I see us at:

    6-6 with a crappy bowl game that if the stars align we win to get us over .500. (Bet you thought I’d say less wins) but I wouldn’t be shocked if we had 7 or 5 wins either but I see an average team again with average results.

    BTW – Narduzzi is set at Pitt as long as the off-field stuff is going so well, and it truly is, so even if we drop to 4 or 5 wins he’ll have the rest of his contract.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reed — Good to hear your thoughts on the Fightin’ Pitt Panthers.

      I think the offensive star-power shows up this season, but only time will tell.

      Go Pitt.

      Like

    2. But Narduzzi is making $3.5M in compensation. And Pitt has the 4th highest spend for football in the ACC. That’s a lot of money for 7 win seasons.

      The average Pitt professor makes 1/20th of Narduzzi’s comp. 7 wins is the equivalent of a prof just teaching…doing the bare minimum. Profs still need to research, publish and obtain grant monies for their department. And their students are just as fine character as any football player. I would think in this situation, the professor would be shown the door.

      7 wins by Narduzzi will end up costing Pitt season ticket holders and the few boosters that Pitt has left will completely tune-out.

      Like

      1. Coaches make more than professors all across the country at universities and that won’t change. Some of these professors stick around until near death and refuse to retire, like JoePa.
        Those professors made some pretty good bank, too.

        A seven-win season shouldn’t tune out Pitt fans. Pitt is playing three tough non-conference games, which fans want, bizarrely, Pitt isn’t in the Big East anymore and is making good money from the ACC to subsidize Olympic sports teams. If Pitt wins only seven games then the QB competition will be wide open in the spring and Kenny’s pictures with Jay Z won’t be as cool as he thinks.

        Like

        1. Walt was in fact shown the door because leadership believed he had reached his ceiling and the belief that Pitt could do better. And they did with Wanny.

          Pitt just doesnt have the 4th highest ACC spend in order to produce 7 win seasons. The expectation is higher than that. Pitt cant afford to alienate boosters who want wins and not choir boys. Pitt also will have a hard time with attendance at that level. 7-8 win seasons just dont excite fans.

          And the ACC money allows Pitt to spend more money. Pitt sports is still losing over $10M each year despite all the TV money from football. They spend it more quickly than it comes in hence a very significant deficit and subsidy from the general fund.

          And historically at Pitt there is animosity between academics and athletics. Professors will make a stink if sports continues to lose money and Pitt fails to deliver championships or better Directors Cup results.

          Because any professor with that kind of performance would be canned.

          The front porch talk allows Gallagher to deflect the spending levels but at some point what you’re spending better result in a nice front porch. Professors see that and they run the show at Pitt. Pitt – a $2 Billion dollar business. Sports is a mere $100 Million.

          Like

      2. I hear you tex but you have to realize that as bad as it is it wallow in the mediocrity of 6 and 7 win seasons and not win any bowls it could be so much worse. 3.5 M is a middle of the road salary for P5. Pitt puts of middle of the road results. You yourself have seen what happens when the wheels come off and the university under invests (cough Hackett). I would hate for Pitt to become Rutgers and right now at current spending levels we probably won’t. We aren’t going to become Ohio State either but we are pretty much at the point where we are Iowa. A stable, middle of the road program that can sometimes put it all together. Right, wrong or indifferent that’s what Pitt is. I get it that you want them to be more and hey I think we all do. But again, I’m just happy that we aren’t a lot less.

        Like

    1. I have golfing buddies who when feeling a bit frustrated after a round will say:

      “I’m going to take two weeks off — then give up the game.” 😊

      Hang in there wwb – the rough times are just getting ready to get rolling…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

    2. Strange that Luck goes out that way. Two weeks before start of season. I respect the decision but the timing is bad for the team. Was a good ambassador for the game and heck of a player. Steelers playoff chances just increased.

      Like

  49. Interesting that the average win/loss predictions from the POVers is similar to the national predictions. Reed tends to come in slightly below average, which seems to be around 7.5 wins. Most POVers who project 8 or more wins seem to feel that there will be a number of breakout players this year. Is this realistic given the past few years’ performance?

    Like

    1. And the poorest coaching.

      And they somehow won the game!

      This game shows the danger of opening the season against an athletic team. Miami started a red-shirt freshman OT and a freshman OT and Florida had at least 9 sacks…

      My take — we’re going to need quite a good scheme to move the ball, let alone score, against Miami’s defense — and we’re going to have our hands full just tackling their RBs and WRs…

      Fortunately we only have one Miami on our schedule…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

      1. It was pretty clear that Miami did not trust this intermediate and long passing game, and I agree part of that was probably due to the line, and the rest was due to inexperience at QB. Reminds me of Pitt last year…

        Like

  50. Typical first season game. A lot of athletes running around making errors. They both need to correct a lot of errors.

    Hopefully our coaches can put our kids in position to beat these types of teams.

    Like

  51. As usual, I have no idea what our win- loss record will be. I just hope that more players and units exceed expectations. Last year the O-line and Running Backs far exceeded my expectations. On the other hand, the O-line and KP did not meet passing expectations. Overall the defense was pretty much as expected. I do expect a more balanced offense, but how effective, who knows.

    Will the defense finally exceed expectations. It has the most experience players in quite a while. The offense is the big unknown once again, we need players to step up and make plays, obviously KP and his receivers are the key. The running game another unknown also has to make plays for this team to win.

    Once again my over /under is seven. Disappointed with less than seven wins and happy with eight or more, but don’t have a clue which way this will go. Like WBB, I think the team will be better than last year but unsure whether the record will reflect it.

    I do expect some of these kids who have been waiting their turn to step up. We also need some of last years starters to make some substantial leaps in effectiveness.

    Last year was Narduzzi’s first without an upset, ND was close but no cigar. I expect at least one this year.

    Liked by 3 people

  52. Lucky last year to pick 7-7. Missed on GT and Miami but got the rest including Coastal title.

    Going out on a limb this year due to the defense.

    Beat VA, OH, PSU, UCF. DE, Duke, UNC, GT and BC.
    Lose SYR, Miami and VT. Bowl win.

    10-3, ACC 5 -3 and no Coastal title.

    Overly optimistic, probably.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. I’ll go with 7-5 the hard way: beat all coastal opponents (including UNC!) and only one non conference opponent, DE.

    Lose ACC Champ game, but Win a bowl (against USC, please, please, please! )

    Liked by 1 person

  54. wwb/wbb… take the week off… you probably have done more posts and posted longer than anyone else on here going back to the Blather days… always enjoy your insights!

    Like

  55. Thanks for you insights….we do seemed destined for mediocrity but that is a big step up front LOSER. We deserve better and we all want better….will being a regular top 25-30 happen in the next 10-15 years for many of us to see ??? Who knows ….

    Question: if Duzz was given (4-5) 4star players… (given, not recruited) do you think his results would improve ? That’s a pretend scenario, but if you believe same results that would reflect mainly on coaching… if one thinks better results then we need better recruits… that starts by winning more games including bowl games ( I still think back to that pitiful loss to 1-2 star Navy team in the military bowl.. win that one and we had a 9 win season and some momentum going into the last 2 months of recruiting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elite players can take control of a game
      any team with some elites on both sides of the ball will win and often overcome bad coaching

      a coach cant do anything without special players

      Pitt needs a QB. Doesnt have to be elite but the kid needs to be able to pass and scramble. We’ll know this year by game 5 if KP has the right stuff.
      RB’s are relatively easy to find but even an elite back will have a tough time behind an inexperienced line (lines take time to gel)
      Need an elite WR always
      Need an elite playmaker on D either from the edge or some LB that can do it all
      Need an elite CB

      Thats really all you need. All other players just need to be solid. Depth and experience helps. Avoiding injuries to your critical pieces helps. Having a scheme that maximizes the talent helps. Having a fair schedule helps. And then some luck (weather, lucky bounce, ref call, injury to the other team, etc). And most importantly, you need a coach that doesnt get in the way (and thats not a slam against Narduzzi people).

      But, All those things have to happen for a special year.

      Most prognosticators are predicting around 7 wins. Thats the over/under. I can see 8 depending on the bowl match-up. But I dont see Pitt finishing any higher than 3rd in the Coastal. Most Coastal teams have improved themselves from last year. Cuse and BC are away cross-over games where Pitt has not performed well historically.

      Pitt would have to draw a inside straight again to win the Coastal. My money is on Miami and Virginia. Va Tech and Pitt will battle for 3rd.

      Next year will make or break Narduzzi’s career at Pitt. Remember Walt was forced out because the power brokers thought Walt had reached his ceiling. And this was when Pitt wasnt spending on football and wasnt talking about the front porch.

      If Narduzzi’s ceiling is 8 or 9 wins, it doesnt matter how many old ladies his players walk across Forbes Avenue or how many kittens his players rescue from the tall Cathedral trees.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good post, Tex.

        After watching a good bit of Miami last night, and even though they lost, they will steam-roll the Coastal – even with their inexperienced OTs. Just too much speed, strength and talent.

        Almost unfair how easy it is for Miami to recruit… Their entire starting defense is from Florida…

        Go Pitt.

        Like

        1. the talent is obscene. that’s why I think Pitt will need a special scheme to beat them and Miami will need to have a bad day (miscues, turnovers, penalties) for Pitt to have a chance. But the Miami and Penn State games are my upset specials. That means that Pitt will also lose some close games to teams they really should have beaten.

          Like

    2. Yes I do because 4 and 5* players tend to play better ball in their lowerclassman years. They contribute right away and keep doing it until they graduate or leave early.

      With Narduzzi we have to rely on the upperclassmen to, finally, fingers crossed, play to highest level which for us hasn’t worked out all that well.

      I know you guys think that I belabor the point but the fact that no one committed to him has reached stardom…now even in their 3rd and 4th years… is a big deal and has really hurt us over the last two seasons.

      We keep hoping it will happen and I think that because it hasn’t it has kept Pitt and PN only average when 2 or 3 players who really rise above in production (again not just rise over other Pitt players but compared nationally) could have given us the bump to 9 or 10 wins.

      My opinion is that Narduzzi is a middle of the pack FBS HC and because of that the actual players have to make the difference for 2 or 3 extra wins that the coaching staff can’t give us.

      Case in point the star players DW had who did that when he himself was also an average at best field coach.

      Like

      1. Agree with everything, but when talking total wins you still have to take into account the difficulty of schedule. Playing Clemson twice, PSU 4 times UCF, OK ST, ND are close to guaranteed losses for a team without the fours and fives. Playing Miami, Va Tech and surging teams like Syracuse and Virginia is tough enough but when you add the OOC plus a crossover with Clemson or FL ST you will never get 10 wins.

        In the future we play WV and Tenn, plus who knows what crossover, it is a recipe for SOP.

        Like

      2. Reed, I don’t think many would dispute the fact that 4 and 5 * players are more ready to contribute to a college football team earlier on in their careers. Obviously these players have mature much quicker than most and even more importantly, they are better athletes and many times from better bloodlines. The question then becomes, why doesn’t Narduzzi just go out and recruit a bunch of 5* players? and this is where we start to disagree a bit. You want to blame Narduzzi on his recruiting when I am more likely to blame PITT and it’s past reluctance to put more of a emphasis on their college football team.

        First off, the recruiting sites just do not recognize many players as 5 * to begin with. When we get a little further down to 4* players it gets a little more convoluted. The separation is not as plain and easy to see between a 5.8 and a 5.7 or 5.6 players. So I look towards how the coach is doing against conference teams record wise. Narduzzi is 20-12 in conference with a coastal division championship last year. Some see that as progress and some do not. eh.

        The OOC has not been PITT’s friend for sure. The fact remains that Narduzzi and PITT have beaten a top twenty team most years if not every year he’s been at PITT. I know the solution is for Narduzzi to get netter players and I believe that understands this and is making every attempt to do so. But, being a PITT head football coach these days is a grass roots effort. He had to start at street level and build up through hard work.

        Just like AD Heather is trying to do. She recognizes the attendance problems and is trying to accommodate the students in a better way but still comes under criticism. You got to start somewhere because the bigger problems weren’t created over night and they won’t be fixed over night either.

        Like

      3. Narduzzis lack of attention to detail is his biggest downfall. He realizes it during games and then loses his mind on the sidelines. That act does anything but give his players confidence.

        Liked by 1 person

  56. I thought Borbely was kicked into a noncoaching position at Maryland for the 2017 season. If Reeds stats are true for the 2017 season, there was little improvement in Maryland’s OL production compared to Borbely’s 2016 stats. In both years, Maryland had at least 3 or 4 4 stars on the OL, if I remember Reed’s take on the Borbely’s hire.

    IMO, Borbely’s OL coaching is shows improvement on Pitt’s prior coach. Somehow Stefano Millin, another denigrated grad transfer from that football power house- Kent State – made the “Star” category in his one year with PITT.

    Going out of town. Just waiting for my ride to show up at 9 or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. So who are the players that can make the biggest difference, good or bad this year?

    Number 1 by far and away is KP. If he suddenly lives up to the expectations some had for him two years ago who knows what could happen.

    Number 2 is one of the running backs, since practices are so private, we have no idea who might step ahead of the back to be a difference maker.

    Number 3 is the O-Tackle who protects KP’s blind side, pretty obvious how important this is, especially since KP hasn’t shown a very good feel for the rush, when to step up into the pocket etc.

    I am going to say Mack is number 4 but another of the receivers could step up to be the guy who wins games.

    On the defense, number 1 has to be Twyman who can be a disrupter on every play like AD.

    Number 2 has to be Paris Ford making big INT’s

    Number 3 needs to be Patrick Jones, potentially leading in sacks and TFL’s.

    There also needs to be others, for example who will lead the team in tackles, I think it was Hamlin last year.

    For this to be a break-out year a number of young guys or guys that have been waiting to play become stats leaders and play-makers.

    If much of this does not happen, Reed will be right and this will be another year of SOP. History is certainly on his side.

    Liked by 3 people

  58. If nothing else, Borbely gives a great interview. I am hoping that his demotion/promotion at Maryland had as much to do with a dysfunctional head coach as him. Quick question, why was Borbely given a different job at Maryland as opposed to being fired?

    Liked by 1 person

  59. As far as units are concerned number 1 is the O-line and we still don’t know who the starters are.

    Number 2 are the linebackers, same thing there, battles still going on.

    No doubt how good or bad these units play will determine how good or bad the team is.

    Like

  60. The one thing I know for sure from playing and watching sports is that you are only as good as your weakest link. Last year it was pass protection. What will it be this year?

    Like

  61. A few thoughts:

    wwb, Bill, take a few minutes off and come back soon and refreshed. Your insights are very much appreciated.

    Every year when a PITT football season is upon us at least a few posters get burned out and want to leave. This is a weird phenomenon exclusive to the POV, imo

    I’m not so sure Miami found their QB, at least not yet. He could grow into the position by the end of the year? It’s just that he doesn’t have a good vertical game at the moment. Well at least he didn’t show one last night against a very good Florida defense. I think Miami’s QB only had a few passes over 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage?

    Kessman will make or break a lot of our preseason predictions. He needs to make all his attempts under 50 yards and a few longer ones as well.

    PITT has players to replace Weaver but the injury does screw with the depth on the D-Line.

    I will stick with my 8-4 prediction but a UVA loss will put me behind the 8 ball early. K Pickett and the PITT passing game had better be P-5 ready which I’m counting on they will. It still boggles my mind that PITT had 2 one thousand yard rushers without a passing threat. That’s remarkable but explains what happen against Miami and Clemson when they shut down the PITT running game.

    Pickett’s excapability is in question for me. He took too many bad sacks last year by running around without direction. Some sacks were on the O-Line and some were on KP holding onto the ball too long.

    Richard, have a safe trip

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ike – you made me laugh.

      All you want is for Kessman to make “all his attempts under 50 yards and a few longer ones as well.”

      Yikes!

      No pressure, Mr. Kessman!

      (Hey, I just realized you can’t spell “Yikes” without “ike!”) 😊

      Hail to Pitt.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Glad you got that John, there was a little tongue in cheek there. I was going to say all kicks under 55 yards should be made but I wanted to be a little more subtle than that. 🙂

        Like

  62. Wow! 1st Weaver out for the year. Now we lose wwb. This could be a tough year!

    Wwb, I hope this isn’t serious, and you are back in the lineup, and up to your game shortly!

    Liked by 4 people

  63. Like

  64. I have given up think PN’s defenses are ever going to be so strong they alone control the game and give us wins…hasn’t happened yet and I doubt it ever will. That said we have to score a lot this season and because of so many ??s on offense (really all but the WRs imo) we may be in real trouble if things go south early on.

    As much as I hyped Pickett when I watched him in the 2017 fall camp I have real doubts he can be anything more then a shaky QB. But I was concerned, and wrote extensively, that in ’17 he threw 62 passes with only one (trick play) TD.

    He must come around big time if we want to even sniff 9 wins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Baseball sabermetricians have as an axiom that once a player achieves certain success (say 35 homeruns or hitting a homerun 440 feet) barring injury he owns that skill. I just have witnessed Pickett do too many things right to think he can’t do those things more often. Maybe he can’t. But for me Occam’s Razor says it was Watson’s fault. We shall see on 8-31st.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The good news, Reed, is that it’s now Coach Bates’ defense. 😊

      In fact, we now nearly have my ideal coaching situation. Coach Bates is Head Coach of the defense. Coach Whipple is Head Coach of the offense. Coach Duzz said himself that he’s going to let the coaches coach.

      I know you’ve never said you want Coach Duzz fired, but you don’t have to. So we could just drop Coach Duzz and find some smooth-talker-killer-recruiter as the figurehead HC…

      How ‘bout let’s do that unless Pitt wins 9 games this season. Just a suggestion… 👍 😊

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  65. Breaking in a new offensive scheme with quite a few inexperienced players is challenging. Doing it with VA, PSU and UCF in the first four games is really tough for a team like Pitt.

    As Reed noted above, our defense will not control most games. But, I believe that the D can be solid and hold teams like VA to under 28 points. Can our offense score 28 or more against the VAs on our schedule? Yes, but probably not until five or six games into the season…

    Nine wins this season is probably out of the question. But, this may end up being a fun team to watch and cheer for once they get used to the offense…

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Reed,

    What offenses scare you on that schedule? What teams scare you on that schedule? Even PSU and UCF are less intimidating having to replace their own turnover … and both will have new QBs. There are only 3 ranked teams and they are all 15 or below.

    Do I think Pitt will win 10 games? Probably not. History tells me so. They’ll probably win between 6 and 8 games. So, trust me, I get that. I’m not delusional. But for me this is a new season so a blank slate. History schmistory.

    In a vacuum, this is what I see …

    Only Miami and PSU have clear advantages in talent and, after last night’s game, Miami doesn’t look so hot either. The turnovers recovered were all unforced and their O-line looked like gravy.

    I see an unproven RB situation but a stable of 4 star running backs along with some speedsters combined with 14 straight years of successful running backs … most of whom have seen an NFL playing field. There’s a reason Pitt keeps getting these running backs. We get them into NFL camps. This is one spot I’m not even a little worried about. Andre Powell has been excellent. There has to be something in the water. That’s a pretty ridiculous stretch … and we keep adding 4 stars to that legacy. If you’re looking at historical data I’m not sure how you can argue against that. Pitt may be the best running back producing school in the country since 2000.

    2005-2008: Johnstown Jet … NFL
    2007-2008: Shady … NFL
    2009-2010: Dion Lewis … NFL
    2009-2012: Ray Graham … NFL
    2013-2016: James Conner … NFL
    2015-2018: Quadre Ollison … NFL
    2015-2018: Darrin Hall … TBD … NFL camp cut but will probably be on someones practice squad

    *** This list doesn’t even include Henry Hynoski and George Aston ***

    I see Ffrench taking it to the next level in a more aggressive offense. it was nice to see him named a captain. That means his teammates see him as a leader to boot.

    I see an OC who has had quick success wherever he has gone which should lead to a lot of opportunity for Taysir Mack. Whipple reminds me a lot of the Canada and Frank Cignetti Jr. boosts in offense. Does anyone remember how moribund the previous offenses were prior to those two OC’s? All they really did was bring balance to the offense. Run a little less and pass a little more and, boom, better offenses.

    On defense, they already have 3 kids in the secondary that will be in NFL camps. Hamlin, Dane Jackson and Pinnock will all get drafted barring injury. A fourth, Paris Ford, has the measurables … we’ll find out if he can turn that God given talent into results on the field this season. So four potential pros in the secondary … not many excuses there.

    I see more speed at Linebacker, regardless of who plays.

    I see a more balanced DL but pressuring the QB will difficult. Not sure it will be needed with this schedule, however. Charlie Partridge is a good coach so I expect there to be some surprises and that kids will step up.

    Duzz’s teams have been fairly good against the rush. I expect that to continue. With 4 potential pro-players in the secondary, I see that unit really turning a corner especially with the lack of big time QB’s that we play.

    10 wins is there for the taking. The momentum of a Coastal Championship is there. An “easier” schedule, at least on paper, is there. If there was ever a year for Pitt to have an outlier year … it’s this season. This is the type of season good coaches take advantage of.

    If they don’t win 10 games I’ll seriously consider it a disappointing season … injuries not withstanding. Less than 8 wins and Duzz should be sweating. With the Coastal looking to get more competitive in the future, Pitt has to pounce now.

    I’ve been labeled an apologist but I always said Pitt was a 10 year rebuild. 5 years to turn a corner and 5 years of sustained success. That’s what it will take to make Pitt a top 10 team.

    A coastal championship (6-2 in the ACC) in the rearview mirror is a good sign they at least got to the corner … this season is the year they have to turn the corner. Duzz can’t afford any setbacks at this point. No excuses for it. His team. His philosophies. He owns everything now.

    Quite simply, Duzz has to build on last season or else it was all for naught.

    Good coaches find a way. I think this is the season we truly find out how good Duzz is.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This is less a prediction and more an expectation. I expect Duzz to turn a corner and this season seems teed up to do it IMO. If it doesn’t happen this season, I’m not sure it ever happens.

      The turnover doesn’t scare me. It never will. It’s part of the legacy of College Football. Every team replaces about a quarter of the roster every season which means about a quarter of the starters are also gone. It’s a pretty level playing field in that regard.

      My expectation is that the players leaving will be followed by even better players. If they aren’t, then those disappointed with the recruiting have been right. We’re at that point where we’ll see and we can truly judge some of those recruiting classes.

      Most of the new kids stepping into roles were not tossed into the fire like some earlier classes. These kids have had time to develop.

      After looking at the running back success I kind of see why Duzz played V-Carter like he did last season. If the coaches knew they’d move him to RB and they keep having a 4 star running back every recruiting class, they have to move that unit through the system. I also get why Davis played under that philosophy too. Pitt really doesn’t have a need for 5 year running backs.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Tossing – I like your point of view. I disagree on a few things though. I characterized our first four games as ‘tough’. Maybe a better way for me to say is ‘unfavorable’. We don’t get a chance to break in our new offensive scheme. It’s nice to have a two game warm-up similar to PSUs schedule. They are breaking in a new QB. We are breaking in a new offense. They have a favorable schedule having those two games to ramp up.

      Game changing talent – see TX’s post. We don’t seem to have it.

      That said, I believe that Duzz has upgraded the coaching staff, has somewhat proven that he can develop two and three star kids, and we have seen few if any disciplinary issues (that can disrupt the team) during his tenure.

      Most sites (CBS Sports as one example) rank Pitt down around the mid-forties. I can see this team being better than that. I can see – if certain stars align – a final ranking around 23-25. But, I can’t see nine or ten wins. I hope that I’m wrong though.

      Like

      1. RockyMtnHigh,

        Like I mentioned, this was more of an expectation and written in a vacuum. I don’t think they’ll win 10 games, unfortunately. I can’t predict this team with so much change from last year, however, so I’m implying this is what Pitt should be in a perfect world … Based on what I see on paper this should be a very competitive team against the entire schedule. I don’t see any excuses as to why they can’t be.

        Regarding breaking in a new offense, Duzz has always gone vanilla against sub-division foes in the first game. This is his first real test in an opening game. The counterpoint to your argument, therefore, is that Pitt has the element of surprise. We know what UVA is going to come with. Remember how the jet sweep completely broke Penn State during Canada’s season? That was game number 2 after not showing anything in game one. I’m not sure Pitt needs to break in an offense.

        The counterargument to your difficult four game stretch point is that Pitt has 3 home games in that stretch. I know the hype around UVA but they still are not ranked. A home game against an unranked conference opponent under the lights should favor Pitt.

        Regarding game changing talent I’d offer Ffrench, Taysir Mack, possibly Vincent Davis, and 4 star AJ Davis as some players who could step up and be those explosive players you want. Watson’s offense the last two season was so moribund that we don’t know if we have game changing talent.

        Like

    3. Faster linebackers will be welcome. I don’t think even POVers appreciate how slow our linebackers have been in the last 6 years especially before 2018.

      Like

  67. I like the way people reference the seven wins without referencing the strength of schedule.
    Also let’s mention the bad losses to UNC and in Bowls without mentioning the upsets vs PSU, Clemson and Miami.
    People seem to want it both ways. To expect your team to upset better teams and not expect to get upset once in a while is not realistic.

    Of course let’s also minimize an achievement like winning the Coastal.

    It is the expectations that somehow Pitt should rise up to the Halcyon Days of Majors and Sherrill that is funny or that somehow a coaches paycheck should be an indicator of number of wins.

    You do realize that PSU has not beat a top ten team under their current coaching staff and our guy has beat the eventual National Champions, at their House.

    If you want nine or ten wins, you ease up on the OOC, you don’t change coaches.

    Liked by 5 people

  68. BigB, heading to the hospital… seems to have developed A fib.. will keep you posted. Got a lot to look forward this coming week… Hail to PITT

    Like

  69. Maybe the ticker can’t take another year of 6-6… ha ha.

    Since the formation of the POV my PITT FB experience has shot through the roof- all because of you characters!!! It’s not all about W’s and L’s….and being on the POV ALWAYS heals what ails me….

    Liked by 2 people

  70. I don’t think any team on the schedule is afraid of Pitt or is much worse. I really see all the games being close. But to expect Pitt to get all the breaks is foolish.

    Pitt won’t be turning the corner until they find a QB. And then they need to get to the point of reloading instead of rebuilding. Seems like every year it’s a rebuild because of new coordinators, systems, playbooks and Personnel. Look at the line and running backs. Can’t have that happen.

    When will the learning and gradual annual improvements pay off. I don’t see it this year. If not next, you really need to move on. A new coach would rebuild as well but he might build a structure that doesn’t fall down every year in the wind.

    Like

    1. Tex, this is the reason I tend to scoff at all the “trust the process” stuff that seems a mantra to some Pitt fans. Aside from the HC there has been little or no continuity in the program, staff coaches and recruiting staff. That last unit is much more important than the average fan knows. They are the ones who desperate the talented players early on so we can get a foot in the door after their SO or JR HS year.

      And personally I believe the absolute key ingredient in a successful long term program is strong recruiting. We haven’t gotten that from PN at all thus the having to ‘reload’ every year…he’s not pulling in stud players who play right away and for at least three years.

      Look at the OL last season but also at the LBs where Wirginis was the best of an average bunch in his 5th year. Roy, Hendrix, Ziese, Idowu, Briggs, Motley; all SRs on the D who hadn’t distinguished themselves at all – even with mediocre starters in front of them for the most part.

      What we really need are two or three recruiting classes so talented they have a bunch of kids play early and leave after three years…that will be the foundation for long term success. But the real good recruits want to play on consistently winning teams and he’s not showing he can do that so far.

      Like

  71. One last thing… I have the Duke tickets for the group.. planning on giving them out at the game unless you want them mailed… My house number is 252-338-4728… You can leave me a message… You guys know my email… If you prefer them to be sent we can do that… I will be staying in Durham . Almost to the hospital… We’ll figure that to game… Going to have a great time

    Like

  72. Ike – Shawn Watson was such a disaster that I don’t think it was a reflection of Pickett. Will find out soon, however. Haha.

    BigB – Hope you’re okay!

    Like

  73. Here is something interesting.

    For a ‘running’ QB Pickett averaged 5.3 ypc when you take out sacks and yards lost to sacks. Meaning that every called QB run or when he chose to tuck the ball and take off he averaged 5.3 yards.

    For comparison:

    In 2009 Stull had 9.7 ypc under the same criteria…

    In 2010 Sunseri had 9.3 ypc

    In 2016 Peterman had 5.8 ypc

    One point though is that for a Pitt starting QB Pickett did this type of running way more times than the other three listed.

    Now stats are interesting but in this case it shows that the other two QBs, Sunseri and Stull, really made the most of their opportunities when available.

    Personally I believe you let RBs run the ball and concentrate the QB as being a pocket passer with a few called runs here and there. I’m not sure Pickett can handle both responsibilities so Whipple should drum into him to stay in pocket and eyes downfield as long as possible then throw the ball away to save negative sack yardage.

    But if Pickett is urged to run a lot well see more of the same poor passing play as we did last season.

    Liked by 1 person

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