Pitt has now completed a third of the season and we are starting to get a feel for the team.  As usual there are two ways to look at things.

On one hand you can look at the defense and say “Well dang, this is the best defense we’ve had since 2009, and probably the best coached defense we’ve had since the ’70’s.  I think this team is going to be pretty good.”  You could also say “The offense has been up and down but they’ve shown growth each week and they’ve got some upside.  The arrow is pointing up for Pitt.”

On the other hand you can say “Well the Virginia game was a disaster, and Penn State probably isn’t as good as advertised.  UCF hung 34 on us and now two of our top corners are hobbled (despite the fact that they are supposedly going to play against Delaware).  Kenny Pickett has a ton of attempts and only three touchdowns, the running game is pretty much nonexistent, and we’ve only scored more than 20 points once so far…against an AAC defense.  Despite the great win last week, I think we are still going to end up as a middling team.”

In both cases you wouldn’t be wrong, but before we make our final judgement, lets look at some numbers.

According to the computers, Pitt has improved year over year.  Jeff Sagarin’s ranking algorithm had Pitt at #50 at the end of 2018.  Pitt is currently ranked #36.  That is quantifiable statistical improvement, but… Pitt needs to keep winning to maintain it.

Much of that is because of the defense.  Against the fourth toughest schedule in the country, Pitt is currently ranked 48th in defensive yards per game (We are giving up 334).  While that doesn’t sound all that great, it’s a tremendous improvement over last year.  Pitt played a similarly tough schedule in 2018 (Sagarin ranked it as third toughest), and Pitt finished 75th in DYPG (We gave up 388).  That’s a 50 YPG improvement YOY and it’s translating in to PPG as well.  (We are giving up 5 PPG less this year than last year).

And it’s all coming from stopping the run.

Last year our opponents averaged 179 YPG against Pitt, an 4.9 YPC.

This year?  104 YGP and just 3.3 YPC.  That’s good for 32nd in the country.

Credit the front seven.

And credit them for pressuring the quarterback and disrupting the backfield.  Pitt ranks 4th nationally with 18 sacks, and 10th nationally with 34 Tackles for Loss  You have to wonder how we’d rank if Weaver and Camp were healthy…

On the offensive side the script has been flipped.  We are reasonably good at throwing the ball, but we often struggle to run it.

Pitt is 37th is passing yards per game (280).  And that includes a 181 yard stinker against Virginia.  Last year we finished 85th (209).  None of this is surprising of course.  Mark Whipple was hired to improve the passing game, and through four games he has for the most part delivered.

If you dig a little deeper though, you have to ask yourself how much has the passing game really improved?  Yes, we no longer feel an impending sense of dread when Kenny Pickett drops back on third down, and he’s definitely shown he can move the sticks with his arm.  That wasn’t the case last year.  And yet somehow his stats are actually a tick worse…

Kenny Pickett Passing Stats

Lets unpack this a little bit.  Below is Pickett’s Game Log.  I’ve added in each opponent’s passing defense rank.  It’s not surprising to see that Pickett plays well against less talented secondaries, and he plays less well against more talented secondaries.  The difference between this year and last year is that last year Pickett didn’t do well against the less talented secondaries.  (Stanford for example).

Pitt Schedule Pass Def

I’ll also point out that Pickett has sustained only nine sacks this year in 176 drop backs.  (Once every 19.6).  Last year he was sacked 33 times in 310.  (Once every 9.4).  Credit to Dave Borbley for getting in inexperienced O-Line ready to play.  You’d have to think they will continue to improve.  That kind of protection will also help Pickett improve over time.

Looking ahead to the ACC schedule, we face only two teams that are better than Virginia at pass defense, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.  You have to wonder if that’s because they are so bad at stopping the run.  As for the rest of the group, Miami and UNC are rated highest in pass defense nationally.  Miami is 51st, UNC is 59th.

ACC Schedule.png

Pitt’s rushing offense on the other hand, is still figuring out how to run the ball.  We are 110th in total yards.  We average 3.55 YPC and 114.5 YPG.   That’s about half of the YPG we averaged last year.  Ouch.

Still, we ran for 196 vs UCF, and we ran for 160 vs Ohio, which shows that when we commit to it, we have the ability to move the ball on the ground against less-than-elite competition.  Delaware will be a great opportunity for Pitt to continue to work on the running  game as we head into the meat of the ACC schedule.

Bringing it all together, the numbers say that Pitt has improved.  Pitt is 83rd in total offense this year.  Last year we ranked 94th.  We have to hope that this improvement continues.  If it does, we should be in for a good back half of the season.  If we stagnate, it will be another up and down ride.

In the third phase, special teams have been uneven at best.  Again the script has been flipped from last year.  Kessman was solid last year.  This year his placekicking troubles are well documented.  Punter Kirk Christendoulou was terrible last year.  This year he has been very good.  The return game hasn’t done much so far, but it also hasn’t made too many costly mistakes.  The kick coverage has been good.  The punt coverage less so. Still, Pitt’s mistakes seem correctable, and lets hope they get corrected soon.

And so, after all of this, I’ll give you guys (and gals) the chance to revise your season predictions.  We’ve got eight games to go, and we’ve played against the stiffest competition we will face all year (except for maybe Miami…and UNC-sigh).  We are a game ahead of where many thought we would be at this piont (the consensus seemed to be 1-3), but can we keep it up?  I think that there is a good chance that we can.

Here is the schedule:

Pitt 2019 Scheule

And here are my predictions:

Delaware – W

Duke – W

Syracuse – W

Miami – L (They always have our number)

Georgia Tech – W

UNC – L (It’s a loss until it’s a win.  Sorry folks)

Virginia Tech – W

Boston College – W

That puts us at 8-4, with a 5-3 conference record.  Not stellar, but an improvement over last year, and a couple degrees better than the 6-6 many of us were predicting.

What do you think?  Can Pitt win more than 8 games?  Sound off!

 

150 thoughts on “How Good are We?

  1. Like the AP rankings, the defensive / offensive rankings are skewed because the majority of P5 teams have only played one decent team thus far. Nonetheless, I share Maestro’s optimism for a pleasant road ahead.

    I also am going with 8 wins but I predict a win vs UNC but a loss at either Syracuse or VT. I think Pitt is better than either of them but they are difficult places to play.

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  2. The offense continues to improve and will score enough points. The key is the health of the defense. Our corners and safety’s have to stay healthy. Paris Ford is a stud and a monster at safety. He is everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I went back to the season prediction thread and found it surprisingly more positive than I remember. Lot’s of 7 and 8 wins. I’ll stick with 8-4 as well.

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  4. I’m still going with 8 wins. Pitt still has a little SOP blood in them, and they will lose to someone they shouldn’t. They will lose to Miami and stub their toe on one other opponent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VoR, I witnessed the last Pitt National Championship season 1st hand. I enjoyed those glory years during Jackie Sherril’s tenure, I endured the decades of Pitt wandering in the NCAA wilderness through their many years of mediocrity and ineptitude. I’ve seen years & years of Same Old Pitt football in all of it’s hideous forms. Therefore I feel that I am an authority on all of those intricacies that together compose that malady commonly known as SOP.

      So I must respectfully disagree with your above assessment regarding SOP still residing in the DNA of this current crew of Pitt football players.
      This Pitt football team is far from perfect, the coaching sometimes leaves me scratching my head & sometimes things just don’t get executed well enough to produce a win for the Panthers but those things are not due to SOP. That debilitating aliment has been eradicated from this current team’s psyche & performance. To state otherwise is a disservice to these guys currently on the roster.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ^^ This here is the honest truth… As the good Doctor once said. No more looking out the rear-view mirror. SOP is a distant memory or not a memory at all? Now some PITT fans???

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      1. 7-5 Mike. Didn’t really take the time to read all the reasoning behind the picks but I go most of you guys and gal pegged so beware. Although I did read one, he predicted PITT’s defense will never be any good if it hasn’t already been good up until now.

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        1. Okay yea that’s what I though. I had them losing to UCF, so there’s my +1. At least I’m consistent

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  5. The Duke-Cuse games will determine a lot. If Pitt wins both no reason to think this squad can finish 9-3. That’s counting a loss to Miami, who certainly isn’t showing a whole lot this season, but its speed will always be an issue for Pitt. And then there is that North Carolina game.

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  6. Maestro,

    A cogent and balanced analysis. Made me think and challenge my own views, so molto grazie!
    And once again, your writing style flows incredibly well. An easy read.

    I’ve been thinking about this arrow thing with a bit of a narrower lens. that gets blurry after Saturday around 4pm or so.

    Before the UCF game, I said that if we were to somehow win the game, the trajectory would change for the positive. So for now, the arrow is up.

    Back to this week. We are 28 point favorites over the Blue Hens. 28 as in four touchdowns.

    Beat the spread and the arrow stabilizes a bit. Although not a signature win, we probably pick up a couple votes in the rankings. I do not foresee this happening, but if Pitt somehow repeated the results from the last meeting with the Blue Hens I think we will get a few more people’s attention and that upward arrow firms up a little.

    Win in a close one and the goodwill from Saturday starts to become a distant memory and the PItt Special T-shirts move to the bargain rack at Big Lots. The arrow quivers.

    Narduzzi looked focused on Delaware in his pressor on Monday. He knows who they are and why they will be ready to pay in Pgh Saturday. Guessing the coaches are as well.

    The players are another question. Are they able to compartmentalize that win and focus on this week – or are they still celebrating?

    I have no doubt that Kenny Pickett is focused on the Hens. My bet is he watched the UCF game on tape in his parent hotel room Saturday night and focused on the 2nd and 3rd quarter. And BTW, I don’t care much for the QBR stat. Its misleading and fails to account for an number of factors that are relevant.

    The other players? I don’t have a clue. But those guys played with a lot of emotion on Saturday – and the one before. I hope they have a reserve tank for Saturday. We will find out a lot about the maturity and mindset of this team in this week’s game.

    To answer your question though, I cannot rule out exceeding 8 wins this year at this point. It is certainly possible based on not only the improvement in the team, but the level of play in the Coastal. Nor will I rule out 6-8. Another 5-7 season does seem less likely though. But its a bit too soon for me to look ahead.

    Lets take care of business Saturday!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This is a good post Joe. Last week showed us a glimpse of the ceiling…(eg of we could play two halves like we played the first). This week will tell us a lot about the floor.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. JoeL, I did not find your preseason prediction?? I think Narduzzi and his team heard all the negativity loud and clear that’s been talked about throughout this past year. I see PITT showing no quarter for Delaware this weekend. Great post Mike and JoeL!

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    1. I am a disciple of the Huff III school of prognostications. I dodge the full year prediction because I have a hard time putting a number out there without a bit more insight into how the team is forming, storming and norming…

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  8. Pitt will be a better team at seasons end than their record shows

    I have since last year predicted 7 regular season wins plus a bowl win against a quality opponent makes 8

    Probably a final season ranking around 30-35

    Pre season top 25 ranking next year

    Next year is make or break. 10 wins or bust.

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  9. MM — you’re obviously putting a good bit of time into these POV articles. Excellent job of both research and writing. We thank you!

    I’m sticking to 8 wins — for one thing, my repaired heart may not be able to withstand the level of euphoria associated with 9 wins! 😊

    But I do expect the offense to really start clicking. We had chances for several big plays against UCF (and one notable one against the Nits) if we make one more block or just a more effective block…

    And I expect both KP’s accuracy and the receivers catch-rate to improve as the Coach Whip offense gets more and more ingrained…

    Go Pitt

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks MM. It’s been a slow week at work. Sadly I probably won’t be able to sustain this pace all year…

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  10. I feel the confidence is back we are better than every team we play the rest of the season. The team shows a lot of desire and heart Miami is up and down team we will beat them plus NC has lucked out to many games in the past four years. I truly believe we win them all and barring major injuries will go 10-2. That’s right we will improve weakly and gain confidence. We can run with the Big Boys the rest of the season. Believe this is going to be a fun year ! H2P

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  11. There are many 50/50 games remaining

    Pitt does poorly in the Dome
    Va Tech will be looking for revenge
    Pitt could lay a stinker at BC

    Pitt will end up upsetting a team like Miami and losing to a team it has no business losing to like ga tech.

    I don’t see Pitt pulling the inside straight this year

    But it will have an ace in hand for their bowl.

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      1. They also are a run first team with a pro style offense. Feels like a solid matchup in our favor … at this point in the year anyway

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      2. It’s as important as the first ACC game. Difference between a crap bowl in Boston or New York or a nice one down south.

        Crappy weather wise and opponent. I like those cities. Not their fans.

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          1. I am provincial. Not a big fan of the east coast attitude. I’d lump philly into that mix. I’ve got a mid west mindset.

            Love to visit those cities and have multiple times. Would never want to live there a long time however. I prefer slower pace and more friendly people.

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      3. My bad. Was thinking it was away. Remember the times Pitt started losing to BC in the 90’s. I knew then that Pitt wasn’t serious about sports. You don’t lose to a private school that’s a quarter your size in a region known for hockey, lacrosse and rowing.

        Actually Pitt wasn’t competent about running sports. They might have feigned interest.

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      1. A coin flip. And all the games are generally close

        Syracuse has a piss poor record over the past 20 years. I remember the Mcnabb years.

        They get up for this game always. They will have more to prove than Pitt and will protect their house

        I have this penciled as a Pitt loss. Last second Kessman shank off the upright dooms the Panthers.

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        1. Pitt was a piss-poor program during the McNabb years and going back to the Marvin Graves days starting in 1990. This rivalry always seems to have one team up and the other down. Recently, both teams have been about the same.

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          1. Is that why there just doesn’t seem to be that much passion behind this “rivalry”? Maybe it’s just me

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          2. Yep

            I expect another close game this year

            I still have a number 44 jersey. Yes me a Pitt guy with a Cuse jersey.

            Pitt should do something like that. I guess it’s 97 these days.

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          3. I’ll never forget the infamous McNabb fumble that wasn’t called on national TV. I was as livid about that as I was about the phantom interference call at ND a few years back.

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  12. Who does UCF play this Saturday, and is it likely they will run the table this year, until a bowl game? It seems we will want them to do well the rest of the year, if Pitt can slowly slip into the top 25.

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  13. UCF’s remaining schedule:

    UConn
    Cincinnati
    E. Carolina
    Temple
    Houston
    Tulsa
    Tulane
    So. Florida

    I don’t know if Cincy or Tulsa are any good, but Temple and Houston (Holgy) should be interesting for the Knights…

    Go Pitt.

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    1. Since we are talking UCF a little:

      https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/ucf-knights/os-sp-ucf-football-boise-state-0924-20190924-f5iauotberf6fe3c7gljmtnuxq-story.html?outputType=amp

      UCF added Boise state and BYU. Big boys don’t want to okay them anymore but these three are the class of the G5 right now. Would be interesting if you could take the top 2-3 programs from all the G5 and make a case for power 6. Will never happen but fun thought experiment. I’ll stash this topic for the offseason …

      Liked by 2 people

      1. MM – I clicked on that article. Some terrific game photos to click through.

        If you go thru enough of them, you come to a photo showing Aaron Mathews just before he threw that “Special” pass to KP — and the perspective shows what Mathews would have been looking at… A very cool moment in time when we all were on the edge of our seats…

        In the UCF article on 10 things we learned from the Pitt game, No. 1 is “Dillon Gabriel is actually human.” 😊

        Go Pitt.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That was a great photo gallery and an example of how newspapers can use the digital medium to their advantage instead of just recreating an online version of the print edition. I’d love it if the Post-Gazette did something similar as there were more great pictures of Pitt players and fans in the Orlando Sentinel then in the hometown paper.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Jerry…John? You reading this?

            FWIW I don’t even read the PG articles because I have to create a login. Perhaps is they had more value-added content I would take the time and effort.

            Fellas tell your digital editors to get with the program!

            Liked by 1 person

      1. Cincy beat UCLA this year.

        Cincy also best UCLA last year.

        This is “good” scheduling by Cincy – play name teams when they are down.

        Versus the Pitt way — play no-name teams when they are having a rare fantastic spell; and play name teams when they are stacked with NFL talent…😕

        Go Pitt.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good call. Cincy has also given UCF a grim for their money recently. I’d maybe put them in my New P6. Solid program that has played their hand very well.

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  14. Tulane beat Houston. I watched some of that game. When the hell did Tulane get to be a decent football team? ….and no matter how good they get, the blue and green uniforms are the worst in college football.

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    1. Looking forward to meeting you at Duke. Bernie will be posting POV tailgate info next week her on POV.

      Bernie, can you tell Frank what section our seats are in, so he can get tix in our area?

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      1. Bern…email or text me the info and I will create a separate article or webpage for it. Then you can email out the link.

        Actually Fran if you want to do this for home games I can do that as well.

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  15. Thanks for the schedule, Major. UConn is not very good, so Cincy should be the first reasonable test for UCF to see if they are any good after the Pitt loss. I like MM’s idea of a P6 conference with some of the better non-P5 teams included. It appears that the trend towards more super conferences is subsiding, and maybe a few P5 teams would want to defect to a new P6 conference. Indiana, Illinois and other perennial bottom feeders come to mind.

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    1. No money for a power 6

      You could make a decent conference but nobody would watch. It’s all about the TV dollars

      Boise
      BYU
      Colorado State
      SMU
      Houston
      UAB
      Memphis
      SouthFlorida
      Central Florida
      East Carolina
      Cincy
      Temple
      UConn
      Navy

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      1. I agree. That’s why it will never happen

        Although…Houston, Tampa/Orlando, Philly decent TV markets. (Nobody in Philly outside of temple alums are watching those games though). BYU has a large and dedicated following that will tune in. Boise as well, although for different reasons. The rest are secondary or tertiary tv markets but you have to look at alumni base

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  16. 6 and 6 Good with a Bowl Win!

    A LOT of good things going on, especially Defense. But, there are some TROUBLING things.

    Pickett is certainly to be commended for his improvement as a Quarterback (predicted by the way) in response to Whipple tutelage.

    But as good as he looks from the distance, some numbers such as YPA at just over 6 suggest there could be trouble down the road against STRONG Passing Performances by Opposing Quarterbacks.

    Fact is, Pickett was outperformed this past Saturday by the Opposing QB and would have NEVER had the opportunity to call “Pitt Special” had any one of the THREE TDs thrown and caught by UCF Receivers been just a few inches the other way.

    More reasons for possible TROUBLE down the road…

    A Running Game firing at less than 4 yards a carry. A far cry from a year ago (predicted.)

    And last but certainly not least, a Kicker that NONE of us will rest easy with when the Game is on the line (unfortunately predicted).

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    1. I agree that UCF’s offense is terrifying, especially when you consider they started a frosh QB. There were probably six or seven plays where UCF narrowly missed a touchdown because the ball was thrown a couple too inches deep or a Pitt defender made a shoestring tackle (Hamlin comes to mind, but there were others) They put so much pressure on your D.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. But there is a WILD Card at play that could make the prediction of 6 and 6 to be SHORT of what this Team might be capable of doing.

    As point out previously, this Team has PLAY-MAKE-ERS… on BOTH sides of the Ball.

    And that could make things far LESS troubling!

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  18. I’ve watched the replay of the PITT Special and followed Aaron Matthews from the sideline to the actual play. You would have never guessed he was the integral player in that play.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. and BTW, Salahudin had one foot out the door months and months before he actually left PITT. Just because he left does NOT make him the lost answer. In fact he saw he wasn’t going to beat out the players still on the roster. With more a coming.

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  20. Is Pitt the only post secondary School in the country where the QB has to run to the sideline after every play to get the next play? Did Whipple’s previous QBs do this?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m happy to upgrade my preseason prediction of 6-6, primarily because of Pickett’s development and because the defense has exceeded expectations, especially in light of the injuries. As NateBailey4 said, I anticipate a loss to Miami because, regardless of record, their speed gives Pitt fits. Also think a loss on the road to either Syracuse or Virginia Tech is a possibility, not because those teams are better, just because it’s really hard to win seven straight games against teams at a similar level. That means 8-4 and sitting pretty for a even better season in 2020 (although that run of Notre Dame and then at Florida State and at Miami back-to-back-to-back does give me some pause).

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Couple things:

    apittfan………. what?? I’ll bet you wish the POV had an edit button right about now. Trust me brother. I’ve been there.

    TC, yes according to Whipple, that’s the way he’s done it most of his college coaching career. KP says he likes it as it gives him time to think about the play call running back…. Don’t know if I buy it.

    I counted 17 predictions with PITT earning 8 wins or more. Dr Tom had PITT finishing with the worst record and Jay with a perfect 12-0. 😉 ……….. only 5 out of 35 had PITT not bowl eligible. I only mention names here is I’m not quite sure of the seriousness of their predictions. I could be wrong….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I must confess I had Pitt bowl ineligible after the Weaver and Camp injuries along with Pickett’s less than stellar performance against VA. I think i had them winning 8 before the season started as I believed the Pitt D with Weaver would dominate most all their ACC opponents.—Going forward Pitt will need a healthy Pinnock and Mathis playing their ACC Coastal rivals as our D is almost totally dependent on living or dying with our DB playing man for man. The added pressure from the front 7 has certainly made it a little more comfortable for all of our defensive backfield so far this season.—My vote for the most valuable addition this past season is by far LB Johnson the transfer from Fla. He may be on his way of making himself an NFL draft pick come seasons end. And I’m fairly sure he wasn’t even a name listed on any NFL scouting reports prior to his transfer to Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Off the cuff transfer evaluation under the duzz

        Peterman – 4*
        Scarpinato – 3* – solid of unspectacular
        Flynn – 3* same as scarp
        Clark – 1* washout
        Browne – 2* in games he played. May have finished higher if didn’t get hurt
        Gragg – 2* last year but 3* so far this year
        Griffen Stewart – on track for 3*
        K. Johnson – 4* per above
        Chase brown (OL) – 2* doesn’t see the field
        Millin – 3* did a good job last year
        Ulizio – not sure here … plays every down but has made some mistakes. 3* for now

        I’m sure I’m missing some ppl…

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        1. Underestimating Millin. He was second team All ACC tackle – STAR per Reed. To bad he had only one year at Pitt. Could be undervalued because he didn’t want to go pro.

          Liked by 1 person

  24. Pitt just needs to go 500 the rest of the way to make a bowl. 90 percent probability that happens. Right now they are still in the hunt for a division title but they did lose to the team that will win it. Playing for second place and a nice warm weather bowl with friendly southern hospitality and drop dead gorgeous women with southern accents and curves to die for.

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    1. I think you are correct that we will be staring at UVA’s taillights the rest of the way and that we should hope for 2nd place at best.

      I actually think it would be better for the program if Pitt returned to the Pinstripe or Military Bowl this year.
      Pitt fans show up at those and with a win, would make a case to the more prestigious bowls for next season.

      But…fans gotta show up this year and team has to win to bring that about.

      Now, if somehow Pitt ran the table rest of the way this year and got something better than the Gasparilla Bowl vs NW Indiana St., a larger amount of fans might be willing to make the trip. And with the Steelers tanking back home, Pitt might even see a few Pgh area Steeler fans jump on the bandwagon. But that’s a fantasy scenario of course.

      The fans aren’t ready for primetime yet and my thought is most are gonna wait for a solid showing by the team that goes beyond the next 8 games.

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  25. I’d like to see Medure pound the ball inside a couple of times to keep the defense honest. Think how successful the end arounds would be if there was a credible inside option. BTW, where did Salahudin end up? Has he begun classes at another school yet?

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  26. I was going back and forth from 5-7 to 6-6 before settling on 5-7. Haven’t seen anything to date to change that. Schedule and up and down nature ( both us and our opponents) lead me to think it will be one or the other.
    At this point all predictions other than 11 wins or losses have a chance.

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  27. Joe, sounds like you’re calculating we will see a typical SOP finish with a couple of unpredicted losses in there. MM, your transfer assessment seems right on, with Chase Brown being perhaps the most puzzling of the group. He should have been locking down a starting job this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect he may be slightly better than houey but they are building for the future. That is just my suspicion I have no real info on the topic. And honestly if that’s the case I think it’s the right thing to do. I agree that next year could be very special if it all falls into place

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      1. Agree MM. I am guessing Houey may be the starting right tackle next year. I thought Brown or Brandon Ford would win the guard spot.

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        1. Yes will be interesting to see who mans right tackle. I hear they like Van Lynn… he may have better feet than Houey. I see Gabe as more an inside mauler, possibly a three year starter at guard

          Liked by 1 person

  28. VoR, Hey, I’d love to see 8-4 or better, but ya, we’ll screw the pooch at least once, and some other team will play lights out against us. I do believe, however, as I’ve stated, that if everyone who is eligible to come back does so, we will have a really nice season next year.

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  29. I’m figuring 7-5 since Pitt never wins a bowl game. If they do finally wake up and win one then 8 wins are possible. But they usually lay an egg at the end of the season.

    I do like Bates and Whipple though a lot, so maybe they will improve for a change.

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  30. I make no predictions, but think it funny how one game can change our collective attitude.

    No mention of how turnovers affect a game, our two INT’s, first of the year were really big, the first a tipped ball that stopped a drive and the second a great play in the endzone that probably prevented a touchdown.
    A blocked punt for a score.

    Our fumble gave UCF life and started a 31 point slide.

    Turnovers are the biggest factor in most close games. They went our way in this game, will they continue to go our way, the law of averages says no. KP has been pretty lucky so far.

    I don’t mean to be a downer, yes our pass rush is better, but the freshman QB threw for 338 yds, mostly before our corners went down, and Dane Jackson is good enough to be first string on most teams.

    To get to 8 or more wins, we will have to win the close games and the ball will have to bounce our way, a lot.

    It would also help if our kicker can get over his funk, he will be needed.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Joe, that’s why it’s a bit worrisome that so much expectation is being placed on next year’s team. What if Pickett gets hurt? And that murderers row of ND, FSU and Miami could easily produce 2 losses. Add in 1 SOP upset and that means 3 losses. It could still produce a Coastal championship, but would be followed by a subsequent year with a new starting QB. My point is that Pitt should work to consistently play for a Coastal championship, and then occasionally they might win the ACC and have a shot at the playoffs. The Nitter’s old approach of playing for a championship every 4 years screwed many players in the “off” years and was ridiculous.

    Like

    1. I’m not worrying about Pickett at this point as I still think Patti may be the better QB in the end. And that’s not even saying that Beville might not be the best of all come next season.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Preseason prediction was 8-4. 2-2 in OCS & 6-2 in Conference. Didn’t predict individual team losses in ACC but figured 3 tossups – Va. Miami & N.C. & would win 1 of those three. So bumping record up to 9-3 IF Pitt gets by Delaware.

    Some stats I am keeping track up using NCAA team Passing Efficiency. A formula using attempts, completions, total yards, TD’s & interceptions.

    Bryce Perkins- VA in 4 games (Pitt, Fl. St., Old Dominion, FCS) – RK. #85 131.9. Against Pitt 123.0

    Nathan Rourke- Ohio in 4 games (Pitt, Marshall, UL-Lafayette, FCS)- Rk. #80 133.7 Against Pitt 110.6

    Sean Clifford- Psu in three games(Pitt, Buffalo, FCS) – Rk. #17 172.5 Against Pitt 108.8

    Dillon Gabriel-UCF in 4 games(Pitt, Stanford, FAU, FCS) – Rk. #12 177.0 Against Pitt 133.3

    Good showing for the “D” compared to those QB’s overall record. But as wwb mentioned, stats, this early in season may be overstated due to OOC schedule.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nice analysis PCF. It supports the narrative that the entire defense is playing well. Now they just have to keep it up.

      Like

  33. CON — I agree that we easily could have lost to UCF — many oh-so-close plays by both teams.

    PRO — But I think we have to be encouraged by the depth we now have.

    CON — I struggle seeing us win out or even have just one more loss. It’s just been so long since we’ve been able to string a bunch of Ws together like that…

    PRO — We can play way better than we have to this point if we just get more consistent on offense.

    I could go on and on… But you get the idea — i.e., I don’t have a clue where this season is going! 😊

    Go Pitt.

    Like

  34. News today that Kyla Nelson, a junior guard on the women’s BB team, has been diagnosed with cancer of the appendix.

    Sounds like they caught it early. She’ll have surgery and then is expected to eventually get back with the team.

    She’s from England. She hustles and plays hard. She shot 40% from three last season as a backup guard while averaging 6 points and 2 rebounds per game.

    Best wishes to Kyla.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In kind of a strange happenstance, the Pitt women’s BB team opens their season with a game at……………..UCF!

      Coach White needs to come up with a “Pitt Special” play for the women…😊

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  35. Prayers for Kyla… I have to wonder, do all schools have this many students afflicted by major non-injury health problems, or is Pitt snake bitten in this regard?

    Regarding revisions to our pre-season predictions…. I predicted 9-4, with a win over VA, a loss to Syracuse, and a bowl loss. I will stay with my record prediction at 9-4, win a win now over the Orange to replace the loss to the Hoos. Also, with a regular season record of 9-3, I can see Pitt getting a good bowl game against a quality opponent, which unfortunately would result in a loss, getting us a final record of 9-4. I predict that we get the Tarhole monkey off our back this year, but will have to wait until next year to slay the bowl game dragon. H2P!

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I believe my definition of a “nice” season may differ from others. 9 wins is a nice season. More is gravy, less, disappointing. FSU is a dumpster fire. They may well get it together, especially playing at home. ND, well, we always play them tight. And the U, well, that is a team that every year can go either way. It’s a good, solid schedule that. Challenging enough to make us work for it, and look very good nationally if we navigate it, but not bone crushing,soul sucking brutal.

    Like

  37. I’ll stick with my gut feel prediction of a 10-win regular season.

    There is something to be said about a team that rallies around itself and plays together. No, they are not hugely talented but nonetheless have good young players at many positions.

    So again, why not?

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. For those of us that will not be able to attend the game on Saturday, and I say this with not knowing for completely sure, it will be on the old Root network which is now AT&T. Who I believe just signed on with the ACCN..

    Like

    1. Good to know Ike – That means it’s a Raycom production & will be on one of the Fox regional channels (for those of us living in the south.)

      Like

      1. Richard, I hit my guide and went to Saturday and checked all the games at 12:30 and there it was, AT&T. I have it on record so I’m pretty sure.

        Like

  39. This team is way better than I could have expected before the season. The defense is legit and it’s amazing because we lost arguably our two best defensive linemen. I think the offense will continue to get better too.
    I am superstitious about not picking pitt anymore or making prognostications. I feel I have jinxed them one too many times so I won’t make a prediction 😉.

    Like

  40. Heard some of Coach Duzz’s radio show tonight.

    —Coach said Campbell was in on a lot of plays and “played fast.”

    —Coach said the scout team players of the week were DE Bam Brima and OLman Matt Goncalves.

    —Coach said Mark May was really into the game. Said Mark was yelling in the tunnel, getting the troops fired up. (BTW, It was fantastic to see Pitt have a good win when former greats are in attendance…)

    —They had Aaron Mathews on. What a humble and likeable young man. Said if he had to be stranded on an island with two teammates, he’d pick Watts (because he’s so funny) and Tre Tipton.

    —Pitt held UCF to a 3-and-out five times…

    All I can remember…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Would like to read that link…. BTW, if I were walking down a dark alley my two companions would be Watts and Patrick Jones. True teammates with a just a tiny bit of an edge………. 😉

      Like

    2. Matthews just killed it on the field last week. And imo he’s too talented not to feature. I can only wonder if they are keeping him under wraps until we hit the meat of the acc schedule

      Liked by 1 person

  41. As you know, I am no fan if Narduzzi but…… for years I’ve said that the mark of a good coach is that his team improves every week.

    No one can deny that is happening with Pitt Football right now! H2P

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Not sure if anyone mentioned this before, but I can’t help but see Pitt taking off after a close loss to Psu this year like Psu did in 2016 after losing to us. Would be nice to continue to build momentum after that game, which I think we should have won. In any case, I see us finishing 9-4 with a decent bowl win (for once). Just hope we don’t slow down…can’t stop now fellas!

      Liked by 2 people

  42. How Good Are We? At the beginning of the year I thought we would be 6-6. Now I would hope we do better given that we beat UCF. Being a long time suffering Pitt supporter, I am very, very cautious about getting too excited just yet. Last year I thought we had turned the corner after the Wake Forest game only to see us do a face plant splat for the rest of the season. I was at the Clemson game and again after that nothing. You do not build a program by randomly upsetting teams. You build a program by consistently winning games especially against teams such as last year UNC team and a depleted Stanford team in the bowl game.

    Ask the question again after the Duke game, which I plan to attend. I give my opinion then. For now I have no idea especially given past precedent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, hope you have a blast with all the POV folks going down to the Duke game and BigB’s tailgate! .. be prepared to meet some really great people… Second note. This is not a past PITT team and past players it’s all new faces with a brand new win chip on their shoulders. You’ll see. Past precedent doesn’t mean so much in college football or PITT would have won 20 national championships after 1976. Welcome to 2019 PITT football John!

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Here’s how I see the rest of the schedule shaking out. DEL, we should totally dominate.
    DUKE is not nearly as physical and I think we have better athletes.
    SYR spent the off season reading how great they were last year. Plus, their 1st year QB DeVito may not be all he was hyped to be.
    MIA is the team that concerns me. Right now I don’t like the matchup although they are struggling mightily right now. This will be a double chin strap game.
    GT is a rebuild, but be very careful about over confidence here.
    NC features it’s new MACK attack. I’ve seen their Frosh QB Howell play some and I think he’s going to be a star. However, this is the year to beat the Heels at home.
    VT is either going through a culture change, or delayed postpartum from the Bearer reign. Again, be very careful here. But PITT is clearly a better team.
    BC is a very physical team. But, this is the last home game, senior day, and a win here could have big implications. Narduzzi will have his charges ready here.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Really good take on upcoming conference teams. Very similar to my thoughts on why Pitt will go 9-3.

      Your right on Howell. He will be a future star.

      Like

  44. It’s always a crapshoot trying to predict Pitt’s final record. However, I think that this week’s game vs Delaware can give us some insight. If Pitt is commanding, I think that it may bode well for the rest of the year. If not, well, it would point to a less encouraging result. Pitt seems to be moving the ball well and defending with more tenacity. My hope is that they develop that “killer instinct” which would propel their confidence and turn heads.
    They have had a very difficult schedule and have preformed admirably, considering. There is no reason that they should not end the year with only one more loss. The key: no boneheaded plays, smart coaching a continued belief in themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Mrs. Erie Express received a very thoughtful get well card in the mail yesterday from the POV tailgate gang. The personal comments were well thought out and showed these Pitt fans care deeply about the person they met at a tailgate party.

    We are truly blessed to know this group and being able to call them our friends. Mrs. Erie was only able to watch the 4th qtr of the UCF game with me, and she started crying part way through – I asked her what was upsetting her and she said “we were supposed to be at the game”.

    I’m hoping to get to a game in October and/or November – I’m not sure Mrs. Erie can make the trip to Pittsburgh this year – her care takers know she is a Pitt fan as she sports a James Conner Pitt shirt on game days.

    H2P!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Care givers not takers –

      After the psuX, I almost needed a care taker until I got myself back to reality and put things into perspective –

      OhHowIHatepennstate!

      Liked by 4 people

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