I’ve got about the worst case of writer’s block you can imagine, but I know yinz need something to talk about besides whether or not there is going to be a season, so I’m going to steal some of somebody else’s work and go with that. After all, it’s a lot easier to be a pundit than to come up with original material, and well, i’m tired.
So credit to Alan Saunders who I have great respect for, for writing this article, and here are my thoughts.
Lets start with how bad Pitt’s offense actually was in 2019. Really. Freaking. Bad. In fact, in the entirety of FBS only 16 teams were worse at scoring points. 16!
On offense? Mark Whipple’s squad was way below average. Pitt’s 21.2 points per game was 114th of 130.
I’ll list them out for you with points per game. Teams of interest in bold.
- South Florida 20.8
- West Virginia 20.6
- UTSA 20.3
- UMASS 19.8
- UTEP 19.6
- UCONN 18.9
- Texas State 18.4
- South Alabama 18.4
- Rice 17.9
- Georgia Tech 16.7
- Vanderbilt 16.5
- Northwestern 16.3 (my brother went to Northwestern)
- Old Dominion 16.3
- Bowling Green 16.0
- Rutgers 13.3
- Akron 10.5
My first question is, how do we get Akron and Bowling Green on the schedule and soon?
My second question is, how did we almost lose to Georgia Tech?
My third question is, how bad are the players that Whipple left behind at UMASS and how good is his system if he was able to get 32.8 points out of them in 2018?
Saunders asks much the same question:
After all, Whipple was able to have more productive offenses that what Pitt put on the board in each of his five seasons at UMass. From 2013-18, Whipple’s Minutemen finished no worse than 110th in the country in scoring offense and in 2017 and 2018, they were 47th and 36th respectively.
Of course he’s drinking the kool-aid here, and that’s what he’s paid to do. Still, the prospect of Pitt improving from 114th in scoring offense to say 51st, is tantalizing. As odd as that may sound. The team that finished 51st in scoring offense posted 30.7 points per game. Pitt would have won 11 games with that kind of production. Maybe 12.
So that’s the upside. I’ve been a Pitt fan long enough not to bank on it though. Also if you look at Whipple’s 2018 team, they were not exactly the model of consistency:
- vs Boston College: 21
- vs Georgia Southern: 13
- vs FIU: 24
- vs Coastal Carolina: 13
- vs UCONN: 22
- vs BYU: 16
That kind of output has got the makings of 2-4 over six games, as long as Pitt’s defense doesn’t drop off too much year over year.
Yes, Saunders points out the fact that this is Whipple’s second year at the helm, and the entire offensive staff returns, as do a bunch of starters. But do we really believe we can score 30 points a game against the better defenses that we face?
Here is the schedule and last year’s scoring defense:
- Maimi (OH): 28.1 (69th)
- at Marshall: 25.0 (47th)
- Duke: 29.2 (77th) – Pitt Scored 33
- at Miami: 20.2 (23rd) – Pitt Scored 16
- Notre Dame: 17.9 (12th)
- Georgia Tech: 32.4 (104th) – Pitt Scored 20
- at Florida State: 27.8 (67th)
- Virginia Tech: 24.7 (46th) – Pitt Scored 0
- at UNC: 23.7 (44th) – Pitt Scored 33 (in OT)
- at Virginia: 27.1 (62nd) – Pitt Scored 14
- Syracuse 30.7 (88th) – Pitt Scored 27
Last year, Pitt scored more than their ACC opponent’s scoring average two times out of seven (for opponents on this year’s schedule).
Maybe I’m just jaded because of lock down, but feels a lot like a 7-5 season folks…if they even play one.
Prove me wrong Pitt. Prove me wrong.