Pittsburgh Sports Now published a “Grading Pat Narduzzi” Poll yesterday. You can find it here if you haven’t seen it yet. By the time I wrote this 1180 people had voted. The majority of them (49% – well I guess technically that’s a plurality) gave Pat a “C”. The next most common grade was “B” (38%), followed by “D” (9%). “A” and “F” were tied at 2% each.
Pat has gone 18-16 in the ACC over the last four years, so a C grade seems about right. (The poll asked PSN’s readers to grade Pat over his full six years, but in all honesty, nobody remembers his first two), and really, do two 8-5 years with Paul Chryst’s players really change anything?
PSN also states that “Pitt’s recruiting in terms of team rankings has no doubt steadily improved under Narduzzi.” They then posted posted the following table:
PITT’S TEAM RECRUITING RANKINGS (PER RIVALS)
This Season: 21st
So about that. If you actually look at the data, it’s more accurate to say that Pitt’s recruiting in terms of team rankings has steadily declined under Narduzzi, especially if you throw out the 2021 class…because the 2021 recruiting cycle has not been completed yet.
Here is Pitt’s class rank progression expressed linearly in case anyone is interested:
But I’m not here to throw shade on anyone’s interpretation of the facts; I’m just here to comment on the state of Pitt football, and the truth is there are a lot of different factors that go into the Rivals ranking. Including an arcane weighting system that would leave pretty much any normal person scratching their head.
From Rivals (Note, unless your name is Richard Hefner, you should probably just skip this part and save yourself the headache):
Confused yet? Don’t worry, so am I.
If we put all the Rivals Bonus Points mumbo-jumbo aside, average rivals rating per class is probably the best way metric by which to evaluate recruiting. But still, there is some nuance. For example Pitt’s two best lineman and best linebacker last year were two-stars. Pitt’s best offensive lineman for the past three years (maybe four) has been a no-star walk on (although that may well be an indictment on the state of the offensive line…)
Nonetheless here are average rivals ratings per class since 2016:
- 2016: 5.60
- 2017: 5.58
- 2018: 5.64
- 2019: 5.56
- 2020: 5.61
- 2021: 5.60
Here is the progression expressed linearly, in case you are interested:
Pretty damn flat if you ask me.
What’s also noteworthy here is that 5.6 is just right about in the middle of the Rivals scale (which starts at 5.2 and goes to 6.1). Actually it’s slightly below center.
So far the wisdom of the crowd is holding.
Okay okay so what about player development? Pat Narduzzi has always propagated the “we like to coach em up” line. Well, there are two relatively easy ways to look at that.
Now it’s fair to say that Pitt will have at least four, if not five NFL draftees this season (I’m including Paris Ford because he was recruited by Narduzzi), and Pitt would probably have six if Kenny Pickett declared (Yes yes sixth round, I know. But still counts). But even if that’s the case how does Narduzzi manage to go six and five with what would be ostensibly the most talented team during his tenure? Yes yes COVID and one point losses to teams that weren’t on the schedule and all that, but still…
Alright so lets talk value. Pat made a $4.1M salary in 2019 (the last year in which there is reportable data) which would have put him top-four in the ACC. The prior year he made $3.2M which would have put him eighth. Unless Pitt shows marked improvement over the next few years it will be easy to label Narduzzi as overpaid. At $3.2 M (i.e. right in the middle of the ACC pack) you’d call Pat a fair value but nothing more. It should also be pointed out that some coaches were paid bonuses in 2019 that were not included in the final compensation. Pat Narduzzi’s $4.1M number includes $1.0 M in bonus money, according to the P-G article. (For what? Winning seven regular season games and the Quicklane Bowl?)
Last thing…and it’s something that the more rational posters will tend to point out. Pat runs a clean program, and generally the football team’s academic progress is strong. For example, Pitt football’s APR ranked 4th in the ACC in 2018 / 2019. Fans, of course, don’t care about this, but the Pitt administration does, and so there is that.
If one was going to break down the overall grade into parts, one might look at it like this:
- On field: C
- Recruiting: C-
- Overall Player Development: C
- Value for Money: D+
- Off Field: A-
Still a C folks, any way you slice it.
But…that’s just my analysis. What say you Pitt Fans? A B C D or F?