Believing is Seeing, But There is Nothing to See

October 31, 2021

Here is another spot-on piece by Rick Caldwell


“I appreciate all the Pitt fans yelling about the officiating. There were bad calls all day. But if you’re Pitt, you can’t play that poorly on D and make critical mistakes on offense with multiple chances to take the lead – bad officiating or not.” – Andrea Adelson of ESPN

Oh, the buzz that was in the air around Pitt football. Miami walked into Heinz Field and punched our Panthers square in the mouth as Pitt never lead in this game. Our Heisman hyped QB was outplayed by a FR QB. Pitt’s response to all that was disappointing to say the least.

This was an entertaining game yet very frustrating at the same time. The U owns Pitt and Pat Narduzzi. The former defensive assistant turned head coach now has a worse overall win percentage against the canes than the historical numbers. Neither are good, so I’ll move on.


1. It is just a game.

2. The rain never happened during game time.


1. Pitt is not an elite team. Elite teams don’t lose to western freaking Michigan. This is a slightly above average team that has been able to beat average teams 6 out of 8 times in 2021. This is an 8-4 team, 8-5 after their bowl loss. It’s sad but it is what it is.

2. KP8’s (Kenny Pickett) two INT’s in this game.

3. KP8 as a guest on various sports talk shows everyday this past week – I wonder how much game film was watched in prep for the Hurricane that ripped through Heinz Field.

4. Narduzzi kicking a FG again when he needed a TD.

5. #31 (Eric Hallett) was beaten like a drum – pass coverage, missed tackles and costly penalties – you have to show up and do your job or be replaced by the 4* teammates behind you. I believe #31 played the whole game. Where was the depth?

6. Our RB’s carried the ball a total of 13 times – six each by Abanikanda (4.7 ypc) and V. Davis (7.5 ypc) while Hammond carried ONCE for 6 yards.


1. Giving up 31 points in the 1st half to a team with a 3-4 record and a true FR QB.

2. 68 yards in penalties in the 1st half.

3. Play calling by Whipple on the Miami 5 yard line in the 4th quarter which resulted in a FG when we were down by seven (maddening).

4. A lot of missed tackles (16 on one series – multiple per play).

5. A defense-minded coach loses a potentially monumental season by giving up three TDs on the first three drives to a FR QB on just 10 plays.

6. As the author of this article, I edited out numerous BAD and UGLY lines to shorten the read and make this less frustrating for Pitt fans. Get ready for the “same old” as this season unfolds. This was a BIG win for Miami and an even BIGGER loss for Pitt.

Miami Game Day – Predictions and Threads

I dropped the ball on this one. I missed interpreted an email Reed sent me. Good thing I finally looked at the draft Reed had left.

I was supposed to add a bunch of stuff  but all I am adding is the Broadcast info. Comcast viewers know the drill on how to watch.

Broadcast Information
Television • ACC Network
Chris Cotter (play-by-play), Mark Herzlich (analyst), Jalyn Johnson (reporter)

Pitt Radio • 93.7 The Fan & Pitt Panthers Radio Network
Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Pat Bostick (analyst), Larry Richert (reporter)

SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Sirius Channel 133, XM Channel 193, SXM App Channel 955

WPTS Radio (Pitt Student Station) • 92.1 FM

Online Audio

These can be used for in-game commenting research also.

Pitt Football Homepage

Pitt ESPN Homepage

Pitt Football 2021-22 Schedule

Pitt Football 2021-22 Stats

Pitt Football 2021-22 Roster

Here are some sites for info on our opponents:

Miami Football Home Site

Pitt vs Miami Game Notes 

Miami Stats (current & historical info)

Atlantic Coast Conference 2021-22 Standings (w/ links to team pages)


Here is Pitt’s Two Deep for the game:


Welcome to Miami

In 2019 Pitt was on a four game winning streak when Miami came to town. After losing a heartbreaker in Happy Valley, Pitt had knocked off #15 UCF at home, squeaked by Delaware with backup redshirt Freshman Nick Patti under center, won a 33-30 shootout with Duke on the road, and then went on to beat Syracuse by a touchdown in the Carrier Dome. That 4-0 run had Panther nation feeling pretty good. Pretty good indeed.

Next up was a home game against a three-win Miami team whose weaknesses seemed to play right into Pitt’s strengths: The ‘Canes had one of the worst offensive lines in college football, and no quarterback to speak of. Pitt led the nation in sacks and the offense seemed to have gotten on track, scoring 35, 33 and 27 points in its last three games with Pickett under center. Said another way, five wins in a row and a national ranking was seemingly right around the corner.

Well we all know how that ended. Miami came up to Heinz field, held Pitt to 12 points and no TD’s (Pitt for the second time that season failed to score a touchdown first and goal inside the five) and Miami’s backup QB came off the bench to throw the game winning touchdown with 58 seconds left on the clock. Same old Pitt had reared its ugly head again.

And to be clear, Same Old Pitt rears its ugly head pretty often against Miami. In fact, Pitt has won just three times against the Hurricanes since 1984. Let that sink in for a moment. Three times in the last twenty-four tries. Three times. For those of you with an analytical mindset, that’s a 12.5% winning percentage. Same Old Pitt indeed.

Kenny Pickett, of course, owns one of those wins. It was his historic full-game debut in 2017 that knocked the hated ‘Canes out of playoff contention. The following year, Pitt played Miami on the road after locking up the Coastal Division championship. You’ll recall Pickett wasn’t much of a passer that year, and the beleaguered Pitt offense mustered three points (losing all-ACC Center Jimmy Morrissey to a knee injury in the previous game didn’t help, but I’m still not convinced it would have changed the outcome). Then came the aforementioned 16-12 debacle at Heinz in 2019. Last year Joey Yellen subbed for an injured Pickett in Miami Gardens, and Pitt lost 31-19.

But this year is different. Pickett is a much improved passer, and Pitt is routinely outscoring its opponents by 20 points or more. For the record, the Panthers outscored their opponents by a mere 4.5 points per game last year, and Pitt was outscored by their opponents by about a point per game both in 2019 and 2018. Meanwhile Pitt’s defense has tightened up after the Western Michigan game. They’ve given up an average of 15 points per game in their last three. (Although it’s fair to say that playing the likes of Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and this-years-version-of-Clemson is hardly a test for a defense. But…on the other hand it’s also fair to point out that WMU lost to Ball State and Toledo, scoring a combined 25 points in the process, so believe what you want to believe.)

Still, Randy Bates’ squad is confident if nothing else, and they are making plays, and Miami comes into the game starting a true Freshman quarterback and sporting a 20% chance of winning, per ESPN. Their quarterback, Tyler Van Dyke, seems to have found his sea legs against then-number-eighteen NC State, shredding what was a pretty competent defense to the tune of 325 yards and four TD’s last week. It was Van Dyke’s third complete game against power 5 competition, and you could consider it a breakout.

(Image courtesy of ESPN)

And so… assuming the young Van Dyke doesn’t regress, Pitt will have its hands full on Saturday, as it always does, against the hated ‘Canes. The hope of course is that Van Dyke does regress, or that the road game knocks him out of his rhythm, or at the very least Pitt’s blitz package does. Or that Miami has a hangover from an emotional win against a ranked team. Or that a team that is starting 12 true and redshirt freshman experiences the ups and downs of starting 12 true and redshirt freshman. But the bigger hope is that Pitt simply plays to potential. Stars and recruiting aside, it’s not a stretch to say that the Panthers are the better team this year, if they can just avoid the Same Old Pitfalls.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

2021 Season – Miami Hurricanes

Pitt won another one last Saturday against the returning reigning but now reeling Clemson Tigers. Pitt remains atop the ACC Coastal division.

This week, Pitt faces off against the visiting Miami Hurricanes (the “U” or Canes). In a home contest, the U beat then #18 ranked NC State 31 – 30. They believe that they are back in the hunt for a  Coastal division title.

The ACC standings and year to date (YTD) schedules:

There are no common opponents. I will admit Miami played a stiffer Out of Conference (OOC) schedule. Playing Alabama probably earned the Miami athletic department a $4 or $5 million payoff. In my normal poke at stats adjusters, I wonder if the victory over the Canes’ FCS opponent (the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils) affected any stats significantly.

Here are the NCAA stats for team and individual comparison. Those highlighted in yellow are Miami advantages.

Those players in a dark blue are out for the season. Players who have entered the Transfer Portal (TP) are in a light orange (or pink). Those in green are TP entries. Players who may be out for the game are in a light blue.

Not many prior game stat comparisons for Miami to hang their hat on. The Canes do have a great punter in Lou Hedley.

On to the individual stats. Of course, starting with the QB’s I have shorted the list by only showing the individual game stats for the expected starters – Kenny Pickett and Tyler Van Dyke (the grandson of comedian Dick Van Dyke and his TV bride Mary TYLER Moore). For all others,  I am using a summary line.

If Jake Garcia does not make the trip to Heinz Field, Van Dyke will be backed up by Peyton Matocha (Rivals 2018 5.4  2*) and walk-on Ryan Rizk.

Did you notice I have both a total and NCAA total on Kenny Pickett’s stats? For some strange reason , the NCAA has credited Pickett with an additional four completions, five attempts, 35 yards and two touchdowns in his UMass passing statistics. Those additional stats may be reverberating into the team stats,

The ever popular running backs/receiver category. ESPN stats. Notice only 24 receiving touchdowns while NCAA stats have Pitt having 26.

Sprinkles of color. The TP (names highlighted in green) making a difference.

Some defensive individual stats. From ESPN team stats and compared to NCAA statistics for accuracy.

I again used the top 15 in tackles for Miami. Pitt has 16 due to a tie for the coveted top 15 listing. In total, Pitt now has 40 and Miami 43 players who made at least one tackle (solo or assisted)/sack/pass defended (PD)/interception/forced fumble(FF)/ fumble recovered(FR).

I did add some stats to compare the “chosen fifteen” to Team totals.

Where did the sprinkles go?

Oh boy, a new chart. Games played and started for offensive linemen. I used 3 games “played” as my cut-off. Just a decision I made. I can revisit if just one person wants to see the complete list.

TP entries seem to have more of an impact on the O-Line then the defense. Miami has eight players who started at least one game. Pitt only has six. Injuries? Bad line play?

How are they doing in protecting and blocking?

Pitt-better than average. Miami- a lot worse than average. Any ideas?

As to turnovers here is a comparison:

Another game of current reality versus future potential. I cannot deny the recruiting ranking imbalance of Pitt versus Miami. But Miami’s talent is not showing up on the field. Is it bad coaching? Is it Miami chasing “stars” instead of talent? Is it the inability of Miami to play the best player over experience (a charge that is leveled at Pitt coaches)? Whatever the reason, Pitt wins 38 – 17