The Panthers Take on the Boilermakers

Here is another detailed and well written article by John Demko about the woman’s volleyball team facing Purdue tomorrow. They are doing as well as our football team… Huh, in past years that wouldn’t be such a good thing! But – 2021 is a special year for Pitt sports and with that the Men’s BB team won last night. Will wonders ever cease?

For the second year in a row our #3 seed Pitt Women’s volleyball team has made it to the Elite Eight/Regional Final.  This time they are hosting it at the Fitzgerald Field House.  They will play #6 seed Purdue at 4:00 PM on Saturday, December 11th.  The match will be televised on ESPNU.  If you live near Pittsburgh, get your butt in a seat at the Fitz!

Pitt got here by defeating Kansas 3-0 on Thursday.  Except for the very slow 3-8 start in the first set, Pitt was pretty much in control the entire match.  In the first set they had a 10-point run to take the lead.  Kayla Lund was the server during the run and had two service aces during it.  In each set Pitt would take control in the middle of the set and never let Kansas threatened again.

Pitt hit 0.356 vs. 0.277 for Kansas.  Chinaza Ndee led the Panthers with 14 kills and hit an incredible 0.632.  Member-Meneh was the only other Panther with double digit kills with 11, hitting 0.280.  Kansas out blocked Pitt 5-9.  Pitt won the serve game with 9 aces/6 errors versus 2 aces/6 errors for Kansas.  Member-Meneh had 30 serve receptions with only 2 errors!  Kansas was targeting her with the serve but she was more than up to the task!

Now for an analysis of Purdue.  The Purdue Boilermakers are from the Big Ten conference.  They finished tied for 4th in the conference with Minnesota.  The Big Ten placed 8 teams in the tournament versus 6 for the ACC.  Purdue’s record is 26-6.

Purdue’s common opponents with Pitt were Kansas, Louisville, Tennessee, BYU, and Penn State.  Louisville swept them at a neutral site.  They swept Kansas at a neutral site and Tennessee at home.  They defeated Penn State at home 3-2.  They defeated BYU 3-2 at Pitt on Thursday.

Pitt lost to Louisville, home and away, 3-2 and 3-1 respectively.  They defeated Tennessee 3-2 away.  Pitt beat both BYU and Penn State 3-1 at home.

Basically, Pitt and Purdue are closely matched with Pitt having the slight edge.  One thing to know about Purdue, this season they are a very tough out!  They have defeated two teams ranked #3 at the time of play and one team ranked #4.  Two of these three wins were against Big Ten champion and #4 seed Wisconsin.  The other win being against Ohio State.

In the tournament so far, they swept Illinois State in the 1st round.  In the 2nd round they had to come back from a two-set deficit to defeat Dayton.   They won the 4th set 25-6 and the 5th set 15-5.  In the 3rd round against BYU they got behind 2-1 before rallying and winning the last two sets.  The 5th set went to 18-16.

Purdue is hitting 0.255 for the season versus 0.169 for their opponents.  For comparison Pitt is hitting 0.286 versus 0.189 for their opponents.  Purdue has 141 service aces versus 217 service errors.  Purdue runs a 5-1 offense with #2 redshirt senior Hayley Bush being their setter.  She stands 5’10”.  With a 5/1 Bush will be at the net for three rotations out of six.

Purdue’s leading hitter is #4 Caitlyn Newton.  Newton is a 6’-1” fifth-year player outside hitter.  Their second leading hitter is #20 Grace Cleveland.  Cleveland is a 6’-3” outside hitter senior.  These two hitters have more than twice as many kills as the rest of the team.  

Purdue is a good blocking team averaging 2.99 blocks per set.  Pitt averages 2.40 blocks per set.  Purdue has four main blockers.  They are #7 6’-1’ freshman middle blocker Colvin Raven, #17 sophomore 6’-2” middle blocker Taylor Trammel, #18 6’-2” senior middle blocker Jael Johnson, and #20 Grace Cleveland.  Trammel did not play against BYU.

Something to note, three of the four main blockers are middles.  Therefore, at most, only two of their main blockers will be on the court at a time.  When Cleveland is not on the front line, there will be only one of their main blockers on the court.  A player cannot block from the back by rule.

Here are the keys to the game for Pitt.

  • Shutdown Purdue’s two main hitters.  Make the rest of the team score.
  • Use all the attackers on the front line.  Purdue is used to 5-1 opponents as the Big Ten teams favors that offense.  Pitt’s depth will be a big asset here.
  • Know where the setter is on the front line.  Attack the opposite side or in the middle if possible.  Their middles will be leaning toward the setter side.
  • Attack a solo setter at the net.
  • Serve well.  Pitt is a better serving team.
  • Play within themselves.  Do not try to do too much.  Minimize unforced errors.
  • Minimize Purdue’s chances to block.  Move the attack around.  Purdue needs their blocks to score.
  • Never count Purdue out of a point, set or the match.  Attack, attack, attack!

Somethings to expect from Purdue.

  • They will concentrate on blocking Rachel Fairbanks when she is on the front line.
  • They will serve to Member-Meneh most.  Lund will be receiving the second most serves when either of them are in the back row.
  • They will try to use two person blocks on our outside hitters.  Pitt can attack from the middle blocker position to keep them “honest”.
  • The setter will try to score on surprise “dinks” over the net when she is on the front line.

Who do I expect will win the match?  I think Pitt matches up well with Purdue.  Pitt can win the match in 4 sets.  If fact, if the match is over in 4 sets, I would expect a Pitt victory.  If it goes to 5 sets, things get interesting.  Purdue has more experience with 5 set matches but I still give the edge to Pitt.

Expect all sets to be close!  Be warned!  The match will not be for the faint of heart!

Hail to Pitt!

184 thoughts on “The Panthers Take on the Boilermakers

  1. That’s a ton of info, John. Excellent job.

    Good luck to the ladies!


    PS: Speaking of ladies, the Pitt women’s BB team is playing NC State tonight. NC State is ranked #2 and their only loss is to No. 1. Probably be a rough night for the Panthers.

    I think N C State won the ACC the last 2 seasons.

    Pitt is still struggling on offense but I’d love to see them find a way to hang with NC St. Would be a great sign for the future.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Elite Eight teams are set. There are 4 Big Ten teams: Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Purdue. Wisconsin is playing Minnesota so at least one will be eliminated. There are 3 ACC teams!!! These teams are Pitt, Louisville, and Georgia Tech. Louisville is playing Georgia Tech. The other team still in the tournament is Texas who is playing Minnesota.

    This year is the first time five ACC teams advanced to the 2nd round of the tournament: Miami and Florida State being the other two. It is also the first time three ACC teams have advanced to the third and fourth rounds of the tournament.

    Florida State is the only ACC team to make it to the semi-finals. They did it in 2011. Either Louisvile or Georgia Tech is guaranteed to be the second ACC team to make it. It would be great if Pitt joined them!!

    No ACC team has ever played in the finals.


  3. Excellent synopsis for the reader. Thanks a bunch.

    I will be there tomorrow — bought my ticket today. I am curious what kind of ticket sales are occurring for this game. I really hope the place is packed for these “kids”. These coaches and players are such great representatives of our beloved university.

    I believe finals week begins this Monday — Hope the students turn out, let off some steam before their final stretch.

    So rare to host an Elite 8 game regardless of sport. Hope a great showing occurs.

    Go Lady Panthers! H2P!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The Elite Eight is now set. There are four Big Ten teams remaining: Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Purdue. There are three ACC teams remaining: Pitt, Louisville, and Georgia Tech. Texas is the other team remaining. Wisconsin is playing Minnesota so there is guaranteed to be one less Big Ten team remaining in the Final Four. Louisville is playing Georgia Tech so there is guaranteed to be one less ACC team remaining in the Final Four. Texas is playing Nebraska.

    This is the best year for the ACC ever in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball tournament. The six teams selected for the tournament tied the highest number ever selected. North Carolina was eliminated in the first round. The 5 remaining ACC teams advancing to the second round was the most ever. Miami and Florida State were eliminated in the 2nd round. The three teams in the third and fourth rounds is also the most ever!

    Only one ACC team has ever made it to the semifinals. That was Florida State in 2011. At least one ACC team will make it this year: Louisville or Georgia Tech. Pitt joining them would be ideal!

    No ACC team has ever played in the finals. The first year the tournament was held was 1981.

    This is also the first year an ACC team has been ranked #1 in the AVCA poll. Louisville had that honor.


  5. This is the best year ever for ACC women’s volleyball. Six teams making the tournament tied for the most ever. Five teams getting to the 2nd round were the most ever. North Carolina got knocked out in the 1st round.

    Three teams getting to the 3rd and 4th round were the most ever. Florida State and Miami were knocked out in the 2nd round. At least one ACC team will make the semifinals as Louisville is playing Georgia Tech. Of course it would be ideal if Pitt was also in the semifinals!!

    Only one ACC team, Florida State in 2011, has made the tournament finals. No ACC team has ever made it to the finals. The NCAA Women’s volleyball tournament started in 1981.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reed, how much are paying for these volleyball write-ups?

    Reminder— women’s basketball on ACCN at 6. Want to see if they get a big crowd than last night. Also, after the game, James Madison in playoff game on ESPN2. JMU is coached by former Pitt OC Curt Cignetti, his OC is Mike Shanahan, and his QB Coach is Toni.

    Sent from my iPhone



  7. I love when John does his VB articles. I don’t really have to proof read his articles. He’s that good of a writer.

    Other aspiring writers out there…sharpen your pencils as we have a long stretch of opportunities to post your work..

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Excellent report, John! You and Annie have kindled my interest in ladies VB. We are anxiously awaiting the results of this next match!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. John, thank you for giving the WVB the attention they have so rightfully earned. Imho the best performing sport at Pitt over the last 6-7 yrs. Coach Fisher has done an amazing job since taking over the program. It has always been successful but I can’t recall them ever been thought of so highly by the national media. And to add to the good news they just received a transfer commitment from a former Colorado State Player of the Year and a member of the PAC 12 All Freshmen team. H2P

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Does anyone have an update on the QB transfer situation? Is this weekend when his visit will take place?


  11. Our ladies can’t take any point for granted. BYU had match point yesterday with the score at 14-11 (they play to 15 during set 5)
    and Purdue came back to win it 18-16. Our coaches were at the end of the court scouting the teams before our game so hopefully they relayed the urgency of scoring to our players.
    With fingers crossed and my VB terrible towel in hand, I’ll be in my seat in the front row (don’t know how I got so lucky to be there). It’s amazing how much communication between the players you can hear from the floor. During all the years I watched my kids play I never noticed how much they talk to each other during the play. H2P!!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Annie: From someone who watched that 5th set on television, it looked as if BYU got very tight at the end of that fifth set. There were two aces in a row by Purdue, one after a timeout, when Purdue tied it at 14. I was surprised by that. BYU plays in a fairly easy conference. In the end that may have been their undoing. It will be interesting to see how they do in the Big Twelve. Texas will be the only good volleyball team that is leaving as they enter.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. John – Thanks for the write-up. As usual an enjoyable read.

    Can you explain the difference in the 5-1 offense that Purdue runs and whatever (6-1?) that Pitt uses?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The difference between a 5-1 and a 6-2 is the number of setters a team uses during a set. A 5-1 uses only one setter who rotates through all six positions on the court. This means she will be in the front row for 3 of the six rotations. Since she is setting the ball for the hitters, she is not usually an attacker when she is on the front line. Most teams in the Big Ten use this offense as the set for the hitters is consistent due to it always coming from the same person.

      A 6-2 uses two setters that rotate in and out of the lineup as the set progresses. On a rotation when the setter is to come to the front, the second setter will replace the outside that is going to the back row. In most systems when the second setter is entering the game, a new outside hitter will enter at the same time. That is the way Pitt has run their system for the last two years until very recently. The advantage of a 6-2 is that a team always has 3 attackers at the net. To run a 6-2 requires two good setters as well as a lot of very good outside hitters. Pitt actually has three good setters: Kylee Levers, Lexis Akeo, and Rachel Fairbanks.

      Kylee and Lexis were our two setters until about 4 or 5 matches ago. When Kayla Lund could not play, Coach Fisher decided to use Rachel Fairbanks as the starting setter with Lexis Akeo continuing to come in as the second setter. In a twist to the usual 6-2, Rachel Fairbanks stays on the floor when she goes to the front line and plays an outside hitter position. This saves Coach Fisher one substitution every setter rotation. Even after Kayla was able to play, Rachel has continued to be used on the front line as an outside. Rachel has done reasonably well as an outside although she was the focus of the Kansas blocks early in the last match. She recovered well in the third set when she had 3 kills in six attempts with no errors.

      Hope that explanation helps!

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Well done, with one add on, in the 5-1 system the setter better be a good blocker. If not the opponent will attack that side of the net mercilessly. That’s the primary reason why Akeo doesn’t play the front court or her sister previously. If you look closely most of the teams that utilize this offense have a setter 6′ or taller. They don’t worry as much about the offense because they typically have very good back row hitters which increases their offensive plays exponentially. The back row attack also affects the blockers timing as it is very hard to track the ball coming from that far back. The back row hitter has to take off from behind the 3 meter line.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Pitt women basketballers got clobbered by No. 2 NC St. tonight 89-54. It was no contest from the get-go.

    NCS made 15 of 33 threes; Pitt made 5 of 19. Pitt was out-rebounded 51-37.

    Pitt is clearly making progress – this year the Coach White recruits are Juniors and Sophs. But tonight they learned how far they are from the elite of the ACC.

    Coach White always says that to be a good team you have to get old and then stay old. Be interesting to see if we can at least climb to the middle of the pack in the ACC…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The great equalizer in basketball is the three point shot.
      Both our teams need to recruit more kids that specialize in that.


  15. 15 out of 33 threes? That’s incredible. No team should shoot 3s that well. They need to work on their perimeter defense, even average defenders should do better..


    1. Unfortunately NC St. is one of those handful of elite women’s teams that has both an inside and an outside game – so pick your poison. Coach said they tried to change things up after NC St. made about 5 quick threes…🤔

      One of their 3-point shots was a half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter… 🤔

      NC St. had a center come off the bench and shoot 7 for 10…

      Coach has much work to do. Next game is at ND…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. AP Coach of the Year

    Jim Harbaugh, Michigan — 103 points (22 first-place votes).

    Luke Fickell, Cincinnati — 88 (16).

    Dave Aranda, Baylor —47 (5).

    Mel Tucker, Michigan State — 22 (4).

    Kirby Smart, Georgia — 13 (1).

    Blake Anderson, Utah State — 11 (3).

    Nick Saban, Alabama — 9 (1).

    Dave Clawson, Wake Forest — 6 (1).

    Jeff Traylor, UTSA — 6.

    Pat Narduzzi, Pitt — 4.

    Kyle Whittingham, Utah — 4.

    Sam Pittman, Arkansas — 2.

    Mike Houston, East Carolina — 1.

    Billy Napier, Louisiana — 1.

    Kalani Sitake, BYU — 1.


  17. Duzz has a chance to beat a second to ten coach when Pitt faces Michigan State and Mel Tucker in the Peach Bowl on December 30th.

    Dave Clawson was beaten by the Pickett fake slide and the Duzz in the ACC championship last weekend.

    Not a bad resume when all is said and done for 2021.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Sounds like a great idea. I may have a conflict, but would like to see it happen…

    OT – Coach Venables reportedly being paid over $7 million a year. Ridiculou$…

    The venerable Coach Venable$…

    Go Pitt


    1. Yeah, AM was a mystery. I kept waiting for that break-out game — I guess we all did…

      (And remember, if none of the QBs work out for next season, we can always more Wayne to QB! 😊😊).

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. The Heisman will be announced at 8pm this evening. Pulling for Pickett but think the others are from bigger schools and that will shut KP out.

    The QB from Alabama takes it. Now, that said I’ve been terrible at predictions lately so Kenny might be the
    winner. I wonder if his fake slide will be held against him…it pissed a lot of people in the CFB world off.


    1. You’re probably right about the slide. I’m pretty sure that if the NCAA was around when the first forward pass was thrown they would have outlawed that too.

      Liked by 3 people

  20. Agree with Reed on this…hoping for Kenny.
    OT, the Army Navy game coming on..
    If you don’t get emotional watching these kids, check your pulse.


  21. Kenny Pickett on College GameDay this morning along with the other three Heisman hopefuls.

    Clearly one of the other nominees is NOT the biggest Pickett fan.

    Inevitable that the discussion would come up about the Pickett “Fake Slide.” As Pickett was responding to the question as to whether it was REALLY intentional… the look on C.J. Stroud’s face is just too telling.

    Nice guy Bryce Young looks to be the winner going away. But here’s hoping “Kool Kenny” pulls in right behind at No. 2 leaving Stroud back in the dust.


  22. BTW… A lot of talk about Alabama Linebacker Will Anderson being the missing piece at the Heisman Award.

    Let me see, if Anderson had gotten his just due according to many in the know… WHAT might that do to the Alabama/SEC voting block now squarely behind Bryce Young?

    No way could we have that.


  23. 15-14 at the media break in the first set. Very close set as predicted. Several lead changes.


  24. Pitt up 23-19. Purdue takes second and last timeout. Pitt attacking the middle. This forces Purdue’s moiddles to stay in middle.


  25. Pitt take set one 25-20. Must not get too confident! Keep attacking. Pitt attacked a lot from the middle with a total of 9 kills. Pitt hit an incredible 0.571. Member-Meneh led with 6 kills.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Pitt goes on a 4 point run in 2nd set and now have a 9-8 lead. Pitt serving well as is Purdue.


  27. Pitt calls timeout with the score tied at 19. Pitt making unforced errors in this set. Need to stop doing that.


  28. Purdue takes 2nd set 30-28. Akeo goes to Lund 3 times in a row! Purdue was waiting. Also service error from Akeo. She needs to put it behind her and calm herself.


  29. Pitt takes 3rd set 25-20. Need to keep up the pressure! Purdue block was a factor in the last two sets.

    Akeo played much better in 3rd set. Rachel Fairbanks is playing well.


  30. Purdue uses first timeout in 4th set with Pitt up 17-11. Gray is stuffing Purdue setter’s dinks!


  31. Pitt takes time out up 19-14 as Purdue serving tough and on a 3 point run. Pitt needs to side out!!!


  32. Pitt up 21-14 as Purdue uses their 2nd and last timeout in the 4th set. Pitt cannot afford to lose this set!!!


  33. Pitt was being picked to lose by the experts due to Big Ten bias! Lots of crow being eaten this afternoon.

    Impressive 4th set by our Panthers! Hope Annie and anyone else attending had a great time!

    Liked by 3 people

  34. slight(ed) is an understatement… he will have a long professlional career…. We won’t remember the other 2 Qb’s names in 10 years….. just like Heisman winner Jason White.. you know that guy who beat out Fitz

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Pickett 3rd in the Heisman vote. Hutchinson 2nd. A bit of a surprise to me.

    No. 3 in the AP Player of the Year. No. 3 in the Heisman.

    Seems like No. 3 OVERALL Pick in the NFL Draft might be a good possibility.

    Think that might be OK.


      1. Homegrown kids going to a school in the neighborhood they grew up in….the way it should be… let’s mandate that… no more all -star teams.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s another quote from that article:

      “Transfers certainly have strengthened Pitt’s core and turned a program on the rise into a juggernaut.”

      “JUGGERNAUT” strikes again!

      And I’m amazed that Member-Meneh is getting all these kills and she’s only 5’-8”…

      Go Pitt!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Member-Meneh has a cannon for a right arm, probably comparable to fully healthy Kayla Lund. The fact she can jump “out-of-the-gym” negates her height disadvantage.

        Liked by 2 people

  36. That was a great win yesterday and it was nice to see freshmen making an impact in such an important win. Fairbanks in particular wad a strong game.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Thought I saw Heather behind coach Saban while he was interviewed after the winner was announced.
    Thought she was hanging at the OBX with BigB?

    If you would have told me Pitt would win 11 games before the bowl game and have the Biletnikoff winner and Kenny finishes #3 in the Heisman…

    Liked by 7 people

  38. Now that the awards ceremonies are over, it would be interesting to shift gears and see what everyone thinks of the key coaching search, what will happen, candidates, especially from those with good contacts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some good quotes from GC’s link:

      “Pitt also benefited from 14 kills from Penn State transfer Serena Gray.

      Beating Purdue ended another long losing streak for Pitt. The Panthers, who last played the Boilermakers in 2013, had lost their previous 11 matches to Purdue.

      Fisher wasn’t sure this level was ever possible.

      “I came here from an NAIA school,” Fisher said. “I never dreamed of being in this moment. I was just trying to get us to the NCAA Tournament. So this has far exceeded my own expectations. I’d say this has been an amazing group to work with.””

      Liked by 4 people

  39. The Final Four in NCAA Women’s Volleyball will feature two ACC vs. Big Ten contests. #3 seed Pitt will take on #10 seed Nebraska. #1 seed Louisville will take on #4 seed Wisconsin. I can tell you now that all the experts will be picking Nebraska and Wisconsin to be in the finals due to Big Ten bias and past history.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Heisman voting is a joke. Kenny’s vote total show that. It is a popularity contest. Voters are clueless.


  41. The only thing that worked against Kenny was not being in the playoff. That is it. The best player on the best team (currently) won. That’s not an abnormal vote. Plus, get this, Bryce Young was the number one recruit and lived up to expectations … he’s a pretty darn good football player who also had his Heisman moment in dramatic fashion. Hutchinson got two sacks on Stroud in their biggest game of the year. The vote was fine and traditional.

    Kenny had a great year but he didn’t get Pitt into the playoffs. It’s just the reality of the situation. If Pitt was better, he would have gotten more love.

    Since the playoff started, every Heisman winner has come from a playoff team. It should not be surprising that the top two vote getters were playoff teams.

    The slide did nothing but help Kenny. It was his Heisman moment. Without the slide, he probably fall even further. Any publicity is good publicity. It happened on national tv with a national crowd and it “broke” the internet. To think it hurt him is absurd. The publicity it got him and Pitt has been great.

    Pitt fans can be a jaded bunch but the results were perfectly in tune with how the vote generally goes. Vegas is rarely wrong and was telling you who would win since the day after the conference championships.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. My two cents…
    Kenny being in NYC for the Heisman ceremony is a great thing. Happy for him, the team, the program and all of us as fans. The vote is the vote.

    I think the real shame is on ESPN for playing up the slide thing. Think the Pitt Special would have been a fairer portrayal of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That did not happen in his Heisman year. it’s not a best career award. It’s a best season award. The slide being hyped was great for Kenny and Pitt. It was literally his Heisman moment. The next closest Heisman moment was the Addison TD against UVA, but that was all Addison. People dissing the slide cracks me up. It has become an iconic play in football, not just Pitt. Love it or hate it, it was a moment and a stamp on a great season for Kenny.

      Liked by 2 people

  43. Well Tossing, two things;

    I mentioned the WMU loss as working against him. That loss helped keep us out of the playoffs and looked like crap in national media eyes (870 of which voted for the Heisman).

    After the slide I got two calls and some emails from my contacts who cover CFB (and who I keep in touch with) and to a person their questions to me were, to paraphrase, ‘How big is Pickett’s ego?’ Three of them thought his actions in the end zone were inappropriate given that he cheated to get the TD in the first place (their words not mine).

    If you go back and look at the national televised and written reactions to what he did you’ll see it wasn’t very positive.

    Pickett had a fantastic year and I wouldn’t have thought he’d be in the top three Heisman voting…but people who aren’t Pitt fans may see him (and I’ll agree with you) Pitt in a different light.


  44. Reed – It was his Heisman moment. No way an instinctual play hurt him. We get too caught up in all things Pitt sometimes and forget the national perspective. Since the playoff was instituted, every winner has come from a playoff team. The three number 1 vote getters were two Alabama players and a Michigan player. What’s the commonality? The playoff.

    Kenny cracking the top 3 was actually pretty impressive considering he was 4th in number 1 votes.

    Love it or hate it, the slide was his moment. He owned it. It got him and Pitt national attention. Any publicity is good publicity and it was a very popular play. The media latched onto it but it had no affect on the votes. Bryce Young was the Vegas favorite before the championship games and locked it up by crushing UGA.

    Kenny was predicted 3rd or 4th and finished 3rd.


  45. The media is locked into the big schools and seen to circle the wagons to protest their star players. Cincinnati is undefeated and we never hear anything about their players being up for awards. Play for ND and your on all the lists. The big schools will make NILs for players into salaries.


  46. He should have finished 2nd. Every year the playoff teams are the upper echelon programs except Cinci this year. The popular media favorite programs.

    They are eliminating the majority of college football players from the award. It is garbage.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I think all these post award reflections are interesting as we attempt to figure out how a player with Pickett’s credentials failed to win the Heisman. Most voters wait until the last minute to vote to watch the conference finals and other big games, and I think the Bama/Georgia game figured a great deal in the late voters’ decisions.

    Also, we need to objectively recognize that Pitt was not a national name going into this season. People just think that Kenny did well in a weak league, and that Young played equally well in a tougher league. Many voters don’t spend their season studying players who come from weaker leagues and aren’t in the national conversation at the beginning of the season.

    Our primary consolation is that Pickett’s success may make it easier for the next person, such as Addison, to win this award.


  48. KP was not destined to win last night against the Alabama juggernaut, however, all things considered, he achieved a super successful year.

    We play a tough Monmouth team tonight in an empty Pete.
    Will Kenny play in the Peach Bowl?
    Can Duzzi find a STRONG OC replacement for Whipple (who can recruit)
    Will we end up getting some positive recruiting surprises………..
    and last but not least let’s hope that our exciting volleyball team wins the BIG game in Colombus on
    Thursday night.


    1. Isnore, I’m going to use your questions above as discussion starters for our Tuesday evening POV Zoom meeting at 8pm. Thanks!

      Agree with all above about KP’s great season. But also agree that a mid-level program like Pitt needs everything to fall into place for a Pitt player to win. Case in point – Dorsett and the 1976 team. With both a championship and Dorsett setting records right and left it was very hard not to vote for him for the Heisman.

      But even then TD got only 75% of the 1st place votes…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Speaking of Tony D., maybe I missed it but an acknowledgment of candidate KP and former winner Tony D. both being Panthers would have been appropriate. Maybe with a clip of TD running past the Irish…

        Go Pitt.


  49. For the first time, the WPIAL won 4 state titles … and all were community schools. And they beat 2 Philly powerhouses that recruit

    My Lebo put a 4th quarter whooping on St Joe’s Prep which had won the last three 6A titles. And Imhotep Charter also was upset

    Imhotep has 2 DEs that not only are D1 but going to big schools. PSU got one and the other is going either to OSU or someone of that ilk. He is tall and has arms that are so long that Sam Clancey would be jealous of

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

  50. from Reed to TT above:
    “After the slide I got two calls and some emails from my contacts who cover CFB (and who I keep in touch with) and to a person their questions to me were, to paraphrase, ‘How big is Pickett’s ego?’ Three of them thought his actions in the end zone were inappropriate given that he cheated to get the TD in the first place (their words not mine).”

    @Reed, seems to me your 3 contacts need to learn the meaning of the word “cheated”

    you’d think contacts who cover CFB and I assume are journalists who maybe WRITE ought to know the basic meaning of words

    I guess it would be a stretch to understand the context of the situation and the athleticism and OBVIOUS unplanned, instinctual move KP did

    did you reply as to how clearly wrong they were?

    oh, the horror of the “air jump skip” celebration, soooooooo GD inappropriate – smh

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Holy moly! I suspect a the few of Reed’s contacts complaining about Pickett’s cheating and ego “cover college football” from their kitchens; in other words, friends’ wives? There’s no way even a casual fan comes to those conclusions. How embarrassing.

      With regard to Pickett’s decision to play or not, I don’t think this is going to come down to “We Not Me” governing the decision, I think it’s going to come down to $$$, and unless I was in the same position, I don’t think I’d be in the best position to judge him, so I’ll just hope he plays, expect him not to, and wish him the best either way.


      Liked by 3 people

  51. KP8’s fake slide was an athletic, instinctually historical move. He caused the NCAA to create a new rule.

    His celebration was a mild reaction to a championship opening touchdown run.

    The ego is nothing more than what is normal for an NFL QB.


    Liked by 13 people

    1. exactly!

      and even those not KNOWING Kenny and only seeing it should never judge it as inappropriate and never judge it as cheating

      that’s why I ask Reed if he enlightened the 3


  52. Yeah, it wasn’t a fake slide, it was an “I-changed-my-mind-at -the-last-second-about-sliding-right-now” slide.

    And regarding KP’s little leap in the endzone – my goodness, is there one of us who wouldn’t jump for joy if we just ran 58-yards for a TD in a college championship game?

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 5 people

  53. What is overlooked is that Kenny could have been really injured on that half slide, as he redirected his run while in a semi-slide position. He could have tore up a knee or hip as he put weight on it the wrong way. I think it was nothing more than he started to slide but saw how much open turf was to his right and tried to gain more yardage.

    Liked by 2 people

  54. Saw where Pitt DT commit Sean Fitzsimmons of Central Valley had a big game in the state championship. With CV leading 7-0 late in the game, Wyomissing drove inside the 10. On 4th and goal from the 3, Sean broke threw and totally disrupted the play to save the win.

    Sounds like a dedicated, hard worker who will be in that long list of Pitt players who are easy to root for…

    Go Pitt.


  55. The WPIAL very impressive football over the weekend, congratulations to all the teams. Penn Trafford is usually a tough team and this year may be their best. PT has a RB/LBer/DB, Yacabelli or something like that going to Wisconsin. This kid is tough as nails and I wish Narduzzi would put on a big push on him.

    Kenny showed well and 3rd place is still good for himself and PITT. Plus he played at PITT for free.

    Last year the mens soccer team with a final four appearance combined with the girls volleyball and football seasons and a good wrestling program on the rise? Folks, this is reality we are talking about, not that BS shoved down our throats about Heather, Walt Disney World, OBX, and directors cup failures. Way to go Heather.

    Liked by 6 people

  56. Here is why KP should have won the Heisman. All but two of Pitt’s games were highly contested and could have gone either way. The other two teams could have played third string qbs and still won most of their games. Bama and tOSU were picked to win their conferences while Pitt was picked fourth in the Coastal Division.
    Heisman voters are mostly guys from the elite schools and writers that mostly cover those schools.

    Hail to Kenny and H2P!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wouldn’t call his performance in the Miami game great – 2 int of which one very forced

      didn’t CAUSE the loss either way

      while some here blamed the offense in the WMU game for tiring out OUR defense and not scoring slower 🙂


  57. See KP is going to play in the Senior Bowl. Nice. Great venue to show off for the NFL scouts.

    Hoping to see him in the Peach, but totally understand if he sits that one out.

    Pitt beats MSU regardless. H2P

    Liked by 1 person

  58. So what are we to conclude that if KP plays in the Senior Bowl he is less likely to be hurt versus playing in the Peach Bowl? KP at this point doesn’t need any additional venue to show off for NFL scouts. So from where I’m sitting if he is afraid of injury he shouldn’t be participating in any additional games. But since he has accepted the Senior Bowl invitation then he should have no problem with also playing in the Peach Bowl.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jrnpitt … the Senior Bowl is one of the biggest honors. Both teams are coached by NFL coaches. It’s one of the biggest difference makers in draft stock for seniors playing in the game. The practices are where you make moves. It’s NFL footballs. NFL coaching. NFL rules. Scouts from every team observing. You don’t turn down an invitation to the Senior Bowl.


  59. There is a Pitt basketball game being played now. But the game thread appears below this one on my phone.


  60. Don’t have the ACC network yet.
    But ESPN gives the erroneous score of 26-11, Monmouth.
    How do I complain to ESPN about them short-changing Coach Jeff?


  61. Kenny went up against a player with almost identical numbers but on a better team. Larry is still the bigger slight based on who won it. The interesting thing about the Heisman is it seems to go thru voting criteria depending on the era. Sometimes it’s the best overall player. Sometimes it’s the player who makes the biggest plays in the biggest moments. Right now we seem to be in a best player on the best teams era.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Our old friend, Chas from the Blather, had a great tweet about the state of Pitt basketball. Ralph Willard was my era and this connected with me …


  63. Just got back from a hockey tournament in Phoenix and missed alot of great stuff. Since this was a volleyball article, congratulations to the ladies. Final Four is awesome. My sister was ecstatic for them. She played junior olympics vball back in the day and coaches 14-15 y.o girls in travel. (she says once they hit 16 they talk back and think they know it all….lol). Looks like the seed were spot on. I watched some of the texas game. Looks like a great final 4 matchup.

    I have a different perspective on the fake slide. To me, it was extremely athletic to do that with your body. Great on him athletically. From a sportsmanship perspective, it was a bad look, here is why in my opinion. When a qb is running full tilt to the sidelines, most all defenders pull up from hitting the qb as they get flagged. It is known throughout the sport that the qb is giving himself up and a hands off mentality occurs by the defense. The same thing happened here. K8 said that he saw the players basically stop as he began his slide. Of course they did K8. They didn’t want to get penalized. So to me, great athletic move AND unsportsmanlike.

    I don’t care one way or the other about his leap or celebration. I do care that he took advantage of, and compromised sportsmanship,using it to his advantage. Most every person on here would have complained about the refereeing had the safety knocked him out cold as he completed the slide, right? Be honest. He took advantage. Just admit it and move on.

    Have we started practices for the bowl yet? To me, if K8 partakes in one practice and takes reps away from our 2, 3 and 4 qb’s preparation (when he isn’t going to play), that is selfish. Make a decision and get on with it. It is business smart to sit. He has nothing left to prove and his draft stock will not improve because of the bowl game. It is all downside for him to play.

    Basketball, ugggh! I am thinking the volleyball team outdraws the mens hoops.


    1. I’m going to the bowl game and I’d prefer Kenny sits. If he gets hurt, we would all feel terrible for his future and speaking of the future…we need to know what Patti and Beville look like in front of top notch competition. They have both been at Pitt for a long time. Let’s see what they’ve got.

      And yes…they are getting thrown in the fire, but we open against WVU next year, not New Hampshire.

      Last thought: Does Nate Yarnell transfer since he was a Whipple guy? I thought he may be our starter next year if a transfer is not brought in.


  64. Any defender that pulls up 5 yards short of a tackle because he “THINKS” the QB is going to slide or go out of bounds deserves the resulting consequences on the play. If KP was running to the side line and he saw the defender pull up 5 yards from where was at would he be considered a cheat and be called out for unsportsmanlike play if he continued down the side line for more yards? Clearly the Wake defenders quit on the play before they had to and as a result suffered the consequences period.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. happened with the Clemson QB in the Pitt game for about 3-5 extra yards, changed what would’ve been next down(don’t recall which) from needing about 8 yards to needing about 3 for the first down

      forget who pulled up but it was on the Clemson sideline side


  65. I would have loved to see KP win the Heisman and believe he could have if we won the WMU game. But…if you look at the stats between the two you see that the winner, Young, beat out Pickett in every major stat:

    Young – 4322 yards at 68.0%, 9.4 yards average, 43 TDs with 4 INTS for a 175.5 QB rating

    Pickett- 4319 yards at 67.2%, 8.7 yards average, 42 TDs with 7 INTS for a 165.3 QB rating

    That 10 point difference in the QB rating, hurt Pickett the most. But given the above numbers and the fact that Young’s team didn’t lose to a much “lesser” opponent put him in the winner’s seat above the rest.

    Again, I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Pickett played given what he had done over the last four years and said that numerous times on here… and will remind all that the POV published the very first article about how good Pickett looked in his first spring practice at Pitt before he ever took a snap in a game.

    But when you have 870 media votes you can be sure that those national writers view the candidates with believed impressions as well as hard numbers. Not enough voters were more impressed with Pickett then they were with the 1st and 2nd place guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Kenny accomplishments came by playing with 2* and 3* guys. You could have plugged Alabama’s third string QB into their offense and got similar #s to Young’s. IMO Pitt doesn’t get to where they are without Kenny; Bama could have probably just used a backup QB and had the same record.


Comments are closed.