What – No Rivalry or Classic? I already miss the special graphics.
Pitt is coming off a loss to Tennessee 30 – 37. I expected the loss but was surprised at how Pitt could have won. I will let it go at this time.
The Broncos won their MAC conference game over Ball State 37 – 30. Ball State was Tennessee’s season opener and proceeded to demolish the Cardinals 59 – 10.
This game will be Western Michigan’s (WMU) home opener.
I do not have any significant insight into Western Michigan. They did lose a lot of production from the 2021 upset. If you are interested in my Production Loss article on WMU here is the link:
If you are interested in reading about the Broncos first two games, here are links to the SBNations site – Hustle Belt:
I thought the “What We Learned “ articles were good reads.
As usual, I start with the schedules and results. I only list the OOC games for non-conference opponents.
Both teams have allowed opponents 65 points.
On to the review, starting with NCAA team stats through 9/10 games. There are 131 FBS teams this year with the move of James Madison to the Sun Belt Conference. I am using a new NCAA stat list. The new list includes all 47 stats that the NCAA tracks at a team level. The old one only had 25. Besides national FBS ranking, the new chart adds conference rankings. I also sorted the stats by type so that offense defense and miscellaneous stats are grouped.
Both teams are deliberate in their offense by time of possession (TOP). Do not expect any up-tempo offense by either team. If you are watching at home, there will be plenty of time between plays to grab a beer or snack. See the bottom of the RB/WR chart for a rough estimate of seconds between offense plays (TOP divided by offensive plays).
The offense revolves around QB play. Below are the numbers for WMU and Pitt’s QB’s after one game.
Salopek, a Norwin HS graduate, deserves his low passing efficiency ranking (#113). He had a 103.4 rating against Michigan State and a 106.1 against Ball State.
Pitt, on the other hand, is concerned about who is the starting QB. BTW, Slovis rating of 160.1 is better than any of Pickett’s except 2021. An unfair comparison but true.
RB’s and WR comparison.
From the stats, WMU is better at rushing (avg, yard) while Pitt is a better passing team. Currently the duo of Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson is a potent one/two punch. Pitt would match with Izzy and Rodney Hammond, but Hammond is injured. According to one of the linked Hustle Belt articles, the WMU backup QB is Mareyohn Hrabowski. He has rushed for two yards on one attempt. He did throw a completed pass, but it was called back because of a penalty.