Sun Bowl Prediction Thread

Sun Bowl Prediction Thread

Well folks.  Here it is.  The official Pitt POV Sun Bowl prediction thread.  We’ve said a lot about this game, and I’ll recap the conversation.

On one hand, Stanford has the talent to make us look bad if they show up to play.  Their roster is dripping with four star players, and the Cardinal passing game is very good.

On the other hand, a lot of Stanford’s starters are not playing due to injury or NFL combine prep.  Also, you can’t measure heart and desire, which you would think the 19 (mostly two and three star) Seniors on this 2018 Pitt squad have in spades.

My heart wants to say that Stanford overlooks us and Pitt will win this one with their smashmouth style, ultimately sending the Senior class off in with a bowl win and something to really hang their hat on, but my head says David Shaw is a heck of a coach, and he’s had two weeks to prepare, and that scares me.

I’m sticking with my original prediction, but I sure hope I’m wrong.

Stanford 41, Pitt 28.

What do you have to Say Panther Nation?  Sound off!

 Late add: also here is your Pitt uniform reveal

 

All I Want for Christmas… + News and Notes

All I Want for Christmas… + News and Notes

Here is a bit of a two for-one-piece.  A “Make a Wish” Piece by POV poster Mark Kerestan and also some quick updates on the Pitt football program.

First, as we may have suspected, Alabama three-star DE recruit Brandon Mack has decommitted.  Additionally, per Reed’s prediction earlier this season, backup QB Ricky Town has left the program and Jeff George Jr. has stepped into Town’s position on the depth chart.  According to the Trib’s Jerry DiPaola, Town has finished up his degree (or is close to finishing it), so congratulations to him on achieving that milestone.

Pitt’s 2019 QB depth chart is now expected to look like this, unless Narduzzi and Watson go back on their statements made in support of Kenny Pickett after the ACC championship game:

  1. Kenny Pickett (JR)
  2. Jeff George JR (rs SR)
  3. Nick Patti (rs FR)
  4. Davis Beville (FR)

There is some hype around Beville due to his recent four-star Rivals ranking, and he is due to enroll in the spring, so it will be interesting to see how spring practice plays out.

Second, and also somewhat in-line with the quarterback conversation, here is Mark Kerestan’s “All I want for Christmas” Piece.

We are deep into the holiday season and are surrounded by constant reminders of the magic of the Holidays, and their ability to make our dreams come true.  Many Christmas songs revolve around wishes for the holidays, from “Two Front Teeth”, to a “White Christmas”, or the opportunity to be “Home for the Holidays”.  The really ambitious songs wish for “Peace on Earth”, (editor’s note:  I’d settle for upgraded ACC officiating) and if I am understanding Mariah Carey correctly, she wants me for Christmas!  

As Pitt fans we all have our hopes and dreams for the Pitt Panther Athletic programs. Some may have modest wishes like a win in the upcoming Sun Bowl, or more ambitious goals like landing a once in-a-generation player at the position of your choice in football, a 4 or 5 star center for the basketball team, or even a specific coach you would like to see on the Panther Side line (Head Coach or otherwise).  As such, this is your opportunity to make your one holiday wish for the Pittsburgh Panthers for this Christmas.  I’m into immediate gratification so I’ll start with my wish being a big decisive win for the Panther Football team to hopefully jump start recruiting and fuel our enthusiasm for this team heading into next year.

What would your ONE wish be for your Pitt Panthers this Holiday season?

Friday Predictions Thread – Virginia

Sorry for the very short piece today.  I’m doing a  WWII Service Veterans Gratitude Pinning Ceremony with keynote address today for 17 95+-year-old Veterans and that’s a full day (of standing on my feet and a rubber chicken lunch) of ceremonies… so little time to write this morning.

But it is your words that are important in the prediction pieces.  How say you with this one?

I think we’ll win two more games this season so this pretty much has to be one of them – if our run game can produce again.  I doubt we’ll see lightning strike twice like Hall’s performance last week – but if the OL can bring the thunder for a good regular grind-it-out rushing attack.then we’ll be OK.

Pitt 28 – VA 21

PITTVA.png

Know The Enemy – Penn State

Byline: Chris Logue and it is a good one…

It’s go time for another week, another opponent and worst of all, a whole new slew of athletic receivers, running backs, most of which I am sure can run the wheel-route, and a quarterback that can beat you in a myriad of ways. This could just as easily be time-stamped in 2016 heading into Death Valley and Clemson, but this year’s edition of that is in Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions.

While I would love to be the sole interpreter of Penn State this week, I also felt that it would be doing our readers an injustice. This edition of “Know Your Enemy” comes with a guest, Centre Daily Times Penn State beat writer, John McGonigal. John pulls no punches and lets it all fly which is why he fits the bill to be our guest this week.

John provided incredible feedback and you’ll notice it throughout our inside look at what our Panthers face this week in Centre County.

Last week, Penn State drubbed Akron 52-0 and did it in a multitude of ways. Whether it was breaking a long, very strong, streak of not having a return for a touchdown, intercepting Akron quarterback, Thomas Woodson or if it was quarterback Trace McSorley and his trusted back, Saquon Barkley, Penn State looked good. Very, very good at that. It’s no mystery that McSorley and Barkley will be the key drivers for PSU on offense, it goes back to the basics, deep in the trenches who kick-starts this offense.

“Outside of Barkley and McSorley, I think an underrated guy on this offense is center Connor McGovern. I could’ve gone with flashier picks like breakout wide receiver Juwan Johnson or tight end Mike Gesicki — who I think will lead the Nittany Lions in all receiving categories this year — but McGovern is a guy who guides the offense,” says McGonigal.

Like Pitt who has shifted and mixed the offensive line over the past two seasons, McGovern is amid transition himself, “The Penn State staff moved him to center in the offseason after the departure of senior Brian Gaia — the Nittany Lions’ lone loss from the o-line — and McGovern has lived up to all expectations so far, being more vocal and impressing against Akron.”

Reed and I exchanged emails and we both had the same feel that a lot of what Penn State wants to do and should succeed in doing is planting roots in the trenches and making it their own, and it seems as though McGovern is sturdy in that task where “[McGovern] had a lot to do with that, and the lineman will play a key role in the Pitt game.”

How big of a task do the Panthers have this week on the defense? Look for yourself at PSU’s last game’s offensive stats:

PSU Game 1

Continue reading “Know The Enemy – Penn State”

POV Sunday Podcast; August 27, 2017

http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/12663774-74/quicker-defense-offers-pitt-football-hope

“I’ll just reference one of our ACC officials that comes out and works our practices every day. I didn’t ask for it; he just said, ‘Hey, that Maddox is different than he was last year.’ So for whatever that is – maybe you guys can find him somewhere; I’m not going to give you his name. But it was good to hear that from somebody else that watches every day.”

That’s a big question for me, too. So much of this defensive scheme is geared toward stopping the run, but the DTs are a big part of it; are these young guys up to the task? Charlie Partridge says they’ve done a good job learning their assignments and filling the right gaps and all of that, but I think that area is where Pitt has taken the biggest hit with all the departures on defense. Shakir Soto and Tyrique Jarrett were really good against the run.

https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/over-under-freshmen-who-will-play

The Pitt football program added its second recruit of the week Thursday, as local product David Green committed to head coach Pat Narduzzi.

A 6-foot-1 defensive lineman from Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, Green chose the Panthers over Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Rutgers, among others.

He is rated a 3-star player by 247Sports and is the fourth defensive lineman in the 2018 class, joining fellow WPIAL products Noah Palmer and Devin Danielson and Maryland native John Morgan.

In total, the class of 2018 now has 14 players, with all 14 ranked as 3-star recruits by 247Sports. The website currently has the group ranked No. 53 in the country and No. 12 in the ACC

Redshirt SRs for 2018… Drop Herndon and LB Jaylen Williams?

https://pittsburgh.forums.rivals.com/threads/the-2017-scholarship-board.112979/

http://triblive.com/sports/college/pitt/12663774-74/quicker-defense-offers-pitt-football-hope

Losses on the defensive line have forced shuffling and resulted in the emergence of junior defensive tackle Shane Roy, who was repeatedly recognized by coaches for his efforts in camp. Roy also needs seasoning, but he may start next to redshirt freshman Keyshon Camp.

Pitt needs a pass rush to offset deficiencies in its secondary, but not even Ejuan Price’s 13 sacks could help last year. With Price in the NFL, that task is passed on to Dewayne Hendrix and Edwards. Hendrix is another of those players whose potential — due to injury — has been talked about more than put on display.

Both players are transfers, which says something about Pitt’s recruitment of defensive linemen before Narduzzi arrived in 2015.

Team Rankings Website

More detailed info on the GT vs Pitt game…

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/08/26/pitt-football-heinz-field-atmosphere-improvements-college-football-2017/stories/201708260045

https://pittnews.com/article/121426/sports/pitt-alters-sweet-caroline-tradition/

Here is that blue shirt I mentioned…

POV Shirt Blue

Here is the pinned Tailgating Info article – please visit and let us know if you’ll be there….

 

 

 

POV Sunday Podcast; August 13th 2017

Qadree Ollison’s 2015 season (212 for 1121 yards @ 5.3 ypc and 11 TDs) extrapolated to Conner’s 298 carries of 2014 = 298 carries for 1516 yards (5.3 ypc), 16 TDs and 121 ypg. 

If he grabs the starting RB role this year and is the workhorse like Conner was in 2014 I have no doubt we can see the numbers above from him this season… and that would go a long way to helping Max Browne settle in at QB.

Peak’s Mailbox:  Fears…lack of experience at a lot of spots, lack of depth on the offensive line, a whole new situation for Max Browne, an unforgiving September schedule, unknown/unproven talent at running back. The offensive line is a big one.

https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/mailbag-8-12-2017-hopes-fears-hot-dogs-and-more

http://www.theacc.com/news/2017-all-acc-preseason-football-team-announced-07-19-2017

http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/news/preseason-college-football-rankings-2017-top-25-championship-teams-alabama-usc-michigan-ohio-state/psln63tvfekn1qoi05ayqy1j9

24. Pittsburgh Panthers 

Pittsburgh had an up-and-down season in 2016, but keep in mind they beat Penn State and Clemson. Pat Narduzzi’s third season should bring better results, and the addition of USC transfer Max Browne at quarterback is exciting. The Panthers must be more consistent to stay on here. 

  •  Sporting News – Browne as a ‘special mention” QB.
  •  Pitt picked 3rd in Coastal

X-Factor: Transfer QBs 

Former USC quarterback Max Browne is at Pitt, and former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris is at North Carolina. Can both of those highly-touted recruits energize their offenses enough to make it interesting? 

Sleeper: Pittsburgh 

Georgia Tech also is a possibility here, but we like what Browne could do for Pitt’s straightforward attack in Pat Narduzzi’s third season. Remember, Pitt beat Penn State and Clemson last season, but the Panthers also were wildly inconsistent. A bonus on the schedule is no Florida State, Clemson or Louisville.

CHRIS CLARK

 

Former five-star tight end Chris Clark, who is no longer transferring to Syracuse, told The Daily Orange Monday night that SU pulled his offer and that he wanted to join the team.

“Like it makes no sense to me whatsoever … that they pulled my offer,” Clark said via Twitter direct message.

He said that Scott Shafer had the discussion with him and the head coach said, “(Syracuse) wasn’t the best fit.” Clark also added that the offer was pulled before Syracuse played Pittsburgh on Saturday, a game he was planning to attend.

And now…

“I don’t really think I was mature enough to handle all the expectations that come with college football,” Clark said. “I was making some bonehead decisions out there and not really following the way that it goes. I was just kind of being a headache.

“Over the last couple years, I’ve matured so much. I don’t even remember that guy I was. A lot has changed. Not to mention it was also so far from home. It was a lot to deal with. Getting to a school closer to home seemed like it made the most sense to me.”

Good – we need him to be mature and effective. He’s one I think could live to billing on offense.

2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw

This is the seventh of a longer POV series looking at the individual positions which need to be re-filled in 2017 and whether we will meet the PRODUCTION we had in those positions in ’16. We will not factor in true freshman at this point.

Wide Receiver will be a position of strength for us in this coming season almost surely.  I say that because as we wrote about the QB position early in this series I think we’ll have a downgrade there – so the ripple effect may impact the overall production of our WR corps for ’17.

To start let’s look at who departed Pitt over the off-season.  rsSR Dontez Ford and rsJR Zach Challingsworth.  Well, that was pretty simple wasn’t it? 

Of course our main WR coming back is the exciting and inconsistent – which is part of the excitement because we hold our breath hoping he’ll come down with the ball – rsSR Jester Weah.

Weah is a great example of kids who are just average in their recruiting rating (3*, 5.5) and don’t burst right out of the gate in college… but learn the new game and flourish in their upperclassmen years.  And yes, that is what a good player will do. 

Great players usually do make an impact earlier and Weah may have also if he hadn’t been stuck behind Tyler Boyd and Dontez Ford for his first few years.  But for now he’s pretty darn good and may just be great this season.

Weah has had the catching yips and was publicly open and refreshingly honest about that which I like him even more for.  He has great downfield speed and good moves – but his hands used to let him down when it came to gameday.  More on that later…

Continue reading “2017’s WRs; Upgrade, Downgrade or Draw”