Hold the phone on the National Championship

Pitt Panthers

I will eat some crow. Happily in this case.

I basically called for Pat Narduzzi’s head on a blue and gold platter after the embarrassing loss to Penn State.

SInce then, Pitt has lost three games. Road games at Central Florida, North Carolina and Notre Dame.

The North Carolina loss is inexcusable.

The other two are predictable, though the Panthers gave the Fighting Irish all they could handle.

The wins since the PSU disaster, all ACC Conference wins, have come against two positively bad teams, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, two overrated teams in Syracuse and Duke, and one kind of decent but not really team, Virginia, and have Pitt on the brink of winning the ACC Coastal.

Forgive me for not back-handspringing my way to work this morning.

Pitt hasn’t beaten anybody of significance.

Don’t get me wrong – these are steps forward for a program that looked to be dead in the water at one point this season, and a “championship” of any kind would be nice for Pitt. I also do not subscribe to the theory that winning the Coastal only means the Panthers will be destroyed by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game because of recent history against that team and Pitt’s penchant for shockers.

I would be much more excited about this Pitt team had they taken care of business against North Carolina (Pitt would already be the Coastal champs), and had they looked better in their losses (or won the Notre Dame game).

For Pitt to add legitimacy to a good ACC showing, they will have to do one of two (if not both) things: beat Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, or beat a quality, ranked opponent in their bowl game. Finishing the season ranked should be non-negotiable for any program looking to take the next step.

Is that unreasonable? That’s what good programs do – they beat good opponents and win important games.

Until Pitt does that, I will only have a side of crow, thank you.

Other MoioMusings:

  • It has been fun to watch the Pitt ground game throttling teams in the recent surge. Admittedly, the run defenses they have faced would not confuse anybody with the ‘76 Steel Curtain, but the numbers are kind of ridiculous. Pitt’s 1230 rushing yards in their past three games (484 against Duke, 254 against Virginia and 492 against Virginia Tech) has lifted them to 10th in the country in rushing. Seniors Qadree Ollison (1054 yards) and Darrin Hall (844 yards) have been a great one-two punch and could be the key to Pitt doing something of significance this season.
  • Oh yeah – the Steelers are on a pretty nice run. Maybe Le’Veon Bell was planning on reporting, and maybe he changed his mind when he saw the offense put up 45 points on Carolina and look so good in his absence. Or maybe he just doesn’t care about anybody but himself. Either way, whether he reports or not, Bell’s absence clearly is not what will keep the Steelers from a Super Bowl appearance.
  • I was hopeful a week ago when the Pirates jettisoned Jung Ho Kang to free agency. Not so hopeful that the club has resigned Kang, albeit to a much lower salary, because it seems to go against the idea that releasing players like Kang and Josh Harrison signaled a commitment to a youth movement. Kang is unlikely to ever regain the form that had the city buzzing about him three years ago. I guess “buzzing” might be a bad word to use when it comes to Kang.
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