Let me say this right off the top and I’ll be blunt: I don’t like the Pitt Panthers. This isn’t anything new. I’ve never liked them. So, when their head coach, full of hubris and spurred on by a fanbase that thinks the program walks on water and is now elite after one good season, makes a statement like this, it tends to get under my skin more than a bit. Especially when he thinks he might be able to beat the Ohio State football team.
“You talk about Big Ten and SEC and ACC, If that’s one of the best Big Ten teams, let’s go to the Big Ten and win it every year.”
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi made that statement Wednesday in reference to his team’s 31-21 Peach Bowl loss to Michigan State. You really want to go there, coach? You really want to make the claim your program could waltz into the Big Ten and win the conference? Fine, then bring it on, coach!!
Remember Penn State fans when their Nittany Lions joined the conference? They told anyone who would listen to their beloved team would win the Big Ten title year after year. How dare those Big Ten pretenders challenge the mighty Blue & White with their meager skills was their attitude.
In the twenty-nine years they have been in the conference, Penn State has won exactly four Big Ten titles. Only one has come in the last thirteen seasons. It has not been that easy for them in the Big Ten. It would be even more difficult for Pitt, especially having to face the Ohio State football program most years.
When you do a deep dive into Pitt’s 2021 season, you see how ridiculous Narduzzi’s boast really is. Of the Panthers’ eleven wins, two came against UMass and New Hampshire, an FCS team. Two others came against teams with just three wins-Duke and Georgia Tech.
Of their eight ACC opponents, only two had winning records and one of those, Miami, beat the Panthers. If you look at the ACC as a whole, nine of their fourteen teams were .500 or below. Yes, I know, they beat Clemson and eleven-win Wake Forest, but I go back to what I said about the ACC having just five teams with winning records.
The win totals of those two schools, like Pitt’s, were bloated by playing in a conference having a very down year. Oh, wait! Let’s not forget that big win over Tennessee of the SEC! Yeah, well, of the Vols’ seven wins, four came at the expense of Bowling Green, Tennessee Tech (an FCS team), South Alabama, and two-win Vanderbilt. That sure takes the shine off of that win in a hurry.
There is one other thing about Pitt’s 2021 season that makes Narduzzi’s contention they could win the Big Ten year after year even more ridiculous: his big, bad Panthers lost to Western Michigan. They LOST to a member of the MAC. L-O-S-T to a team from the weakest conference in all of FBS.
Hey, folks, I graduated from a MAC school and love the conference, but the data proves the conference is the weakest of the ten in the FBS. Claiming you could dominate a conference like the Big Ten when you’re coming off a season where you LOST to a MAC opponent is ludicrous. Elite programs do not lose to MAC or even Sun Belt Conference teams. They just don’t.
Narduzzi made his comments from the safety of the ACC and knows he won’t have to back it up. That’s too bad, because I don’t like Pitt and would love to see them taking their lumps in the Big Ten. Have I mentioned I don’t like Pitt?