It’s a Trap! Pitt Panthers

Cue the mon calamari Gial Ackbar. While coming out of hyperspace the admiral will forever be immortalized for the words, “It’s a trap!” The Miami Hurricanes are coming off an offseason that has fans humming at a feverish pitch. How could it not? Mario Cristobal is the head coach. Facilities are in the process of being upgraded. Recruiting is going well. Jason Taylor patrols the sidelines like a statuesque Greek defensive line demigod.

The Cristobal pilot episode will make its debut vs. Bethune Cookman on September 3rd at Hard Rock Stadium. The first real test will be two games after on the road vs. the Texas A&M aggies in cowbell land on September 17th. Every single season stands on its own two feet. Fans will always make an automatic assumption when perusing opponents on a schedule. That’s an obvious win. Book it!

The Pitt Panthers are in the process of an obvious overhaul especially on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Kenny Pickett will no longer be under center for Mark Whipple. For two reasons, Pickett is now in the NFL after being drafted in the first round and Whipple is now on Nebraska’s staff. The drop off from NFL first round quarterback to successful and equal college replacement is often steep.

The Panthers are going to look at USC transfer QB Kedon Slovis to take the helm and resurge an offense that finished eighth last year nationally. Slovis had a fantastic freshman campaign in the Big Ten West. (Pac 12) The trojan man threw an impressive 30 touchdown passes as a freshman. There is certainly capability at the quarterback position. The transfer portal is the ultimate wild card. In terms of Slovis, the Panthers might have another ace up their sleeve.

Jordan Addison had 100 catches and 17 touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver a year ago. Addison and Slovis apparently had a freaky Friday moment and switched uniforms. Now Addison is a trojan man and in return Pitt zipped over Konata Mumpfield.  Mumpfield caught 63 passes and netted eight scores for Akron a year ago but he isn’t Addison.

Sure, the Panthers lost a first round quarterback, an offensive coordinator and the Biletnikoff Award winner but don’t take the bait. The offensive line returns all five starters and running backs Vincent Davis, Rodney Hammond and Israel Abanikanda (forever) are formidable. Pickett is a Pittsburgh Steeler but his former supporting cast is more than capable of taking center stage.

The defense. It is a pain in the ass. The Pitt Panthers take up real estate in your backfield. They always do. The Bates bots were third in the country last year in tackles for a loss with 113. It is a boom or bust system that has no problems offering its secondary as sacrificial pawns. 264.3 yards given up placed them third to last in conference. You just need time to pass.

A year ago Habakkuk Baldonando had nine sacks, Calijah Kancey had seven sacks and John Morgan III had 5.5 sacks. The defensive line is a strength you cannot ignore and all three of those players would have been the sack leader on Miami’s team in 2021. The uneasy feeling the triple option used to give you when Paul Johnson drove the wreck at Georgia Tech was palpable. The Pitt defense is the new punishing pariah. It is different and when it’s on all bets are off.

If you have any inclination to circle this game as an automatic win you aren’t seeing the full picture. Recent OBB guest and ACC analyst Roddy Jones picked them as Coastal favorites on the show. The Miami Hurricane fan in me wanted to fight and naturally did a double take. However when you look at the panther’s roster from top to bottom and consider it’s strengths, it mounts up.

It’s a trap! I saw the anti meteoric decline once Florida State lost its last first round quarterback in sir squints Jameis Winston. Replacing first round quarterbacks is never easy. The odds stack against you but Pitt isn’t FSU. They don’t have Jimbo Fisher falling asleep at the wheel while Texas A&M is funneling oil money via underground pipelines. Pitt is good.

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About the Author: Roman Marciante

Born and raised in South Florida. Local Boy. Husband. Tali and Franco’s dad. “Hey grandpa, is there a local college team we can watch?” “Do they throw the ball?” They don’t run the option do they?” Thus the love affair was born. Proud supporter of St Thomas Aquinas Raider nation and alum. One day got in a studio with two other buddy’s and started a conversation about a local team and the rest was history. A former pro athlete who secretly had a CIA job and some people call “Chief.” Yells “Bang” a lot. “It is not wrong, it is just different.” Managing Editor for the OBB Legend, host of X’s and Ro and Student of the Game connoisseur. I still remember the day I beat Mike Tyson in a fight. 007-373-5963. Thanks for all your help Mac. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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