Well, I think it’s safe to say that my ‘middle-ground’ CFB predictions for the local college football teams shall not come to pass. Pitt sits at 4-5 and so they could still make it to 7-5, which was my pessimistic prediction and even that would be optimistic at the moment. This is a typically mediocre yet schizoid Pitt team. All bets are off at this point. WVU sits at 6-3 and should get to 8-4 at the least with the way they’re playing. Free drinks for Holgorsen at any bar in the Granite State! Penn State, at 4-4, has been just as awful as Pitt since opening up at 4-0, maybe more so. Losing to Ohio State and even to Michigan is one thing. Losing to Northwestern and Maryland though. No Penn State team should ever have that happen. That’s Pitt’s job to succumb to tragically mediocre competition, damnit.
Looking at the offensive statistics for the three teams confirms our picture of the team’s overall records. (I’ll do defense in another article). Pitt runs the ball well. WVU is explosive through the air. Penn State neither passes nor runs particularly well.
|WVU – Clint Trickett||233||345||2925||67.5||8.48||18||7||20||151.9|
|PITT – Chad Voytik||125||204||1470||61.3||7.21||11||6||17||133.7|
|PSU – Christian Hackenberg||183||318||2038||57.5||6.41||7||10||30||112.4|
|WVU – Clint Trickett||34||-84||-2.5||1|
|PITT – Chad Voytik||83||355||4.3||2|
|PSU – Christian Hackenberg||64||-49||-0.8||0|
WVU’s Clint Trickett was bound to succeed in Morgantown eventually, if for no other reason than a guy named Clint Trickett just belongs at a school like West Virginia. Well, that and Holgorsen. I hope Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg is paying attention in class and taking his education seriously because his numbers this year are not up to par for an elite QB. Pitt’s Chad Voytik is the only first year signal caller out of the three and it’s showed for most of the season; overall a mixed bag but I’m still optimistic about him.
|Top Two Receivers||REC||YDS||AVG||TD|
|WVU – Kevin White & Mario Alford||123||1754||14.26||15|
|PSU – Geno Lewis & DaeSean Hamilton||100||1305||13.05||2|
|PITT – Tyler Boyd & Manasseh Garner||69||992||14.38||7|
Just about what you might expect given the QB stats. West Virginia is excelling through the air as one needs to do in the Big XII. Penn State’s receivers have done well, considering, but have just two touchdowns. And Pitt probably the most talent individually-talented wideout in Tyler Boyd but, well, see next category.
|Top Two Rushers||CAR||YDS||AVG||TD|
|PITT – James Conner & Chad Voytik||303||1697||5.60||19|
|WVU – Rushel Shell & Wendell Smallwood||237||1078||4.55||7|
|PSU – Bill Belton & Akeel Lynch||137||518||3.78||5|
No surprise here. Pitt leads the bunch in all measures. West Virginia is also very adept at running the ball and Holgorsen’s offense, especially in a conference like the Big XII, lends itself to running lots of plays. No comment on Penn State’s rushing attack or lack thereof.
What really surprises me about these numbers is not that WVU leads in passing/receiving or that Pitt leads in rushing. It’s that Penn State’s offense plain ol’ sucks. Hackenberg is a talented QB with a year under his belt and Franklin has masterminded good offenses in the past. I asked a Penn State friend of mine about it and his answer was succinct – “Our offensive line sucks and Franklin’s play-calling has been suspect.”
One quick note. I know someone will bring up strength of schedule to wish away one weakness or another. By most measures, WVU has had the toughest schedule out of the three schools, followed by Pitt and then Penn State.