With the 99th edition of the Penn State-Pitt rivalry set to take place this Saturday night in Heinz Field, it's not surprising to see that figures from each school's past are taking their time to weigh in on the matchup.
One of those figures is former Pitt player and head coach Dave Wannstedt. Wannstedt never coached against the Lions, but he did go up against them as a player, losing in all three games he played. On Tuesday, the esteemed Mike Vukovcan of the revered Pittsburgh Sports Now publication interviewed Wannstedt to get his thoughts on Saturday's game, and it...it's something.
Naturally, it's expected that he harbors a good amount of bias toward the school that is both his alma mater and his most successful head coaching stint. The fact that he's a national analyst for Fox Sports would lead one to assume that he may try to shroud that bias in order to keep his opinion valued by all, but admitting that you are pulling for your former school is hardly the worst offense a football personality can commit.
So no, my issue with Wannstedt here is not that he is being impartial. In fact, I think sports commentary would be a ton of fun if everyone was just unabashedly biased towards their own schools. No, my issue arises in this paragraph.
"I’m picking Pitt to win because I think they’re a better team today,” said Wannstedt. “I like Pitt to win because of what they have upfront on the offensive and defensive lines. You throw the ball to score points but you have to be able to run the ball to win games. I know that I’ve always had the reputation of being a little hard-headed about that on both sides of the ball but I really believe that. I think Pitt has the advantage on both offensive and defensive line. Backs are about the same, Penn State probably has the advantage at quarterback because of experience but I think this game will be won in the trenches on both sides of the ball and there’s no question in my mind that the best lines are at Pitt.”
Before I get into my main point of contention here, if someone could drop Wanny a line and let him know you need to score points in order to win a game, that would be great. Because apparently scoring points and winning games are different endeavours here.
Now, let's reread part of one of those sentences in the middle real quick.
"Backs are about the same, Penn State probably has the advantage at quarterback because of experience..."
Qadree Ollison is a very good running back and Miles Sanders has only been on the national stage for one game, so I'm okay with calling them even but, wait, I'm sorry, what did you say after that?
"Penn State probably has the advantage at quarterback..."– Dave Wannstedt, Man Paid for Football Opinions
Penn State probably has the advantage at quarterback because of experience...
Penn State probably has the advantage at quarterback
p r o b a b l y
p r o b a b l y
Trace McSorley, he of 7,599 career passing yards, a 60/18 TD/INT ratio, 61.7 percent career completion percentage, 151.6 career quarterback rating, 952 career rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns, solid Heisman odds, and a Big Ten Championship, is PROBABLY better than Kenny Pickett. Oh, and he's only PROBABLY better because he has more experience.
Kenny Pickett, he of 88 career passing attempts a TD/INT ratio of 3/2 (though that can't be right because I thought he didn't throw interceptions?), and 663 career passing yards through five games. The only, ONLY thing that separates him and McSorley is experience.
Saturday needs to get here now because I'm not sure how many more takes like this I can stomach.