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Farrell’s Current State of The Programs: West Virginia vs. Pitt



I call this “state of the program” where I compare one school in five categories to a rival out-of-conference or an in-conference foe. Here’s my look at Pitt vs. West Virginia and it’s a shame they aren’t in the same conference.

The categories are as follows — coaching, recent play, recruiting, portal work and national perception/stability.

Coaching — This one is an easy edge for Pitt as Pat Narduzzi is a great fit for the Panthers while Neal Brown has been a bit of a disaster. Brown is 22-25 and has only had one winning season in the COVID year in 2020. He’s clearly on the hot seat which impacts every factor I’m breaking down here. On the other hand, Narduzzi has had only one losing season in eight years and has won eight or more games five times. He’s coming off what can be considered a rebuilding year losing QB Kenny Pickett and WR Jordan Addison among others, and he still pulled out nine wins in a tough schedule. This includes a win over West Virginia last season. He’s 62-41 overall and nowhere near any seats of hotness. This isn’t even close.

Recent Play — West Virginia has been up and down, for sure. They started last season with two late game losses to Pitt and Kansas and their best win was over a disappointing Oklahoma team or perhaps over similar teams underachieving in Baylor and Oklahoma State. The biggest win they’ve had in recent years was over who? Iowa State in 2021 or Kansas State in 2020? Meanwhile, Pitt has won two division titles and played for the ACC title in 2021. They continue to beat more ranked teams in one season than WVU does over a few years.

Recruiting — Pitt has the recruiting advantage here with their geography. They are closer to Ohio and are obviously in Pennsylvania while West Virginia has to win battles on the road much more often. Oddly enough, however, West Virginia has out recruited them two of the last three years and in a big way in the 2023 class. It’s odd, but it’s real and it’s been done with Brown on a hot seat each of the last two seasons.

Portal work — The portal is as important as anything in college football these days, and West Virginia has overall been a victim of it while Pitt has done better. Yes, Pitt lost Addison and some others but nothing close to what West Virginia has lost, and WVU has whiffed in a few key areas like QB making this a clear Pitt advantage to me moving forward.

National Perception/Stability — This is arguably as important as any category in some ways because it impacts everything from your chance to lure an elite coach and recruit players down to simply building a roster through all avenues. And this is a clear Pitt advantage. Neither team is in the thoughts of national football writers and aren’t thought of much compared to the blue bloods, but Pitt has those division titles, is a better fit in their conference and Narduzzi isn’t going anywhere.

The Verdict: This is Pitt in a landslide. If we were talking tradition, it would be interesting as the Pitt glory years of Dorsett and Marino vs. the height of WVU football with Pat White, Steve Slaton and company would be a fun debate and perhaps future article. But in this context, none of that matters. West Virginia could be looking for a new coach next season and still aren’t a fit in the Big 12 while Pitt has every chance to compete in the ACC again next season.

The winner is Pitt.

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