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Steigerwald: Miami Win Has Narduzzi’s Stock Soaring as Sun Sets on Graham at ASU

Steigerwald: Miami Win Has Narduzzi’s Stock Soaring as Sun Sets on Graham at ASU

Todd Graham is out at ASU.

That’s according to reports coming out of Tempe, Arizona. Graham was PAC 12 Coach of the Year for Arizona State in 2013, but his record since 2014 is 18-19.

Pat Narduzzi’s record at Pitt since he showed up for the 2015 season is 21-17. Maybe you remember Todd, also known as Fraud, who sneaked out of town in the middle of the night after the 2012 season.

I was hoping he would find out he was fired by finding an empty office the next time he showed up for work. It would appear that Pitt has hired two coaches who are better than Graham since he skipped town.

Paul Chryst is undefeated at Wisconsin and could play for the Mythical National Championship with a win over Ohio State.

Narduzzi’s stock was dropping like a rock until Friday. The win over Miami will calm the restless natives, who lost their patience with coaches a long time ago.

They had stopped wanting to hear about the win over Clemson last year. Pitt needed that win on Friday but found something it needed even more–a quarterback.

Kenny Pickett played the most and the best that a true freshman quarterback has played for Pitt since Alex Van Pelt in 1989. Van Pelt went on to break most of Dan Marino’s passing records.

If you had the time and the inclination, you could go through the last 10 seasons of Pitt football and find a tremendous number of games that were lost only because the opponent had a better quarterback.

Pickett was the best quarterback on the field Friday and it wasn’t close. He has a great arm, he’s poised and he’s mobile. He looks like a Power 5 quarterback, something you could never say about the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart.

Before you rip Narduzzi for not going to him sooner, allow for the possibility that Narduzzi knew a little bit more about his readiness than you did after watching him in practice for four months. Pickett’s success could have been directly related to not having played before he was ready.

He’s ready now and Pitt’s offseason was turned upside down by his performance. The defense actually had more to do with the win over Miami than Pickett did but Pitt looks a lot more attractive to recruits now because of him. Because Pitt’s future looks so much better. It will be nice for Narduzzi to not have to introduce a transfer QB to the team on the first day of practice next season.

Everybody knows that Pitt is a young team with lots of experienced players coming back next year. The 5-7 this season could have been 7-5 or 8-4 with a better quarterback.

Kenny Pickett made Pat Narduzzi’s selling job a lot easier.

What would he be selling if Pickett had played like a kid making his first start and Miami had won in a blowout, as most people were expecting?

He would have spent the next six months talking about attendance and making excuses. Pitt football is at a tipping point, or at least it was before the win over Miami. Pitt fans and alumni were beginning to have serious doubts about Narduzzi and the number of returning players wasn’t exciting anybody.

That all changed on Friday.

A national TV audience saw what looked like a future top 10 defense and a future NFL prospect at quarterback instead of another Pitt season coming to a bad ending and a coach answering questions about his job security.

Meanwhile, out in Tempe, they’re wondering why Todd the Fraud hasn’t produced and they’re asking why there are so many empty seats at  Arizona State football games.

Whose future would you rather have right now, Todd Graham’s or Pat Narduzzi’s?

Pitt’s or Arizona State’s?

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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