In a battle between Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and the lackluster Michigan State pass defense and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker and Pitt’s stout rush defense, there are plenty of storylines for the Peach Bowl without even mentioning Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi’s homecoming.
There’s enough intrigue for CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli to rank the Peach Bowl as one of the five most intriguing bowl games of the season — just behind the two College Football Playoff games and the Rose Bowl between No. 6 Ohio State and No. 11 Utah.
Every. Single. Bowl. Game. Ranked.https://t.co/fWA1wdhRss
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) December 6, 2021
However, if Pickett decides to not play in the Peach Bowl — expressing his uncertainty Wednesday — after Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s resignation and eventual hire to the same position at Nebraska, a lot of national intrigue would vanish.
Neither Pickett nor Walker has officially opted out of the game, and until either does so, the matchup does have its exciting bits. Pickett is a Heisman finalist going up against the worst-ranked pass defense in the country, so if he does play, a fireworks show should be expected. Walker is the second-leading rusher in college football this season, but his matchup against a Top 10 rush defense in college football should be a grueling battle.
And even if Pickett does decide to opt-out in preparation for the 2022 NFL Draft, while that would be disappointing for Pitt fans hoping to see one last hurrah, the potential to see backup Nick Patti in action in a serious bowl game would still provide some excitement.
In the meantime, fans nationwide will hope for one game from Pickett before he goes to the NFL.