While the Big Ten and SEC have dominated the headlines this summer as the new Super conferences in college football, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi raised some eyebrows over his comments on a podcast Wednesday. But he said it was more so about the ACC than the Big Ten.
“You hear all these things during the summer about the Power 2s (the Big Ten and SEC) and all this stuff,” Narduzzi said Thursday at the ACC Media Days. “We’ll just start there. You know, we play some darn good football in the ACC, and I think people forget about it.”
Pitt, of course, won the ACC in 2021, a year that was described as a down season for Clemson despite a 10-3 record. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said at the Media Days that instead of looking at as Clemson was bad in 2021, the ACC and teams like North Carolina State and Pitt were excellent. And Narduzzi echoed those sentiments.
“How about the teams that are getting better? I think Pittsburgh is getting better, so we’ll start there,” Narduzzi said. “Again, any time you get — I’ve coached in the Big Ten for eight years, so I know it. I don’t know the SEC, so I’m not going to claim (to). I’ve never coached in the SEC, but I do know the Big Ten. I feel very confident — and, again, it’s not being arrogant. It’s just kind of knowing the landscape and knowing what we played against in The Peach Bowl, just would have liked to have our backup quarterback play the whole game.
“That’s just confidence. That’s no disrespect to the Big Ten or Michigan State. It’s just about Pitt and about the ACC.”
Pitt’s first ACC title now is firmly in the rearview mirror. Pitt as a whole preached the importance of always looking ahead, not resting on the glory from a season ago. Narduzzi continued to beat the same drum on Thursday, and it’s clear that his message hasn’t been lost on the team leaders.
“Last year was a great year,” Deslin Alexandre said Thursday. “We were happy with what we did last year, but we’re focused on this year now. Focused on doing everything — all the little things right to make sure we can replicate and have a better year than we did last year.
Narduzzi said Pitt hasn’t done anything yet, especially since the goal is to make the College Football Playoffs and win the national championship. With two losses in the regular season last year, Narduzzi said Pitt was one game away from being in consideration for a playoff spot — and would’ve been in a 12-team playoff. And for him, it all starts with ACC football.
“Again, that’s all I can tell you,” Narduzzi said. “I think ACC football is really, really good, and that’s really the comment there that I was trying to get across.”