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Pitt HC Pat Narduzzi Clarifies Comments After Saying Panthers Could Win Big Ten

Doric SamJuly 21, 2022

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi recently raised some eyebrows when he made some critical remarks about Michigan State and the Big Ten.

During an appearance at ACC Kickoff on Thursday, Narduzzi clarified that he was simply speaking highly of his own team and he wasn't trying to disparage anyone else.

"That's just confidence. That's no disrespect to the Big Ten or Michigan State," Narduzzi said, per ESPN's Andrea Adelson. "It's just about Pitt and about the ACC. I think ACC football is really, really good, and that's really the comment there that I was trying to get across."

During an interview with local Pittsburgh podcast Bazzy's Black and Gold Banter earlier this week, Narduzzi discussed Pitt's performance against Michigan State in the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in December. The Panthers had taken a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter before eventually losing 31-21.

However, Pitt was without starting quarterback Kenny Pickett, who skipped the bowl game in favor of preparing for the NFL draft. The Panthers also lost second string quarterback Nick Patti to injury early in the game.

Narduzzi, who was defensive coordinator for Michigan State from 2007-14, said the Panthers would've had no issues getting past the Spartans had they played at full strength. He also went further to say he thinks the Panthers would have an easy time competing in the Big Ten.

"You talk about Big Ten and SEC and ACC. If that's one of the best Big Ten teams, let's go to the Big Ten and win it every year," he said on the podcast. "I don't want to hear about this Big Ten dominance and SEC dominance."

When speaking on Thursday, Narduzzi stood by his comments. He explained that in an offseason defined by conference realignment, he's confident in his team's ability to compete against anyone.

"You hear all these things during the summer about the Power 2s and all this stuff. We'll just start there. You know, we play some darn good football in the ACC, and I think people forget about it," Narduzzi said. "I've coached in the Big Ten for eight years, so I know it. 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."

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