The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

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The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

In Preview: Pitt, Penn State, & WVU

A look at the likely outcomes of three local favorites this season
CC BY 2.0
Both Pitt and Penn State look poised to have a strong season.

The wait is over. After a long 229-day offseason filled with transfers, recruiting and conference realignment, college football is finally here. It’s the dawn of a new season and historic programs such as Penn State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia prepare for a tough schedule ahead. 


Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State is coming off of an 11-2 season with a Rose Bowl victory over #10 Utah and is now looking to take the next step towards a national championship. The Nittany Lions lost six players to the NFL draft, including North Allegheny’s own Joey Porter, Jr. However, Penn State finished 14th nationally in the 2023 recruiting class, signing 18 four stars and five three stars. This season, sophomore Drew Allar is stepping up as starting quarterback, replacing Sean Clifford. James Franklin and Penn State fans are looking for the five star recruit to take Penn State to the next level — the College Football Playoffs.

The Nittany Lions will enter the 2023-2024 season ranked 7th nationally. Penn State has had serious talent the past few years, yet they always seem to fall just short, largely because of their tough schedule. This season, Penn State is set to play seven home games and five away games. West Virginia, Delaware, #25 Iowa, UMass, Indiana, #2 Michigan, and Rutgers all come to Beaver Stadium this fall, while the Nittany Lions travel to Illinois, Northwestern, #3 Ohio State, Maryland, and Michigan State. The big question for Penn State this season is whether they can beat the perennial powerhouses of Ohio State and Michigan.

The Nittany Lions should cruise through the majority of their schedule with minimal effort, but I do believe that they will fall short once again. The Buckeyes and Wolverines are on a different level than Penn State. Both Michigan and Ohio State have playoff experience and are expected to defeat the Lions for another season. 

Final Prediction: 10-2


Pittsburgh Panthers

Pittsburgh took a minor step back last season, finishing ranked #23 and 9-4 with a Sun Bowl victory over #18 UCLA. Pitt was not as successful in 2022 as they were in 2021, going 11-3 with an ACC Championship, yet they performed valiantly nonetheless. Pat Narduzzi and his staff seem to have found a formula of success in Pittsburgh, winning 20 games in 2 straight seasons.

But the Panthers were hit hard by the NFL draft, losing star defensive tackle Calijah Kancey, along with six other players. Pittsburgh ranked 51st in the 2023 recruiting class. The Panthers have a new quarterback behind the wheel in Phil Jurkovec. The Notre Dame and Boston College transfer from Pine-Richland reunites with his old offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Jr. The Panthers take on Wofford, Cincinnati, #21 North Carolina, Louisville, #8 Florida State, Syracuse, and Boston College at Acrisure Stadium. They will be heading to West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, #13 Notre Dame, and Duke for their road matchups.

The Panthers will likely have another successful season this year, probably falling only to North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame. However, do not be surprised if Pitt defeats the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The last time Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman faced the Panther defense, which took place in the 2021 ACC Championship, he threw four interceptions. 

Final Prediction: 9-3


West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia had a disappointing season in 2022, going 5-7 and missing a bowl game. The Mountaineers are hungry for a bounce-back season after losing to Pittsburgh in the return of the Backyard Brawl last season. Head Coach Neal Brown finds himself in a hot seat that only seems to be getting hotter. The Mountaineers only had one player selected in the NFL draft in Dante Stills, and they ranked 48th in the 2023 recruiting class. The Mountaineers have lost their star quarterback JT Daniels, who gave Pitt a run for their money in last year’s Backyard Brawl to the transfer portal. The Mountaineers are set to take on Duquesne, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, BYU, and Cincinnati in Milan Puskar Stadium, and they travel to #7 Penn State, #17 TCU, Houston, UCF, #20 Oklahoma, and Baylor.

WVU is likely in for a rough season. With lackluster coaching and underperforming talent, the Mountaineers are bound for another losing season. It is highly likely that Head Coach Neal Brown will part ways with the university after they inevitably suffer two embarrassing losses to Penn State and Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers will take another step back this season, only defeating Duquesne, Houston, Oklahoma State and Cincinnati. 

Final Prediction: 4-8


Penn State has a path to the national championship. Pittsburgh has their formula for success in the ACC. West Virginia is in for a disappointing season. College football is back and only time will tell who will stand atop the collegiate mountain.

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About the Contributor
Thomas Thirkell
Thomas Thirkell, Staff Writer
Thomas Thirkell is a senior at NASH who loves watching college football and playing chess.

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