1. Pitt QB Browne out the rest of the season-Definitely sad news for the Pitt Panthers graduate-transfer from USC. Apparently, Max Browne’s should injury in Pitt’s 27-24 loss to Syracuse was more serious than once thought. He will miss the rest of the 2017 season, which means his college career is over. I wasn’t much of a fan, but I wish the kid the best.
  2. Browne’s stats-In 6 games, Browne went 96-for-135 for 997 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions with Pitt. Two weeks ago, he threw for 410 yards in a 42-10over Rice. In that game, I was very impressed with his poise and ability to throw the deep ball, but unfortunately, those skills disappeared against Syracuse and weren’t there in the other 4 games. After underachieving at USC, he should mark that game vs. Rice as the highlight of his collegiate career.
  3. It’s Ben DiNucci’s turn now-Some of us wanted him, and because of Browne’s unfortunate events, we got DiNucci is now Pitt’s QB and he will get a chance to prove whether he can handle the responsibility. True freshman Kenny Pickett will be the backup after head coach Pat Narduzzi burned his Redshirt. DiNucci can scramble, but whether he can get the ball to his WRs is the question. He gets kudos for leading Pitt to an 11-point comeback before eventually losing to Syracuse.
  4. Pitt vs. North Carolina State-If Pitt thought Penn State and Oklahoma State was tough, then they need to brace themselves vs. the upstart NC State Wolfpack (5-1, 3-0 ACC) who will come into Heinz Field vs. the Panthers Saturday. It’ll be Pitt’s Homecoming game and they will be wearing those sharp throwback home uniforms. Hopefully, Pitt will be ready.
  5. When did NC State get so good? Apparently, this season. I’m not saying that the team is horrible, but it was easy to think of the basketball team when you thought of NC State. Not this year, the football team has truly stepped it up. They average 33 points a game and 471 total yards a game. QB Ryan Finley has passed for 10 TDs and RB Nyheim Hines has run for 513 yards. And their upset over ACC power Louisville basically says it all: This team is
  6. Pitt’s history vs. NC State-Not a huge one, but Pitt holds a 5-3-1 advantage over NC State in a series that dates to 1952…this will be the first ACC meeting between the two schools…the last time the teams played, in 2009, the Panthers were members of the Big East…NC State won that ’09 encounter, 38-31, as quarterback Russell Wilson rallied the Wolfpack from a 14-point deficit. The teams have split two bowl matchups…Pitt and NC State twice played in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla. (1978 and 2001)
  7. Can Pitt beat NC State? It’s honestly easy to say no given Pitt’s struggles vs. ranked teams this season (NC State is ranked #20 in the AP Poll), but I feel that even though the Wolfpack is a more talented team if Pitt is properly prepared, they will have a shot. Translation: They punch NC State in the mouth early and often with TDs and make splash plays on defense. Easier said than done, right? You betcha.
  8. K Alex Kessman-After his early struggles, this redshirt freshman has truly made an impression after He has made four consecutive field goals covering 55, 49, 42 and a school record-tying 56 yards.It’s nice to know that’s one area that Pitt doesn’t have to worry about.
  9. S Jordan Whitehead-It’s so nice to see this kid back as well after missing 3 games due to suspension. In the Syracuse game, Whitehead rushed seven times for 73 yards (10.4 avg.), including a 35-yard touchdown, and also ran for a 2-point conversion. On defense, he collected nine tackles. This kid can truly be a boost for the Panthers the rest of the season as long as he stays healthy and out of trouble.
  10. AP Top 5-Of course, Alabama and Clemson remain in the #1 and #2 spots, but there’s a new #3; Penn State who continues to remain red-hot. Georgia is #4 and Washington is #5. If the season ended today, Alabama would play Penn State, which would be pretty huge.
  11. Steelers vs. Chiefs-This is the rematch of the AFC Divisional Game in which the Steelers beat the Chiefs 18-16 and they did so on K Chris Boswell’s playoff-record 6 field goals. I’m thinking they will need to score TDs this time around against 5-0 KC.
  12. Can the Steelers beat KC? I think they can. After embarrassing themselves against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, this may be the type of game that the Steelers need to break out of their funk. Of course, it’ll be hard to beat KC at Arrowhead Stadium, but if the Steelers could do in January, they can do it in October, provided they are in sync on offense, which means use all of their weapons, offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
  13. The State of Ben Roethlisberger-Despite his 5 interceptions and postgame comments, I don’t worry about this man. He’s not done and it’s ok to have a bad game every occasionally. I just hope that he spreads the ball out a little more because he truly has lots of weapons. It’s gonna take that against KC defense who will truly have WR Antonio Brown covered.
  14. The State of the Steelers-Frankly, I think this 3-2 team needs to grow up. Stop the bickering on social media, stop the public temper tantrums and the attention-seeking. In layman’s terms: No More Drama! It takes unity to win a Super Bowl, which they will not do in their current state.
  15. LB James Harrison will play Sunday-Well, according to Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler. I think it was foolish for the team to not dress Harrison stating that they’re preserving him…for what? The Steelers need him He can change and impact games, and KC needs a dose of the 39-year old pass-rusher.
  16. Santonio Holmes retires as a Steeler-We know it’s only an honorary act, but the former Steelers WR officially announced his retirement Tuesday as a Steeler, the team that drafted him in 2006. He went on to become Super Bowl 43 MVP. I like how he has matured which makes it easy to forget what led him to get traded from the Steelers in 2010.
  17. Adrian Peterson is a Cardinal? Seriously, what has happened to this dude? Just 2 years ago, he won an NFL rushing title, now he has already played on 2 teams. First, he signed with New Orleans after the Minnesota Vikings let him go, and I’m convinced that the Saints didn’t know what to do with him after he hardly played in their first 5 games. But going to a team like the Arizona Cardinals will be a bonus because head coach Bruce Arians will know how to use him. I wish him the best.
  18. NFL upholds Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension-So after fights from the NFLPA and federal court, we’re back where we started with the Dallas Cowboys RB: Suspended for 6 games. So now the Cowboys will need to rely on veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, who was the man with the Redskins a few years ago.
  19. NBA-With the regular season starting in a few days, I think this will be a pretty exciting season. Golden State hopes to repeat, Cleveland hopes to be healthy enough to win 2 titles in 3 years, and OKC, Boston, and Houston hope to fulfill their goals in winning a title. I’m looking forward to it.
  20. MLB Playoffs-Kudos to the NY Yankees who rebounded from an 0-2 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. They will now face the Houston Astros in the ALCS. I respect the Astros, but I’m rooting for the Yankees and Aaron Judge in this series.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmedaitoday.com

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