Bulls, Bears & Panthers is a weekly column that brings the buzz of Wall Street to Forbes and Fifth. Well…I’ll do what I can. In all seriousness, this is our weekly analysis of Pitt football’s stock. Each week during the season, I take a look back at the Panthers’ most recent game and select a Bull (a player, coach etc. which is upward trending) and a Bear (a player, coach etc. which is downward trending). Believe me, this is always lots of fun because just like in the stock market, in college football, you never quite know what a new day will bring.
Saturday night brought the atoning upset we were all hoping for, but few actually expected. The Panthers clawed back from multiple deficits and in very un-Pitt-like fashion pulled ahead late in the game and held the lead to topple the ranked Fighting Irish on national TV. The win changed the feel of Pitt's season, got Paul Chryst to bust some moves and set the Panthers up in a strong position for bowl eligibility. After such a feel-good win, I can't come up with a bear, but several players are certainly bulls.
Bull (upward trending): Ray Vinopal
I'll keep this short, because we've already talked a ton about the safety's big game. That said, with a forced fumble and two huge interceptions against the Irish, Vinopal was the unequivocal star on defense and probably the most impactful player in the game. Kudos to him on a tremendous week and all the accolades he's garnered. I'm not sure what to think of him longer term, but for this week, his name is out there and his stock is up.
Bull (upward trending): Devin Street
Street's convincing senior year continued with four receptions for 76 yards and two big touchdowns. Street got Pitt on the board and snapped some life into the team. He's emerged as a very strong leader and walked the walk in prime time. His stock continues to rise.
Bull (upward trending): Tom Savage
Savage's numbers weren't great - 22/35 for 243 yards and two touchdowns - but what matters is that he led the Panthers to victory. What Pitt QBs couldn't do for three years, Savage did. He led a late-game drive to give Pitt a lead and never folded under pressure. Cheers to him as his stock bumps up.