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.
Pitt looked like it was still suffering from a Thanksgiving food coma on Black Friday in a lackluster loss to the Miami Hurricanes to finish a third straight season 6-6. Once it was all said and done, the offense actually played a decent game, scoring 31 points and putting up more than 500 yards of offense. The offensive line had its best game of the year and Tyler Boyd stood out once again. The defense was disastrous, however, which ended up setting the tone for the game. Like so many games this season, Pitt just didn't look that good.
Bull (upward trending): Rachid Ibrahim
Freshman running back Rachid Ibrahim had a standout performance and put himself on the radar for 2014. He rushed for 51 yards on four carries (12.8 avg.) and caught three passes for 37 yards plus a sweet touchdown. A solid game for the freshman.
I've been craving a more dynamic offense all season and Ibrahim looked like a player who could add some variety and energy to a bland scheme. Ibrahim had offers from Iowa and Boston College (among others) when he signed with the Panthers nearly a year ago, an indication that he possesses more than just MAC-level talent. I'd like to see more of him come 2014. He closed the season out on a high note and his stock is up.
Bear (downward trending): Matt House
I know, I know Matt House again. I've been on a strong anti-House kick all year and some of the criticism I've thrown his way probably hasn't been fully deserved, but Friday's pitiful defensive performance added ammunition to the case for replacing him.
After a disastrous start to the season, House's defense started to show signs of improvement and actually had some good games against Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. Any progress disappeared against Miami as the Panthers gave up 41 points and looked lost all night. The U had open receivers - and I mean wide open - all game and Pitt's defense didn't appear to make any adjustments to fix that. Simply inexcusable. And that's been the same story all year long. House didn't do anything to help his cause. For me, his stock tumbles even further.