Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett was dealt a blow when Mark Whipple jumped ship on Pitt and moved on to Nebraska, and with uncertainty hanging over the team and the offense in particular, Pickett has rethought playing in the upcoming Peach Bowl.
"With recent news out of our team, with Coach Whipple and everybody, that’s something," Pickett said on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday. "I actually just got home yesterday, and I didn’t get a chance to talk about [playing in the Peach Bowl] with my parents. ... I’d say [I'm] undecided right now.”
Previously, the Pitt quarterback said that he planned on playing in the bowl game, but that was shortly after Pitt’s 45-21 victory over Wake Forest in the ACC championship game. And since then, things have changed.
Most notably, Whipple resigned from his position as Pitt’s offensive coordinator on Tuesday and accepted the same position at Nebraska on Wednesday. As a result, it is unclear how the Pitt offense will be run in the Peach Bowl and who will call the plays for the Panthers moving forward.
If Pickett decides not to play, the team will face further uncertainty, as Nick Patti will likely start under center for the Panthers. Patti has only played one complete game in his college career, and that was in a narrow 20-17 win Delaware in 2019. In that game, Patti threw for 271 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. But if Patti starts against Michigan State, he will face much tougher competition.
As for Pickett, he faces a high-stakes decision. If he ended his college career right now, he would likely be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. However, a poor showing on a big stage like the Peach Bowl could hurt his draft stock. With that said, Pitt is likely to thrive against Michigan State if Pickett is involved, as the Spartans have the worst passing defense in the nation. So the bowl game also offers Pickett a chance to showcase his talents one more time against a Big Ten opponent.