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Utah vs. Pitt College Football Pick with Analysis

10/15/11

The Pitt Panthers host the Utah Utes on Saturday afternoon at 12:00 pm est. and are currently listed at 7 point home favorites with a total of 46.5. Utah will be without stating QB Jordan Wynn who is out for the year with a shoulder injury and now must turn to back up Jon Hays the rest of the way.

The first thing we need to figure out is just how big of an impact the loss of Wynn will have on Utah. Traditionally, the QB position is one of the most overrated positions in college football. Yes, there are some super stars out there that will have a huge impact on a team if they go down, but by and large, most programs have capable back up QB's. Often times, stars are born as a result of situations like this. The QB is important, but let's face it, he doesn't play defense, he doesn't play on the offensive line, he doesn't catch the ball and he's not a running back. In fact, it's more common to see the rest of the team rally and step up their game in this set up. Oh, and by the way, Jordan Wynn was not a "super star".

That being said, back up Jon Hays started last week against Arizona State and threw 3 picks while the rest of the team failed to play a full 60 minutes and the end result was a 35-14 loss. But we can't lose site of the fact that Utah led the game 14-13 with 5 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter before Arizona State scored back to back touchdowns in a 1 minute and 30 seconds time span. The Sun Devils capped that off with one more to start the 4th quarter and there's your ball game.

Pittsburgh has been a Jekyll and Hyde team that no one can figure out. They barely got by Maine and Buffalo. They had Iowa on the ropes in blowout fashion only to allow them to come back and win the game. They held the powerful Notre Dame offense to their lowest point total of the year, 15 points and then came out the following week and blew out South Florida 44-17. For an encore, they lost to Rutgers last week, 34-10. Go figure.

If you go across the board in all the major stat categories you'd find these two teams are close in just about all of them. They're both scoring and giving up similar amounts of points. Both teams are good against the run but weak against the pass. Their yards per point numbers are dead even with both teams at 14 offensively and 16.5 defensively. Utah though, has played a more difficult schedule, mostly as a result of having played Buffalo and Maine.

Our model has Utah winning this game straight up by a score of 24-20. Now, of course, the Utah stats being considered are 3.5 games with Wynn at QB and 1.5 games with Hays. But unless you think Wynn is worth 11 points in the line, it would look like the Utah side still has some value at +7 or more.

We think Utah will take advantage of this much needed break from PAC 12 play and will find the level of competition over in the Big East a little more to their liking. As long as Utah can play a full 60 minutes, this game can go either way and who knows, maybe the bad Pitt will show up making it even easier. Either way, we think there's some value here with Utah. Utah +7

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