‘We play some darn good football in the ACC, and I think people forget about that’

CHARLOTTE, NC — Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi stood behind comments he recently made about Michigan State and the Big Ten during his appearance on Thursday’s ACC Kickoff and reiterated that he was confident in Pitt’s chances at this conference, based on what he saw in their game against the Spartans in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Pitt played that game last December without first-round pick Kenny Pickett, who opted not to draft in the NFL. Backup quarterback Nick Patti was injured early in the game, forcing Davis Beville to play the rest of the game. Though Pitt took a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter, the Spartans rallied for a 31-21 victory.

In comments during an interview with local Pittsburgh podcast Bazzy’s Black and Gold Banter earlier this week, Narduzzi said Pickett was “a 21-point difference. Michigan State gets a kick in the butt. It’s at least a 14-point difference if Nick Patti plays the whole game….

“You talk about Big Ten and SEC and ACC. If this is one of the best Big Ten teams, let’s go to the Big Ten and win it every year. I don’t want to hear about this Big Ten dominance and SEC dominance.”

When asked about those comments on Thursday, Narduzzi said he was simply trying to express how strong he felt about the strength of the ACC. Narduzzi served as Michigan State’s defense coordinator from 2007 to 2014. Pittsburgh won the ACC championship a year ago.

“You hear all these things in the summer about the Power 2 and all these things. We just start with that. You know, we play damn good football at the ACC and I think people forget about it,” said Narduzzi. “I trained in the Big Ten for eight years, so I know. I feel very confident – and again, it’s not arrogant. It’s just a way of knowing the landscape and knowing what we played against in the Peach Bowl. That’s just confidence. This is not disrespect to the Big Ten or the state of Michigan. It’s all about Pitt and the ACC. I think ACC football is really, really good and that’s really the comment I wanted to convey. ‘We play some darn good football in the ACC, and I think people forget about that’

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