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Bookmaker tabs Max Browne significant favorite to start season at quarterback for Pitt

Gambling on Week 1 college football starting quarterbacks? Yep.

Bookmaker.eu has some odds on starting quarterback selections for various teams expecting to have a battle in training camp. Pitt was one of the schools listed and Max Browne was listed as a significant favorite (-330) over Ben DiNucci (+260).

Interestingly, only a dozen quarterback jobs were listed, meaning they believe that most of the jobs are probably already settled or there's not enough information in some cases.

We just discussed this here recently. Pat Narduzzi is on the record as saying it's a close battle but, as I wrote before, I have a hard time believing Max Browne won't be the opening day starter.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

ACC vs. SEC All-Star Game?

With all of the recent talk of ACC coaches staking their claim for their conference being the best in all of football, Athlon pitched an interesting idea of selecting all-star teams from the ACC and SEC. ACCFootballRx then tried to determine which conference came out on top at each position. They deemed that the ACC won the most position battles.

Joining the 'team' from the ACC was two players you would expect - Brian O'Neill and Quadree Henderson. Both were also preseason All ACC First Team media picks. Henderson was given the nod over SEC kick returner Evan Berry but O'Neill lost his matchup with the SEC's Ross Pierschbacher. That matchup isn't a true head-to-head, however, since O'Neill is a tackle and Pierschbacher is a guard.

These things are always arbitrary, obviously. Still, an interesting idea to compare the top players in the conferences.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt makes annual trip to Mel Blount Youth Home

Pitt's football team takes freshmen players to the Mel Blount Youth Home every year before the season starts. The Panthers have been participating for the past decade. While there, the players interact with the kids and have them doing football-related activities.

This year was no different and the Panthers made their usual trek this week. The Post-Gazette has a good recap of the day as well as some interview material from incoming running back Todd Sibley and quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Trib also has a recap of the day.

It's easy to see why the school remains involved. Overall, it's a great way for the program to not only give back but also to get the freshmen introduced to community work early in their careers.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Larry Fitzgerald only playing for a Super Bowl

Former Pitt star wide receiver says, at this point, he has only one goal left in his career: To win a Super Bowl.

In fact, the Arizona Cardinals wideout says it's the only reason he's still playing.

“That's the only reason I'm playing at this point,” Fitzgerald said Sunday, the second day of Cardinals training camp. “From a personal standpoint, things I've accomplished, they're fine. But the thing that you will say is out of your control because you're in a team sport is a championship.”

Ironically, while the personal stuff may matter less to Fitzgerald, he's got a chance to move up the leaderboard for some pretty lofty receiving numbers, as I wrote earlier this spring.

How long he sticks around is anybody's guess. From a selfish standpoint, I'd love to see him play a few more years and climb even higher in the record books. Fitz's career has been great exposure for Pitt and the more successful he is, the better for the program.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

ACC touts Pitt running back group among the best in the conference

The ACC's Digital Network has been previewing various position units in the conference. Next up this week were the running backs and Pitt was ranked as their No. 3 backfield. The only teams ahead of the Panthers were Georgia Tech and Florida State, who was No. 1 overall.

All of the position breakdowns are videos and here's the one for running backs.

The video mentions Qadree Ollison's 1,100-yard season in 2015 as well as Chawntez Moss' and George Aston's contributions. There's no mention of Darrin Hall, or the incoming freshman, including four-star recruit Anthony Davis and former Ohio State commit turned Pitt signee Todd Sibley. But they limited each team to three guys, so that made sense.

Pitt's running back situation, as we've discussed before, is kind of up in the air. Ollison looks like the potential starter but Moss will be right there. Will one of the freshmen get in the mix? Can Hall challenge for the No. 2 job? Lots of unknowns but the one thing Pitt has is depth there.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Suzie McConnell-Serio leads Team USA U19 squad to quarterfinals with blowout win against Puerto Rico

Pitt women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio continues to lead the USA U19 team in the FIBA World Cup. The team's most recent victim was Puerto Rico as the Americans won handily, 104-46.

That moved Team USA to 4-0 and landed them in the quarterfinals. There, they'll face 3-1 France.

The game was interesting from a Pitt vantage point as Puerto Rico's team includes Pitt incoming freshman Pika Rodriguez. Her team is 0-4 in the event but she has been one of the top scorers in the tournament, averaging 16 points a game. Rodriguez scored a team-high 13 against Team USA.

McConnell-Serio's team has had mostly blowouts but did get a game of sorts from Italy in their third game winning by 'only' 17 points.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Reliving Pitt's 2007 victory over West Virginia

The tenth anniversary of Pitt's historic win over West Virginia won't officially happen until later this year. But SB Nation is relieving the entire 2007 college football season and the Panthers' big 13-9 win was of course part of the discussion.

It wasn't only in the conversation, it was one of the biggest things in the college football season. SB Nation has a great article up with players from both sides and it's more than worth your time. There's lots of good perspective from Pitt guys Dave Wannstedt, Scott McKillop, Eric Thatcher, and more.

Take a look here but also tell us, what are your thoughts of that game? What do you remember the most? Me, I'll never forget that the Pitt team that year was pretty bad. This wasn't an average team beating a great team. That was a really bad season. Pitt lost by 20 to UConn and 30 to Virginia. Lost to South Florida. Lost to Rutgers. Lost to Navy.

Despite all of that, despite playing on the road, it really proved once again that anything is possible in this crazy thing we call sports. It also proved how things can dramatically turn around for the better in only one year. Pitt would go on to win nine games the next year and ten right after that. While it was a pretty bad team, they also weren't too far away from being able to win games.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt adds Texas offensive lineman transfer Brandon Hodges

Pitt got a bit of a surprise addition on Tuesday with the late pickup of Texas offensive lineman transfer Brandon Hodges.

Next stop! pic.twitter.com/ELZEWp5LCG — Brandon Hodges (@BHoD_31) July 25, 2017

Hodges is a graduate transfer with one year of eligibility. He'll be available to play immediately this season. As of now, Narduzzi hasn't yet acknowledged it but it's being reported by numerous outlets.

Pitt seemed mostly set at offensive tackle with returning starter Brian O'Neill (now moved to left tackle with the departure of Adam Bisnowaty) and Jaryd Jones-Smith but Hodges' addition gives Pitt more experienced depth. He was a starter at right tackle last year at Texas but looked to be a potential backup in 2017. That was looking more like a possibility after sitting out part of this spring with academic issues.

I'm not sure where this leaves Jones-Smith, to be honest. My guess is that he gets the first shot to start but will have Hodges breathing down his neck. Hodges can also play guard, so if Jones-Smith is dominant at tackle, he could also potentially push for playing time there, too. This could be the second time Jones-Smith has a starting job taken from him. In 2015, it was due to injury. Now, it could be to competition from a late addition. That's kind of a bummer for him if he doesn't hold onto the job but Pitt also has to improve the team whenever they can. This move does that, if even just from a depth perspective.

As I said with quarterback Max Browne, I can't imagine Hodges is transferring for his final year to ride the bench. I expect he'll have a legit shot to start somewhere and if he doesn't start, he'll be playing a lot, I would imagine.

Another guy that stands to potentially lose playing time is freshman Jerry Drake. He was highly-touted as a four-star recruit and was listed as the backup right tackle in the most recent depth chart. He almost certainly gets leapfrogged by Hodges if Hodges stays at right tackle. Freshman Justin Morgan was listed as the backup at right guard behind Alex Bookser. If everyone stays healthy, this has the look of a redshirt year for Drake, which is probably a good thing for the team.

But we're still a long way from having this completely sorted and training camp will clear a lot of things up.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Police drop charges against former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead

Police in Prince William County, Virginia, have rescinded a warrant to arrest former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead.

“Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017, arrest of an individual named ‘Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.,’ the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys,” said a statement from the Prince William County Police Department. "The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family."

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TMZ reported Monday during the Cowboys’ morning walk-through that the receiver was arrested for shoplifting on June 22 and had a warrant out for his arrest after failing to appear for a July 6 court date.

When informed of the matter, Whitehead said he knew nothing of it and the allegations were false.

In a press conference, coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys had just discovered the situation as the walk-through was concluding and that the team would “respond accordingly.”

Later that day, the Cowboys released him.

When Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones was asked if he had spoken with Whitehead’s agent about the possibility of it being a case of mistaken identity, as was being reported from Whitehead’s camp, Jones said, “I’m not going to comment on that.”

Whitehead was the example the Cowboys used to demonstrate accountability after an offseason that has seen defensive end David Irving suspended for a performance-enhancing drug policy violation, linebacker Damien Wilson arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and running back Ezekiel Elliott allegedly involved in a night club incident.

Cardiac Hill Poll of the Week: More or Less Than Seven Wins for Pitt Football?

Last week, Bovada set the Over/Under for Pitt wins and losses for the 2017 football season at seven. Most predictions have about that number of wins for Pitt (I'm still clinging to eight, for what it's worth) so that seemed about where it should be.

I know we discussed win expectations for football already (and probably will again by the time the season actually starts) but since this was an over/under, I wanted to see in general where more people leaned.

But if you had to pick, are you going over or under that number? Even though you may want to say seven exactly, let's take that out of the equation.

Given that, are you taking the over or under here?

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.
Poll Is Pitt football more likely to win more than or fewer than seven regular games in 2017? More than seven Fewer than seven   0 votes | Results

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