Having two qbs not helping Panthers

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — There’s no way to spin anything good out of being on the wrong end of 59-21 score, as Pitt was against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

n Pitt apparently has two quarterbacks, senior transfer Max Browne and redshirt freshman Ben DiNucci. It’s true what they say: Teams with two quarterbacks really don’t have a quarterback.

If Browne can’t get the job done, it doesn’t make much sense to play him given that he won’t be around after this season.

n It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is if the Panthers miss as many tackles as they did in staking Oklahoma State to a 21-0 lead.

n Nobody seems to know what Jordan Whitehead did to earn a suspension from the first three games. Like most schools, Pitt didn’t stray from the standard “violation of team rules,” which can cover anything from being late for a meeting to grand theft auto.

But it must have been significant for coach Pat Narduzzi to sacrifice one of his best players for three games, including Penn State.

Whitehead can’t get back soon enough, considering that Pitt allowed 516 yards of offense in Saturday — in the first half.

n By the way, 516 yards was the distance some fans could walk to a restaurant and enjoy a good meal while they skipped the second half of Saturday’s debacle.

On the Pirates

Three thoughts on the Pirates:

n Offseason attention will be focused on whether the Pirates decide to trade Andrew McCutchen and forgo the last year of his contract.

But the more appealing trade chip the Pirates hold is Josh Harrison. He’s more attractive because of the versatility that makes him a great fit for a contender.

He is scheduled to make $10.5 million next year, the same amount he’s guaranteed for 2019. Then there’s a final year where he will be paid $11.5 million at age 33.

Those amounts wouldn’t make a team like the Boston Red Sox blink, but they’re significant in Pittsburgh.

The question is whether the Pirates could trade Harrison and cover second base with a combination of Adam Frazier and Max Moroff. Frazier’s defensive shortcomings would be a particular concern.

n If Elias Diaz is going to take a bigger role at catcher next season, he has to get much better at blocking pitches in the dirt. Somehow Diaz has spent nine seasons in the organization without mastering that basic skill.

n General manager Neal Huntington has had a bad year. It got even worse with the decision to drop Drew Hutchison from the 40-man roster, which is the first step toward letting him look for an opportunity elsewhere.

The Pirates paid Hutchison $2.3 million to pitch at Class AAA. They thought he might be the only useful asset in last year’s trade that sent Francisco Liriano to Toronto. Instead, to get relief from Liriano’s $14 million price tag, they also parted with two non-prime prospects (Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez) and paid Hutchison about $3.26 million to do nothing over two seasons. Ouch.

Bad show

Because the NFL assigns every team a Thursday night game that most people don’t watch, the Houston Texans played at the Cincinnati Bengals on NFL Network last week.

Viewers would have been better off chasing down some “I Love Lucy” reruns if they wanted to be entertained.

The performance was so bad that the Bengals fired their offensive coordinator the next day. It was the first correct call they’ve made this season.

The worst part? Bengals serial miscreant Vontaze Burfict was suspended, so that lessened the chances an attention-diverting riot might break out on any snap.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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