The Pitt Panthers are hosting in-state rival Penn State this Saturday night for a primetime showdown on national television. It is the most anticipated game on the Pitt home schedule this season and will likely draw the biggest crowd of the year for the Panthers. With all of the buzz and excitement for the third in a four-year revival in the rivalry series with the Nittany Lions, Pitt and Heinz Field are bracing fans showing up for the game to be patient with regard to parking because there is an afternoon baseball game going on that day.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are hosting the Miami Marlins at 1 PM on Saturday, and fans attending the baseball game will have priority status for parking spots before Pitt and Penn State fans start filling the lots. Fans attending the 8 PM football game are being asked not to arrive for the game until 5 PM, and no tailgating will be allowed in the lots from 1:30 to 5:00 PM. That sounds like an absolute disaster.
It seems as though Major League Baseball could have thrown Pitt a bone here by having the Pirates on the road this weekend. Scheduling in baseball can be tricky at times, but the Pitt home game against Penn State was scheduled years before the MLB schedule for the 2018 season was organized. And you know MLB would never dream of having the Pirates at home on the same day the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing at home. MLB does try to take into account concerns like that in multi-sport cities when it can avoid the hassles for their teams and their fans. If this were any other Pitt home game, considering the typical attendance, it may not have been a major problem. But the Penn State game is different because it will draw a nearly-packed Heinz Field crowd to the stadium. This attendance will be as close to resembling a Steelers home crowd as Pitt will get this season, and all fans attending the game will now be inconvenienced because MLB either didn’t care to or think to work around the college football schedule in Pittsburgh.
Fans will still be able to find other parking options in the city, of course, although those lots will not be maintained by Heinz Field and the city of Pittsburgh and it may require a little bit of a walk to the stadium. Fortunately, it’s not a bad walk to the stadium if you are up for it.
In short, college football fans attending the most anticipated home game on the Pitt schedule will have to take a back seat to fans attending a September game against two baseball teams playing below .500 baseball and a combined 38 games out of first place this Saturday.
So much for that.
In August of last year, Torrence Brown announced that, “[d]ue to multiple injuries and surgeries, my career at Penn State has come to an end.” The defensive end spent the 2018 season as a student assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, seemingly kickstarting a career in coaching.
While that may ultimately be his employment lot in life, it’s been put on hold as Brown confirmed Tuesday via Twitter that he has decided to transfer to Southern Miss to continue his collegiate playing career. The lineman was actually committed to the Golden Eagles before flipping to the Nittany Lions in February of 2014.
Brown started four of 14 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2016 and then started the first three games the following year before going down with a season-ending knee injury.
Because of NCAA bylaws, a player who medically retires while at one school is not permitted to play at that same school if he opts to restart his playing career. He can, though, transfer and continue it elsewhere.
In January of 2016, Adam Breneman ended his playing career at Penn State and medically retired because of chronic knee issues; seven months later, the tight end resurfaced and continued his playing career at UMass.
Virginia Tech’s roster took a one-two personnel punch on Tuesday.
Last evening, wide receiver Eric Kumah announced on Twitter that he has “decided that [it’s] best for me to enter my name into the transfer portal.” A half-hour later, teammate and Hokies tight end Chris Cunningham announced via the same social media site that “I feel as though it is in my best interest to transfer from Virginia Tech.”
The fact that the players’ names are in the NCAA transfer database doesn’t guarantee a departure, although it is normally a sign that the player will ultimately move on to another program. With the names in the database, other schools can contact them without receiving permission from Tech. Conversely, Tech has the right to strip both players of their scholarships at the end of the current semester.
Both Kumah and Cunningham have already graduated from Tech and could use their final season of eligibility at another FBS program immediately in 2019. The former also has a redshirt year available to him.
This past season, Kumah’s 42 receptions, 559 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns were all second on the Hokies. He started 12 games in 2018 and 20 total during his time in Blacksburg.
Primarily a blocking tight end, Cunningham started a pair of games in 2018 and finished the season with 74 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches.
With Manny Diaz now in charge, Miami continues to collect players with Power Five and FBS experience.
The latest for the former additions is Chigozie Nnoruka, with the former UCLA defensive tackle announcing on Twitter late Tuesday night that he has transferred to Miami. The native of Nigeria will be coming to the Hurricanes as a graduate transfer — he’s expected to receive his degree in March — which means he can play immediately for Diaz’s squad in 2019.
The upcoming season will be the lineman’s final year of eligibility.
According to 247Sports.com, Nnoruka chose The U over an offer from Florida.
After beginning his collegiate career at a junior college and then playing in one game his first season with the Bruins, Nnoruka started 10 of the 12 games in which he played during the 2017 season. That year, his 8½ tackles for loss were tied for second on the team.
With Chip Kelly and a new defensive coaching staff on board, Nnoruka played in 11 games with no starts this past season. After 49 tackles the previous season, Nnoruka was credited with seven in 2018, none of which were for a loss.
In addition to Nnoruka, Miami has added safety Bubba Bolden from USC (HERE), running back Asa Martin from Auburn (HERE) and quarterback Tate Martell of Ohio State (HERE) from Power Five programs since mid-December. Additionally, Buffalo’s second-leading receiver, K.J. Osborn, tweeted his decision to transfer to UM earlier this month.
For the second time this offseason, a Koenning has been added to a new Power Five coaching staff. And, for the second time since taking over in Lawrence two months ago, Les Miles has hired an offensive coordinator.
Jan. 10, Troy announced that Chip Lindsey, hired by Miles as Kansas’ offensive coordinator the month before, would take over as the Sun Belt program’s head football coach and replace Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia. Two weeks after Lindsay’s departure, KU confirmed Tuesday that Les Koenning will take over for Lindsey as the Jayhawks’ coordinator.
Koenning, whose cousin, Vic Koenning, was named as WVU’s defensive coordinator by Brown earlier this month, spent the 2018 season as the running backs coach at Southern Miss.
“We are so excited to add an offensive coordinator with the experience of Les Koenning,” said Miles in a statement. “He has proven to be an innovative offensive mind who has great success recruiting and developing offensive skill players, particularly at the quarterback position.”
Koenning has served as the coordinator at six stops at the FBS level — UAB (2016-17), Mississippi State (2009-13), Texas A&M (2003-07), Alabama (2001-02), Houston (1999) and Duke (1998).