Pittsburgh QB Battle Contenders at BookMaker
Pat Narduzzi has to be awfully careful with his pick for quarterback to start the season. Youngstown State is the first team on the docket, and the wrong choice under center could easily see the Panthers downed by the Penguins in what would be an embarrassing start to the year.
At the end of last season, most would have told you that Ben DiNucci was the quarterback of the future at U-Pitt. He was really the only legitimate option that was on the table with Peterman graduating, and he was the incumbent backup quarterback.
That said, DiNucci was used sparingly in relief of Peterman, throwing just nine passes last season; two of the nine were picked off.
There's a point that this redshirt sophomore will need to either put up or shut up, and he hasn't done himself any favors in the spring and early in the summer. This was a job that was his to lose, yet DiNucci appears to have done just that. That's why he's turning into a longer and longer shot by the day to ultimately get the starting nod in the Steel City in Week 1. His price is +280, but it doesn't feel like he has a one in three chance of ultimately starting against Youngstown State.
Max Browne hasn't really won this job in the offseason either, though. Browne is the safer choice, as he transferred from USC and came here for one reason and one reason only: He wants to play.
Browne is a pro-style quarterback, much like Peterman was. He's a big kid at 6-foot-5, and if we're being honest, he wasn't given a heck of a lot of a chance at USC. Browne was a five-star recruit when he landed in Tinseltown, but he never really evolved into a legitimately starting quarterback option for the Men of Troy.
Browne redshirted in 2013 and was a backup in 2014 and 2015 and was always being groomed for the job in 2016. That said, USC recruited Sam Darnold, who was immediately considered to be a bit of a savior for the program.
Browne was more or less forgotten about at the time. He did get the chance to start early in the season for USC last year, but he tossed just two touchdowns with two interceptions in three games before being benched for the newest five-star recruit to head to the Coliseum.
The end result? Browne really had no choice but to transfer. He still figures to be an NFL prospect if he can put together a solid year and give scouts some good tape to watch, but clearly, he'll have to be better than he was in three games last year with USC if he wants to do just that.
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There really isn't an argument to be made here for DiNucci at this point. He's a man who was only offered by Pitt and Penn when he came out of college, and he doesn't have the necessary tools to give the Panthers a shot to survive in the ACC.
Browne at least knows what it's like to play against superior talent and how to play around it. Most schools in America would have salivated to have an arm like his on their roster three years ago when he was in the recruiting game, and the fact that he came to Pitt tells us that the decision was effectively already made. These five-star kids don't always pan out, but clearly, Narduzzi was willing to give Browne the benefit of the doubt. You should, too.
Bet on current QB Match Up odds at BookMaker: Max Browne ( -375 )