Take 5 | Pitt volleyball deserves more respect, give Pickett time to develop


Ethan Shulman | Staff Photographer

Pitt Panthers celebrate their win against Louisville on Sunday.

By The Pitt News Staff

In this week’s Take 5, The Pitt News Sports Desk takes a look at former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett’s development, Pitt volleyball and more.

Pitt Volleyball is still criminally underrated // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer

Pitt Volleyball is a mainstay atop the national rankings. Year after year, there is almost always a single-digit number next to the Panthers name in the college volleyball rankings.

But even so, this year’s edition of the Panthers is still not earning the respect they deserve.

Despite defeating the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals on national television last weekend, Pitt climbed just one spot in the AVCA Coaches Poll from No. 8 to No. 7.

Pitt already has four wins over ranked opponents, including two who are currently above them in the polls. Not only should Pitt be a consensus top five team, but there’s a strong argument that it is the best team in college volleyball.

The two blemishes on Pitt’s 19-2 record have come at the hands of Towson and San Diego — teams with a combined record of 38-2. While they are not necessarily brand names, both are quality opponents since their respective wins over the Panthers.

At the end of the day, Pitt still has a chance to prove its worth over the rest of the regular season into postseason play.

But as of now, these NCAA rankings aren’t indicative of just how good Pitt is.

Kenny Pickett’s development requires patience from fans // David Scott, Staff Writer

The new era of Steelers football is a foreign one for fans of the team, with a rookie quarterback holding the keys to the offense for the first time since Ben Roethlisberger did so in 2004.

The 2022-2023 season is likely a losing season with the absence of T.J. Watt compounded with a young offense. Mike Tomlin’s first losing season as head coach of the Steelers should not draw criticism from fans, though. Sure, there are plenty of sore spots this season. But the focus can shift towards developing for the future now.

The Steelers have never rebuilt during Tomlin’s tenure, and fans had the privilege of competing in the playoffs for over a decade. The first losing campaign in years is causing discontent, and critics are already questioning rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett’s ability. Fans need to exercise patience with his and the team’s growth — things will get better in the future.

The Ram-Crusader Cup will decide the Patriot League Title // Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

There are two teams in the Patriot League ranked in the FCS Top 25, and they’re on a collision course with one another. The No. 22 Fordham Rams and the No. 5 Holy Cross Crusaders are scheduled to meet on Oct. 29 for the Ram-Crusader Cup, and the implications transcend the existing rivalry.

Both schools come into the match undefeated in conference play. Fordham lost their shootout against FBS opponent Ohio, but that’s the only loss on the Ram’s record. With both teams raging hot, it’s only fair to assume that the winner of this game will win out and claim the Patriot League Championship.

A conference championship and an automatic berth in the FCS tournament is a great momentum builder, especially since the Missouri Valley and Big Sky don’t look as clear cut as they were in years past. Will the winner of the Ram-Crusader Cup win the FCS National Title? Probably not. But expect a deep playoff run from either school.

Judge Russell Wilson for his charitable acts — not what you hear from the media // Ben Pisano, Staff Writer

Russell Wilson hasn’t played well this year. In six games, Wilson threw five touchdowns, three interceptions and completed 58.6% of his passes — a massive underperformance considering his nearly quarter of a billion dollar price tag. 

Wilson’s poor play has attracted criticism from many, including former teammates and reactionary media pundits. The most vitriolic criticism has come from the fans who have mocked Wilson for embarrassing Subway commercials, cringeworthy TikToks and an uncomfortable behind-the-scenes video of Wilson standing in front of a green screen repeating the phrase “Broncos country, let’s ride.”

When someone embarrasses themselves on a national stage, it’s easier to poke fun at them than commend their character — especially when that person is as corny as Russell Wilson. It’s important to remember that Wilson is not only a human being, but an incredibly charitable one at that. During his time with the Seahawks, Wilson made weekly visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital. He’s continued this tradition in Denver, visiting Children’s Hospital Colorado a day before the news of his trade became public.

Criticize the play, criticize the contract, but don’t criticize the man. Broncos country, let’s ride.

Companies need to broadcast the WNBA more // Sara Meyer, Staff Writer

Let’s play the blind resumé game.

One player averaged 25.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and .4 blocks per game in their 2022 season. The second averaged 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in their respective season. The first player is the NBA point guard Stephen Curry. The second is the WNBA forward A’ja Wilson. 

Chances are, most people know who Curry is. A lot of people don’t know Wilson.

It’s no secret the WNBA remains a low priority as far as sports viewers are concerned. But a reason for that is the WNBA receives little attention from major broadcasters. 

The WNBA had a whopping 25 games aired nationally on ABC and ESPN for their regular season this year. Meanwhile, the NBA has over 100 games scheduled to air during their regular season. This accounts for some of the viewer disparity as well. The WNBA averaged 379,000 viewers this season, while the NBA averages in the millions

More exposure on live television will lead to a bigger fanbase for the WNBA.