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Recruiting: Analyst predicts Pitt, PSU demise

| Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Mike Farrell is predicting a disastrous demise for the Pitt and Penn State football programs, and that Pennsylvania's talent will be raided as a result.

The Rivals.com national recruiting analyst says, between the two schools, the state's top prospects might stay home this year but not in the next few classes.

“The Big Ten, Big East, ACC and SEC teams will start to look to Pa.,” Farrell said, “and they'll be licking their chops.”

What's worse is that Farrell believes the wounds were self-inflicted, that two proud programs are suffering for their own sins. “There were two critical mistakes that brought us to where we are today,” Farrell said. “The first was the cover-up of the child sex abuse at Penn State. That has destroyed that program. And firing Dave Wannstedt has destroyed the Pitt program. You look at the comedy of errors since, with the hirings they made. This didn't have to happen at either place.”

Neither Penn State's Bill O'Brien nor Pitt's Paul Chryst deserves blame for the mess he inherited. Instead, look at their athletic directors.

Penn State's Tim Curley will stand trial for perjury in the Sandusky case, which brought a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

“At Penn State, the scandal and sanctions are bad enough, but this is not a good football team,” Farrell said. “It looks like it could be a two- or three-win season. I had said these sanctions would set them back seven years. If they really lose, it could set them back a decade or more.”

Meantime, Pitt AD Steve Pederson should be on the hot seat.

After trying to pass Wannstedt's firing off as a resignation, Pederson hired and fired Mike Haywood, then brought Todd Graham in to completely change the scheme before he bolted for Arizona State. Then Pederson hired Paul Chryst, another pro-style coach.

Lopsided losses to Youngstown State and Cincinnati have hurt Pitt's reputation with recruits.

“Losing to an FCS team is bad,” Farrell said, “but the last two weeks, they've looked like the worst Division I team in football.”

It almost makes you long for the days when Pitt and Penn State played each other, so at least one would be guaranteed a victory.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

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