Narduzzi votes Clemson No. 1, Penn State No. 17
Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi didn’t stray too far from the path taken by his fellow coaches when he submitted his post-championship game ballot in the Amway Coaches Top 25 poll. He placed 22 schools no more than three spots higher or lower than where they ended up in the consensus poll.
But there was interesting exception.
He voted Clemson No. 1 over Alabama, backing up his claim that he believes Clemson, the team that knocked off Pitt, 42-10, in the ACC championship game, will win the national title. He did add the adverb “probably,” but the message is the same. The only other coach to vote Alabama No. 2 and Clemson No. 1 was Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.
He showed respect for No. 7 Central Florida by placing it No. 5 on his ballot. One spot above UCF, he slotted Notre Dame No. 4, which is a bit of shift in thinking after he said in a news conference Friday he “would rather go play Notre Dame than Central Florida.”
Notably, Penn State, which beat Pitt, 51-6, is No. 17 on Narduzzi’s ballot, but the consensus ranked the Nittany Lions No. 12.
He showed plenty of love for No. 20 Texas A&M, placing the Aggies 10 th on his ballot. Narduzzi also liked unranked N.C. State more than most, putting it at 20.
Clemson and N.C. State are two of the three ACC teams ranked by Narduzzi. The other is No. 17 Syracuse , a team Pitt defeated in overtime. Narduzzi placed the Orange 18th.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.