Pitt redshirt junior Shane Gordon could be a regular presence in the lineup Friday night against Connecticut for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain Oct. 13 in the Louisville game. If he doesn’t start, Gordon will share time with senior Joe Trebitz.
Gordon played only one snap against Notre Dame, dropping Irish running back Theo Riddick for a 4-yard loss at the Pitt 5-yard line in the second quarter. Coach Paul Chryst was making no promises Monday, but he was hopeful that Gordon would be able to play more than that against the Huskies.
Weakside linebacker Todd Thomas was more definitive about Gordon’s return.
“Shane’s good, his ankle’s good, he’s ready,” said Thomas, who added that he directed Gordon where to rush when he tackled Riddick.
– Thomas said his “training camp” is almost over after he missed preseason and half the regular season while recovering from January knee surgery.
“During the game, I get a little tired, legs hurting, but it’s getting better,” he said.
Thomas has started the past three games.
– Emanuel Rackard, who is listed as the No. 1 backup at strongside linebacker, has a knee injury and won’t play against Connecticut. Rackard joins Manny Williams (knee) and Dan Mason (lacerated liver) on the list of inactive linebackers.
– I engaged in some (probably) meaningless bowl speculation Tuesday, and there is a slight possibility that the Backyard Brawl could resurface in Yankee Stadium, of all places.
So much must happen that it’s hardly worth mentioning, which is why I’ll do it, anyway.
The Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29 matches the fourth-place Big East school against a Big 12 team. Pitt could finish fourth by winning its final three games (difficult, but not impossible) while Syracuse loses two of three.
Pitt (4-5, 1-3) plays Connecticut, Rutgers and South Florida. Syracuse (4-5, 3-2) hosts undefeated Louisville on Saturday before visiting Missouri of the SEC and Temple. Again, it’s possible.
Meanwhile, West Virginia (5-3) visits Oklahoma State and Iowa State in between home games against Oklahoma and Kansas. The Mountaineers could fall to a minor bowl such as the Pinstripe by losing three of those four.
I can’t say what the Pinstripe people think of a Pitt/WVU matchup, but you probably wouldn’t be far wrong in guessing that the two fan bases would love a post-Christmas trip to New York City. Although, I’m not sure how much holiday spirit WVU fans might have after their team started 5-0 and finished 6-6.
Pitt never has played a bowl game so close to home, and many fans would be able to drive.
Then, there’s this: A first-ever Pitt/WVU bowl might spur the schools to get serious about restarting the series sometime before the end of the decade.