Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook says today what every Panthers fan is probably thinking but doesn't want to admit: Friday's game against West Virginia will be LeSean McCoy's final home game.
The superstar running back is eligible to enter the NFL draft after the season, and Cook says McCoy almost certainly will do so even if he isn't saying so publicly.
Neither McCoy nor (coach Dave) Wannstedt will talk much about the NFL draft until Pitt's season is finished. "It seems like everything is happening so fast," McCoy said "This is just my second year here and people are talking about the NFL. I'm just worried about getting better. I still have a lot of stuff to improve before I take the next step. That's a big step, you know? That's the real world."
If McCoy stays, Pitt would be the favorite to win the Big East next season, and he'd be a primetime Heisman Trophy candidate. But if he leaves early, like Larry Fitzgerald and Darrelle Revis did, it would ultimately help the program, Cook writes.
One reason Wannstedt was such an attractive hire by Pitt is his knowledge of the NFL as a former head coach with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins and his understanding of what it takes for a player to get to that level. That's why he has been able to recruit well for a scuffling Pitt program during a time when Ohio State to the west played in two national championship games, West Virginia to the south won two Bowl Championship Series games and Penn State to the east routinely plays in front of 105,000-plus devoted fans.
The more players Pitt sends to the NFL, the better recruits it will attract.