NEW BRUNSWICK NJ - SEPTEMBER 02: Tom Savage #7 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights drops back with the ball against the Norfolk State Spartans at Rutgers Stadium on September 2 2010 in New Brunswick New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights beat the Spartans 31 - 0. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Earlier this week, former Rutgers and Arizona quarterback Tom Savage made the move to transfer to Pitt. He isn't eligible to play in 2012 due to NCAA transfer rules, but he should be in line to play in 2013.
Should is the operative word, since Savage is in a bit of a unique situation. Big East rules stipulate that a player cannot suit up (at least in football) for another program within the conference. Pitt, currently in the Big East, hopes to be in the ACC by next season, so the point would be moot if that indeed happens. However, if the Panthers can't negotiate their way out of the conference, Savage wouldn't be able to play for Pitt next season.
Most pundits believe Pitt will be ACC-bound after this year, but it's no guarantee. By transferring to Pitt, Savage is at least taking a small risk.
Then there's the little issue of playing time. Forget, for a second, the issue of the Big East/ACC stipulation and assume that Savage will be eligible to play. While he would have the most experience of any quarterback on the 2013 roster with Tino Sunseri out of the picture, it's hard to see him being named as the starter a slam-dunk decision.
Savage will still have to contend with current backups Trey Anderson and Mark Myers. Neither has looked all that great in game action just yet, but Anderson has had only one year under his belt and Myers hasn't had enough playing time to make a true evaluation. By next year, one (or even both) of them may advance to such a point that they could challenge Savage for the starting role
But Savage's greatest threat to the starting spot, as most Pitt fans already know, is probably Chad Voytik. Voytik is just entering the program this fall, but will have a year under his belt by next season. He's tabbed as the quarterback of the future and could be ready to take over in 2013.
For me, it's hard to fathom why Savage would walk into a situation where he's likely to face competition. Sitting on the bench is fine for underclassmen, but for a once-highly-touted recruit who is no doubt eager to show off his skills for NFL scouts in 2014, Savage will surely want to play. It's always difficult to judge these things from the outside without knowing his true circumstances, but with only one year left to prove his value, a move to a smaller school that could have offered a starting job may have made more sense. And when you factor in the small gamble he's taking with the Big East rule, picking Pitt was at least a small risk
But for Pitt, it's clear that this is a good pickup for the program. If none of the other three quarterbacks can step up, having an experienced starter will be extremely beneficial.
For more on Pitt football and Tom Savage's transfer, check out SB Nation's Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.