Praise for Palko

The University of Pittsburgh's season opener is still five weeks away. Quarterback Tyler Palko, however, is already creating a national buzz.

In its inaugural college football preview magazine, CBS was profuse with praise for Palko. "The junior quarterback led the Panthers back from the dead so many times last season he's Lazarus with a cannon for an arm," wrote Dennis Dodd.

The publication named Palko one of 12 preseason Heisman Trophy candidates and the Big East Conference's Most Valuable Offensive Player.

Palko threw for a Pitt sophomore-record 3,067 yards as a first-year starter last season. He averaged over 314 passing yards per game during his final five regular-season contests and threw 24 touchdowns versus just seven interceptions on the year.

Palko engineered five victories in the fourth quarter or overtime last year. His most memorable performance came at Notre Dame when he threw five touchdown passes and guided Pitt on a pair of late scoring drives to upend the Irish, 41-38. He is the only quarterback to ever throw five TDs versus Notre Dame.

In its team coverage, CBS ranked Pitt 15th nationally and second in the Big East, stating that the Panthers have a chance to become "a national power."

In addition to lauding Palko, junior receiver Greg Lee, senior offensive lineman Charles Spencer, junior linebacker H.B. Blades, senior defensive back Bernard "Josh" Lay and junior punter Adam Graessle were named to CBS's All-Big East Team.

The Panthers open their first season under new head coach Dave Wannstedt with a highly anticipated encounter versus Notre Dame at Heinz Field Sept. 3. Season-ticket prices for the majority of seats range from $85 to $144. Seats in the amenity-filled club section are $240 (with commensurate Panther Club contribution). For more ticket information, call (800) 643-PITT.

CBS's 2005 Heisman Watch: QB Erik Ainge, Tennessee
RB/WR Reggie Bush, Southern California
WR Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State
RB Michael Hart, Michigan
QB Chris Leak, Florida
QB Matt Leinart, Southern California
QB Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M
QB Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh
RB, Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
QB Drew Tate, Iowa
RB DeAngelo Williams, Memphis
QB Vince Young, Texas

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