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February 22, 2012

Chryst Spoke!

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Players,Recruiting — Reed @ 8:56 am

   Hmmm, not quite as an effective turn of phrase as the Bible’s “Jesus wept.” but it will do.

   Paul Chryst held his first post-hire formal press conference yesterday with the local media types.  It was pretty informative in some ways but, and I think we can expect this as long as Chryst is HC, there was nothing earth shattering divulged.

Some of his conversation was about issues that all PITT fans are interested in and some were insights into his personal approach into how he’ll conduct his business.  Here are some of the key points he talked about.

   In a refrain that we heard in his initial press conference he again attempted to quell the PITT fan’s post-Graham fears by reiterating that his approach to fielding his systems will be markedly different than his predecessor’s. The P-G reported him saying  “You never want the system to be the thing that prevents you from playing well,” Chryst said in a meeting with the media on Tuesday. “If you want to learn it, you can learn it absolutely in a fairly short time. I believe that, and I do believe that we can teach it.”  Meaning in essence that he’ll adapt to player’s strengths.

Chryst also said that many of the concepts he uses carry over between systems, but there will be new terminology for the players to master. “You are learning a new foreign language,” he said. “That’s our job, to teach it. It’s also our job to make sure we aren’t doing too much and that guys know what they’re doing.”

This last part we’ve heard before at this time last year and IMO was one of the reasons we faltered on offense as it was too much too soon for the players.  Let’s hope that Chryst’s philosophy in this matter is realistic and more simplified than Graham’s was.

   Tino Sunseri and the QB position.  He looked puzzled when Sunseri’s name was brought up and asked “Who is this Tino kid everyone is always asking about?” which brought a standing ovation and sustained applause from those in attendance.  I’m kidding obviously.  He did say that there would be competition at all the positions going into spring practice but that “I watched enough of Tino to get a feel for him a little bit, but I didn’t want to spend too much time,” he said. “I don’t want to form too many opinions. That’s what we have spring ball for.

Zeise of the P-G reported that ‘Sunseri is the starter’ but no other news venue I read said the same thing…

Zeise wrote:  “Chryst made it clear that, while he believes there is “always an open competition” for every job, Sunseri will enter spring practice as the starter, and the coaches will go from there.

The Trib-Review reported that the quarterback position will be crowded in the spring. Anthony Gonzalez and Montour graduate E.J. Banks will move from H-back and defensive back, respectively, to their high school positions, at least temporarily, and join Sunseri, Mark Myers and Trey Anderson.  “It will be hard (to get everyone enough reps),” he said. “It’s going to have to sort itself out.”  This is good news to me because it shows that he is already anticipating an open competition for this crucial position.

(Note:  I highlighted E. J. Banks’ name here because this is something I heard as far back as mid-2011 and wrote about.  Some people thought I was crazy for stating this.)

I wouldn’t read too much into this ‘starter’ thing even if he did say it because it is pretty obvious he’ll open things up there as evidenced by some early personnel moves.  However, it would be sort of naive to think that Sunseri’s name isn’t at the top of the list going in due to two years of experience.

   Regarding his approach to recruiting, which seems to be the burr in a lot of PITT fan’s pants about Chryst so far, he already said that he and his staff would be selective in their approach to recruiting and will have some ‘under the radar’ kids who they want but whose names may not be familiar to others.  In essence he’s saying that regardless of which players the general public and the media think are indispensible to PITT’s success the staff will make their own decisions.

In addition, he and his staff won’t conduct a “Junior Day” where sometimes up to a hundred HS juniors are invited to tours the campus and facilities.  His recruiting push will take a different form.  He’s doing this by inviting players to get a feel for the program, university, spend quality time meeting their respective position coaches and reviewing film in small groups. I believe they will invite five to eight juniors at a time for a full day over the months ahead rather than one mass group hug done in a single Junior Day.  Again, this approach blows the top of some fans heads off but to me it makes complete sense.

One thing we should understand is that by doing it this way Chryst is actually putting more time and effort in and actually working harder at recruiting kids than by just having one day where all the prospective recruits show up.  Again, he is doing what he said he would in being selective in his approach and wanting the recruits to get the detailed attention and information they need to make PITT their choice.

I’m not sure anything he does in recruiting is going to calm some people’s fears but he certainly hasn’t been sitting on his ass as some fans have inferred.  He’s offered three of PA’s best WRs so far in addition to other top shelf kids as Chris Dokish writes here.  It is evident that they are doing what they feel is necessary at this point in time. I don’t worry about this issue much at all.

   As to his relationships with players currently on the roster, he’s been meeting with them individually for 20 minutes to get to know each other in areas unrelated to football.  The PITT News quotes him as saying “These last couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed a lot because you get to be with the players and you get to be around them,” he said. “This building isn’t a lot of fun without the players … Each of these players has their own story and you start to get to know them and see where they’re coming from and what makes them unique.”

He also discussed the two staff coaches who left, Faulkner and Bostad and reiterated what he said after Bostad announced in that he anticipated this may happen and had hired Rudolph and Huber specially as a contingency plan.  He wasn’t real clear on the remaining two openings, QB and RB coach but the reports inferred that there should be some news on that front soon.

I like the recruiting approach. Smaller, focused visits from players seems like a good way to meet the new staff and form more meaningful relationships.

Will there be any type of announcement regarding these visits? Will we know what players are visiting campus and when?

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 02.22.12 @ 9:27 am

usually PantherDigest ( has the visits listed on their website under ‘FB Recruiting’ but sometimes these are posted after the fact. You do not need a subscription to access this (visits) like you do for Pantherlair (Rivals)

Comment by wbb 02.22.12 @ 9:50 am

Info for you all are QB coach could be
Brooks Bollinger who played at wisconsin and played 6 years in the pros he is now a high school
coach they are talking it is not a done deal.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.22.12 @ 10:08 am

Well hopefully this puts some of the doom and gloomers at ease.
Interesting news FRANKCAN. He is a young guy who may be the recruiting personality many have asked for.

Comment by MTD23456 02.22.12 @ 11:03 am

According to ESPN NCAA FB, Edsall reversed his decision and is giving QB O’Brien a full release to play anywhere including PITT

Comment by WINEDOGS 02.22.12 @ 11:07 am

I guess the media attention about Edsall was much more than he expected and the University of Maryland could endure. Does O’Brien have any interest in Pitt or is he heading to Vanderbilt?

Comment by MTD23456 02.22.12 @ 11:12 am

Excellent stuff as always Reed!! I didn’t have the fears or anxiety some had on recruiting, but lately, reading a lot, seemed like maybe a little could be true.

After reading your piece, excellent. “why doesn’t he have 80 kids here??” Because, that’s not the way he’s doing it!!! Great answer, glad to hear it, sounds like a good way to do it. A few at a time, for a full day, I like it!!

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 11:18 am

Have some family and friend ties to Maryland. He is on the hottttttt seat allready.

Never liked him at UCONN, just seemed like a generic football coach. For some reason, I put Tom O’Brien (coach at NC St.) in the same category. Maybe it’s just their look, I don’t know.

They’ve had hell over him, hell over his coaching, his sitting players, dismissing players, how the season went, believe it or not, there is a contingent ticked about the uniforms embarrassing the university (I said that as soon as I saw them), and him being a prick about where the QB could go, probably generated more phone calls to the athletic offices.

Never liked him!!

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 11:23 am

Reed PZ’s blog has a post this morning about the presser. No mention of either Tino or starting QB.

Come to Pitt Danny..

Comment by Kenny 02.22.12 @ 11:47 am

Can’t help but like Chryst and have faith that he knows what he is doing. Next season in a shrunken Big East may give him a chance to shine.

Comment by Tonyinhouston 02.22.12 @ 11:48 am

I live in the DC area, and Edsall’s problems get lots of attention. He’s had around 24 kids leave since he got there. He essentially begged O’Brien not to go, according to the media. MD would let Edsall go, but they are having serious budget issues, cutting back many men and women’s sports.

Comment by velvil 02.22.12 @ 12:04 pm

The “Mc” Effect beat Pitt Blather? What’s up with that?

Comment by TX Panther 02.22.12 @ 12:07 pm

not sure how much of an impact this has but Edsall’s success at UConn was all about the defense there .. he had a couple good RBs but never had an explosive offense.

Anyway, his defensive coordinator did not follow him to UM (don’t know if he was offered) but was hired By M Christobal at FIU. You may remember that Todd Orlando (pgh are native) was widley rumored to be Chryst’s DC here at Pitt … but Chryst instead hired Huxtable from Wisconsin.

Comment by wbb 02.22.12 @ 12:13 pm

just wanted to make it clear that Huxtable is pretty qualified as a DC .. his Central Flroida defense 2 years ago was terrific and the main reason they won CUSA, and held Georgia to 7 pts in a bowl game.

Comment by wbb 02.22.12 @ 12:18 pm

It’s pretty much a sure thing O’Brien will go to Vandy

Comment by JW 02.22.12 @ 12:20 pm

We will not know how good the new coach is until we see how Pitt does this coming football season. It appears he is in this for the long haul and is building his program with that in mind. After all the hype around Graham, he is a breathe of fresh air and honesty.

Comment by John In South Carolina 02.22.12 @ 1:42 pm

Chryst is a Great hire he was ready for the coaching change. Hail to Pitt

Comment by 63Team 02.22.12 @ 1:46 pm

93.7 reporting that Temple in talks with BE to join immediately. Announcement could come as early as end of the week.

Woo hoo, Temple, one of the home games. Can’t wait to see who the other sexy home game is!!!!!!

Can’t even blame Steve-o on this, situation that we’re in.. Better things on the horizon certainly.

Still, doesn’t make for a pretty marketing situation for the folks in Oakland!!!

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 2:11 pm

I like the recruiting approach, it seems that with last (this?) years class it was the how down to earth the staff was that got the recruits excited, this would take advantage of that. I am nervious about the high ranked recuits not yet having offers but from everything i have seen i think Luda deserves a few years before any serious critism.

@Dan Ha why do i get the feeling that if temple and boise join this year BE will reschedule so Pitt is at Boise.

Comment by Dacs 02.22.12 @ 2:21 pm

pitt at boise wouldn’t be a bad trip in sept.

Comment by scott 02.22.12 @ 2:36 pm

If Temple joins the Big East next year, Boise will not. Their buy-out is too large. Here is the link to the CBS story
link to

Comment by Matt D 02.22.12 @ 2:41 pm

Oh my god, we’re gonna lose to f****** temple in football. This is gonna be so embarrassing

Comment by Timmeh 02.22.12 @ 2:43 pm

Pitt will have a lousy schedule (and maybe a lousy record) next year – but 2013 will be better on the scheduling front.

Comment by markp 02.22.12 @ 2:51 pm

Not if we get their RB coach Tyree Foreman!


Comment by Gordo 02.22.12 @ 2:54 pm

Villanova NOT pleased.

Comment by TX Panther 02.22.12 @ 2:55 pm

I’ve read a lot on previous posts about Pitt being cheap on its athletic spending. Not surprised to read this. I think it’s true. I think we, the fans, need to remember that increased spending needs to be the result of increased attendance at games as well as increased donations to the athletic department. Maybe we’re getting what we’re paying for. Just a thought.

Comment by pittkeith 02.22.12 @ 2:56 pm

I don’t know pittkeith. Most of the die hards go to the games. I’m sure most of the die hards donate to the school.

Maybe the problem is not enough die hards???

Can’t keep asking the diehards to double, triple and quadruple their donations!!.

My issue, is, if we have a money problem in the athletic budget, let me know, so I don’t keep cheering for Pitt to be a top 20 program consistently, if we don’t have the means to do it.

I’d like someone to ask Steve P. directly, do we have an athletic budget to be a top 20 program.

Yes or no, no double-speak.

I don’t expect us to be on par with Ala. Tex, USC, Notre Dame, PSU.

I’d like to know, in general, if I threw a few names out there, are we on par with them…

Iowa, Missouri, Texas Tech, Purdue, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, UCLA,

Are we on par with these type of schools, or, are we even behind them????

I’m not questioning in a “mad questioning you Steve way”, I’m questioning, in more of a “wondering” way. Where are we financially???

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 3:16 pm

Why would that make a difference Gordo?

Comment by Timmeh 02.22.12 @ 3:19 pm

p.s. you don’t have to be at the games to be a die-hard!! Many people live far away, are elderly, have health and or family things.


Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 3:20 pm

@DACS and Scott….Matt is right.

Unfortuneatly, TEMPLE is the sexy game we got.
The other game will most likely be a Div I-AA cucake that doesn’t require a return vist from us.

I know, Div I-AA isn’t correct, I don’t understand the new division lingo the past couple years, or more precisiely, I don’t want to learn it.

Div 1 Div 2 Div 3 NAIA always seemed to work pretty well to me. Sounds like a politically correct thing to me. Don’t want any Div III athletes to feel less than of an athlete!!! LOL!!!

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 3:25 pm

It needs to be explained that Pitt ‘being on the cheap’ is speculation or (better) conjecture based on:

– historical data where it showed that Pitt’s staff was the lowest paid in the BE prior to Graham’s arrival
– the fact that Steve P was immediately rejected by Graham and Sumlin (2 CUSA coaches) because his salary range was way too low (and far below what WVU will be paying Holgerson (if memory serves, Haywood was hired at approx $1.3m while Holgerson is due approx $2m)
– how long it is taking Pitt to hire assistants compared to the other schools … expecially when considering that Chryst has been in the coaching ranks for > 20 years and has many college and NFL contacts

Comment by wbb 02.22.12 @ 3:31 pm

Yeah Temple is a letdown for the “replacement” on the schedule for WVU. But it is just for one season. Brighter days are ahead in the ACC. And id much rather have Pitt going to the ACC and have to wait a year then the Big12 next year. I dont know how WVU as an athletic department can justify all the travel. I understand football is only a handful of games a season but what about the other sports? The TV money is quite large but its crazy to think that the nearest school is almost 1000 miles away!

Comment by Matt D 02.22.12 @ 3:35 pm

Dan, you’re probably correct that we don’t have enough die-hard fans. And you bring up a good point about the non-elite football programs. Where do we stand in relation to their athletic incomes? I care about the athletic programs, but i refuse to give more to that department than i give to the general scholarship fund. Also give to the alumni association. Money/income is an issue. The move to the ACC will help. Can’t help but think that alum, in general, care more about the academics than the athletics.
Let’s recruit more die-hard fans. An increase from a lot of us us can make a difference. Much funding for the construction of the Cathedral of Learning was raised from the pennies donated by local children, i believe, not a few wealthy donors.

Comment by pittkeith 02.22.12 @ 3:46 pm

Dacs, one thing to remember about last year’s staff recruiting is that a solid chunk of it didn’t qualify to actually play at PITT.

I can’t help but think this methodical approach is somewhat a result of trying to avoid that because of the wasted time and $$$ but also because this is exactly how Wisconsin recruited and look how well they have done on the field.

Comment by Reed 02.22.12 @ 4:32 pm

Timmeh, wouldn’t make a diff in the game, true, but would make a big diff in the future of the program. Foreman is a good coach, former player, and a helluva recruiter…ask around. As for the Pitt-Temple game, no way we lose that game. RB coach or not Ray Graham will take care of bidness. Like the name btw…H2P

Comment by Gordo 02.22.12 @ 4:43 pm

Pitt lost an entire generation of die hard fans beginning with Hackett up to Walt. It takes time to make up for that lost decade and the subsequent decade that Pitt settled for being mediocre instead of being elite.

Comment by TX Panther 02.22.12 @ 4:46 pm

Dan – A few of the basketball sources I have in the Balt/DC area tell me OBrien is considering Houston, Vandy, Florida and Pitt. He has contacted Pitt. So we will see. You are correct about Edsell. He may not make it to Spring Practice. 24 players have left…He is a real asshole on the maring style haircuts, no facial hair, no open tatoos (showing) and the coat and tie thing on the road. MD alums are almost in open revolution.

It’s rare that I say this, but it could be worse…we could be MD alums

Comment by Dan 72 02.22.12 @ 4:53 pm

Ya Matt, you’re right. I can deal with this fall, and another year in the BE to hopefully righting ourselves isn’t a bad thing.

I was just hoping they could work something out with FSU, TAM or Mizzou, the other schedules that were in a pickle. Or Boise if they came a year early.

No biggie, I’ll be interested to see how Coach Chryst does more than anything.

I’m glad for the ACC, especially as opposed to the Big 12. This is not a typical Pitt beatdown because it’s WVU. My rose colored glasses are off.

A. We may not like to admit it, but WVU does have an attractive fb schedule and conference.

1. However, as you say, the distance, closet rival 4 states away???

2. Oklahoma and Texas could fly the coop at any moment. Oh ya, it seems like it’s settled down now, for now that is, that’s a big “for now”. If they ever go to 16, OK, OK ST.,UT and TTech probably gone to Pac 16. Then where will they be?

3. Hoops, average, and to have away games in hoops at Waco, Lubbock etc. etc.

4. Biggest problem, I don’t think Holgerson will be there, possibly even after this year. Just a gut feeling, but I think he’s destined to be in the SEC or one of the Texas, Oklahoma schools in the Big 12.

To any WVU trolls, not beating you up just for the fun of it. You saved yourself, for now, and if we were in your position, you take it, cause that’s all you could do. Not a bad save.

I forsee problems for you in the near future, however, and Pitt going to a secure ACC was an excellent move, and has it hands down on the Big 12.

Frankly, if they went to 16 in the ACC, would have loved to have WVU and UCONN in there to round it out!!

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 5:33 pm

@wbb, good points, conjecture sure, just makes you wonder.

@Dan72, ya, that’s the feeling I got from a nephew and some buddies. Does O’Brien have one or two years elig. left?? Just wondering.

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 5:35 pm


I think a good thing to know, would be,

1.) obviously, do we not have a problem, do we have enough money for coaches and such, it’s just been a matter of hiring the right guy?? Which could also lead to a question of possible ineptness in the ath. dept??

2.) are we in the average ball park, and if we did have, say…..$500,000 more a year (you can put any number in there), would it make a big difference??? Would it propel us??? Would it be worth having some kind of “drive”???

I think a lot of people chip in what they can, but like me, instead of sending an extra $100.00, I feel it won’t make a big differnce in the big picture, so I don’t.

3.) or, are we mid-range or lower, and there is no way of ever coming even close to being a very liquid ath. dept., and we are what we are, and hope to strike lightning every once in awhile.

***like wbb said, a lot of this is from things that happened. Myself talking about this the past couple days, is just reading about the asst. coach situation. Maybe everything is fine (at least as normal as many others), and it is just a particular situation.

It would upset me though, if we go out and get a coach, but can’t give him enough of a budget to fill his staff in nicely. Doesn’t have to be superstar assistants, but, I wouldn’t want the coach to staying awake at night, nickel and diming everything, trying to make round pegs go into a square hole.

He should reasonably be able to fill his staff, without having to get a salary cap guru to figure it out.

Hey, I’m just b.s.’ing, hopefully the assistant situation works itself out, and he has who he wants and what he needs to get us back into the top 20.

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 5:52 pm

@pittkeith. One more before I get out of here.

Yes, I think we all admire Pitt for academics, and it is a university and want it to be a great university first and foremost.

I will say though, and not afraid to admit, with all the time, money, heart, and effort put in, I want an excellent football and basketball program and they are important to me and my family.

As I’m sure everyone on here does. I don’t think there is a problem with wanting and expecting your athletic programs to excel.

Good night all, going home, computer at home on the fritz. I’ve taken up enough space anyhow.

Comment by Dan 02.22.12 @ 6:02 pm

“It will be hard (to get everyone enough reps),” he said. “It’s going to have to sort itself out.” This is good news to me because it shows that he is already anticipating an open competition for this crucial position.

That is not good news, less reps for everyone means the chance that Sir Tino maintains his starter role is that much greater.

As we’ve been told for years now, by Sunseri chief apologist Zeiso, Sir Tino is very good in practice. At least that’s what we’ve been told.

Comment by Emel 02.22.12 @ 6:25 pm

There was that news article, last year or so, that listed all the NCAA D1 (FBS) programs and what they made. Pitt was way down the list, I think even Iowa State made more or as much money on their football program. That will change with the move to the ACC, just in the difference with TV money.

And that was the main reason we are…Southbound.
enjoy !
link to

Comment by Emel 02.22.12 @ 7:01 pm

Emel – back at you! I saw them probably 10 times over the years…

link to

Comment by Reed 02.22.12 @ 7:37 pm

I’m with you Dan. One of the best things about my return to the burgh several years ago was getting season tickets for football and basketball. (Gave up the bb tickets after a few seasons. Too many games to schedule in real life.)

Football has become a game day experience though. Love later starts for longer tailgating and it’s become my binge drinking season. And I drink the team koolade every year, too.

I wonder if our numbers are less than we think.
But if I’m comparing numbers, I’d like to see the budgets for our future conference members.

Comment by pittkeith 02.22.12 @ 7:42 pm

ps And as we all know, winning solves a lot of problem.

Comment by pittkeith 02.22.12 @ 7:44 pm

info for you this is per wisconsin sports network
Brooks Bollinger has been offered the QB coach
job at PITT does not say if he said yes or no.
just that it was offered.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.22.12 @ 8:58 pm

Brooks will be a good pickup. Young, energenic, pro experience, proven winner, good coach. But some will say bad choice because he doesn’t have ties to the tri state area and therefore will be at a disadvantage in recruiting or will fail because he’s from Minnesota. You know who I’m talking about. I say that’s BS. Yes you don’t have pipelines built but you make them and most of the pipe was already laid by previous coaches anyway. You build the relationships and trust and then it pays off. Transition years are typically mediocre in recruiting but the payoff is in year 2 after players see your system and style of play and better understand their fit. Moreover, the best classes come after the coaches establish the pipe and get to know the juniors before they become seniors and get on everyones radar. Trust and comfort level takes time and I would rather build it with honesty than snakeoil. Give Chryst a break for Chrysts sake.

Comment by TX Panther 02.22.12 @ 9:21 pm

TX PANTHER if you read the post abought the way
chryst is going to recruit i dont think it makes a difference if the coachs have any ties to this place or not .
brooks if he comes will be a real good QB coach
he will be able to show them how to play QB and that is what we need.

the things i and outhers thought you had to do to recruit he chryst does not belive in so let him do it his way now that i know he has a plan i say wait and see it might work lets give him time.

Comment by FRANKCAN 02.22.12 @ 10:00 pm

Emel – I see your point about the reps. I’m coming at it from the (hopeful) POV that Chryst doesn’t just have Sunseri take every 1st string rep in the camps as Graham did last season and DW did the year before.

Those two coaches weren’t even holding a semblance of a competition for the starting job.

I also think that the mindset of moving others to QB may signal that in the HC’s mind the job is open this season. We’ll see in mid-April what the status is but I’m steeling myself that Sunseri may hold the job… unless Rudolph and Chryst value the deep pass –

Comment by Reed 02.23.12 @ 4:28 am

@Dan, your question to Pederson about budgets got me researching. Can’t vouch for the validity of these numbers, but here are some total revenue numbers I found for some of the schools you mentioned. I think they are for 2008 or 2009.

Ohio State $110 million
Florida $107 million
Texas $105 million

Iowa $80 million
PSU $76 million
Georgia $75 million

UCLA $61 million
South Carolina $60 million
Purdue $56 million
Texas Tech $53 million

Arizona State $53 million
UCONN $52 million
WVU $46 million
Arizona $45 million

Northwestern $40 million
TCU $39 million
Pitt $37 million
Wake Forest $36 million

The answer to your question appears to be that we are WELL behind that second group of schools you mentioned. Two or three tiers below them. Crazy.

Comment by Cnorwood 02.23.12 @ 4:51 am

Guys, I have felt for a long time that PITT was going to be a “second tier” football program for the most part. This is coming from a guy who was on campus during the Dorsett year and a MNC and loved how we played, and won, football games back then.

First off, I believe that the University will do whatever it takes to make sure the football program is above board and not an embarrassment to the university. I don’t mean embarrassment in a poor W/L record – I do think they want a winning program – but that the football program isn’t detrimental to the University’s reputation both locally and nationally.

There is a real reason that both Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt were “let go” after having some good years and after successful football seasons where they both won shares of BE championships. If you believe that is was because the administration wanted to reach “The Next Level” then I’ve a bridge in PGH I’d like to sell you. They did it because some aspects of the HC and the program itself were not up to the standards the administration wanted them to be and it was affecting how people viewed the University.

Secondly, PITT just doesn’t have the monies for football as other schools do (as listed above) and it isn’t going to spend an inordinate amount to try to compete with the Top Ten schools on a continual basis. It just isn’t that important in the long run to do so.

Do we believe that PITT’s football facilities on the Southside would be as nice as they are if PITT didn’t have a deal with the Steelers to offset costs? Do we think there is a real reason that PITT has gone to renting out Heinz Field for the home games rather than even consider the idea of either an on-campus stadium or a separate stadium owned and operated by PITT itself?

Honestly, did anyone believe even for one minute that PITT would follow WVU’s example and pay the BE more than the agreed upon $5M exit fee just to leave prior to the 2012 season? Of course they weren’t, especially in this time of financial cutbacks from the State which is affecting the university as a whole. PITT doesn’t need football to bring the school into prominence like WVU and other schools do, as WVU has nothing else to hang their hat on really.

PITT concentrates on its core missions first and foremost. That being the education and enlightenment of its students and being a solid contributor to society by its research departments and other academic strengths.

With that lets also realize that PITT itself is a much different entity now than it was during the “Glory Years” between 1976-1983. Back then PITT wasn’t nearly as well know or as strong academically as it is now and, if truth be told, winning football games was probably the only reason most people in the US ever heard of PITT at all. Not so now as things have changed drastically on that front in the last 30 years. Now we are known for real success in just about everything but football and IMO there is no way the administration wants things to be different in that regard.

In other words PITT has placed the football program in its proper place for an institution that prides itself on its academics, local involvement and its national and international reputation. We may catch football lightning in a bottle and get a Top 15 finish here and there, maybe even make a run for the top spot in the future. But if we as a fan are thinking that PITT will ever sustain that type of success for a long and consistent length of time I think we’ll be disappointed.

Comment by Reed 02.23.12 @ 5:36 am

I have been trying to make this point for the longest of times on this site …. that Pitt will never return to the power it was in the late 70s / early 80s, and totally disgaree with Dokish on this issue. The primary reasons are twofold:

1) when many of us grew up, Western PA / eastern OH was the primary FB recruiting area … now we don’t even rank in the Top 10, and Eastern PA and NJ has long surpassed us. (not to mention the Southeast, Southwest and Cal)

2) we live in an NFL city with a beloved franchise. The top FB programs over the past decade in eastern US are PSU, Va Tech, FSU and Florida .. followed by WVU, Clemson and So Carolina. The common element for all of the above is that they don’t share an NFL city … they arte the king of their domain.

Comment by wbb 02.23.12 @ 8:39 am

WBB, well written and just about spot on except the part on the Steelers. Yes, they are very popular and have many fans in the tri-state area.

You can talk till you are blue in the face but facts are facts. The stadium holds about 65,000 and of that amount the league and sponsers get around 5,000. Several K are held back for game day sales and some season tickets are held by tri-state families. Simple math tells me there are less than 15,000 families in the greater Piisburgh area [w/average 4 tickets] with season tickets.

The Pittsburgh area is still a football town and that includes Pitt. Pitt had good attendance when RR was throwing the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. Provide the fans with that and they will come. There is void in football that Pitt can fill as fans like to go to games and see good football and tailgate. There are still plenty of fans left over.

Comment by joel 02.23.12 @ 10:17 am

@Cnorwood, excellent work. Those numbers are very sobering.

@Reed, even more sobering is your post.

Kind of makes you wonder what we’re all posting about in the first place.

Kind of kills the excitement for going to the ACC.

Ya, Reed, I guess I kinda believed we still wanted to be relevant in football. Silly me.

Cnorwood, wow, we’re not even in the game.

Comment by Dan 02.23.12 @ 11:44 am

Not naive, just thought there must be some football fans like us in the administration somewhere.

Again, good post Cnorwood. You hear things, we have this much, they have that much, but, at least I, never really bothered to take a good look at it, with all the schools side by side.

How can we compete?? Get lucky once in awhile I guess.

Comment by Dan 02.23.12 @ 11:47 am

I believe that you are probably right about the thinking by the administration about the football program. In my view, their thinking is academic snobbery. It is also a case of being pennywise and pound-foolish.
I looked at the National College Rankings of US New and World Report which gives a pretty good measure of the academic standing of about 300 national universities. Pitt is ranked #58, so they are in the top 20%. Tied for number 1 are Harvard and Princeton. They don’t have very good football teams. Even in its reduced state Pitt could easily beat them.
But there are some very good football teams that have higher academic rankings than Pitt. Some of these include #5 Stanford, #19 Notre Dame, #23 USC, #28 Michigan, #38 University of Miami, #42 Wisconsin, tied for #45 Penn State and University of Texas, tied with Pitt at #58 are University of Florida and Texas A & M. I think that these schools recognize that there are many benefits to a university from having an excellent football program, not the least of which is that it increases the affinity that the alumni has for the university. A successful football program makes the university better known across the country which I believe is good for alumni and helps to attract students.
In terms of success, I believe that we are much more likely to be able to overtake Alabama on the football field if we have the will to do so. We will never, ever have the resources to overtake Harvard academically.

Comment by Houston Panther 02.23.12 @ 12:22 pm

And Houston, you’re point is extremely hard to argue with.

So, there you are, obviously, both can be done.

I’d settle for being Florida or Texas A&M like!!!

Comment by Dan 02.23.12 @ 12:36 pm

Houston – good points, but here’s where I left off (and to echo wbb). How many of those schools feature college football as their main sport in the town they are located?

The only ones who don’t are USC, Miami and possibly Stanford. Otherwise the schools listed have the attention, and the donations, of any sports fan in that community. Each of those towns and schools have tons of fans who are rabid about the program and support it – but never went to school there.

That just doesn’t happen at PITT and it isn’t the administration’s fault.

Comment by Reed 02.23.12 @ 3:39 pm

Joel – RR to Fitz was a great and attractive combo. But LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis churning out TDs and breaking long run were attractive also. Plus we were winning game in 2008-10, but that still didn’t draw consistently big crowds

Comment by Reed 02.23.12 @ 4:04 pm

It is what it is! Is it not? Whatever all that means! The fact is ladies and gentlemen, the world has and is changing. It is no longer the 2oth Century when city university teams with an in-house mass media audience could market the college sports product. City college sports just can’t compete with the professional payrolls and advertising potentials. Pitt can’t and shouldn’t have to compete wikth the Steelers. Living in Columbus I can see every day that the Buckeyes are a pro outfit with a university mystique. They market, they sell, they win. they draw, theyh win again. They pay big bucks to hire high profile coaches and even breaking the NCAA rules doesn’t really impact because they merely continue to market, reload and win again. It is indeed, what it is–in this moment in time. Pitt is making a wise move in going to an academically and financially sound and solvent market in the ACC. Pitt will, in time, hold its own. It still can lure 40,000 to Heinz Field. But, of course, Pitt must continue to follow the rules, hire coaches who coach and have integrity. It appears the Panthers are on the right track now after a dismal(in many ways) 2011. May Pitt fans continue to be proud of their athletic history and resolve again to STRIVE AFTER EXCELLENCE. This writer is a Pittsburgher at heart while residing in the constant hype of Big “WHATEVER” country. So, from my perch. may I say “Hail to Pitt” and to the Bloggers “quit being malcontents, think positively and support your non=professional athletic programs. Rev. George from Columbus.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 02.23.12 @ 4:42 pm

I am not suggesting that college sports can compete with pro sports. And I don’t believe that any school in a pro city can fill a 90,000 seat stadium. Though Pittsburgh’s “beloved” pro franchise only became so when they started winning consistently.
A winning football program benefits a university and its alumni by increasing awareness and respect for the university. This leads to tangible benefits for the school and alumni.

Comment by Houston Panther 02.23.12 @ 7:46 pm

HPanther. I agree with much of what you say, but most of those schools you listed as being great universities with great football programs are large, isolated, state schools that churn out anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 graduates per year from. Pitt broke the 15,000 student mark (for all four classes), in the past 10 years, which equates to 3,000 new Panther alums every year. Even if half of them are avid football fans, and half of those stayed in Pittsburgh, that’s 750 new fans every year. 750 . How could the university in good conscience invest an additional $10, $20, $30 million in athletics? We’d have to double our revenue just to get to UCLA’s level. Where are all the fans going to come from to increase revenues from $37 million to $60 million? And we’d still be $60 million behind LSU.

We have the nicest hoops and football facilities BY FAR in the BigEast and just opened brand new baseball, softball and track and soccer complexes.

There are a lot of vocal haters of our AD and athletic department and some of it deserved. With the facilities we have and fact that we have any success at all is truly mindboggling when you look at revenues.

Comment by cnorwoodaz 02.23.12 @ 11:26 pm

Houston – you are talking about the Steelers from 1973 until today, almost forty years.

PITT still drew low crowds even when the Steelers sucked except back in the 1st edition of the “PITT Glory Days” back in the ’20 & ’30s.

Comment by Reed 02.24.12 @ 9:51 am

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