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December 30, 2012

 

I’ve been waiting to write something on PITT football until there was actually something to write about.  There still isn’t anything really but it’s time to get back into the pigskin mode as we’ve less than a week until the bowl game.  PITT vs Ole Miss – a match up made in heaven, maybe.

I’m not a big fan of bowl games like some people are.  I understand that it is a reward for having a non-losing season… which sounds like crap when you think about it.  Let’s be honest, 80% of the bowl mean nothing at all, and those are the ones PITT has found itself in for the last 30 years.  So it really isn’t a reward but a chance to extend the season by one game for TV money and to get the school’s fans and players one more weekend.

Not to begrudge the players any perks they can get.  These kids work extremely hard from April through January and deserve being pampered on what is actually a working vacation.

So usually I don’t get too excited about these bowl games.  My emphasis has always been on the regular season’s quality of play and won/loss record.  That may sound hypocritical because those two things lead directly to a bowl but IMO the meat of the football season are those 13 games, especially the conference ones.

However this season I find myself more nervous than usual going into the week before PITT’s bowl game.  Why?  Because I think for the first time in a long time the results of this game will have a stronger impact on the program than bowls have had in the past.

But specifically it is about recruiting and the impact of how a program is perceived has on recruiting.

Our program has gone 7-5, 6-6 and 6-6 in the last three regular seasons when the games really count. That track record is tough to overcome when you are trying to convince these highly sought after players local high school stars that they will play winning football during their time here.

Chris Dokish listed who he believed were the Top WPIAL recruits PITT needed to land at positions of need.  There were: WR Robert Foster (5*), OL Patrick Kugler (4*), DB Tyler Boyd (4*), OL Dorian Johnson (4*), WR Devin Wilson (3*),  DT Ty Haddock (3*), DB Demetrius Louis (3*), DB Brendan Coniker (3*), DT Tyrique Jarrett (3*).

So far this recruiting year the “big” recruits have chosen elsewhere as their first choice.

OL Pat Kugler to UM; OL Dorian Johnson to PSU, we got him on the rebound; WR Robert Foster to Alabama.   We had a blue chip RB verbal in Corey Clements and lost him.  There is a trend there and it isn’t good for PITT.

That is a pretty decent wish list and out of those nine players listed one was a lock for PITT since last season (Jarrett who went Prep in 2012); one we got after the PSU sanctions were levied (Johnson) and we have long shot at one other in Tyler Boyd. I’m not saying WR Tyler Boyd will absolutely go elsewhere, just that at this point I’m not optimistic that he’ll sign with us.

We can debate this next point but PITT has been trending downhill since the end of the 2009 season.  It has been both on the field of play, off the field of play and with administrative issues. We don’t have to rehash the details of the embarrassing mistakes and coaching changes since then, we know all the details, but it certainly has hurt PITT’s reputation both locally and nationally and in recruiting reputation is the bedrock.

Getting to a bowl in his first year was the only real positive accomplishment Paul Chryst has had and that isn’t unusual for a 1st year head coach to achieve at all.  I don’t consider a close loss as a positive unless your team really sucks.

We have a 50/50 chance of ending up with another losing record at 6-7 and that, combined with our past three year history, lends a bunch of skepticism toward this program.  You have to say that his game day coaching is suspect at this point also.

So there aren’t a whole lot of bargaining points PITT has in hand at this point to draw blue chip recruits into the fold. These star kids have some decent reasons to pick others schools… PITT is in a tough recruiting area with three major programs close by for one. I think it is just too soon for some of these really highly rated recruits to look at Chryst and PITT and think the program is sure to be successful under his guidance.

I believe that the University of Pittsburgh has a ton of positives to offer student/athletes but they are outside the football realm. Then again I’m not in the position of choosing between three or four schools to be a fan of as the recruits are in their position of choosing a school to play football for.

Personally, I feel that Chryst will turn things around and have a good run at PITT.  He could get a jump start with a win in Birmingham to end the season on a winning note and with a winning record.  After all, we have a 50/50 chance of doing that also.  That is tangible evidence that things are being turned around within the program.

Then if we get off to a strong start in the ACC and win 8-10 games I could see 2014 being an uptick in recruiting for us.  There are some great WPIAL 2014 recruits and we need to get our share.  But this recruiting season… not so much.

On another Note: There has been tons of talk about our QB situation next season, specifically Tom Savage winning the starting role. I’ve read numerous poster/commenter references to how well Russell Wilson did at Wisconsin in that single 2011 season with Chryst as his OC and then comparing the two player’s situations as Savage will have only one year at PITT also.

IMO these are completely different situations.  Wilson already had a great career at QB at NC State, way better than what Savage did at RU in his two seasons there. Wilson had 8545 yards (42 less than Dan Marino total) with 77 TDs /26 INTs in his three years at NCST.  That is a great career in itself and a fantastic basis for success at Wisconsin.

Savage didn’t have that type of quality play in his two years.  He didn’t stink out the joint but IMO it is not comparable at all to Wilson’s situation going over to Wisky. Savage is a career 52% completion rate passer and that is disturbing.  He’s been out of football for two years and had a poor last season of play as a sophomore.  So let’s not get ahead of ourselves before we see how he does in the camps.

BTW – Savage’s 2009 ypc rate was 14.8 which is astronomical and was tops in the NCAA that year.

Final note: Sunseri needs 192 passing yards in the bowl game to pass Dan Marino and become the 2nd best passing QB, behind Van Pelt, in PITT’s history.  Hell, let’s just say that Sunseri’s the second best all around QB, behind Van Pelt, ever.

(That will get tongues wagging.)





I disagree that going to a bowl game was Chrysts only “positive accomplishment” (is that like “past history” Yogi?).
Beating VTECH, RU were both positives. Taking ND to the wire and losing was not an accomplishment but it was publicity.
We have a recent history of mediocrity: a longer history of schizophrenia and a more distant history of fame preceded by infamous losing.
Our brand is both diminished and confused. Our AD f^cks with “Pitt”, has a true carousel of coaches and people expect a top 30/20/10 recruiting class!!! Pass me the bong please.
It takes seconds to undue greatness and takes blood, toil and tears to achieve great things.
We did not hire Urban Meyer. We hired Paul Chryst and we had better get used to a methodical process. As for me, I like it. Rome wasn’t built in a day…and it IS ROME I want. Not some program that will become a ghost town if one person leaves.
We’ve been there done that and have paid the price ever since.

Comment by SFPitt 12.30.12 @ 11:33 am

Maybe Pitt needs to really sell the academics of Pitt much like Duke and Stanford. There is life after sports and that life is far longer then football even if a player plays 10 years in the pros. Pitt’s engineering and medical courses are among the best. Sell kids on their real future.

Comment by frank MD 12.30.12 @ 11:33 am

1st off — who in the heck are Ty Haddock, Demetrious Lewis and Ty Conicker?

2nd — while most people bellyache about too many bowl games this time of year, I contend that there are too may reality shows and police shows … and these are year around!

3rd — I contend that Pitt’s lack of recrutiing is primarily due to playing in an NFL city with many yellow seats

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 11:39 am

I always thought one of Pitt’s (few) advantages in recruiting was sharing facilities with the Steelers. It would make the kids at least seem more noticed than someplace like Lincoln, NE.

Comment by JLE 12.30.12 @ 11:51 am

Don’t discount the value of the additional practices for under classmen.

Pitt fans like most want immediate gratification. It takes time to build a program(brand) and less time to lower it’s value. Look at basketball, one bad year and credibility is lowered and doubt sets in.

Pitt has not had great football since Sherrill. We have been lucky to have some great players like Revis, Fitzgerald and McCoy.

Give Chryst a chance, If he can bring in the linemen, the impact players will follow. Besides no one knew that Dion Lewis and Ray Graham would both be college superstars.

I think that Chryst learned a lot this year, after the pathetic start he righted the ship. Other than the flop at UConn he finished strong.

I am looking forward to the Bowl Game as a measuring stick. Even if we lose, Chryst will learn from the experience. As a first year head coach he has done ok. If not for a bad call at ND…

Comment by gc 12.30.12 @ 12:09 pm

With a coach like Chryst (not going to promise you the world) and a program like the current state that Pitt is in… recruiting is all about winning.

Chryst by nature is a gambler. We saw it at Cincy and then Syracuse.

In both potentially game-changing situations the quarterback was unable to execute the plan as drawn.

2013 is going to depend on Chryst finding that quarterback who has enough ability and ice in his veins to make a play at critical times in close games.

The question is… “Who is it?” It remains to be seen if Chryst has one.

Since he recruited him, you’ve got to think Chryst believes Chapman is that kind of guy.

Whether Savage or Chapman or whomever, for the sake of Pitt football 2013, let’s hope Chyrst finds somebody who’s up to the task of making his gambles pay off.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.30.12 @ 12:33 pm

West Virginia’s 38-14 loss to Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday was humiliating, but the headline in the Weirton Daily Times made it about 20 times worse.

“WVU loses bowel”

You mean that’s not the way you spell it?

Comment by PittStadiumShuffle 12.30.12 @ 12:36 pm

Heya Reed, interesting slant. I respectfully dissent for some of the reasons posted above. Pitt can sell academics, for sure. SEC schools can talk about academics and drugs, but in the end, they fail in both regards! Stanford has had a good run because of a great quarterback and very good role players.

Pitt still has a chance with a game changer in Foster and he could leave his mark on the Pitt program for years if he were to matriculate to Pitt. The qb position is the most important of all positions on the team. It looks like Pitt is on their way to getting an upgrade there. My concern voiced here throughout the season (without insider knowledge) was that Savage may not be the man and we would then have to rely on a redshirt freshman or true freshman in Voytik or Chapman next year. That was the biggest gamble of the season in my opinion by the coach, not any in-game 4th and whatever gamble!

Paul Chryst will succeed at Pitt. He is executing a 5 year plan and our current recruiting rank far exceeds our actual football ranking. I expect a lot of 8-4, 9-3 seasons with an occasional run at something bigger. The Boyds and Fosters will come.Pederson needs to extend the coach….now!

Quick news – PSU’s O’brien is on short list for Browns and Eagles. He was misled by PSU that the entire Sandusky debacle was going to end up in criminal charges, with no NCAA sanctions. Whhoooops! I can’t believe Penn State’s Administration would lie or mislead anyone! They are pathetic. Expect a coaching change because apparently, he is MAD!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 12.30.12 @ 12:41 pm

If OBrien didn’t think sanctions were a possibility, he did some poor due diligence and has only himself to blame. He probably wants the NFL job and this is his lame excuse to get out.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.12 @ 1:00 pm

SFPitt – I wrote the “only positive accomplishment” bit from a recruiting POV – not from a PITT fan’s. That is why that statement is in the middle of the stuff about what draws top shelf recruits to PITT. Also, thanks for pointing out that redundancy in “positive accomplishment”.

gc – I understand that the extra practices help but the reality is that about 70 D1 schools get those extra bowl practices so the competitive advantage is pretty much equalized going into the next season. Personally, I’m much more interested in the regular season.

Pitto’ – Winning is important and is going to be a result of the stability Paul Chryst will bring to a program that has been lacking it so badly. IMO we need to start that winning next week or it is a whole 10 months at least before we can possibly point to the team and say we have a winning season.

I really don’t want us to go through all this again – being a sub .500 team for two years running when other programs are doing well. That WILL hurt us in the long run.

I didn’t want to write a novel first time back but overall I do think this is an OK recruiting class given the fact that Chryst has been behind the eight ball in his first year as HC. There are some players who I think are pretty solid – Orndoff, Chapman, getting Johnson back, Galambos.

But all in all even if we land Boyd this is, at best, an average recruiting class. It is the same as we have seen the past two years. The fact is we had a shot with some recruits who were program changers; Kugler, Clements and Foster to name three, which would have made it an excellent one and we missed on them.

Comment by Reed 12.30.12 @ 1:12 pm

DHuff – I too think Chryst will be a success at PITT but things HAVE to fall in place for him to do that especially with our move to a better conference next year.

Positive change has to have a tangible starting point and IMO it is this bowl game. There is a big difference in perception between 7-6 with a bowl win and 6-7. Win this one and we have some solid momentum going into the spring and into the ACC.

I really hope we get Boyd onboard as I think we need that type of playmaker on the offense.

Comment by Reed 12.30.12 @ 1:17 pm

Does an average recruiting class mean more 6 and 6 seasons. Chryst needs to find some more dynamic recruiters and focus more on getting players from the ACC footprint with an emphasis on Florida. First thing though is that Chryst needs to win and preferably in exciting ways. That alone will make his job recruiting easier.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.12 @ 1:22 pm

BBVA means another game and an opponent
from the SEC. What is wrong with this? Would
We prefer to be a team left w/o an invitation
To a bowl game?
Perhaps Pitt can’t attract 4 or 5 star
recruits because fans who attend games
actually boo the players? Classless.

Final comment on Tino. What if he played
in PC’s system as a junior? Might have been
even more efficient as a senior.
. Wasn’t his fault
the AD hired Fraud and
The hurry up offense. . The kid has limitations.
However he has demonstrated more
class than some of his coaches. Also
if Savage doesn’t perform we will be left
with a redshirt freshman, a true freshman,
and a kid who walked on. We may miss
Tino?

Comment by JR 12.30.12 @ 1:25 pm

As far as too many Bowl games.I don’t really watch much of them until New Years so I don’t really care but once they got to the point where half the teams go why the heck just let every team play another game in the last few weeks of December..doesn’t seem fair to just let the winning teams have the extra practice time..The losing ones are the ones that need it the most..let the losing schools set up games among themselves on campus sites. I bet those games would still have better ratings than most sports programs.

Comment by milo bloom 12.30.12 @ 1:44 pm

JR – I’m on record as saying that while we may get OVERALL better QB play next season we might not get the same production out of that position.

3100+ yards, 19 TDs and 2 INTs with a 65% completion is a pretty high bar for a QB to reach. Especially a rsFR or a guy who has been out of football for two years. Sunseri gave us pretty darn good production in this last season.

That said – even if the actual numbers are less, if we can get steady non-panicked play into the 4th quarter of ball games then it will be a step up. Again though – Savage has the experience but I wonder if Voytik is ready to go.

It will be great to see an actual three way competition for the two QB slots finally, don’t count out Anderson as a QB2 candidate, something we haven’t seen in some years.

Comment by Reed 12.30.12 @ 1:54 pm

You failed to post a byline to this thread, but to whomever, Chas or Reed, thank you for putting something out there about Pitt football, finally!

And then you go amd spew out a half dozen good points for discussion all at once! So be it. BTW, all of the above comments, so far, I find very insightful also.

First off, you seem to have a very short memory. Go back and review posts and comments in Sept. after the Cincy loss and tell me, in your wildest dreams, at that point in the season, could you have concieved Pitt playing in a bowl game, attempting to salvage a winning record at season’s end? That’s what I thought.

So as for Chryst’s accomplishments up to this point in his HCing career, I give him a C+ grade up to this point. He pulled his ass out of the fire with that win over VT and was ever sooo close to posting a serious signature win in the ND game. Now, with a final win in Birmingham against an SEC foe that will have basically a home team advantage in crowd support and the final grade goes up to “B” with him ending up the season with a three game win streak.

Chryst’s biggest accomplishment this year however was one that didn’t involve anyone other than himself. What he did was nothing more than confirm that he was the kind of man that Pitt’s football program so dearly needed right now, a guy of integrity that simply stood by his current commitment and remained Pitt’s HC without even exploring the possibility of returning to his Alma Mater when the job opened up. That my friends, is a huge factor in overtly demonstrating to current, as well as future, Pitt recruits that this program is, at least, on a stable coaching foundation for the immediate future.

With what has transpired with this program over the last 2 1/2 years, Pitt football could have been left for dead at this point in time, if just a few things had gone South. Another coaching change would have been the stake through the heart of the program for sure.

Now as for what has gone RIGHT during that same period, Chad Voytik and Rushel Shell should not be forgotten in how their efforts, at the critical time during the Fraud Graham midnight escape, held their recruiting class together.

Because of that factor, I would not be the least bit surprised if Voytik comes out as the starter in the QB competition that begins with Spring ball. This kid strikes me as a leader, and that above all else is what this current team is in dire need of. Chapman also strikes me as a guy who understands the importance of taking a leadership role when playing such a pivitol position as QB. However, even with the advantage of him coming in this January, he might be at too much of a disadvantage experience wise to compete for playing time in 2013.

Now concerning Savage, how do you say that he has been out of football for two years? Hasn’t he been a member of the team during that time? That means that he knows the playbook, understands what the coaches want and has developed a repore with the players on the team during that time. So why shouldn’t he be considered as the front runner for the job based on his previous game experience?

Just because you haven’t ridden a bike for a couple years doesn’t mean that when you get back on one again that you just fall over. That experience remains invaluable, no matter how long it has been since hes seen the field.

The real down side of starting Savage, would be IMO, that even if he is head and shoulders above the other contenders talent wise come fall camp, is that he is the shortterm solution to the longterm QB issue and, in fact, starting him, actually would retard the development of the true futures of the program who are embodied in Voytik or Chapman.

With all of the BS that Pitt has been through, this program has already hit bottom and has come out of it remarkably unscathed. If Pitt can pull out a victory over Old Miss, I would call this season a success! I think a win would also be a huge boost for this recruiting season as well.

I’m still not convinced that we have lost the battle over Foster, and with a few breaks we reel in another good recruit or two on that list mentioned above to round out Chryst’s first recruiting class.

The most important thing that Pitt can do right now to improve their recruiting fortunes is to successfully sell the “future” of what Pitt Football COULD become with the commitment of those recruits that are game changers, and convince then that they can take Pitt to the next level with their contributions. I feel that Foster struggled with that concept and in fact decided that he didn’t want to be “the man”. He opted for the secure path rather than the insecurity of joining a “what if” program, which is what Pitt is currently. That doesn’t mean that that selling point is a poor strategy however. It just means that we have to sell it to the right guys. Shell was one of those “right guys” last year. Maybe Boyd will be one of those “right guys” this year.

In any case a win on Saturday can do nothing but up Pitt’s stock going forward. Here is my New Year’s wish, that Tino Sunseri ends up breaking Marino’s record and does so in glorious fashion. A come from behind victory orchestrated by Tino himself would be sweet icing on the cake considering that “clutch” has never been his forte and “choke” has been his historical MO whenever the chips have been down. We’ll see in a week. In any case, HAIL TO PITT!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.12 @ 2:30 pm

Chrysts biggest accomplishment is that he is coming back after this season. Stability is Pitts biggest need at this point…not 4 stars, new stadiums(in 15 years yes), a new coordinator, etc. Hopefully, the recruits, the wins and the attendance will follow.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.12 @ 2:40 pm


My perfect scenerio in the next couple of days:

1. PITT beats CINCY tomorrow
2. BAMA kills ND, then Saban takes a job with the Jets/Browns/Eagles
3. O’brien takes the chance to jump at an NFL job after the nitters gush over him after his first season

HTP

Comment by rhyno527 12.30.12 @ 2:47 pm

FWIW, this is from a Rivals.com article about 10 things to look for at Under Armour game

6. Can Alabama keep Foster?

Despite his recent pledge to Alabama, there are still plenty of people who think that Pittsburgh has a very good shot of landing in-state stud wide receiver Robert Foster. This week will be the first time since committing that Foster has to face questions about just how firm he is to the Tide and whether the Panthers are still in the conversation. I’ll be listening very closely to what Foster has to say

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 3:17 pm

Malecki now playing OL for the Stillers #62

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 3:28 pm

Jabaal Sheard with sack of Rothliesberger, whatever happened to Greg Romeus?

Comment by gc 12.30.12 @ 3:37 pm

Romeus was drafted by saints in last round but was put on injured reserve last year … not sure if he is still in NFL

Btw, Nate Byham was on injured reserve last year by the 49ers, released and signed by Schiano at Tampa, and caught a TD about a month or two ago

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 3:47 pm

according to the roster on NO Saints web site, Romeus is still listed on IR

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 3:49 pm

wbb, I knew you would know. Thanks. He was a force until the back injuries.

Comment by gc 12.30.12 @ 4:01 pm

Congrats to Henry Hynoski on his first career TD.

Comment by Todd Gack 12.30.12 @ 4:10 pm

Regarding our QB situation for next season, I would love to see a QB who can lead us for a game winning drive. Something we haven’t seen in a while. The bowl game against North Carolina was the last one that I can remember.

Comment by Gdodson 12.30.12 @ 4:15 pm

To those thinking O’Brien was not aware of possible NCAA sanctions, then why does his contract a 5 year deal stipulate that if PSU received sanctions reducing scholarships or stop bowl appearances the contract guaranteed him an 8 year deal rather than 5 .

Comment by spindler's spirit 12.30.12 @ 4:28 pm

Reed:
Usually love your post by his one was a ram filler. Lots of Writing but very little substance.

Recuiting has as much to do with the person(s) selling the program as anything. Past records man little unless you are 11-1 or 1-11 each year. Kids react to the extremes of the W-L’s. If you are in the middle then everything else is pretty much equal.

Pitt ability to lands the very top recruit (4-5 star) really depends on it ability to compete for a national championship OR its ability to get kids to the next level. I wasnt a fan of Wanny but the latter was his calling card.

What PC can do to increase his recruit stock is:
1) get a recruiter that can sell a vision / future (see Charlie Stong)
2) get players to the next level
3) compete for a national championship

Short of those 3 (the more the merry) most teams will always get 2-3 star recruits.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 12.30.12 @ 4:39 pm

Pitt needs to heavily recruit GA, SC, NC, VA and of course FL if the are to compete.

The southern athlete is a different type of Athlete!

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 12.30.12 @ 4:53 pm

I agree with Pitt fan in Atlanta however number 3 could also be ACC championships. I’ll take that first. Top ten finishes as well. Then we can talk national championship. So few teams are consistently in the picture each year. I’ll settle for once every 10 years…chance for that title game. Also playing for a good coach and having fun playin has got to mean something. Pitt has got some good selling points. I still think Foster switches back to Pitt. We don’t need to land all 4 and 5 stars to be successful if our coaching is good.

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.12 @ 5:05 pm

Checkout Pitt ScrIpt New Uniform design on Facebook. Awesome ideas and designs by a talented fan.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 12.30.12 @ 5:42 pm

This is a fickle world. The Steelgirls lost about 30% of their fans today because they are Average and had nothing to play for but pride.
Pitt plays most of its games in those circumstances. But the cry is that Pitt fans don’t support their team. Unmitigated bullshit.
Once the pedophiles start to lose with regularity (assured since they are in the same division as Urban Meyer), one more season of no defense irrelevant bowls (or is it bowels), one more awkward 8-8 season for the pros and three other local teams will find out it all comes down to performance.
Candidly, we have consistently out-recruited our performance. That is but one reason we are THE poster child for underperformance. And everyone knows it.
There is no doubt that recruiting is critical in CFB, but it is not the decision maker. We have been proving that for decades.
I’ll take an above average coach over an above average recruiter any day.
I hope Chryst is both. Time will tell but you won’t know for a few years. Not in 2013-14 to be sure.

Comment by SFPitt 12.30.12 @ 5:44 pm

Interesting point SFPitt.

A lot of mustard seats showing at Heinz today.

Also, regarding PSU… O’Brien has certainly esceeded my expectations. But you have to factor in that the whole program is still living on the coattails of Paterno. Especially with the amount of talent they have on the team.

If nothing else. we’ve learned how much talent Paterno has been squandering the last few years.

To his credit, O’Brien did make some much needed changes in terms of personnel, philosophy and gameplanning. However, the one biggest smartest thing O’Brien did to turn the team in the right direction was simply committing to McGloin at QB.

Even though McGloin has been far more efficient in regard to production than any other QB on the roster the last couple of years, Paterno felt compelled to play the other younger “scholarship” guys he recruited.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.30.12 @ 6:17 pm

Saw the Nike idea. Don’t like it. For starters, the colors are aweful. The blue needs to be navy that is the official color…not royal. The yellow needs to be less neon looking. Tone that color down by adding some brown to make it more like gold. Drop the Pitt script from the pants. Makes it tacky. Put a stripe on the helmet and possibly on the pants. The script on the helmet should also be outlined in white, moreover, please only one helmet color. Go with a gold helmet with blue script. Why does nike try to outsmart themselves?

Comment by TX Panther 12.30.12 @ 6:32 pm

Reed, I happen to agree with you that this is a very important game for the program. PC needs some success to provide the evidence that he’s a winner and will help players reach their goals. Hope we slap the shit out of Ole Miss. They’re not much better than the Hoopies…

Comment by The Hagen 12.30.12 @ 6:42 pm

O’Brien did a good job no doubt but this hadto be one of the most pathetic years for the B10, and there are quite a few to pick from

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 6:43 pm

Atlanta – damning with faint praise eh? Thanks I think… Hey, I just remembered why I haven’t posted anything in months!

Not so sure about your point #2 as PITT has constantly seem to pump players into the NFL and into the college and NFL Halls of Fame, way more than the vast majority of D1 programs, yet we still can’t field championship teams. I’m sure it helps but I wonder about the importance sometimes.

Agree with #1 and #3 though but selling a vision of a successful program has to have substance behind it. That was the meat of the post. Lose this ball game and even an ace recruiter would be hard put to convince recruits – and his parents – that we’ve turned a corner to brighter days.

But win this week, get to 7-6 to break the slide and couple that with Chryst staying on at PITT and that same recruiter has some meat to what he’s selling.

IMO we have to start with conference championships as they are the first step to any national championship for PITT. Thus my saying I feel the regular season is so much more important than post-season play. But if we can say that we are legitimate contenders for at least division champs in the ACC then we have another selling point.

Maybe I’m a pessimist but I believe that we may never see a national championship at PITT for a long, long time. If we do it will be like catching lightning in a bottle – its possible but my take is that it might not happen in my lifetime… which granted is less time than some PITT fans.

Comment by Reed 12.30.12 @ 6:47 pm

The Hoopies like their QB were the most overrated team in the country. They were rated high to begin with based on their 70 points vs Clemson in the orange Bowl, but they only beat our pathetic team last year 21-20 and got their clocked clean by the Cuse. Of course, the Cuse has now beat them 3 straight.

Even with all that speed on offense, you can only go so far with that pathetic defense they had.

Comment by wbb 12.30.12 @ 6:49 pm

I don’t know why we keep talking about championships. I would be happy if we can generally be in the top 20 and every so often crack the top ten.

We are never going to compete with the football factories.

I’m with Reed, it’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle.

Comment by gc 12.30.12 @ 7:13 pm

If Kansas St can be in the running for a Nat title then why cant Pitt?

Comment by togatogatoga 12.30.12 @ 7:27 pm

two things that will further help this year’s recruiting class:
1) Saban leaving Bama for NFL: Foster to Pitt
2) O’Brien leaving PSU – not only opens the door to their existing recruiting class, but also to existing players and the few who left the team this year – all can transfer without sitting out. It looks like O’Brien is already getting looks by NFL teams, so I’d guess he’s gone. He was not expecting the sanctions when he took the job. NFL is a lot more money and where he has spent most of his time.

So which PSU recruits would likely consider Pitt if he leaves? Also, what ever happened to the players who quit the PSU team this year but stayed in school (like Dakota Royer, who was a stud recruit for PSU a couple years ago).

Comment by dish 12.30.12 @ 7:33 pm

Of course TX Panther. It’s the easiest move out there. Placate fans, sell more merchandise and back with tradition, that’s why college football is so popular, tradition.

The ball is on the tee, like a beach ball, anyone could drive it 300 yards.

Except one person I know of. If he even attempts to hit the ball, he’ll shank it into the pond over by the trees.

Gimmick uniforms, are for teams that have no tradition. Look at most of the big boys (except Oregon, and not counting once a year “throw back” uniforms, their uniforms speak for themselves.

If he does anything, he’ll probably hire a marketing firm for 200-300K to tell him that the Pitt script should be purple, the blue should be more greenish and he should change the gold to orange.

Or, they’ll tell him to have 12 different combinations and we’ll look like a mess like Maryland and be an embarrassment.

Such a simple task, and so easy. Can’t see the forest for the trees.

And, that’s if he does anything at all.

Maybe he’ll put the panthersaurus back on the helmet!!!

Comment by Dan 12.30.12 @ 8:03 pm

Anybody who thinks that a National Championship can only be acquired by the current elite teams in the FBS (football factories?) is badly misinformed. togato etc. said it well, if Kansas St. can come out of nowhere and get involved in the NC discussion, then why not almost ANYONE?

The key is always who wants it the most? Sometimes it is nothing more than that magical combination of the right people at the right time that all share the same common vision, everybody in the entire organization, from the water boy to the Athletic Director. Baylor is a fine example of that. Baylor was the forever whipping boy of the Big 12, all of a sudden RGIII shows up and almost single handedly turns an entire football program around while winning the Heisman Trophy, he brought that vision into reality by sheer will and leadership. And I’m not even going to mention what he is in the process of accomplishing with the Redskins this season.

Yes indeed, lightening in a bottle is difficult to capture, but it is exactly what a program that is actually totally invested in that NC vision of competing at the top level in college football should always aspire to if they want to obtain that ultimate prize.

Pitt has done it nine times Reed, and I hope that you live long enough to see the next one come to fruition. All it takes is the vision, the will, the right combination of people mixed together with a good dose of luck and watch the magic occur.

If you are a true Pitt football fan and aspire to anything less that that ultimate goal, then why in the world would you short change yourself in such a manner? Never, ever discount what the University of Pittsburgh is capable of accomplishing on the football field. Pitt will win another National Championship, it is only a matter of time. Maybe Chryst will be the guy.

Hail to Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.12 @ 8:27 pm

Dr. Tom….. I love the passion but there is no way shape or form we will the ACC let alone a NCAA.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.30.12 @ 8:37 pm

Dr. Tom, you know I love you, but what are you smoking and can you get me some?

Sure, there is an exception to every rule. We have only one championship in the modern era. We recruited 100 players including Tony Dorsett.

Could it happen again, sure, But you won’t get rich playing those odds.

Comment by gc 12.30.12 @ 8:54 pm

Reed and GC, I just want to see good football. I’ve loved watching the last 10 years of Pitt basketball and there have been no national championships. It’s been the best level of basketball ever at Pitt. What I would love to in the football program, is a return to relevance. It may take some to even get back to where we were four seasons ago under Dave Wannstedt after the Heywood-Graham hires. Too bad we didn’t hire Chryst back then. Lets see if we can win 7 or 8 games and go from there.

Comment by Justinian 12.30.12 @ 9:00 pm

The ACC is ripe for the taking. Miami is impotent, VTECH is about to go under, UNC is a basket case, NCS has a new head coach, Duke is better, but not that good, FSU and Clemson are the two best but neither is anything remotely close to elite….ask WVU about Clemson. BC dropped football, Wake Forest (really), GTECH is Navy in drag, U of L is good, UVA is stuck in 2nd gear, Syracuse is ok.
That was not a good conference and we return a damn fine defense.

Comment by SFPitt 12.30.12 @ 9:10 pm

Upittbaseball, if you think we stink and have no hope, then why are you even posting? What is your goal?

Comment by panther94 12.30.12 @ 9:15 pm

Oh, I know, you’re on this site in case somebody should post about the baseball team, right?

Comment by panther94 12.30.12 @ 9:17 pm

SFPitt, I agree we should be competitive in the ACC.
But we never won the Big East outright, so I’ll take a wait and see attitude.

I am with you Justinian, one step at a time.

Let’s start tomorrow with a win against Cincy. A win against Ole Miss. would really start the year off right.

Comment by gc 12.30.12 @ 9:30 pm

Correct me but how good are the OL players in the ACC. I know BC had good OL’s and they did well at first but have fallen off. Maybe if Pitt can develop some good OLs then they will do well in the ACC.

Comment by frank MD 12.30.12 @ 9:41 pm

Comment by panther94 12.30.12 @ 9:50 pm

@panther94, interesting. I hope he’s just talking when he says many have proposed North-South divisions.

I hope that doesn’t catch on. I’m not interested in Big East 2.0.

I’d rather keep Ga. Tech in our division, and have the crossover game be Syracuse.

We’ll have to catch Louisville and BC every once in awhile, but, that’s enough.

I like it the way it is now. New teams, new blood, new uniforms, new colors.

I have no desire to play Syracuse, BC, Louisville every year. We have no rivalries with any of them in football.

Comment by Dan 12.30.12 @ 10:57 pm

Considering what this program has been through in the last few years, I think we are OK on recruiting. Right now, Rivals has us 6th in what will be next years 14 team ACC field. Scout has us 5th. We can be very competitive with the talent we have. Some promising things happened this season. A very efficient offense (3,000+ yard passer, 1,000+ yard rusher, and at least one 1,000+ yard receiver, possibly two after the bowl game). A defense that improved as year went on. We have a lot of players coming back. Ironically, the biggest question mark will be at the QB position. Concerning the QB, in Chryst I trust! He truly raised Tino’s play to a very respectable level. This team, this program, just needs to have the confidence in themselves to know that they can and will win more close games than they lose. We are stepping up in competition in the ACC, just like we stepped up in competition when we went into South Bend and gave them everything they could handle. The point is, the better competition does not have to be a negative, it can also be motivation to play your best.

Comment by HbgFrank 12.30.12 @ 11:00 pm

Was visiting relatives this weekend, and with running around, didn’t catch much news, including sports news.

Just saw, WVU really crapped the bed in NYC!!!

LOL Where are those WVU trolls???

Big 12 over ACC??? Ha Ha, got pounded by ACC Syracuse???

Oh, you crazy trolls!!!! LOL

Comment by Dan 12.30.12 @ 11:02 pm

@Dan, either way…our division is not bad. I like our chances.

Comment by panther94 12.30.12 @ 11:24 pm

Panther94′ I didn’t say we will stink…maybe you can’t read or you are just a wanna be message board tough guy. I said we won’t win the ACC or a NCAA. Did we ever win the Big Least?

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.31.12 @ 12:33 am

wbb, Brendan Coniker is a DB from North Allegheny. Selected PA-All-State. Recovered a fumble and returned it 80 yds for a TD during the state championship game. Don’t know about the other 2 guys you asked about.

Comment by Annie 12.31.12 @ 12:38 am

What stores carry lightening in a bottle. I’ve got to go out and get me some. Would make a good present for Chryst next year. I just hope lightening strikes Pitt once and I live to see it.

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.12 @ 7:25 am

“Savage didn’t have that type of quality play in his two years. He didn’t stink out the joint but IMO it is not comparable at all to Wilson’s situation going over to Wisky. Savage is a career 52% completion rate passer and that is disturbing. He’s been out of football for two years and had a poor last season of play as a sophomore. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves before we see how he does in the camps.”

Thanks Chas, this was the point I was trying to scream to any who would listen during the season.
And why when it was obvious we were NOT going to win the BE or go to anything other than a 4rth rate Bowl game, why Anderson needed to play.
And/or Voytik.

For if Savage is not up to the challenge and it is quite a challenge, we DO NOT HAVE ANYONE WITH ANY GAME EXPERIENCE. Seems to me, the logical thing to do would have had someone, anyone get some game experience.

Of course I keep forgetting this is Sir Tino we’re talking about.

Comment by Emel 12.31.12 @ 8:12 am

Sorry a trip to the Compass Bowl and Sir Tino landing at #2 in the record books does not merit going into our first ACC year with a ……

WHOLE LOT OF QUESTION MARKS AT THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITION ON THE FIELD. THAT OF COURSE BEING
QUARTERBACK !!

Comment by Emel 12.31.12 @ 8:16 am

@Dan-0

The morganhole trolls have strangely been absent from the board. What a pitiful performance against a lightweight like Syracuse. Wvcc is going to sink into the abyss in the Big 12, for if they stank this year with a Heisman candidate and best QB at Wvcc since Hoffstetter and 1rst round NFL Wr pick in Bailey, just how on earth on are they going to matchup without them. Them & Kansas will be the two cellar dwellers.

I hear the holers are not happy with Holgy in Hooterville and he might be in over his mullet head. Hoops looks pretty depressing to for the hillbillies. That’s really too bad ! lol

Comment by Emel 12.31.12 @ 8:24 am

Concerning the ACC divisions.

I could live without playing L-Ville yearly.

That’s a lose/lose game for PITT.

Keep Syracuse in the other division and that’s our crossover rival. BC was OK but better Cuse in the other division. Just plug in L-Ville for Maryland in the other division. No sense changing everything when ACC folks are just getting use to their Atlantic & Coastal divisions.

Comment by Emel 12.31.12 @ 8:32 am

Anybody who thinks that a National Championship can only be acquired by the current elite teams in the FBS (football factories?) is badly misinformed. togato etc. said it well, if Kansas St. can come out of nowhere and get involved in the NC discussion, then why not almost ANYONE?

If you are a true Pitt football fan and aspire to anything less that that ultimate goal, then why in the world would you short change yourself in such a manner? Never, ever discount what the University of Pittsburgh is capable of accomplishing on the football field. Pitt will win another National Championship, it is only a matter of time
Comment by Dr. Tom 12.30.12 @ 8:27 pm

I’m with you Dr. Tom. The naysayers said we would never win another won in the 1970’s. THEY WERE PROVED WRONG !!!

And had we been given a chance in 1979 & 1980, we would have won a couple more National Championships. For those two teams had maybe the best college defenses EVER (even no less than Bobby Bowden agreed about the 1980 squad). And Danny Marino to boot.

HTP !
VEV !

Comment by Emel 12.31.12 @ 8:39 am

Emel, I consider the teams of the Jackie Sherrill era the most talented Pitt teams all time. The entire defensive line went on to play in the pros. In those days,there was not a BCS and 1 loss teams very rarely got the opportunity to play for the National Championship. Look at Alabama, they just won a National Championship with a loss and will have the opportunity, as a one loss team, to win another this year. The Pitt teams of the early 80s were considerably more talented than the 1976 National Championship team. An upset loss,in a monsoon in Talahassee, FL, cost the Panthers a chance to play for the National Championship.

Comment by Justinian 12.31.12 @ 8:57 am

Annie, Thx, I did look up Conicker as well as the other two. The issue is that all 3 of the players were not only not high on Pitt’s lists, they didn’t even receive offers from Pitt … and had no business on Dokish’s list.

Conicker along with Gregg Garrity were very productive high school players and big reasons they won the back-to-back titles, but apparently neither are D1 prospects which is just fine … hope the do great in college. However, none of the 3 players I listed shuld be considered as a failure for Chryst

Comment by wbb 12.31.12 @ 9:16 am

Emel – I wrote the article and get what you are saying about PT for Anderson. I wouldn’t have busted Voytik’s redshirt though unless it was absolutely necessary. From my conversations with others it was my impression that Voytik wasn’t going to play unless there were major injuries to both Sunseri and Anderson.

As to the future QB for 2103 I think the hype machine is starting up for Savage in a big way. That’s fine if a fan wants to go down that road however we have been subject to big hype little play for a lot of PITT players so I’ll reserve my opinions until the camps.

National Championship? Sure, it could happen at PITT but let’s be honest and call it like it is – a real long shot, just like it is for Kansas State or any other ‘medium’ sized football program.

Can it happen? Yes. Will it happen? I’m not getting my hopes up too high for that – I’ll stick with rooting for conference championships then let the chips fall where they may after that.

Comment by Reed 12.31.12 @ 9:27 am

If THIS team can go toe to toe with the Irish, ending up losing only because of a critical homer phantom pass interference call on an Irish fourth down play, IMO, and even with that, take it to triple OT in the losing effort, then anything is possible for this program.

When we actually have a team complete with the quality of players that know how to win, expect to win and believe that they can accomplish the impossible, that my friend is when the impossible becomes reality.

What does it take to assemble that kind of team? First, and foremost it takes leadership with the vision, which currently Pitt lacks, at least at the administrative level, unfortunately, IMO.

Second, it takes a coaching staff that can communicate that vision and mold those individuals into a synergistic team that compounds the talent of each individual by the complementing talents of their team mates. And then you just need to be damn lucky and have everything that could go wrong fall into place in your favor. ND was on the receiving end of that “luck of the Irish” against Pitt this season, for sure!

So gc and Upittbaseball, understand me when I encourage you to aspire to greatness in your hopes for Pitt football. It may not be practical, or realistic, maybe at this moment, but that alone is the primary, essential ingredient that begins the process. First, the mind must think it, before it can will the body to accomplish it. No champion, in any sport has ever reached the pinnacle of their sport without first envisioning that success.

It takes a resilient psychological mindset to do so, since failure will occur much more often than success when reaching for the top. But without such a mindset as the starting point, failure is destined to become the norm because mediocrity becomes your vision.

When this team wins 13 games while winning the ACC, then they WILL be playing for their next National Championship. When that happens, I hope that I’m still around to bask in the moment. It was a magical time to experience first hand 37 years ago.

I for one think that its time for another run at that prize. I ALWAYS beleive its time, without that beleif you can’t even take the first step towards accomplishing that vision.

BTW, what I’m smoking is a bong full of Panther Pride with a chaser of Wild Turkey and ginger ale. Hail to Pitt and Happy New Year to all of my fellow Pitt brethern. And as always HAIL TO PITT!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.31.12 @ 9:29 am

Frank MD has the ticket. We can’t and should not try to out Ohio State, Ohio State, out idiolize Pedophile state or outscum WVUlgar.
Pitt needs to brand itself as THE place for the ssholar athlete. That appeals more to the Pitt faculty and fans than any other brand.
But it takes $$$$.
Did anyne but me receive a mailer from the Pitt athletic department generally asking for more money?
If you want more money, then tell me what you are going to do with it Cyanide Steve. otherwise, unless and until I see a game plan it stays in my pocket.
Give me goals and I will open the pocket book. But just giving YOU money???? Nah.

Comment by sfpitt 12.31.12 @ 9:34 am

Obviously, I am not the “scholar”. But hey, I didn’t lose my bowels either!!!

Comment by sfpitt 12.31.12 @ 9:36 am

Dr. Tom, happy New Years… Is the BB game on national tv?

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.31.12 @ 10:08 am

I’ve said this for years, there is no reason that Pitt FB should not perennially be in the Top 25, putting together 8-10 win seasons, and every so often put together a special season to put us in the BCS Championship discussion. The fact that we have not is well documented from the incompetence in leadership & coaching to overinflated recruit. Chryst is a work in progress. He deserves time to grow into the role– and frankly, we have no choice at how awful our FB brand is in 2013.

Frankly, what we have become in Basketball is still amazing to me and I never would have thought we would be considered one of the elite programs in the country in 2013 and have such a strong BB brand. JD was a work in progress too. Granted, he inherited a better team. But, he has improved and has become a better coach. Watch him vs. the new golden boy Kevin Ollie at UCONN this year. You’ll see the coaching disparity on display. He has gotten better and now just needs some hardware.

Comment by Pauly P 12.31.12 @ 10:22 am

it makes a big difference to be a part of the best BB conference that is highly exposed, not to mention that within the conference geographical boundary is the most fertile recruiting area.

All of the above has not been the case for Pitt FB

Comment by wbb 12.31.12 @ 10:32 am

What does it take to win a championship?

You need great players, who stay healthy, multiple superstars, and sufficient depth.

You need a great coach and staff, who can recruit, teach, and make the right decisions on game day.

You need deep pockets, and a commitment from the University to do whatever it takes.

You need the intangibles, team spirit, big plays when the game is on the line, the difference between winners and losers.

You need luck to win the close ones.

There is a reason the SEC has been dominate and why USC was dominate, why Ohio State dominated the Big 10. It starts with money and coaching and assembling the best talent.

Dr. Tom, I agree you have to believe, but its hard to win a high stakes poker game if you are not well funded to begin with.

Comment by gc 12.31.12 @ 11:39 am

The support from the administration is the biggest thing holding Pitt back. The desire just isn’t there. Stevie has alienated many big boosters. Nordy doesn’t want a repeat of the heavy booster involvement from the eighties. To his credit, Pitt has run a clean program and the academics have gotten better under his watch. I just want some more balance and more emphasis on being a champion and what it takes. It takes money to find the best coaches and a large recruiting budget to help land the elite players. Pitt should also desire to do better in sports outside football and basketball. The Pitt administration just isn’t serious enough to go that extra step. They are complacent and fine being mediocre in a well respected academic conference.

Comment by TX Panther 12.31.12 @ 12:01 pm

Looks like Pitt has 2 more openings for scholarships…

blive.com/sports/college/pitt/3220321-74/davis-pitt-yards

Comment by Jackagain 12.31.12 @ 9:58 pm

It’s Bowl week and there is nothing to talk about? My local media doesn’t cover Pitt, only PSU and ND. Please throw me a lifeline. I’m dying out here.

Comment by barreman 01.03.13 @ 9:25 am

BE teams doing very well in bowls. Maybe they will do well in ACC.

Comment by frank MD 01.03.13 @ 9:37 am

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