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August 2, 2013

[Ed. Note: Hosting company had network problems today. I tried to publish this just as it went down.]

As we all know, one of the way Penn State did their best not to play Pitt was to claim they simply could not “afford” to lock into a home-and-home series. They needed at least a 3-for-2 deal or some other arrangement to make it clear that they were the alpha dog get enough home games. Pitt never flinched in holding firm against that. Not Pederson. Not Long. Wasn’t going to happen.

Now WVU works to find non-con games. They are looking to set up regional games (cheaper travel and games their fans might actually care to see) and neutral site games.

Holgorsen speaks excitedly and openly about other possibilities he’d like to make realities to fit his vision and to position his team for a spot in the playoff.

I’d be in favor of us and Pitt playing once in Pittsburgh (at Heinz Field) because it’s a big venue and because we’d have more people than they would,” Holgorsen said. “Us and Penn State in Philadelphia. If you can do a home-and-home, great. If you can’t, then do one game in a bigger venue. The home-and-home with (Virginia) Tech was already announced. A home-and-home with Virginia, or a neutral-site game with Virginia in (Washington, D.C.)?”

[Emphasis added.]

Now, this is where I’m supposed to get all offended and self-righteous over this kind of dickery.  Only I can’t. It’s just too damn funny that the same day this article gets published, this story as well.

Season ticket sales for West Virginia football games are down with less than a month to go before the start of the season.

Sports marketing director Matt Wells says WVU has sold 33,100 season tickets. More than 37,400 were sold last season, the Mountaineers’ first in the Big 12.

By all means. If the game is going to be at Heinz Field every year, let’s renew the Brawl.





@TonyinHouston, mentioned this earlier this week, and now seeing your link, here is another one.

University of Washington, Husky Stadium Renovation

link to washington.edu

Too bad we have to be talking in hindsight now, and that he and them didn’t have foresight back then.

Comment by Dan 08.03.13 @ 7:31 pm

p.s. they start play this fall.

Listening to guys talk on College Football station on Sirius, going to be a real jewel.

Less than two years to do. No public money. Department of intercollegiate athletics bonds.

250 million. They did get 50 million in donations and are doing a naming rights.

Didn’t use any public money or university funds.

Here I am hoping for a decent logo at the local pro stadium.

Yay!!!

Comment by Dan 08.03.13 @ 7:35 pm

panther94:
Thanks for your apology. But it means little given your immediate followup comment exactly six (6) minutes later.

“Condescending,” you say… LMAO!!

Dude, you were right the first time around. By all means, yes, you’d be wise to keep your “emotions in check.”

As suggested earlier, why don’t you gather your belongings and roll on over to Panther’s Prey. I think you’ll find a friend in JoeD. LOL

Comment by Neil 08.03.13 @ 9:17 pm

JR is right. Holgy bolts at the first opportunity. There are 31 head coaching changes in 2013, 28 in 2012. Watch attendance plummet in Morganhole this season.
No. Don’t do them any favors.

Comment by Sfpitt 08.03.13 @ 10:05 pm

How many potential recruits would really be swayed by seeing WVU come to town every other year? One or two, maybe, now and again? The argument that Pitt ought to steer clear of scheduling West Virginia because it’ll help boost their recruiting locally seems pretty flimsy.

Holgerson’s comments might be overstated and a little silly, but in general, Pitt really does have some attendance issues, and needs to find a way to generate more interest in the program. Rivalry games are great for doing just that. More local interest in the team and more people in the seats would probably boost Pitt’s recruiting prospects in the area more than they would WVU’s. I see recruiting as a great reason TO play the ‘Neers, rather than avoid them. You can sell the kids on the tradition:

‘Hey, come watch this fun rivalry game at Heinz Field called the Backyard Brawl that we’ve been playing for the last 80 years or whatever…you come to Pitt, you’ll have the chance to play in it, too. Wouldn’t that be pretty fun?’

Yes, yes it would, Coach Chryst. Where do I fax my signed letter of intent?

Comment by Jeff 08.03.13 @ 10:47 pm

This is a no brainer – play WVU. Especially if it’s a home game for us.

Let’s face it, Pitt fans are not going to show up for UNC, Duke, NC State, GaTech and the rest. They didn’t care to show up for Syracuse and BC when we played them every year, so our conference affiliation won’t change that. Maybe for Miami or FSU (if we have a chance at winning). But our own home fan attendance will not change much going from the Big East to the ACC.

And the ACC schools, with the exception of VaTech, are not coming here in droves to buy up all those empty yellow seats. None of them travel well for regular season games up north – only if the game is right down the road.

For Pitt to sell out Heinz field, we need to play PSU, ND or WVU. Even if you don’t count the away fans – Pitt fans, aside from the 45,000 or so solid season ticket holders, will only show up in person when we play our traditional big rivals – PSU, ND and WVU. We’d rather watch Pitt on tv than go to a game in person. It’s sad, but true.

Trying to shut WVU out of Western PA recruiting by not playing them? Ask Shady and Hynoski and McKillop and the rest of the PA stars we landed how not playing PSU impacted their decision to come to Pitt. WVU is still right on the PA border, and they will play 6 or 7 games within 70 miles of Pittsburgh every year. WPA parents are still going to like that. We might as well sell out our stadium and reap the financial benefits.

Not to mention it’s a great rivalry, and will be on national tv no matter how bad both teams are. Our games against The Citadel and CCAC will not.

This is a no brainer – play the Hoopies.

Comment by Patrick 08.03.13 @ 11:11 pm

Hey Neil, I think you violated your “code of ethics” by calling me a nimrod. You also referred to me as son. That is condescending. I’m not going to waste anyone else’s time on this blog by continuing this meaningless argument with you. But, I must point out that you are such a hypocrite, telling me to leave this blog. There’s no way you could come from the same great University as I do. See ya, Pops.

Comment by panther94 08.04.13 @ 12:15 am

Holgy sharing the love:
link to wralsportsfan.com

Comment by panther94 08.04.13 @ 1:00 am

Emel – it has been about 15 years now since the decision to tear down PITT stadium was made and up to this point, when the novelty certainly has worn off there, is no actual move to even discuss building a stadium on campus by those who would be the decision makers in the PITT administration.

Heinz Field is about halfway through what has becoming the normal shelf life of 30 years for this round of the new sports stadiums and all that has been floated so far are plans to keep the status quo.

The reasons for that, and the reason there has been no formal public dialog about this at all, is that no one but a some alumni, some ex-players and some message board posters even care about the issue at all. That might change in 10 years I suppose but every year that passes from the last game at PITT stadium is a lessening of people who attended games there or cared about it in the first place.

The argument that an on campus stadium would help recruiting may or may not be a valid point – I’ve heard a lot of recruits say they really liked the fact that we share facilities an the Southside and play in an NFL stadium. Beside, I think the PITT admin would factor that issue in at around #238 on the list of things they care about when thinking about building an stadium on campus.

The fact is that a lot of people associated with PITT enjoy the ease of access and watching the games at Heinz Field and are satisfied that the decision was a good one and that it is fine for the future also.

Playing at Heinz Field is so much easier for the PITT administration then the hassle of somehow completing the Herculean task of finding enough land, getting zoning changed by an already antagonistic City Council, getting the appropriate civil permissions, getting the huge funding needed and then maintaining an on campus stadium after it is built. All PITT has to do now is write a yearly check to the stadium authority and then sit back and watch the games being played there.

However, to play devils advocate for a moment, why has no one talked about moving the Southside athletic facilities up to above the Petersen Center, or anywhere else, and building a stadium on the land PITT already owns down there? That current land footprint is about 490 yds x 230 yds and could fit a smaller scale 50+K stadium in there, PITT really wouldn’t need all the interior bells and whistles that the Steelers had built into Heinz Field so they could size the outside dimension down.

The East Carolina football stadium backs right up to a RR line and that works out fine. Then PITT would have a beautiful riverfront stadium of its own with all the business, hotels, bars and restaurants the Southside has to offer. Then PITT could buy some adjacent land to expand for parking.

If PITT was serious about it the could build a pedestrian bridge across the river and have parking on the other shore if the could buy some small parcels from the Hazelwood LTV owners.

Comment by Reed 08.04.13 @ 4:20 am

I know a sure way to increase game day attendence, gain respect within the ACC, improve the national image of the football program and increase the success of our recruiting efforts.

It will take a monumental effort by those individuals most closely involved with the program and necessitates a “can do” attitude that won’t permit failure as an acceptable outcome.

It’s called WINNING! Once we start down that road to success watch all of those issues vaporize into oblivian.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.04.13 @ 8:53 am

It’s so much easier for this Pitt administration and this city council. All it takes is new leadership. Pitt will have that and a new AD shortly. I agree it will be Herculean but it all starts with a feasibility study instead of just talking about the possibilities. Let the facts be known. Why can’t this be started today? Pitt’s future is at stake. Other schools are maybe just a bit more proactive and motivated. We’ve seen that it can be done. And I think there is more support out there than you think. Best to begin building the sense of urgency today and getting prepared. But I realize this is somewhat out of character for the current athletic department and BOT.

Comment by TX Panther 08.04.13 @ 9:30 am

screw WVU i hope we never play them agein .

Comment by FRANKCAN 08.04.13 @ 11:23 am

Hmmmm…we’re running players off while Miami is embracing them and we play the Canes every year now
link to fannation.com

Just a thought…

Comment by TonyinHouston 08.04.13 @ 12:04 pm

Reed:
Your last post is sound. Heinz Field is just not that far from Oakland in a very compressed city like Pittsburgh. Miami students drive 30 minutes or so to Sun Life Stadium (or whatever they’re calling it now) and don’t show up unless the opponent is a big name. Pitt students can ride PAT or free school buses to and from games.

Oakland merchants get more home dates for the Pete and about twice the number of fans who used to attend games at the field house. Surely they are making some $$.

But part of Pitt’s problem is a football identity crisis. Pitt Stadium was not given a chance to survive. Nordenberg decided it must go and that was that. When students protested tearing down the stadium at a basketball game, they were ushered out. Nordenberg and Pederson refuse to allow even one football game with players in retro uniforms.

Dictators reap what they sow.

I’ve been to Heinz for Pitt games. Tried to keep an open mind. Just don’t enjoy it. As a blogger wrote on the PG website, stadium security is over zealous.

But the good news: The ACC has many on campus stadiums. Traveling to Durham for the Duke game is going to be a treat. Seeing Pitt play in Annapolis is always an uplifting experience. A real game day college experience. Just don’t get that rush sitting in a comfortable chair at Heinz.

Even when those of us who lived through the reincarnation of Pitt Stadium in the late 70s die off, Pitt will still have problems establishing its own identity at Heinz.

Winning would help tremendously, but what have you seen by the current administration and, more importantly, trustees that enables you to project Pitt will win consistently enough down the line to fill Heinz Field for each home game? That is if you are projecting it.

Comment by TonyinHouston 08.04.13 @ 12:24 pm

@Dr. Tom, that’s a novel idea!!!

While even in our hey day, we only sold out for PSU, ND, and WVU, when you consistenly went 11-1 and 10-2, there were always at least 45K to 55K people.

And, I mean actual bodies, not the S.S.S. head count, of somehow about 25K to 30K heads, but attendance announced of 53K.

(p.s. that has to be one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever come across. Talk about an elephant in the room. Everyone knows it, down to the teenagers in the stands who can estimate a head count).

By the way, it’s called attendance, not tickets sold.

If there’s only 25K of us, then friggin announce that!! Don’t embarrass yourself further.

But, I digress.

Start winning 9, 10, 11 games every year, flirt with and get an ACC championship game consistently, and become a permanent member of the top 25 rankings.

You won’t see nearly as many yellow seats.

So simple, and yet so true. Seen over and over again in every sport known to man.

Just win baby!!!

Comment by Dan 08.04.13 @ 12:32 pm

I think that Heinz Field is a first rate football stadium. The problem is not so much that the stadium is off campus, it is that we lose a lot of the home field advantage because other teams come in there all jacked up to be playing at an NFL stadium. Call it the law of unintended consequences.

I think the ship has sailed for an on campus stadium at Pitt. But near the campus – maybe a few decades from now after Heinz has become an “old dump”. One area I think about is the land that is immediately off of the Oakland Exit of 376. The only thing I see there is urban blight. I don’t know if a stadium could be put there logistically, but it would be close to campus and be directly off of a major road.

Comment by HbgFrank 08.04.13 @ 12:51 pm

Ahhh, the Bucco’s! Can’t help notice they’re wearing the 71′ uniform. Looks fantastic.

Wouldn’t call it a throwback though. I’ve always considered a throwback, a one and done for the season. At least, that’s what the NFL started doing a few years ago.

No, actually, they’ve worn it quite a bit this year. Doesn’t even look like a throwback now, it’s just part of their uniform line up.

Probably selling a ton of merchandise, and probably making a lot of fans happy.

Things that make you go, hmmmmm.

Those crazy people at Buccoland!! Who would have ever thought of such nonsense!!!

Comment by Dan 08.04.13 @ 1:52 pm

Hoopies are desperate for credibility within 1000 miles of Mo-Hole. We don’t need them defacing our schedule. Period! H2P!

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.04.13 @ 5:14 pm

Not to mention those fellas in tuxedos over at the Consol.

Pulling out the old blue a few years back, so popular that during the regular season, they were those jerseys as often as the black and gold.

Probably have made millions off the idea.

Those crazy Penguinos and their flying machines!!!

Comment by Dan 08.04.13 @ 7:10 pm

The Steelers and Pitt lack atmosphere and home field advantage in my opinion and here is why. There are too many fans spending time out of their seats and inside watching on tv, in cushy seats, out of the weather. There are thousands of fans watching from the comfort inside the stadium.

I am embarrassed to admit this but I went shopping at a Lowe’s of all places and they were selling “art” with college football stadiums depicted during games. OSU and PSU were full. Pitt/Heinz was half full and to make it worse, it was being sold at clearance pricing. Embarassing.

Pitt does not have a football brand and that is on the AD.

I stick with my thoughts about wvu when they joined their new conference. They are on an island, leave em there. It’s not worth it from a strategic standpoint. PITT lacks strategic thinking in their AD. The mission of the university is about the collegiate experience, not a professional experience at Heinz, being masked as a collegiate experience. I do want an on campus stadium for that reason! A stadium allows for traditions. Pitt lacks traditions that are recognizable. Period.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 08.04.13 @ 7:35 pm

The Petersen defines Pitt BB. Heinz defines the Steelers. Pitt stadium defined Pitt.

I will always remember my first and last games at Pitt stadium. I remember the 76 Pitt – PSU game and asked myself what am I doing here at Three Rivers stadium.

Comment by Frank MD 08.04.13 @ 9:12 pm

As someone pointed out, we only filled Pitt stadium when PSU, ND or WVU came to town… so I don’t think it is Heinz Field that is the problem.

The problem, is Heinz Field is not all that accessible for people coming from out of town… at least not like PSU’s stadium and any school out there in the country.

Then, with the TV these days, you never know when a game is gonna start until a few weeks before it happens. No noon start every home game (or whatever the time was) like it used to be.

Then of course you are competing with the Steelers for attention… not gonna win that one even if we are doing real well and they are having a down year.

The only thing that I can think of that Pederson might do to get some good attendance, is to do something with the hour before the game. Maybe a MAJOR effort at supporting tailgating. Maybe have some good entertainment for the hour before the show. Maybe have the three stooges running up and down the field. Maybe have the Burger King running around in tights and people trying to tackle him (lol).

SOMETHING… keep at it until you find something that works and start getting the attendance.

Otherwise, yeah it is REALLY embarrassing to turn on a Pitt game and see ALL those empty seats.

Comment by Zaratoughda 08.04.13 @ 10:36 pm

@Zaratoughda, you, sir, need to be posting a lot more often!!!

The Burger King running around in tights and people trying to tackle him!!! LMAO!!!

First, very funny.

Second, then thing was really creepy when they used him awhile back. The first commercial with the Ravens, was excellent. One of the best commercial ever.

Then he started showing up in peoples bedrooms and stuff, started to become more of a creepster.

Funny stuff guy!!!

Comment by Dan 08.04.13 @ 10:41 pm

Panther94:
You are welcome, son.
Supposing you follow-through with your self advice to keep “emotions in check.” (It’s just bad business.)
You’re evidently a very sensitive guy, so I’ll put your comment in the past.
Keep coming back, seriously. You are Alum and, as indicated, “very passionate.”
I share the same passion. However when it comes to Pitf. Football, it’s important to take things in stride — fans & Alum have been continuously disappointed and hopefully that will change at some point. But to get your panties all in bunch over recruiting WPA, is just ridiculous, as mentioned by many mediately above.
I called you “son” because you have some maturing to do, it seems. C’mon, sir, it was plain childish.
Looky, I have followed this blog since 2003-2004, and rarely make comment these days; I chiefly “read” Chas’ blog; PittBlather far surpasses any other site out there.
So, friend, when I do in fact choose to chime in, I do so with purpose. Not with trouble in mind.
Sure, your comment was a “mistake.” And I will treat it as such. So get over it. Sincerely.

Comment by Neil 08.05.13 @ 12:12 am

Zaratougha, if Heinz is not accessible to out-of-towners, then what does make a stadium in Oaklnad?

Otherwise, I agree

Comment by wbb 08.05.13 @ 6:26 am

I just took another look at that South facility site.

link to goo.gl

PITT could tear down the indoor practice facility, which is just a big empty box anyway albeit a great practice venue, and that would give a new stadium a total of a parking footprint of at least 297 yds x 100 yds to the NW of the UPMC Sports Complex.

According to my non-engineer calcs that is enough space for 1,055 cars x four per car average and that’s 4221 people. That is using 172 cars per acre of space (thanks Ask.com). Throw in another 963 spaces (3,852 people) in the existing lot at the East end of the Great Allegheny Passage foot bridge (Hot Metal Bridge) available in easy walking distance. That is a total of 2,018 spaces so that right there is 8,073 people who could drive in and walk to the stadium.

Throw in all the existing parking garages and lots on the Southside and that is four big garages right in the Southside itself and two on either side of the East end of the Hot metal Bridge. I’ll bet that is another 6,000 spaces at least (24,000 persons) for a total of about 32,000 people who could drive in and walk to a game.

The walking distance from that East bank lot to the new stadium is 1305 yards or .6 miles, as compared to the walking distance from Downtown parking (South base of 7th Street bridge) to Heinz Field is 1610 yards or .9 miles, and a lot of fans do that. So, .3 miles shorter.

I’m not sure how parking spaces are going to be left at Heinz Field after the Rooneys and the City are through with all their building but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up less than what would be available above.

Add the numerous Port Authority bus lines that go there and then designated Park and Rides outside the area and you have the transit and parking systems solved.

This would make the Southside a true central and viable part of PGH and would bring lots of $$$ to the local businesses.

See – I’m not anti-new stadium, just anti- new stadium on the current Oakland campus.

Comment by Reed 08.05.13 @ 7:18 am

Here is a map of the East side of the Hot Metal Bridge.

link to goo.gl

Comment by Reed 08.05.13 @ 7:19 am

Reed, have you ever seen the Bate St exit at rush hour? How about a mass of people traveling via Carson St to the practice facility?

Do you know there is no direct exit from 279N or 28 to either Carson St or 2nd Ave?

Oakland is much easier accessible than the practice facility

Comment by wbb 08.05.13 @ 7:40 am

I realize that most yinzers consider a 10 mile drive a 3 day journey but that fact is that Heinz Field is practically on campus. I could understand arguments if Heinz was by the airport or deep in the Eastern suburbs but it isn’t. Driving to old Pitt Stadium was a huge pain and to what end? So you could walk down to the “O” or go to the bookstore to buy a sweatshirt? Tailgating was terrible.

The Pitt script is dead. Get over it. Go read Who moved my Cheese then jerk off to the Marino poster in your garage.

Why would we even consider playing WVU? Why would we lower ourselves to play those morons? So we can compete for the 3 recruits that come out of the WPIAL? How about playing a non-con in SEC land or an area where there is actual talent to recruit?

Holding onto the past has gotten us into this mess. Move forward.

Comment by Yeti 08.05.13 @ 8:40 am

Well said dhuffdaddy. And all that dies can be resurrected. Just wait for a new AD once his protector retires.

Comment by TX Panther 08.05.13 @ 9:05 am

The past connects us to the present and helps chart our future. Please respect it.

Comment by TX Panther 08.05.13 @ 9:08 am

Just because it’s change, doesn’t mean it’s good change. There is just as much bad change as good change.

Change, for change sakes, without a plan, is poor change.

Bad change needs to be rectified.

Afterall, we are all not mice.

Comment by Dan 08.05.13 @ 9:18 am

Why the needless banter about a new stadium? Has it even been PROPOSED by any single human being who works at Pitt and could start the ball rolling? Not to my knowledge. Pitt will be playing at Heinz for at least the next 40 years. Time to move on.

As for the original point of this post, I’m all for Pitt playing the Hoopies wherever and whenever. College sports is all about atmosphere on game-day and if you tell me you are going to get as pumped up about Duke as you are about WVU then I have a hot metal bridge to show you.

Comment by Bobby 08.05.13 @ 2:38 pm

TX Panther – I wouldn’t hold my breath that SP will be gone after the chancellor retires – golden parachute or not.

There is just as much chance that a new chancellor would not support athletics as much as Nordenberg did and perhaps Nordenberg wants a established AD to ensure things stay at least Status Quo.

Comment by Reed 08.05.13 @ 9:24 pm

Aw, Holgerson’s just jealous because we got pertier mouth…wait…no, no, we don’t. No no no.

Comment by Shawn 08.05.13 @ 9:38 pm

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