November 3, 2013

Gametime for ND-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Media,Mouse Monopoly,Schedule,TV — Chas @ 12:19 pm

ESPN could wait until noon today to announce. And by god they did. Actually they went 15 minutes past it. Holding ND and Pitt writers and fans hostage with the delay.

Faced with the reality that they have no great options they opted for the ratings bet with ND at night. With VT flopping — Pitt faced Logan Thomas 2 weeks too early it seems — and Miami being crushed by FSU, the VT-Miami showdown lost any real luster of meaning in the ACC Coastal Wheel of Destiny. That sends them to a noon 7pm start.

As I said earlier, there was no value putting ND-Pitt on at 3:30 with two Big 10 games already in that slot. That puts ND-Pitt at night. Not just night. It’s the 8 pm ABC national broadcast. ESPN opted for the guarantee of ratings with ND involved. Even if the game itself will be, um, hard to sell as compelling.

Three home night games this year. Really can’t complain about nooners this year.

Its so challenging to drink enough by noon to make this game less painful. Beer-ios? Whiskey and eggs? Ugh….

Comment by Pendlum 11.03.13 @ 12:31 pm

Nick Saban, love him or leave him, interview tonight on 60 minutes. Looking forward to hearing him & comparing his approach to HCPC.

Comment by TonyinHouston 11.03.13 @ 1:01 pm

Let’s start talking basketball. And of course, new football coach choices. The sooner the better. I’m tired of bums for coaches. I may not live long enough to see a winning team.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 11.03.13 @ 1:02 pm

National game on ABC? Why? I put enough with enough abuse about “that pathetic Pitt team” down here in H-town.

Comment by TonyinHouston 11.03.13 @ 1:04 pm

@OPG – Mark Richt when Georgia fires him?

Comment by Pitt Dad 11.03.13 @ 1:22 pm

Is there another National TV beatdown in the offing?

Transitioning from playing 2 triple option teams in back to back weeks, to a Brian Kelly led offense is going to be tough.

Especially for these peabrains.

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 1:24 pm

Richt, ok deal.

He would be a vast upgrade can recruit the South.

But PITT is too stupid and too cheap.

Mark Mangino would come at their cheapskate price.

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 1:27 pm

Cudos go out to Tyler Boyd.

11 receptions for 118 yards & our only TD.
He caught the big TD last week as well before the defensive collapse.

Kid got knocked around earlier this year and clearly has come back strong.

What’s truly discouraging I’ve been begging for Boyd to get 10-15 touches per game.
I got my wish, and we still lose and are mostly pathetic on offense.

A big big Oy Vey !

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 1:32 pm

Plenty of time to get drunk then and not remember most of the game but only to sober up once reality hits…another Pitt loss. I expect Pitt to lose in painful fashion again on national TV. Thank God for alcohol.

Comment by TX Panther 11.03.13 @ 2:18 pm

Loved this headline article from the Trib this week

“Pitt Offense Geared Toward Power Running Game”


then this quote from Hueber:

Hueber, who likes games where the plan calls for a heavy dose of handoffs. The run game — not pass blocking — is what his players do best.

“With the two guys we have playing tackle (Adam Bisnowaty and T.J. Clemmings), I’m not sure we’re built to go out there and throw it 50 times,” Hueber said.

Hey Coach way to build confidence in your O-lineman. Reinforce in their minds they can’t pass block.

By the way they can’t run block either. Except against vastly undersized FCS schools D-linemen.

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 2:24 pm

PC leaves Huxtable go because he is allegedly to loud and insensitive to his players. Hueber seems loud and insensitive to his players as well. I think PC left the wrong guy go.

And, he is missing Bostad big time……

Comment by DJS 11.03.13 @ 2:45 pm


Hoping Pitt is financially rewarded for the prime time game.
However hate getting beaten year after year time after time
in big games. Really it is getting difficult to be disappointed
in Pitt FB. Why? My expectations are so low…..the chance of
winning and playing well just doesn’t happen.

Comment by JR 11.03.13 @ 3:02 pm

Well Dorian Johnson is getting his playing time this season. You gotta watch out for what you wish for. He sure had his hands full last night.

After lasst night, even the Pitt Koolaid is tasting bitter. When do we sneak one into the win column again?

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.03.13 @ 3:05 pm

I assume that this game will be up against Bama-LSU on CBS. I remember we went up against this game 2 years when we played Cincy in the River City Rivalry and killed them in the ratings … or was it the other way around?

Comment by wbb 11.03.13 @ 3:17 pm

I know it’s frustrating to be a pitt fan and they deserve any criticism they deserve…but i’ll be in section 523 yelling and rooting to slaughter ND…as I watch half the stadium leave at halftime and after sweet caroline…not only does our pitt team stinks…so do our fans…h2p

Comment by Keith 11.03.13 @ 3:19 pm

Our students are some of the least loyal and devoid of spirit of any school out there.

Comment by TX Panther 11.03.13 @ 3:43 pm

This team is getting worse!!! The scarypart is the roster for next year no qb no tailback and the same oline. Why was juantez hollins not put in the game. He wasnt an all american tacklebuthe surely could have done better than dorian.

Comment by zach 11.03.13 @ 4:36 pm

What a joke the recruiting stars rating systemis. That may be the worst i ever saw a five starplay. Hes got alot of improving to do.

Comment by zach 11.03.13 @ 4:40 pm

Hey leave the students alone, if the university wouldn’t let me drink and the stadium stops me from bringing stuff in, I would leave early to catch the bus back to beer and parties

Comment by DCPinPGH 11.03.13 @ 5:08 pm

@ wbb

how’d the Devil’s Cut work out for you yesterday ?
hangover quotient(factor) please rate ?

I was looking at that in the liquor store the other day.

So many choices of Bourbons anymore. Traditional, Small batch and now flavored.

Oy Vey !!

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 5:27 pm

you will need bourbon to get thru the rest of this season.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.03.13 @ 5:40 pm

Changing Gears.

Not a good sign for the bball team and not a whole lot of respect for our program. ESPN asking readers to rate the Top 30 teams this year in bball.

Nary a sight of the Panthers. Not even an option to pick us. But you could pick such colossal programs as….Iowa, Colorado (?), Virginia, ND, Wichita St., Gonzaga, Baylor, VCU, Tennesshee (Holtz), Creighton, and of course the usual suspects.

link to

This no respect stuff won’t end until we get to some Final 4’s apparently.

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 6:05 pm

Excuse me…Imma gonna sticka my head out my balcony door and………SCREAM !!!

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 6:09 pm

Emel, it was either the bourbon or I have become immune to our ‘close but no cigar’ efforts. When GT completed that long pass on 3rd and long, my attitude was “sure, it was complete, so what else is new?” I wasn’t even really upset

Comment by wbb 11.03.13 @ 6:13 pm

Emel, It is Beam with more kick (90 proof) not necessarily smoother but effective

Comment by wbb 11.03.13 @ 6:22 pm

Wbb there is no pain at the end when you know you are goimg to lose as soon as the ball is kicked off

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.03.13 @ 6:29 pm

@ wbb

yes I think the stages are:

1) Frustration
2) Disbelief
3) Anger
4) Insanity
and finally
5) Acceptance.

Congrats on reaching Stage 5 😉

Comment by EMel 11.03.13 @ 7:02 pm

Since I’m getting old, I just poured myself one finger


Comment by wbb 11.03.13 @ 7:08 pm

My one oomplaint: Chryst is so freaked by turnovers QB handoffs are incredibly transparent.

Comment by steve1 11.03.13 @ 7:33 pm

my one complaint is only dockish has the guts to call the coaching staff out the outher sports writers see no evil speak no evil hear no evil and go for there free lunch at pitt.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.03.13 @ 7:45 pm

College football games should be played on Saturday at 1:00 P.M. Period.

Comment by MariettaMike 11.03.13 @ 8:09 pm

I was at the ND game that finished something like 69 – 0. I lost count as the officials left the clock run even during the time outs and first down chain movements.

This game is the big chance for Chryst, the coaches and the team.

Comment by Frank MD 11.03.13 @ 8:49 pm

i had a lot of time to think while driving thru NC all last week. Here’s what I came up with and keep in mind that few are more emotional than I when it comes to Pitt Football.

*We are about at the level where any other program which does NOR have support from the administration would be after the utter chaos of the Wanny hire/fire and coach carousel.

* While I have come to loathe Chryst’s game face and lack of any enthusiasm which translates to the players, you cannot blame him or his staff for the most miniscule things that happen on the field with such a lack of talent.

* Having said that, you can blame them for the fake punt, lack of prep, lack of enthusiasm etc withnessed last night.

* As far as Savage, I can take a crap faster than he sets up in the pocket (forgive me, I have been wanting to say that for a while)and that he has not been coached differently is beyond my comprehension.

* ND is beatable and if we can get a few starters back, we might be able to stay close enough so that we can lose it on a major player or coach blunder.

* If you did not have a chance to see the 60 minutes interview with a real coach, Alabama’s, you did not have a chance to see the huge chasm between Chryst’s staff and a real football coach.

Someone posted earlier that for most of history, Pitt Football has been average (mediocre at best) and that the up periods have been accidents of history. I am firmly convinced that Nordy and SP could care less about doing the things to make Pitt Football a winner and that this “addiction’ we all suffer as fans is reenforced by one disappointment after another and our reaction “surely things cannot get worse!” and of course they do.

So I will feed my addiction one more week and take my seat for the ND Game…knowing that agony is only a missed FG, faked punt, or blown coverage away.

Chas offered the all time Pitt quote (or maybe it was Justin)and I am paraphrasing “No other NCAA football team could lose this game the way that Pitt did!” Week in and week out, that says it all.

Comment by Dan 72 11.03.13 @ 9:01 pm

Dan I mentioned earlier that Pitt’s success has been an accident or the blind squirrel routine. I truly believe the University-Nordy and the board don’t care for athletics and don’t realize the free publicity the school could get. I have said before the school could have had the property in Oakland if they cared. UPMC is still opening up new facilities. Pitt has never cared. Sadly I will be there again on Saturday, hoping for once to be pleasantly surprised.

Comment by cas myzlinski 11.03.13 @ 9:15 pm

We need two more wins for bowl eligibility and to match last years record. And unc and cuse are the best chances but both of those teams seem to be improving while we seem to be getting worse! This fall for football is the worst in a while in my hometown of Pittsburgh! It’s aweful but I find myself watching golf now! It relaxes me! We need a meaningful win by PC! He doesn’t have one! Even last years VT game wasn’t even a big win by the end of the year! I’m willing to stick with the coach but if we don’t win 7 or 8 next year to show significant improvement I’m afraid we have to make another change! I can’t stand even saying it! I don’t think we as fans can handle another one! But college football these days is very impatient! And we need to see improvement! I’m throwing in Jim tressel hat right now! Might have to pay some penalty from his osu days but at this point who cares! He’s won at every level! And I mean championships! Might be getting old though! Worth a shot?

Comment by Sweet Caroline 11.03.13 @ 9:38 pm

@FRANKCAN. Dokish will slightly call out the FB coaches, but not in BB.

I posted a couple posts showing some concern about Pitt’s BB team here after their 1st preseason game:

link to

He removed my reply to his comment on how Dixon will win 20 games again which was comment #16….I said yeah, because Dixon is worse than Paterno in padding his schedule in order to get 20 wins a season to con recruits.

I posted his last two seasons showing 11-12 patsies in each season, and adding a win or 2 in the conference tournament and it’s easy to get to 20.

He deleted that post because he didn’t have a valid answer for it, then he writes 4 lead threads defending Dixon’s stellar record.

If he’s so honest about the coaches shortcomings, then why did he block JoeD?

Comment by Jackagain 11.03.13 @ 9:57 pm

Because he started his posts in defense of Dixon cause people were taking shots on him and the hoops team in a football post. Just frustrated Pitt fans I guess! My if you compare the football team vs the basketball team, it’s night and day! The people that complain about Dixon don’t have a clue! We are in it every year!!! And we are relevant every year!!! Not many schools can say that! I think that’s his point! Cherish what we have with Dixon cause it will be gone someday!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 11.03.13 @ 10:04 pm

The thread was a basketball recruiting thread, not a FB thread. “Jamie Dixon lands a local star”

link to

Dokish commented to another guys post “They’re better than last year and will be better in future years. I’m not worried about them.”

That’s why I started posting…

Comment by Jackagain 11.03.13 @ 10:30 pm

Here’s what I would dearly love to know: is this season “one step backwards in order to take two steps forward”? Or two steps closer to falling completely over the cliff?

I keep looking for ANY signs that our shiny new head coach gets it, what if anything he brings to the table, what difference he & staff makes? Because make no mistake, their propensity (so far)to recruit 2-3 star players is a recipe for disaster if they don’t have an extraordinary and uncanny ability to “coach ’em up.”

I keep looking for those signs, but don’t see any. And I for one would rather not waste 4-5 years to right that wrong, if he’s a great OC but simply not HC material.

Jury’s still out on HCPC, but they seem to be passing out cards ready to cast their ballot…

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 11.03.13 @ 11:09 pm

Jackagain, I’m sure Dokish deleted your post because the whole all Dixon does is pad his schedule and only beats bad teams point you tried to make is complete BS. In another blog post of his that showed Dixon had the third best Big East record as coach. He was only 2 games back from having the best record. But yeah keep on saying he just beats bad teams. Such nonsense.

Comment by Wardapalooza 11.03.13 @ 11:38 pm

Agreed! And my point is that I know what the thread was but if you read one of his first basketball posts a couple of days ago, it all started with people complaining about Dixon and the schedule and blah blah blah! That is what started it all! Which means he and everyone is sick of hearing it! I thank God for Dixon all the time! Look at our football program! A joke right now! Look at what hoops has done this past decade! I was there in the stands under Ralph Willard! Don’t want those days again!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 11.04.13 @ 12:06 am

“Chryst Resurrection” Game set for 8:00 PM Saturday. EVERYONE INVITED.

It’s going to be cold. Remember to dress warm!

Comment by PittofDreams 11.04.13 @ 6:54 am

So I guess the Pitt football program is dead.

Comment by TX Panther 11.04.13 @ 7:26 am

Just sleepin’

Comment by PittofDreams 11.04.13 @ 7:31 am

You know, if anyone should have Notre Dame’s number… it’s Chryst.

He had it last year. Trouble was Harper wasn’t a believer.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.04.13 @ 7:37 am

Let’s hope Blewit doesn’t pull a Judas then.

Comment by TX Panther 11.04.13 @ 7:41 am

ha, ha..

Honestly, that kid has been the quiet success story this year.

If only his kickoffs were a little deeper.

Comment by PittofDreams 11.04.13 @ 7:45 am

Football team not playing so well but at least we have some good young players to watch,Boyd, Holtz etc, that other football team in town is unwatchable with all those old has beens.

Comment by alcofan 11.04.13 @ 7:52 am


Really don’t understand the criticism of JD. Pitt BB is one
of the most respected in the country. Ok he hasn’t reached the
Final Four however is record speaks for itself.

Read Joe Starkey’s column re: Chryst. He nails our current

Don’t be too hard on Dorian Johnson. True freshman (no matter the number of stars) rarely are forced to play. He
obviously needs to add weight and get stronger. Wish he had been redshirted.

Staff needs a strong recruiting class obviously. Conner should
Move to DE. We need at least 1 more running in addition to the kid from Buffalo; 2 if we can get them. Bennett is a good
kid and team guy but not a D1 back. Man do I miss Shady and Ray Graham.

Comment by JR 11.04.13 @ 7:52 am

We’ve reached the point in the season like last year, where our expectations are WHATEVER, we might as well enjoy the game for what it is, entertainment, and forget about working ourselves up in hope for a victory. Unless coaching improves, Pitt will not get much better. I’ll always be a Pitt fan, just with low expectations. Otherwise, my blood pressure rises and my attitude towards Pitt football goes negative.

We must remember, football is just a game and these kids are mostly under 21 with their whole life in front of them. In the grand scheme of things, football is a blip on the chart of life. These guys will be confronted with more serious aspects of life than winning football games. I just hope these guys take advantage of their football scholarship and graduate from Pitt. “Life is just a bowl of pits” – Rodney Dangerfield.

Comment by MariettaMike 11.04.13 @ 7:52 am

Yes football is a game and these are kids and it is entertainment and that’s why I won’t bash kids unless you’re Tino and 25 years old. But the game does generate millions for the university and region. And it does make or break a schools brand which drives donations, impacts college life and helps draw quality students. Football is an enormous economic and brand multiplier. It is a business and Nordy has failed to devote enough attention to it.

Comment by TX Panther 11.04.13 @ 8:17 am

The point about Dixon padding his schedule would make a lot of sense if his teams didn’t have such a great Big East record. I am pretty stasified with our two basketball HCs at the moment.

As far as HCPC, his attire and lack of enthusiasm doesn’t faze me one bit. My big concern right now is why this team is not improving offensively.

Comment by wbb 11.04.13 @ 8:36 am

Imma Man raises the million dollar question. Many strong voices have already given up on Chryst. I have opined that a lot of evidence is mounting up in that direction.

But what does Chryst have to do to turn it around in 2-3 years, because I think that is what he has to work with?

History tells us that great head coaches surround themselves with great assistants. You can look at the coaching trees of the superstars. In Pitt’s case, from 76 to 84, we had many assistants that went on to be future head coaches or leaders in their specialties. A secondary question is, is this on Chryst or is it the budget?

Without a doubt, recruiting is the answer. Great players can make average coaches look great, but not always. You can make the case that Chryst has done ok so far. He held on to many of Fraud’s people, not an easy task. His first class is contributing, and looks to be fine. He is building an O-line which will be good when they mature.

His second class has to be a winner, if he doesn’t finish strong, there will be a lot joining his detractors. He needs the four or five big names, and if he doesn’t find several stud linebackers and d-linemen, we will be giving up 40 points a game next year. He also needs a big time back, some one that can go the distance.

Did I say that the class of 14-15 is critical? Everything is riding on it. It still won’t be enough for next year. Without it 15-16 will be bad and Chryst will probably be gone.

He also has to hope that one of his young QB’s, hopefully Voytik, is a winner.

After writing this, I must admit, these are pretty long odds. The final piece is after and if he gets enough and better players, is he a good enough coach to make them a winning team?


Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 8:42 am

If I went to Pitt under Majors II, my frustration levels would be lower. My problem is, I went there during Majors I and Sherrill. Dorsett was a senior when I was a freshman, and Marino was a freshman when I was a senior.

I think it’s factual (or maybe even optimistic) to say that Pitt will lose the same number of games this year — six — that we lost my entire four years: 0, 1, 4 and 1.

And yet, we have more money to spend on the program now, we have much better facilities no, etc. Of course, schools like Texas and Oregon lap us in both departments.

I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to the Glory Days or not. But I know we sure outta be better than we are now, better than an embarrassment, homecoming game opponents, chokers, and whatever other label you’d attach to the Tino and (so far) HCPC years.

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 11.04.13 @ 8:45 am

The Glory Days are not coming back. They were too dumb to realize the Wanny years were their ceiling. Decent teams that will win 8-10 games a year, play in mid level bowl games, occasionally compete for a conference title, & put their share of guys in the NFL.

Comment by Nick 11.04.13 @ 8:56 am

wbb, I think the offensive line has not got any better, the backs are average, and the playcalling is a mystery. Savage has his obvious limitations. Bad luck that Bisno went down and Johnson had to play against GT’s most formidable pass rusher.

I also think the coaching is poor. Too many times, the lineman or back picks the wrong guy to block, allowing someone to come unabated to the QB. Why did they not give Johnson a tight end to double team the guy with the unpronounceable name?

The play calling is also a mystery. No draw plays, no shovel passes, few quick slants or screens. All the plays to take advantage of the blitz aren’t ever called.

On several occasions, the draw to Bennett was wide open, he ran through the hole without the ball and Savage got sacked. Don’t these guys look at the Polaroids?

Now the few times Savage had time to go deep, he throws short.

It is not all bad luck, even though we get more than our share.

The other issue is that big backs need lots of carries to get into the game. We seem to have given up on the run.

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 9:17 am

JR, good comment about Dorian, it also applies to the other 12 freshman that are playing…GT game was a good example of boys against men…in 3 years the boys will be men with some supporting cast in place as well. Before the seson started when Pitt was predicted to finish 6th and many on this board predicted 4-8 or 5-7 and not going to a bowl game…it hurts but you were right! I did like the fact that the team didn’t quit and the post game interviews with the players spoke of adjustments and desire. You have a young team and a young coaching staff.

Comment by markp 11.04.13 @ 9:17 am

Imma Man!Im 40. I agree. I was @ PITT approx the same time as Majors 1 & Sherrill. Extremely frustrating!! No matter who is coaching lets face it this OL is completely unable to perform on a minimally basic level. How severe is BIZ injury? Has Dorian Johnson earned another start?? Move Johnson to RT,BIZ @ LT & bench Clemmings?? I know Clemmings first year as o-lineman. What can be done to assemble a reasonably competitive OL?

Comment by DC33 11.04.13 @ 9:23 am

Most teams pad their schedules, it only sucks for the fans. By the way, when Jamie leaves it will be like Sherrill leaving. Careful what you wish for.

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 9:25 am

How bad is Juantez Hollins?

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 9:27 am

If Pitt loses out, then Chryst has next year to turn it around or he will be fired. Back to back losing seasons would be completely unacceptable. Honestly, I’d fired Chryst this year if Pitt loses out. The recruiting class will probably turn horrible. Some existing recruits will back out and those remaining targets aren’t going to be jumping to go to Pitt.

Comment by Wardapalooza 11.04.13 @ 9:34 am

Lots of our Blather posters like to label themselves as “realists”. Most everybody who self labeled themselves as such, predicted a tough year for the Panthers preseason, most predicting a .500 season or worse. Well we’re at .500, so why is the sky falling at this point in the season for Pitt? Let’s take a look at the reality of the situation right now.

Yes, we are not a very good football team. Our OL has been disappointing and our 5th year QB has shown all the kinks in his armor. Our running game is in hibernation when the OL is stinking out the stadium and in general, we don’t know how to win consistantly those close games that are within our grasp. Big problems for sure.

However, we’re playing 16 RS or true Freshman and they’re all acquiring invaluable game experience every week. We have an All American playing to his true potential in Aaron Donald. Tyler Boyd is demonstrating that the college stage isn’t too big for him to succeed on and in general, we’re keeping games close even when we come out on the short end of the stick. The Defense is starting to show signs of life and every opponent left on our schedule have their own issues that could be exploited if we decide to end our Pitt pity party and start talking football again.

Does this season go down in flames and end up 4-8 or do we get a nice surprise and end up at the .500 mark by season’s end, as many have predicted? Or do we get astonished by a WTF last third of the season and have Pitt come to life as an improving team and steal a game or two bettering that .500 record, while we all scratch our heads trying to figure out how in the world that happened? Well, that IS why they play the games, and yes this is supposed to be entertainment, even though many of us are so emotionally invested in the outcomes (me included) and make it seem like life and death situations.

So do not give up on this team, just yet. Actually this same team, with just a half dozen plays turning around in Pitt’s favor could just as easily be 6-2 right now, rather than at .500. Yeah, I know, we’d still stink, but we would be 6-2 anyhow, smelly or not.

Chryst isn’t going anywhere soon, so get used to seeing him around for a couple more years. The team is still invested, although beat up a little after these last to loses and a Primetime game is forthcoming on Saturday against ND.

So get your head out of your hands, stop belly aching about all of the obvious negatives in this program and let’s start talking football again because next up is Notre Dame and I want to beat those GD Domers!.

Look, just last week we were all crying that we were going to get blown out by a “real” triple option team that laid 69 on Syracuse, since only the week before we got handed a loss by a “scrub” Navy team. Then we see that maybe Navy plays a better brand of football than many gave them credit for, losing to ND on a last minute drive, being unable to convert on fourth down.(BTW, if Navy’s pulling guard makes his block and the RB cuts his run back up the field vertically, we’d be playing a ND squad that would be coming off a loss to Navy, IMO. Instead, Navy loses a heart breaker that reminded me a lot of how Pitt manages to lose games, so maybe Pitt hasn’t quite cornered the market on producing such gut wrenching loses like us Panther fans like to imagine.)

Right now, I’d be satisfied with a 6-6 season. We need two wins, a win this Saturday night would be one that I’d give my right arm to see in person, and I’ll be there rooting on the Panthers like I always do. ND is beatable, just like we finally realized that GA Tech was beatable, a Pitt blow out by Ga Tech, NOPE? A blown opportunity by Pitt to win ,YEP! We could have won that game! Can we beat ND, we sure can, if we get out of our own way! That’s why they play the games!

Hail to Pitt, Beat Notre Dame!

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.04.13 @ 9:38 am

We looked better against GT than I thought we would and with all these freshman I suppose one can hope we might show some future improvement. It is unfortunate but a little hope is better than the none our football usually generates.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.04.13 @ 9:52 am

Dr. Tom, I love the glass is half full attitude. But losing last week because we didn’t get a deserved review and losing this week on a fake punt and almost a Hail Mary is very frustrating.

Especially when Aaron Donald played his best game ever.

When do we get to win on a fluke play or ref’s call? We always seem to be on the short end.

Anyway, love the positive attitude.

I will be there on Saturday, probably a midst the green clad-den jerks. A win would be good for the soul. Unfortunately, I expect another new and dumbfounding way to choke. Sorry, my glass is half empty.

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 10:07 am


Dr Tom

Bad things happen to bad FB teams who
commit penalties, shank punts, don’t
plan for a fake punt, have too many players
on the field, etc etc. a goal of 6-6 is were
this program is sadly. However don’t bet
your 401k on a 6-6 record. Sorry but I am tired
Of this after 30 years. Can you believe
Northern Illinois is in the Top 20? Pitt has
become irrelevant in major college FB and I am
pissed about it.

Comment by JR 11.04.13 @ 10:12 am

Food for thought, on a top ten team, would Aaron Donald be a Heisman candidate?

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 10:14 am

JR, pitt has been irrelevant on the national stage for the vast majority of the past 30 years. until pitt consistently recruits better athletes, nothing is going to change. makes me sick to see an absolute stud like donald playing his ass off and see that effort wasted due to lack of performance by oline, qb, rbs and coaching staff.

Comment by scott 11.04.13 @ 10:26 am

Smug Smilin’ Steve: So, Mark, how was the engineering dinner they had for you?

Nordy: Good, good. Very touching, great food, saw some old friends.

Smug Smilin Steve: Watch those calories on all of the exit dinners everyone will have for you. Dinner circuit can be brutal.

Nordy: I know, I know, have three more of them next week.

Smug Smilin’ Steve: Did want to let you know a couple things real quick. Got the baseball schedule figured out for spring. Track team has new uniforms. Hoops starts Friday. Football team only lost to GTU 21-10. Have a few bids for the womens softball team equipment. Needed an extra person in the AD to help with student affairs. I have an AD event on Thursday. Other than that, everything humming along nicely.

Nordy: Sounds great Steve, sounds like you have things under control and your finger on the pulse, talk to ya soon.

Smug Smilin’ Steve: Ok Mark, just wanted to keep you up to date. Talk to ya later.

Comment by Dan 11.04.13 @ 10:30 am

A loss is a loss. Yes there are a billion things more important than PITT winning. OK, only a four. It is how PITT loses that bothers me the most. PITT loses in a non-competitive manner. At times they didn’t appear to be on the same level as GT. GT is a very similar program. It bothers me that this staff has struggled to assemble even a mediocore OL. The game plan appears to be the same each week? At least be tough & competitive. Is this too much to ask? God Bless you Dr Tom for thinking PITT has a chance against ND. I love the Panthers but man are they frustrrating. H2P!

Comment by DC33 11.04.13 @ 10:33 am

A look at some facts. Pitt in 5th place out of 7 in ACC Division. No chance to win division. Must win 2 games to go to (maybe Shreveport). ESPN power ACC rankings Pitt is 8 of 14. ND probably favored by 10 at Pitt. H2P

Comment by Frank MD 11.04.13 @ 10:41 am

Dr. Tom sums it up pretty well. We can obsess about the close ones we could have won, but there have also been three wins, Duke, UVA and ODU that could easily have gone the other way. Pitt is struggling but who didn’t see that coming? We don’t have star quality talent for the most part and we don’t have star quality coaching. Can we grow into the program we all want to see? Time will tell.

Comment by dinosaur 71 11.04.13 @ 10:49 am

Starkey’s column hit the nail on the head – at this point, it’s still too early to tell.

What transpired with this program from the end of the 2010 season through the hiring of Paul Chryst has been unprecedented for college football programs at Pitt’s level. Programs change coaches all the time, but how many have had to do it twice in two years? I can’t think of any. And even if there were any, I’m pretty sure they didn’t recover in just two years.

Chryst’s hiring, then, wasn’t so much a decision to rebuild as it was the program completely hitting the reset button.

If Chryst has accomplished anything at all through his first two years, I hope it’s that he has been able to get a complete buy-in from everyone associated with the program. That means current players, coaches recruits and the administration. It’s something Pitt hasn’t had since at least the start of the 2010 season. And quite frankly, nothing he hopes to accomplish on the field to move this program forward can happen without it.

It’s why, as tough as it was to watch, the roster turnover that happened between Graham’s departure and the start of this season was necessary.

It’s why, as tough as it is to watch at times right now, playing younger players – some before they’re really ready to play – may be necessary.

In terms of the bigger picture, none of the on-field results from last year or this year matters nearly as much as getting everyone within the program to buy into the same message. There has to be a foundation and it has to be solid.

Quotes from the players seem to suggest that it’s happened, particularly from the younger players. Quotes from many of the kids committed to Pitt seem to suggest it as well. That’s a start.

Comment by Stoosh 11.04.13 @ 10:57 am

By definition, being a Pitt fan is supposed to be frustrating. It would be so easy for us simply to go out and buy a bunch of clothes with a big “A” on them, sit in front of our TVs on Saturday yell “Roll Tide” while Alabama notches up another win.

But instead, for whatever reasons, we are Pitt fans. And we are saddled with the struggles and frustrations of being Pitt fans. So never, ever give up and expect the best, every once in a while this team might surprise us. When they do remember to savor the win, especially when it is against a team like Notre Dame. Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.04.13 @ 11:17 am

Notre Dame was obviously looking ahead to their big titanic struggle on the big ABC 8pm Saturday nite game with PITT.

So quite naturally they overlooked/were complacent(like Pitt was) when facing ‘scrub’ Navy.

Yes we could be 6-2 but we also could be 2-6 quite as easily, as we caught Duke at a ‘good time’ and apparently UVA as well.

While it’s nice to think we still have a chance to get those 2 needed wins. Realistically I don’t see any improvement offensively, actually it’s been regression from week to week. As someone noted quite funnily, our Running Back carries are now measured in ‘inches per carry’.

And a 6-6 bowl game against some 6-6 C-USA team doesn’t do anything for me. Nothing to gain in a game like that except further embarrassment (see SMU in Compass Bowl).

We’re not going to be able to run the ball against ND and that means Savage will be ‘running for his life’ again on most passing plays.

This old movie has been well watched and is playing every Saturday on the Pitt Channel.

And the directors of this ‘B’ movie know only one style of directing it. Poorly.

And from the viewers just a collective……Sigh.

Thank God bball is beginning !

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 11:27 am

@ EMel, sounds like you have an Alabama sweatshirt in your future to me. “Roll Tide”! LMAO

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.04.13 @ 11:31 am

I say this carefully: I can even put up with Pitt’s mediocrity (maybe even slightly worse than mediocrity) for a little while, as long as I see the coaching staff — especially the head coach — gets it, has passion and exhibits leadership, cares at least as much as I do (when they oughta care much more because their livelihood and their family’s well-being is at stake) enough to put in the effort, do whatever it takes to right the ship.

I’m still wanting — and waiting — to see HCPC show a little passion. Maybe he does it behind closed doors (that’d be okay with me, as long as he shows it SOMEWHERE). So far he appears to coach Pitt like I’d probably coach PSU: don’t care if they win or not.

There’s an eerily similar example out here with the University of Colorado. They completely fell off the face of the earth with two consecutive bad hires: from Big XII champs to (almost) winless seasons. But at least the AD had the courage to cut the last group free early (only after Year 2), because they demonstrated they were in waaaay over their heads: their head coach had never even been a coordinator before; none of the assistants had much if any experience but were, to a man, hired because they were cronies of the head coach; players had no idea what they were doing, gut-wrenching collapses & losses (does any of this sound familiar)? Altho at least HCPC had been an OC at a BCS-AQ program before getting the Pitt job.

But CU went out and hired the dude who turned around San Jose State, and altho their record is only slightly better (3 wins so far, vs. only 1 all of last year and shouldda been zero), they’re playing much better and there’s buzz around the program. And it’s evident the current coaches get it, and they truly care.

So back to Pitt: if we’re doomed to be 6-6 again, please, HCPC at least show me that you’re as unhappy about that as I am, and that you have a plan. But since he’s so vanilla and passive in public, he leaves people to assume that one reason for that might be that he doesn’t give a crap. And (if true) THAT I cannot tolerate.

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 11.04.13 @ 11:31 am

I hate Monday mornings btw.

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 11:33 am

@ Doc. Yep yep. what size do you wear or should I just get the 4 X oversized Chyrst special ? lol

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 11:38 am

Love him or hate him, at least Todd Graham & his assistants showed true passion, cared about every loss as much as (or more than) I did, and had a plan going forward that he realized was in his best interest to communicate to an impatient alumni & fan base.

I don’t think hiring TG was a mistake, altho him leaving the program after only one year was a kick in the nards. Compared to HCPC, who has already been here longer: (so far) I think his hiring might be.

There are worse things than having a head coach that other schools want to hire away. One of them is having a coach nobody else wants, not even his alma mater….

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 11.04.13 @ 11:40 am

The play calling is also a mystery. No draw plays, no shovel passes, few quick slants or screens. All the plays to take advantage of the blitz aren’t ever called.
Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 9:17 am

Yep a mystery indeed. When a team blitzes a lot you have to ‘make them pay’ for blitzing.
Otherwise they’ll just keep on doing it. Which is what we’ve seen since UVA. The reward of the blitz, which is the sack or the hurried pass has to be challenged with the risk of giving up a big play against it.

A coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball has to draw up plays as gc noted, that will capitalize when enemy teams blitz. The amateur hour staff we have should have plenty of experience with it by now to be able to combat it. Yet we’re not seeing anything with plays to take advantage of the blitz.

Just mind boggling.

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 11:56 am

Cruel Imma Man…..very cruel. You big meanie.

Accurate though ! lol

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 11:59 am

In our latest 3 games against real competition.

1)We’ve scored 14 points on 2 short drives gift wrapped by UVA. Did nothing much against them, other than giving up 8 sacks.

2)We scored 9 points against Va Tech, again not doing much except getting Savage spooked. And the TD was very late in the game.

3)We scored 10 points on a bad GT defense who the week previously gave up almost 500 yards total offense and 25 points to UVA.

Offense is just putrid; the playing calling, the execution, the whole thing. Even 11 touches by Boyd and over 118 yards receiving could not rescue this offensive offense.

I think it’s time PC go up in the Box and call the plays from up there. He doesn’t do anything on the sidelines anyway, except forget to challenge key plays and use his TO’s. And of course look stupid.

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 12:07 pm

Imma, you don’t think hiring ^TG was a mistake.

Any HR professional will tell a primary criterion of any hire for a long distant hire is if that person willing to commit to the new location and environment.

Yet, in his rush, our AD lobbied his boss to spend $600k above budget, even though his new hire had already shown a propensity to move immediately from a newly hired job.

Comment by wbb 11.04.13 @ 12:09 pm

UNC game is 12:30 and be televised on ACC network

Good, don’t plan on driving in …. although I will be at both ND and Miami games

Comment by wbb 11.04.13 @ 12:13 pm

WE will be hard pressed to win 6. I felt like some of our kids were overmatched in Georgia but they kept trying and showed some heart. Maybe in a year or 2 Chryst can get us up to mediocre.

Comment by spiritofsection22 11.04.13 @ 12:26 pm

As an addition to building up hatred for Notre Dame (as if we need it), what other school could get a 4 page Sports Illustrated article on a QB Golson who was thrown out of school for the year!!

Comment by Dan 72 11.04.13 @ 12:32 pm


Under no circumstances does Fraud
get a favorable reco over PC. I don’t
believe that Fraud’s staff cared more than
the current staff. Fraud was never going to
be in Pgh long term. Glad he left. Hated
is offense and his hucksterism.

Comment by JR 11.04.13 @ 12:37 pm

Someone posted this on a previous blog entry, but it bears repeating: Chancellor Nordenberg has been an unquestionable success for the University of Pittsburgh. The increased academic reputation alone merits that designation. The increased endowment puts his tenure into the “unmatched” category. However, I do believe he allowed his pursuit of academic and financial gains to diminish his attention to details with regard to intercollegiate athletics.

The next chancellor must continue the academic and financial momentum that Chancellor Nordenberg has created. But they must also place a high value on the success of our intercollegiate athletic programs. He or she must demand results from our coaches that make six and seven figure salaries. That does not mean winning it all every year, but it does mean that not winning a conference game in two years, or missing the NCAA tournament for more than two or three consecutive years, or winning six football games a year is not going to cut it. It also means that if Pitt is serious about winning, then when one of our major sports has a coaching vacancy, we need to seek the best qualified candidate available and be willing to pay that person and their staff the going salaries for top coaches.

Joining the ACC has resulted in a $15M per year increase in revenues over what the Big East was paying each school. Only a fool would not dedicate a significant portion of that increase to coaches’ salaries.

Comment by HbgFrank 11.04.13 @ 12:43 pm

It’s getting pretty clear that Bostad had a lot to do with Chryst’s success. That dude is doing a pretty good job in Tampa Bay. Last year Doug Martin was a beast. And yesterday the second string RB put up over 100 yards against one of the best D’s in the NFL.

Comment by Wardapalooza 11.04.13 @ 12:47 pm

Now at least we’re talking football again. I agree, the play calling has not been imaginative on offense. With the lack of offensive production as of late, imagination in playcalling becomes more essential every day, doesn’t it?

BTW EMel, 4X Chryst size, really funny!

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.04.13 @ 12:48 pm

Baylor’s offense is averaging an incredible :

718 yards per game.

An equally incredible 9 yards per play average.

#72 Notre Dame is averaging 399 yds per game

6.1 yards per play

#103 PITT checks in at 346 ypg

5.6 ypp

Thank God for those New Mex, ODU & Duke game or that would halve those figures.

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 12:53 pm

Once again, I want to thank Chas and Justin for hosting this site. I was disappointed and glad at the same time when the site went down around half-time. I thought that was the worst played half of football this year, and thought we would see a blow-out in the second half. The third qtr was one of the best all year and you know what happened in the fourth. If the site was up, I might have been banned for life.

Anyway, having this site to commiserate with like minded, we all are Pitt Fans, is most reassuring.

We all react differently, but we are all sick enough to come back each week. Dr. Tom is right, it is easier to root for Alabama. That is why there is a Steeler Nation and the Yankees are so beloved. That is also why there are so few Pitt Fans. You have to have real thick skin or are somewhat masochistic to root for our team.

I just read a book where the main character was offered a free tattoo. He replied no thanks, I try to avoid pain in all of it’s forms. I believe in the same mantra, no tattoos here, so why do I come back to get my heart broken week after week?

So thanks guys for the outlet, I can’t afford a shrink.

It will feel really good when we win a game that matters, I hope we all live that long.

I have been very lucky to see the Pirates, Steelers, Penquins and Pitt Football win Championships after being the dregs in their sport for long periods of time.

I would love to see the Pitt Administration get the will to win, but I am afraid Dan’s characterization is closer to the truth.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 1:11 pm

When you’re on the 3rd & last page of all these Team offensive stats, you know you’re bad.

Team Rushing Offense

# 104 Pitt sits at a measly 122 ypg

3.6 yards per rush

Lately that’s more like 3.6 inches per rush


#10 Wisconsin is at 287 yards per game

6.7 yards per rush.

Appears the Badgers don’t miss Bashful and the other dwarfs.

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 1:14 pm

Pitt RB’s could almost….just fall forward if we lined them up 1 yard behind LOS.

Let’s see, a yard is 3 feet (check)
Connor is over 6 feet tall and Bennett is close(check)

6 feet equals 2 yards. (check)

Yep that will work. Who has Bashful’s email address ? :-)

Comment by EMel 11.04.13 @ 1:20 pm

Emel, You crack me up, Bashful, priceless. That one might catch on.

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 1:26 pm

Which one is Dopey, Sleepy?

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 1:29 pm

Maybe I was wrong, Alvarez is an evil genius.

Comment by gc 11.04.13 @ 1:31 pm

Will be at my 2nd game this year, traveling in from Allentown, with my 2 sons(both who have recently graduated from Pitt and live in Pgh.). Will have a great time, enjoy the atmosphere and hope for a win! Though the season has been a disappointment I always hope for the best! I am spoiled since I was at Pitt in 1976 acquiring a master’s degree so have seen the good, bad and the ugly.
Let’s Go Pitt!

Comment by Bruce F 11.04.13 @ 2:55 pm

Other than giving up some big plays (I’m looking at you Vinopal) the Defense played ok Satuday, and quite frankly the last 5 games. I still can’t stand not having our CBs checking guys at the line occasionally, but House’s D has only been giving up a touch over 18 points per game the last 5 games.

The question is, with such big, slow, 3rd-down stye running backs as our only options, and a uniquely bad o-line, can we score 24 points against ND this weekend?

Comment by PittHW 11.04.13 @ 3:07 pm

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