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May 23, 2014

All About the Money

Filed under: Athletic Department,Bowls,Football,Money — Chas @ 7:43 am

Year one in the ACC was a mixed bag for football and basketball. The teams finished about where they were expected before the season began. How they ended up there, made it feel like it could have been better.

What isn’t in dispute is that the money was a lot better right from the start.

Pitt’s annual share is about $17 million.

After almost a full year in the new conference, where has that money gone? Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said he decided to put it in the hands of the people who knew best what various sports needed to be successful.

“Basically, what we did at this point with additional revenue is we’ve let the coaches put that into their recruiting budgets and their travel and competition budgets,” Pederson said in a meeting with reporters earlier this month.

“We tried to make sure that our coaches had enough money to recruit the way they felt they needed to recruit, and so they got significant increases in their recruiting budgets — some cases more than others — then also in their travel and competition budgets so that they could go to meets and games that they needed to play or bring teams in here that they wanted to play.”

The money also has, at least partially, allowed Pitt to make capital improvements to facilities for its flagship sports. This summer, the men’s and women’s basketball team areas in Petersen Events Center are undergoing a renovation. The football weight room at Pitt’s South Side facility also is getting a significant expansion.

And I’m sure some is being set aside for the eventual increase in the total cost of scholarships if the stipend or other methods are passed for the major conferences.

Speaking of which, the Boise State president bitterly complained about that.

Boise State President Bob Kustra on Wednesday vowed to fight NCAA reform efforts that would increase the value of an athletic scholarship — but also said he’ll have no choice but to match those scholarship enhancements if they pass.

Kustra, during an interview after he announced that the Broncos football team will play in Albertsons Stadium for the next 15 years, called the NCAA reforms “excessive.”

“This naming and the $12.5 million that comes with it is more critical at this time of our history than any time before given the NCAA reforms that are about to be implemented,” Kustra said. “Now we’re fighting those reforms, and the Mountain West is fighting those reforms, because we think they’re excessive. We think we treat our student-athletes well. But when you look at the cost of attendance jumping from its original $2,000 to $3,800 now — then there’s the food addition (unlimited meals) — if you add all that up, that’s millions of dollars for an athletic program. I have no doubt that the Big Ten and the SEC are designing these reforms to try to leave some people behind. This is about leaving the Boise States behind and making sure the Alabamas and the Tennessees and whoever they are can march right along.”

“The Alabamas and Tennessees and whoever” left Boise State and others behind a long time ago in terms of money. They give zero thought to trying leave other programs behind. They are already rolling in the money. This is also not about being “fair” to the student-athletes. It’s about reading the writing on that wall they already drove past. That public opinion and possibly the courts (O’Bannon lawsuit) have taken note of the unfairness of the situation, and at least taking some steps to make the situation a little less blatantly unfair.

Kustra and Boise State, by the way are heading to mediation with the American Athletic Conference over exit fees from their near joining. That’s part of the overt hypocrisy of the Boise State president. He played the American and Mountain West off each other for a bigger cut of football TV revenue and then decries giving any more to the student athletes.

Another issue of money and the old way changing and crumbling. How about the bowl system? Not simply with the playoffs and yet more bowl games. A change to the very system, led by the Big 10 no less.

Big Ten officials opted for a different economic model with their new bowl arrangement, which kicks in this season. They agreed to accept lower payouts for lower ticket guarantees. Only a traditional Rose Bowl — which is operated jointly by the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Tournament of Roses Parade — is exempt from the changes.

While the numbers are not finalized, Big Ten officials say, the agreements are more reflective of the schools’ annual sales.

“Let’s not have an artificially high payout that is based on artificially high ticket purchases by the schools when we’ve demonstrated for several years we’re not at that number,” Traviolia said. “We introduced that concept to our new partners. We do believe we have a ticket number more reflective of what our past and hopefully future attendance will be in terms of number of tickets our teams sell.”

“That was one of our concerns as we redid our bowl deals,” Wisconsin Athletics Director Barry Alvarez said. “I think that’s taken somewhat of a burden off.”

Iowa sold more than 9,000 tickets to the Outback Bowl but still absorbed 2,535 tickets despite around 20,000 Iowa fans attending the game.

“That’s my point,” Barta said. “We get an allotment, we sell as many as we can through our allotment, but we know there are thousands and thousands of fans who are buying them through other sources.”

The Big 10 boasts of its big bowl tie-ins and gets those tie-ins in part because (except for Northwestern) they are huge state institutions with some of the largest alumni bases in the country. They have a much larger market for ticket buyers than, say, many ACC schools. Yet even they are now seeing the realities. Between online ticket brokers that make it even easier and cheaper to get tickets. To the fact that the seats purchased from the university athletic department are not in good locations in the stadiums, to simply not bothering to go to the game.

Read the article just to see the graph and learn how much Big 10 schools were falling short of those ticket guarantees. It makes sense for them and the other conferences to reduce the bowl money received if the ticket guarantees are severely reduced or even eliminated. And given ESPN’s growing ownership of bowl games, the guarantees become a competitive disadvantage for some older bowls to compete for conference affiliations.





If the Boise States of the world weren’t already left behind, then they surely will be in the near future. More evidence of the very apparent future separation between the have and the have nots can be found here link to cbssports.com

Comment by wbb 05.23.14 @ 8:36 am

“to make the situation a little less blatantly unfair”

Paaleeeeze. I hate to be nauseated so early in the morning.

Comment by Dan 05.23.14 @ 8:53 am

Boise State will accept anyone to play football and use a blue field and blue jerseys for an advantage, not a big deal but it’s worked wonders for their program. The economy in Idaho is booming, time for their alumni to step up.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat!! 05.23.14 @ 1:23 pm

Speaking of football, CBS did a season preview of our friends down in Charlottesville.

link to cbssports.com

Hard to believe London still has a job, 8 ACC wins in 4 years !

Comment by Emel 05.23.14 @ 1:56 pm

Remember the year, they matched up Boise vs. TCU in the Fiesta BCS Bowl, because the Big 5 schools were scared to play them.

That stunk then, and this stinks now !

Comment by Emel 05.23.14 @ 2:12 pm

“Basically, what we did at this point with additional revenue is we’ve let the coaches put that into their recruiting budgets and their travel and competition budgets,” Pederson said in a meeting with reporters earlier this month.

So this means we should start seeing some better players recruited……..right ?

Wow… Memorial Day weekend already, have a good holiday weekend fellow bloggers and brothers !

H2P
VeV

Comment by Emel 05.23.14 @ 3:08 pm

look what our beloved neighbors 75 miles to the south wore on the diamond today

link to twitter.com

Comment by wbb 05.23.14 @ 8:13 pm

I really hope Chryst does something with his added “recruiting budget”…

From 247 sports rankings.

“In all, the Nittany Lions have commitments from five of the top seven players in the state of Pennsylvania in No. 1 Sterling Jenkins, No. 2 Andre Robinson, No. 3 Ryan Bates, No. 6 Cooper and No. 7 Saquon Barkley.”

Just as a few of us feared (myself included) Chryst is getting smoked by Franklin…and its not even a race. The only thing saving Chryst is the fact that PSU is running out of scholarships to give.

Yea yea…Chryst’s recruits are the “players that want to be at Pitt” or he will “coach them up”. Another 3-4 years of 6-6 (Maybe not this year because of the easy schedule).

Someone on the Pitt coaching staff better put a stake in the ground somewhere because I do not see Franklin ever slowing up. Year after year he will pummel Chryst on the recruiting trail unless something changes.

Comment by opitt 05.23.14 @ 10:45 pm

@opitt:

The old phrase “nice guys finish last” seems to apply here.

Franklin strikes me as a complete douche, and I’d be shocked if he is squeaky clean in the Vandy rape case. But he knows how to play the game and he has been relentless recruiting and selling that program from day one. He probably did mor speaking engagements in his 1st week than Chryst has done in his 2+years. This hire worried me from the beginning and more so now.

I genuinely like Paul Chryst and desperately want him to succeed. But if anyone out there can say he has been anything more than average so far is looking at the world thru blue and gold glasses.

This year is absolutely huge for Chryst and this program, 6-6, or God help us worse, and you have to really think about starting over…again.

I do like the additions to the coaching staff, I hated to see Engram go. But opitt you are exactly right someone on this staff better prove to be an ace recruiter or this slimeball Franklin is going to exactly what he said and dominate the state…

Comment by Pap76 05.24.14 @ 12:11 am

My take on this will probably anger many posters here but the fact is I have given up on winning another national title some time ago. I m just as content in being competitive in our own environment and having a chance of winning a league or division title almost each and every year. This is why I was so upset when Wanny was fired because we had a loyal guy who recruited well and seemed to present a representative team in his final years with a promise of continued recruiting success.

PC seems to be following a different route. He looks at potential and the type of player to fit his system, and is intent on coaching them up. It remains to be seen just how successful he will be but he needs at least another two years. He played a lot of freshmen last year (not just Conner, Boyd and Johnson) and I certainly see hope in the near term of a winning team in our league that can compete for a division title.

Once we reach that step, then maybe we can aspire for more

Comment by wbb 05.24.14 @ 6:26 am

Guys we’ll never be Penn State. Never. We’re just not them. It’s almost unfair to Pitt to even compare us to Penn State. Just like Wisconsin (yep I went there) will never be Ohio State.

And that’s okay.

Now the jury is *still* out on Chryst. And i think web is right. Two more years will tell the tale. When those five linemen he recruited initially are redshirt juniors, then we’ll have the seasoned road-graders that we need to really run his offense.

Until then it may well be 6-6 and 7-5. And you know what? I’m okay with that too.

I will say this though. Even though he’s only filling the roster with two and three star prospects, I think Chyrst is doing a great job of bringing in balanced classes that fill the team’s needs. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts in football – if you do it right. If we want to have any chance of winning a league or division title as web states, we desperately need that to come true.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 05.24.14 @ 8:07 am

Also if you are worried or interested in recruiting there is an interesting article on cardiac hill that analyzes chryst’s recruiting history. Looks like June is his sweet spot. Most likely because he uses his prospect camps to seal the deal.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 05.24.14 @ 8:08 am

Devin Street signs for four years with the Cowboys. Steelers receivers not that deep that they could not have used him. I think there is an anti Pitt bias.

Regarding PSU, Franklin has the advantage of a 100,000 seat stadium filled with rabid fans. A much bigger budget, and a beautiful campus. Also a more desirable football conference. PSU has never had a problem recruiting elite players.

A lot of kids and their families are afraid of an inner city campus. Add to that Pitt’s recent less than stellar football record, coaching issues and half filled stadium, Chryst has his work cut out for him. Let’s hope he and his method has what it takes to get the job done.

I agree with wbb, we need to get in the top twenty before we can hope for anything better. Although, I was frustrated with Wanny’s inability to win the big ones, other than 13-9. Hind sight is 20-20 and we would have been better off had he been allowed to stay.Although, we will never know if he could have cleaned up the off the field stuff.

Comment by gc 05.24.14 @ 8:09 am

Every once in a while we get a stellar FB player who goes on to be a true star. We have had many more than almost any other school and we all know who those players are. We may have one now so, and if only for this reason, we should go to the games and enjoy his play. We had one last year.

Comment by Frank MD 05.24.14 @ 9:16 am

As wbb and gc stated, and I agree. I have no delusions of a NC or being a top 5 or top 10 team every year.

I do feel though, if we can’t be consistently in the top 20 or top 25 every year………….

then what are we all doing here?????

Seriously, what’s the point??

When you really break it down, as hard as it is to be a consistent top 20 team, it is easily broken down.

You have to win at least 9 games and every other year 10.

That’s what’s needed. 10-2 and 9-3 get’s you in the top 25. Pretty much, that simple. And, not so simple.

So, what does HCPC need to do? He needs to get from 6,7,8 wins to 9 and 10.

That certainly is a big jump even though it doesn’t really look like it.

It means you can’t falter during the year losing to someone you should beat. It means being very competitive with teams on your level. And it means picking off a game you aren’t suppose to win.

He does have a difficult job ahead of him. He said he has a plan and he’d build the program. I’m cheering for him, I do see us moving in the right direction, so I’m fairly optimistic.

So, no thoughts of a NC here, but if we’re not shooting for consistently being in the top 25, then someone in the A.D. needs to let us know.

Hell, I’ll go watch TJ and Bethel Park if I just need a football fix.

Comment by Dan 05.24.14 @ 9:20 am

p.s. Duke won the Coastal division last year. Is that asking to much from Pitt football??

Comment by Dan 05.24.14 @ 9:21 am

One last one. I’m not bringing up the Pitt Stadium issue really.

Really I’m not.

I’m just saying this to make a point.

If all we’re ever gonna be is 6-6, I’d much rather be 6-6 at Pitt Stadium, and be on campus having breakfast, walking around, stopping by for a Bloody Mary or a brew, than 6-6 at Heinz Field.

Nothing against Heinz, when there are 60K there and it’s a big game, it’s a fun place to be. Certainly easier to get in and out of.

Heinz, along with getting The Pete built, was suppose too, (at least that is what we’re told), was going to help move Pitt football forward. State of the art facilities, state of the art weight room, would help recruiting immensely, be around pro football guys, was going to really help us out.

So, I’m just going by what I’ve been told all these years.

Comment by Dan 05.24.14 @ 9:34 am

I am amused at those posting here with trepidation at Franklin’s recruiting prowess. Penn State has almost always been a top recruiting school so there is no reason to expect that to change. So is Notre Dame and Ohio State recruits better than either of them. You still have to play the games though and talent is only one factor in the equation. It is also very subjective, not to mention not all that reliable barometer of performance. Wish I had a point for every 5 star recruit that never did squat. Anybody want Schell back?

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.24.14 @ 10:41 am

If Pitt wants to win the Coastal they’re going to have to figure out how to beat Miami.

Comment by Nick 05.24.14 @ 11:01 am

@spirit, yep. And, as you build a program, hopefully what happens, is you get more wins.

With more wins and 9-3 and 10-2 seasons, guess what happens, recruiting gets better and better.

Will we ever have PSU and ND recruits, probably not.

However, we’ve beaten ND and PSU many times over.

I think the PSU series is something like
50-42-4 ???

So, win enough to get solid recruiting every year, and the rest takes care of itself.

Comment by Dan 05.24.14 @ 11:04 am

@Nick, I concur and would add VTech and UNC to your list.

@Dan, They can have the recruiting war, let’s win the games.

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.24.14 @ 11:07 am

No sense getting to wrapped up in Franklin’s recruiting edge. First of all, as others have already stated, it’s nothing new.

And besides, I’m betting that he will not be around to see this year’s recruits graduate. If he doesn’t get dragged into the Vandy rape scandal he will be coaching in the NFL before his 4th season.

Comment by dinosaur 71 05.24.14 @ 12:22 pm

I hope he sticks around long enough for us to beat his ass a couple times..16’17

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.24.14 @ 12:27 pm

We are a pathetic lot, aren’t we?

link to youtube.com

Comment by steve1 05.24.14 @ 12:50 pm

Well put Dan. I totally agree, and Pitt caught a break not only getting in the ACC, but being putin the Coastal division.

I know we are not Penn St, and as much as I’d like to pretend they don’t even exist, they are relevant because they are going to be recruiting a lot of the same kids as Pitt. I have already conceded the eastern part of the state to them years ago, but Pitt cannot let this prick Franklin come in and consistently pluck the best kids from the WPIAL.

I want to see Pitt expand their recruiting base, especially now that they are consistently playing teams below the Mason-Dixon line. New Jersey is another area they should recruit hard, Adonis Jennings a perfect example. But the bottom line is for Pitt to be that consistent top 25 program we all desperately want them to be, they must keep the bulk of the talent in western Pa at home. So, as long as Pedo St continues to recruit here, unfortunately I’m going to have to acknowledge their despicable existence.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Pap76 05.24.14 @ 1:06 pm

There are plenty of talented kids to go around. It isn’t like years ago when top teams could stockpile talent 3 teams deep and starve out the rest. The trick is to get some kids with some character and desire and coach them up. Chryst will do fine with that tactic. Look at last years top recruit. Famous Jamis, Heisman Trophy and all. I would be embarrassed if he played here. Let’s put a team out that makes us proud of who and what we are.

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.24.14 @ 2:10 pm

Franklin reminds me of you know who. In today’s college football world the chances of winning a NC are proportional to $$$ and a team’s non-academic performance.

Comment by Frank MD 05.24.14 @ 2:55 pm

We aren’t going to win the national championship in football and neither are about 110 other division 1 schools. Let’s at least keep our self respect and try to compete in the top 20 most of the time. In doing so let’s try to run a reasonably respectable program with minimal illegal behavior.

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.24.14 @ 3:01 pm

@sos22:

I can get on board with that, but like Dan said if the goal isn’t to at least compete for conference championships and consistent top 25 rankings then what’s the point?

I didn’t go to Pitt, just grew up going to games with my old man and Pitt football and hoops became a passion. A lot of us here not only spend hard earned money on supporting the university, but are also emotionally invested as well. As I get older I realize there are more important things in the short time we have on earth, but I still can’t help hurting and/or being pissed off when Pitt is not doing well or drops a heartbreaker.

Again as Dan pointed out, Duke won the Coastal division, is that too much to ask for? Sometimes I wonder how much the university really does care about winning. There are benefits to having successful sports program, but the university needs to invest. Hopefully this extra money from joining the ACC is being put to good use and put back into the programs.

I don’t want to win with prima donna’s and thugs, but to have a roster full of 2 star kids and hope to coach em up is a recipe for, well 6-6. You need some legit studs, and not all 4 and 5 star kids are entitled jag offs. I’m fine with factoring in character when recruiting but for every Rushel Shell there is a Tyler Boyd. The trick is finding them.

It can be done. There are schools that win with class and make their students, alumni, and fans proud both on and off the field.

Comment by Pap76 05.24.14 @ 3:41 pm

I will address from a far different angle. If Pitt wants to be successful in recruiting, we need to graduate our three star players with education majors and get them plugged into fertile recruiting areas as high school coaches. West Vagina has done that in Florida and they continue to bring in a large contingency from that state each year.

Secondly, we need to help kids get into the high school coaching ranks in new jersey, ohio and virginia too. Pitt is not the land grant school, Penn State owns that as does Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, MSU, etc. Pitt is stupid for not having their own on campus stadium or something close. I would much rather they build something at their current training facility so the students can get there more expeditiously and not always by bus. Just give me a stadium. They should be putting a portion of the additional acc money into a building fund for that very reason.

Personally, I don’t care about an occasional arrest. The Administrations at PSU, OSU and ND make it really hard for a football player or basketball player to get arrested. The key understanding is that they also make it difficult for a student to get arrested too. You really have to buck authority a few times to get arrested at these schools. Why? Because they are all about a great college experience…which includes an onsite football stadium. It also means you graduate and want to give money to support your school…and of course….parents will want to send their kids to a place that gave them such a great experience. The jenkins kid and parents comes immediately to mind.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.24.14 @ 3:48 pm

Baseball was 11-19 in ACC play and barely won 20 games. Pederson – Are you proud of that? Do you care about winning? Build a real baseball stadium and pay for a legit ACC coach. This is crazy. We didnt even beat WVU, MAC schools let alone win 1/3 of the ACC games. Pederson Field is gross if you know anything about the game or have ever been to actual D1 level stadiums.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.24.14 @ 3:59 pm

dhuffdaddy, Pitt can never rule Pittsburgh like PSU can rule State College, OSU – Columbus and ND – So Bend. The colleges in those areas are the main attraction and source of income … that’s the not the case in Pgh. Also, monitoring kids in Pgh is substantially harder in a city like Pgh

Comment by wbb 05.24.14 @ 4:28 pm

Gotta disagree with Columbus and OSU wbb. The football players are off campus as much as the Pitt guys. OSU football doesn’t necessarily rule Columbus Police. Penn State and to a lesser extent Notre Dame I would agree with.

Pitt could probably turn some of the gameday payments to the city of pittsburgh police department into some goodwill. The collegiate experience is critical and of course how these programs take care of their players once they are gone. I don’t think Pitt takes care of their old athletes like the big time programs do and that is because Pitt is not big time. You are not big time until you act big time. We pay Pederson big time money, but he doesn’t perform well. Sorry, just the facts.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.24.14 @ 10:20 pm

dhuff, explain this

link to bing.com

Hyde ended up with a 1 game suspension even though a video revealed an assault …. it seems that the accuser all of a sudden dropped the case before the start of the season. Hyde went on to become the first RB selected in this year’s draft

Comment by wbb 05.25.14 @ 6:41 am

Everyone makes the assumption Franklin will win at PSU. Jury is still out on him.
Personally, I don’t see him having the success O’Brien did. Their offense will take a step back for sure.

O’Brien is a very good coach.

Comment by notrocketscience 05.25.14 @ 7:49 am

hey not rocket…franklin won at Vandy. He’ll win at PSU.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 05.25.14 @ 8:37 am

link to collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

Why are we not in play for this kid?

Comment by tedsptman 05.25.14 @ 3:40 pm

Didn’t we have a “Franklin” type coach at Pitt a few years ago named Todd? How’d that work out?

I remember his exact words bragging about how he would out recruit and out play teams on the field. Many of us in preseason lost our minds and had Pitt going 10-1 or better.

Again, how’d that work out?

If one tenth of the rumors I hear are true, Franklin will not even survive the August rape trial and PSU will be again ever “tainted” (great choice of words huh!) with throwing away all common sense just to win football games.

I like this returning Pitt team and the stability this coaching staff has brought. Now….just get a new stadium on campus and fire Pederson and I will be finally happy?

Comment by Dan 72 05.25.14 @ 4:34 pm

Franklin used the old Florida State “Gator Getter” recruiting technique at Vanderbilt (pimp pretty co-eds for the recruits). That’s just not going to play real well at Penn State. Some coaches are so competitive they eventually “jump the shark”.

Comment by 66Goat 05.25.14 @ 4:38 pm

Happy memorial day to all of you who did some time in the military. You aren’t forgotten. To my special one, thank you for paying the ultimate sacrifice.

wbb, I think you made my point even stronger. If the police were tied in so strongly to the players in Columbus, this wouldn’t make the news. The way it works in its simplest form is this. Player does something stupid, gets arrested and charged. Player gets a defense attorney with connections in Columbus. Defense attorney reaches out to the person assaulted and says the following. “Maam, my client is carlos hyde, star football player at ohio state. If you fully aid in his prosecution, he will probably get some jail time as a first offender and never get to play in the nfl and make a lot of money. If you drop the charges, recant your story just a bit, my client is expecting to be very rich in one year. He has authorized me to offer you a financial settlement based on where he is drafted. Obviously, the more you pursue this action, the less draftable he becomes and your settlement offer goes down accordingly. Nobody wins if he doesn’t get drafted and you control that. It is his future and yours that you hold in your hand. Now, wasn’t it just a misunderstanding? See $$$$. WBB, that is not the columbus police, that is the lawyers and urban meyer. Once everything gets executed and settlement parameters agreed upon by draft status, the player gets a small suspension. The injured party gets amnesia, waits and hopes for a great draft and the athlete student pays a price. End of story. You saw this happen with Big ben…..twice! Ray Rice was advised to marry his girlfriend to save his career, cmon man. You should know better.

I get to sit in on the “learnings” at the universities when these things finally go away. It is the slimy side of sports and most often despicable behavior by the athlete, the coaches and the lawyers. But this is precisely why the lawyers make the money, the plaintiffs make the money and the athletes that can’t follow the law, end up broke.

Dan, i agree with alot of what you say above. Sadly, the Administration manipulates usnews and world report for the better, but won’t take the time to understand how to make a university “brand” by incorporating its strong athletic programs. You can do both successfully. Perhaps the new President has some balls and funally shakes up the athletic department and demands excellence on and off the field.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 05.25.14 @ 8:56 pm

When does the new chancellor take charge? He was picked by Nordenberg’s cronies.

Does anyone see Franklin staying at Penn State if he’s successful? There are the really big SEC jobs and, of course, the pros.

Comment by TonyinHouston 05.26.14 @ 7:22 am

On this Memorial Day I want to honor the greatest Pitt fan in my life – my Dad. he made 5 beach landings in the return of the Philippines with the 40th Army Division. He grew up on 5th Ave.in the old Soho district and on graduation day at 5th Ave H.S. he joined the Army. He bled blue and gold and saw those championship teams of Jock Sutherland and Pop Warner. THANK YOU DAD, I MISS YOU!!!

Comment by pittman4ever 05.26.14 @ 9:03 am

First off my salute to all of those Americans who have served, and my condolences to those families that have lost their loved ones in such service.

Second, I love hearing that negative drone of, “we will “NEVER” win a national championship in football”. Well, I witnessed the last national championship that Pitt won and it was a magical experience. My sophomore year, we were 1-10 and STUNK out Pitt stadium, I mean we were AWFUL! Four years later, we were national champs. So never say NEVER cause I don’t know and you don’t know what the future holds, but a NC is the ultimate brass ring goal of the elite programs and therefore we should strive to become an elite program once again, if it results in another national championship in the future, well then good onya Pitt!! In the meantime enjoy the process, Pitt at least is becoming a fun team to watch again, IMO, at this point in the process.

Thirdly, from the dark place where Pitt’s football program was after Fraud Graham’s midnight departure three years ago to where we are now is very very fornuate for us and a nice place to be. Secure in a solid conference, with tons more money coming Pitt’s way with a coaching staff that is rebuilding the program on a firm foundation with a current crop of kids who are developing their own version of what Pitt Pride is all about with the self discipline and dedication to the team that will bear fruit in the near future. This is going to be a good year for Pitt, so just ramp up your expectations and prepare yourselves for the ride and never forget about where this program HAS BEEN in the past. None of us can predict the future but we KNOW the history of Pitt football of the past. We can recreate that glory with the right amount of commitment, dedication and luck, I hope that I’m still alive to experience the next one. In the meantime, enjoy the link below that I’ve posted here on The Blather previously, and never lose your Panther Pride. Those who have come before this current team have earned it for us with their efforts, just like those millions of military veterens have earned America’s current place in history. I salute both groups today.

link to youtube.com

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.26.14 @ 9:15 am

Thanks for posting the video again, Dr. Tom.

It never gets old.

Comment by dinosaur 71 05.26.14 @ 10:54 am

Just a reminder Franklin has only beat FOUR teams that finished with a winning record in his time at Candy

1)8-5 Georgia
2)8-5 Houston
3)7-6 Ole Miss
4)7-6 NC state

Comment by rhyno527 05.26.14 @ 11:44 am

Another week begins with no word from Frankcan. Frankie give us a heads up as we miss your recruiting insight, and you are missed here.

Dr Tom, loved the video, thanks.

Pittman4ever, Your tribute to your Dad was great.

Comment by spiritofsection22 05.26.14 @ 1:19 pm

Hear Hear Dr. Tom! You just made my Memorial Day…Hail to Pitt!!!

Comment by Gordo 05.26.14 @ 1:19 pm

I’ll agree that it is a wishful thought that our program will ever be Top Ten annually… but who really knows? As Dr Tom stated we caught all the breaks needed to improve in 1973 when we hired Majors and recruited Dorsett. I was at PITT then also and we all knew how very lucky that was and what a treat it was to play for the national championship.

Who’s to say that can’t happen again? Every one of our ACC opponents are beatable, each OOC school we schedule can be beat and maybe we get into a major bowl and pull off a win to get that MNC.

BUT… I do not believe we will ever be a long term sustained Top Ten team because, well… we never have been in modern (post WWII) times. Never, not ever, nil, zilch, never, ever, ever.

Can we be a Top Ten team at all? Yes – I wouldn’t be shocked that much if we did it within the next two years honestly. will I bet on that happening – no.

Dan – your stance on 6-6 and being at PITT Stadium rather than Heinz Field is a good one. However, not one conference would accept us to join them if we were still in PITT Stadium. I just not too long ago had a conversation with a friend’s kid who played a while ago at WVU and he said that the whole team got “jacked up” to play in Heinz Field. I think a lot of opposing teams like the fact that they will be playing in the Steelers Stadium.

Happy Memorial Day to all and thanks for the good wishes. Lets work to get everyone home safe and sound.

Comment by Reed 05.26.14 @ 4:32 pm

The rich get richer, and some of us get lucky. Boise had two lotto tickets with the Big 12 and the Pac-12, and they didn’t hit. Pitt won the Pick 6 and RU won the fucking megamillions.

Comment by Chris 05.26.14 @ 7:31 pm

Reed, the subject of our opponents being pumped up to play in our “home” stadium has been, for me, the biggest negative about playing in Heinz. Otherwise, I love the stadium. It is a great venue for a football game. The only thing Pitt can do is to make it look more like “our” stadium. That starts with things Pitt can control, like the colors of our uniforms (might be wise to incorporate the same shade of yellow as those seats in Heinz), and ends with things Pitt can’t control but the Steelers could sure as hell lend a hand. Like putting in turf so we could have full Pitt colors and ACC signage on the field on game day.

Comment by HbgFrank 05.26.14 @ 8:44 pm

Even if natural grass prevails, as usual at Heinz, how difficult is it to add sod patches at midfield and a couple “on field” ACC logo areas to the place a half dozen times during football season so that Pitt can display a decent painted logo rather than that HS level white circle block Pitt emblem that has been the norm up to this point?
I totally agree with the opinion that upgrading to a quality artificial turf would be the ultimate solution to a problem that actually shouldn’t even exist if all the powers to be we’re really pulling in the same direction and had the University’s best interests at heart.
Winning cures so many ills however. When Pitt starts putting two or three 10 win seasons back to back then a lot of these other issues will start to magically begin to dissolve in the solvent called success. When Pitt football once again becomes relevant on the national stage, then things start happening to Pitt’s advantage. Anybody who was at the home opener against FSU last year can tell you that the atmosphere at Heinz that night was excellent! Get a football savvy fan base like the city of Pittsburgh possesses excited about our program again and lots of good things are sure to follow.
Just win baby, win!????

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.27.14 @ 5:57 am

I hope you all are correct about Pitt being able to return to the days of vying for a national title. However, just note that things has changed considerably on the NCAA landscape from the when Johnny Majors took over in ’73 to when PC took over in 012. And one of the most pertinent changes is that Western PA is not considered the prime recruiting area … not even close.

Comment by wbb 05.27.14 @ 6:41 am

.. in fact, this recruiting year, Eastern PA has 15 of the top 20 prospects in PA

Comment by wbb 05.27.14 @ 6:42 am

I love Dr. Tom’s positive attitude, and like dumb and dumber “so there is still a chance”, Pitt winning a NC is the longest of long shots.

Many things have changed since 1976. The first is big money. In the seventies a few Pitt “Golden Panthers” kicked in a pile of cash and convinced Posvar and Myslinski to upgrade. Majors was hired, recruited everyone he could and the rest is history. Money today is huge, especially at the elite schools. Effects everything from recruiting to under the table payments to players.

The second is the conference structure. In 1976, Pitt was an independent with a relatively weak schedule, a much easier path to an undefeated season. We are most lucky to be in the ACC, which gives us at least a path.

The third is ethics, in 1976, Pitt didn’t have to lower itself as much as you have to today. Just look at the scandals, from USC, Cam Newton, Johnny Football, Jameis Winston. Administration has to overlook a lot and put football on a much higher pedestal than we are willing to. This involves academics. North Carolina’s reading scandal (although basketball) is an example of what schools are willing to do to win.

The forth is what wbb states, the local recruiting pool has shrunk, which makes recruitin much more difficult.

I think we are at the walk and chew gum at the same time stage of our development. Hopefully, we will learn how to run soon. Someone mentioned Duke as a nice example, but look what happened to them, when they played the big boys.

Like I said before, let’s build a top twenty program and hope for the best.

Comment by gc 05.27.14 @ 8:50 am

Majors also brought in recruiting classes of 75+ kids. Can’t do that anymore.

Comment by Nick 05.27.14 @ 9:02 am

Winning championships also takes some luck. We had it in ’76. However, our most talented teams ever in the early ’80’s with Marino, Green and Co. could not get over the hump.

Comment by gc 05.27.14 @ 9:08 am

Where’s FRANKCAN??

Comment by Dan 05.27.14 @ 10:00 am

Speaking of Adonis Jennings… ran a 10.74 Prelim and 10.77 Final 100 in South Jersey Group 3 Track Sectionals.

Obviously the FAST TIME is not a fluke.

Besides speed, Jennings is also a Little MEGATRON-like” given the fact that standing side-by-side he makes Tyler Boyd look short and scrawny… which we know he isn’t.

going to be interesting to see how this all translates to the next level come Fall.

Thanks to a former Poster who puts a PREMIUM on track for spotting the Meet results.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.27.14 @ 10:19 am

PSU opens w/UCF, Akron, Rutgers and UMASS…talk about ease of schedule…

Comment by markp 05.27.14 @ 11:24 am

That kind of easy schedule takes PSU out of the NC conversation already. Franklin will be disappointed.

Comment by Frank MD 05.27.14 @ 11:42 am

UCF actually finished ranked in Top 15 last year .. but can’t expect that this year with Bortles gone.

The problem with PSU … after that non-con schedule, it gets easier once the B1G starts (for the most part)

Comment by wbb 05.27.14 @ 11:45 am

To say that Franklin won at Vandy is perhaps overstating it. Yes, he did finish with good records. Two 9-4 seasons in a row looks good, especially for an SEC team. Until you see who they played and who they beat. As ryno mentioned, they only beat 4 teams with winning records in Franklin’s time there, and from what I can see, they only beat one ranked team in that time- a team that eventually finished 8-5.

That doesn’t mean he won’t win at PSU. But there are a lot of guys who can recruit but can’t coach (Wanstedt anybody?). It sure looks like Franklin’s scheduling at Vandy was arranged to make him look like a great coach so that he could get a better job. Here’s to hoping that he turns out to be an average coach.

Comment by kanyon40 05.27.14 @ 1:01 pm

Not letting my feelings toward Penn State get in the way, it’s my humble opinion that Franklin is going to win.

The little bit of behind the scenes stuff I’ve seen, he comes across as a pretty charismatic Guy who is well liked by both Players and Staff… and very approachable.

Never was sold on O’Brien. The fact is under O’Brien there were games lost that should have been won… EMBARRASSING losses according to many State College Alum.

Unfortunately for Pitt Fans, we’re going to see that PSU is going to be BETTER OFF with Franklin than they ever would have been with the Coach who got out while the gett’n was good.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.27.14 @ 1:53 pm

Franklin will win .. talent and and a relative weak schedule certainly will help. Aside from OSU, MSU and Wisc, there is a dearth of competition these days in the B1G. Even the Big Blue is pretty mediocre these days.

Comment by wbb 05.27.14 @ 3:11 pm

O’Brien is popular here in Houston. He’s certainly got his work cut out for him. I agree Franklin will win. Winning will allow him to move on to better things. He is ambitious to a fault.

Given the choice between the two, not sure Franklin is that much of a better coach.

Comment by TonyinHouston 05.27.14 @ 3:43 pm

Lot of talk about the Charlatan in Creepy Valley.
We (or I) went over this charlatan’s supposed great record at Vandy.

ONE (1) win over a Top 25 team in his tainted tenure there.

Yes they went to a couple 4rth rate bowl games, big deal.

To review:

2013 wins: Austin Peay, Massachusetts, Ala-Birmingham, Georgia, Florida(4-8), Kentucky, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Houston.

2012 wins: Presbyterian, Missouri(5-7), Auburn (3-9), Massachusetts (again), Kentucky (again), Tennessee (again), Wake Forest (again), Ole Miss(27-26), NC State

2011 wins: Elon, Uconn, Ole Miss (2-10), Army, Kentucky (again), Wake Forest (again)

Not many good teams that Vandy beat. Made a living beating Kentucky, Wake and Massachusetts.

It amounts to not much substance but an extreme amount of nobodies and a lot of hype for not much in reality. But typical of what’s going on in America these days.

Comment by Emel 05.27.14 @ 6:02 pm

He did do one thing, Ped State couldn’t…..beat Houston in a 4rth tier bowl game. haha

I guess that’s what they’re striving for in Creepy Valley, a win in a schmuck bowl. 🙂

Comment by Emel 05.27.14 @ 6:06 pm

We just offered Shud Brown, Safety, 5’8 3 star recruit

Comment by tedsptman 05.27.14 @ 9:15 pm

PSU fans will brag that they are 4-0 ans so will Franklin…

Comment by markp 05.28.14 @ 7:49 am

PSU fans will brag that they are 4-0 and so will Franklin…

Comment by markp 05.28.14 @ 7:52 am

For shitz and giggles lets compare PSU’s schedule to Pitt’s.

PSU Pitt

UCF Iowa
Akron Akron
Rutgers North Carolina
uMass Delaware
Northwestern Boston College
Michigan Duke
Ohio State Virginia Tech
Maryland Georgia Tech
Indiana Virginia
Temple FIU
Illinois Syracuse
Michigan St Miami

Now lets match them up.

UCF Delaware
Akron Boston College
Rutgers FIU
uMass Iowa
Northwestern Akron
Michigan Virginia
Ohio State Virginia Tech
Maryland Georgia Tech
Indiana Duke
Temple North Carolina
Illinois Syracuse
Michigan St Miami

I would say that Ohio State and Michigan State are tougher than Virginia Tech and Miami.

The rest kind of looks like a push.

This website shows that PSU has the 68th toughest schedule and Pitt has the 74th, so yep.

link to fbschedules.com

Comment by Atlanta Panther 05.28.14 @ 8:04 am

I believe OSU plays VT this year in Columbus.

Comment by wbb 05.28.14 @ 8:44 am

When mentioning big “Golden Panther” boosters in the 70s, none were bigger than Meadville natives George Barco (the Pitt Law School is named after him) and his son-in-law Jim Duratz, who married George’s daughter Helene. George also had a daughter Yolanda (Pitt Law 1949 and a former Pitt Trustee). Back in the 70s in the Pitt football program they would list athletic donors beginning with the largest donors and typically the Barco/Duratz family would be listed first. Mr. Barco was my father’s attorney and at a dinner party at my Dad’s house Mr. Barco told the story of when word got back to Johnny Majors from Jackie Sherrill (who had a second home at Hopewell High) that Dorsett was a lock for Pitt, Johnny would have done a back flip if he could have pulled it off according to Mr. Barco. He felt the last piece was in place; now that No. 33 resisted Ara and Joe.

Later, in the early 80s, my wife and I were visiting the family in Meadville and fortunately the Barcos and Duratzs were coming over for dinner. After dinner, Mr. Barco knowing I was a Pitt alum (Mechanical Engineering 1974) and loved Pitt football asked me if I had any Pitt questions for him. I asked him if he had one player to send into a top recruit’s home to sell the Pitt program to the parents, which player would it be? I figured Dorsett or Marino or Hugh Green. Without hesitation, his response was “Mark May.” Mr. Barco passed away in 1989 at age 82. Both Yolanda and Helene passed away in 2000 in their early 70s. My 88 year-old father sees Jim Duratz on occasion at Mass at St. Brigid’s Church in Meadville.

Comment by Tony in Hampton 05.28.14 @ 8:49 am

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