September 2, 2016

Less than 24 hours until I hit the road to Pittsburgh. The familiar giddiness is building. A smile creeps over my face as I think about it. I’ve missed this.

Think the Pitt coaches are hammering home to the players about what nearly happened to Tennessee against Appalachian  State last night? The risk of taking a team likely, simply because they are FCS? Without any doubt.

So what’s news?


May 22, 2016

I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up on a rainy Sunday afternoon (at least rainy here in MD) and saw a great Sports Illustrated article written in Oct 1962 by a previous Pitt Chancellor, Dr. Edward Litchfield, about the national debate if Grant-In Aids (athletic scholarships) were a good thing to have on college campuses.

This intro below is a personal bit about why this article strikes my fancy.  The article itself is the other audio bar.

Here is the body of the article – excuse the small mistakes if you will, I’m not a professional at this.  I especially like the contrasts between Litchfield’s descriptions of Pitt athletics then and today’s state of college football.  There are some great points made here – especially some timeless ones that hold true today.

Hope you enjoy it!

“Camel Driver” – try putting that on a kid today!  I also love that we stole almost a whole opposing team –

Far back in 1903, for example, out-university felt mortified to have been defeated two straight years by the football team of little Geneva College. Football in those days seldom made much money at the box office but many colleges recruited passionately, simply because they found defeat unbearable. In the wake of our losses to Geneva, corrective action was deemed imperative and there seemed only one surefire way of seeing to it that we beat Geneva the next year. We took it.

We lured to our campus most of the Geneva players and the following season, 1904, defeated Geneva 30-0. During the balance of the decade Pitt football teams lost only 13 of 71 games. Now what sort of boys were they, do you suppose, that could be proselyted so frivolously? Because many of them have passed on, we were able to trace only 17. Of that number, four were physicians, five dentists, two attorneys and one a Ph.D.


May 15, 2016

We did an article about this last year but here is a follow-up piece by Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette addressing Pitt’s new athletic logo that is to be unveiled on Wednesday (no big surprise that it is the Script PITT from the 1980s) and how it does NOT represent the University as a whole…  a visual reminder here:

Pitt TE coach tweets photoshopped Swimsuit Issue cover

From Werner’s article:

“If the athletic department is the front porch, then the Pitt script logo, set to be re-introduced as the school’s primary athletic mark at a Petersen Events Center unveiling Wednesday, is a sign on the front of the house.

Often times, though, that sign may not represent every room in the house.

Like Pitt, many universities across the country have developed distinct university logos separate from their athletic marks, as they try to strike a balance between the visibility athletics can provide and the academic pursuits of the greater institution.

“Most of the time, the rationale is that, look, we have two different products here,” said Antonio Williams, a sport and fitness brand researcher and assistant professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. “We don’t necessarily want to take away the academic rigor and prestige from the university side by associating with athletics. There may be certain liabilities by associating yourself with athletics.”


August 20, 2015

Pitt Produces Legends

Filed under: Football,History,Honors — Chas @ 12:06 pm

The Football Writers Association of America has been around for 75 years. They have been picking All-Americans since 1944. To honor their own existence they released their 75th Anniversary All-American Team.

A few Pitt players made the list.


May 24, 2015

On That Day…

Filed under: Admin,Alumni,Coaches,Football,Good,History,Honors,Players — Reed @ 11:30 am

As the years’ calendar turns to the end of May and the start of what we all see as the spring and summer season, or as we PITT football fans say “the time when no football things are happening” one date always jumps out at me.

It’s on that day our Memorial Holiday falls.  In addition to the store sales, reunions, parties, parades, and picnics Memorial Day also holds a meaning that strikes a deeper and more significant cord in many of us.  You all know that I’ve reference my professional life as a military officer before.  Because that career and my experiences serving in that capacity filled almost my whole adult life, from age 22 until I retired four years ago, it is the lens in which I see, think and feel almost everything through.

So while woolgathering yesterday to try to figure out the next thing to write about Pitt football it occurred to me that I’ve never done a separate Memorial Day piece and that is because it seems to have nothing to do with PITT football.  But after some serious reflection I do believe Memorial Day and the University of Pittsburgh, in all their respective facets, have deep ties and are intertwined both historically and in the present.

Many Pitt fans have friends and relatives who have served in the Armed Forces at some point, or maybe they themselves have.  PITT students fought in our Civil War in the 1860s… on both sides.  Early in the 20th century some of our grandparents who attended or were affiliated with the university volunteered to serve and were sent to Europe during WWI.  Many of our parents, aunts and uncles had their PITT educations interrupted to join the fight in World War II.  My father, two of my aunts and an uncle went directly from being students at PITT into the military then overseas to Europe and China-Burma.

Of course my mother, an younger woman, stayed home and attended PITT until my dad came back from the war and they could get married in Heinz Chapel in the shadow of the Cathedral of Learning.  A scenario repeated thousands of times across college campuses I’m sure.  It is true thatThey also serve who only stand and waite”.

PITT had many other students and alumni who served and some who gave ‘the last full measure’ as Lincoln so eloquently stated.  There has never been a war or an armed conflict without PITT personnel involved.  Here are just a few examples.


July 23, 2013

Looking For the Big Win

Filed under: Football,History — Chas @ 12:26 pm

Specifically a season opening big win.

We are all excited for this first season in the ACC. Just as we are all very excited for the first game. A Labor Day night game with all the bells and whistles at home against a top team like Florida State. Visions dance in our heads of a big-time atmosphere. Lots of electricity in the air. Pitt riding the continuity of having the same head coach for more than one year and just putting a heroic effort in to defeat the Seminoles.

Just one nagging question.

When was the last time Pitt did that in a season or home opener?

We all know the disappointments and stunners to start a year. Dave Wannstedt offered us ND and Bowling Green. Last year we had the Youngstown State debacle.

Going to toss this out to everyone, because I just don’t have a good answer. I have trouble going with the 2006 pounding of Virginia since the Cavs were 5-7 that year, but that might be the closest thing in the last 20 years.

Is it the almost upset of Texas in 1994 under Johnny Majors? Is that too much of a reach? Whipping Hoopies in Morgantown under Paul Hackett  in 1991?

I know it’s a small sample size, simply because Pitt — like most of college football — rarely starts the season off with a bang. Still, I can’t find much before 1976 and beating Notre Dame in South Bend to start the national championship season.

January 10, 2013

Leftover Legacies and Linkage

Filed under: Football,History — Chas @ 12:41 pm

I see there are articles and discussions on the topic of legacies with this senior class, and one player in particular. Some were probably ready to turn the page by halftime of the BBVA Bowl. Others will want to vent or defend for the next two years.

The one thing of which I feel certain, is that this particular class will be most linked with (blamed on) former coach Dave Wannstedt. I’m hoping it is the last of them. It should be. While there is one more more true Wannstedt classes to graduate, the 2008 and 2009 signing clases that make up this group seem to exemplify the promise and disappointment of the Wannstedt era.

This is really the last group to really feel that the ties to Wannstedt are still there. That draw reference to him.

“We wanted to start with a guy like coach Wannstedt, we believed in coach Wannstedt,” Sunseri said.

“For us to finish with a guy like coach Chryst, we feel like he’s the Dave Wannstedt kind of guy. Coach Chryst obviously is his own person and he brings different attributes to the table, but he’s one of those guys that loves this university, loves the players.”

When the comparisons are to Fraud Graham and Haywood, that can be considered in a positive light.


October 2, 2012

Over the many years of blogging, both sides of this Pitt-Syracuse game have noted the complete lack of vitriol and hatred. Despite Syracuse being Pitt’s (tied for) 3d most played opponent in football. And the fact that they will have the #3 spot all alone in a few years when ND starts rotating on and off the schedule, there isn’t much of a burning desire to burn their city and make them cry when it comes to football. Everyone wants the win, but no one circles this game on the calendar when the schedule is announced.

In about five years, Pitt will be Syracuse’s #1 most played opponent. Yet, they too can’t muster the hatred.

My longstanding theory is that, despite the closeness of the historical series — Pitt holds a 34-30-3 edge — the fact that neither team has been good at the same time has muted it. Pitt dominated them in the 70s. Syracuse ruled in the 80s and 90s. Now Pitt has been the force for the past 10 years, winning 9 of 10. How do you build up hate if only one side is ever playing for anything? If the other is stuck in their latest down-cycle or rebuilding?

So, instead, what has the team been up to with a bye week?


September 3, 2012

1-AA Losses In the Last Five Years

Filed under: Football,History — Chas @ 3:04 pm

When you have plenty of time, but no wi-fi, there is only so much you can do. I did, however, have the handy-dandy Phil Steele College Football Preview Guide to keep me entertained. Pitt was #15 on his list of most improved teams for this year! Guessing that won’t be mentioned next year when he talks of his accuracy.

It did allow me to look over the schedules of teams over the past five years and how many BCS programs have lost to 1-AA teams in that span. Time to look at the factoids gleaned.


July 21, 2012

Football Rivalry History Review

Filed under: Football,History — Chas @ 9:27 am

Yes, I am blatantly stealing this idea from Nunes. Too good not to do an info-dump version for Pitt.

The final year for Pitt in the Big East. Next year, it’s the ACC. So, time to take a historical look at the most played teams, the past and future. The list is of the teams Pitt has played 20 or more times.

Most Played Teams in Pitt Football

1. West Virginia: 104, 61-40-3. Like it or not, you know at some point the Backyard Brawl will be played once more.

2. Penn State: 96, 42-50-4. Unless this resumes as a full-time series.

3. (tie) Notre Dame: 67, 20-46-1. Sadly, this is not the most lopsided historical record on the list.

 3. (tie) Syracuse: 67, 34-30-3. You would think both sides would care more about this series, as within the next 5 years or so Pitt will be their most played opponent and Cuse remains a top-3. Yet you would be hard pressed to find a fan on either side who circles this game on the calendar.


June 25, 2012

Classic Comebacks: 1970 Backyard Brawl

Filed under: Football,History — Chas @ 4:29 pm

While not as disastrous as the Dave Hart era of Pitt football, the Carl DePasqua period that came right before Johnny Majors I was hardly stellar. A 13-29 record over 4 years and only one season at .500. Pitt under DePasqua effectively peaked halfway through the second season. Pitt had reached 5-1, before riding a 4 game losing streak to 5-5. Those were followed up with 3-8 and 1-10 seasons and Pitt’s 3d coach in 7 years.

Still, if there is one thing that lingers — and vaguely redeems — from the DePasqua era, it is the 1970 Backyard Brawl which also served as Pitt’s homecoming. A game that saw Pitt come back from 35-8 to win 36-35 (hat tip to EDSBS).

In two parts. Part One:


February 16, 2012

Final Brawl Day

Filed under: Basketball,History,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 10:48 am

Apparently this could be the final Backyard Brawl meeting. There’s a little history involved. You may have caught a brief mention of it somewhere. I’m sure ESPN will show it’s usual reserve and sense of understatement on the topic for tonight’s 9pm game.

I’ve been on record of wanting to continue the Brawl. That hasn’t changed, but the hand-wringing does bring out the contrarian in me. [As does lazy writing that opts for short, one-sentence paragraphs to fill the space rather than any sort of actual writing on the topic. Joe Starkey takes it to Ron Cook levels today, with an epic effort of 12 short, one-sentence paragraphs.]

For a better view, this from Ray Mernagh is superior in style and substance.

Pitt fans don’t want to go to WVU anymore because of the behavior of the crowds in Morgantown. That’s fine and it’s also understandable. So don’t go. I’m sure the Pitt players want to continue to go to Morgantown. It’s the kind of setting that gets your juices flowing as a player. It’s you, and your 14 guys/coaches, against the world. It’s a test. It’s what a rivalry should be. It’s what Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones and Jabarie Hinds will relish tonight when they step on the floor and get verbally assaulted by the Oakland Zoo.

The Pitt/WVU basketball series has given us far too many memorable evenings/afternoons to stop it because both are headed to greener pastures. Both programs will continue to be strong in the future and playing each other can only help.

I suspect that Pitt and WVU will end up missing next year in the basketball side, but I believe that going forward there will be an annual game. Unlike the arguments against continuing in football, basketball is an easier sell.


November 30, 2011

Not A Casual City Game

Filed under: Basketball,History,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 2:18 pm

I don’t think Duquesne is that good this year. It’s just that Pitt is very much an uneven, work in progress right now. Duquesne has more experience, but is at a size disadvantage.

The Dukes will trot out an experienced guard-oriented lineup that is high on energy but short on height. Coach Ron Everhart’s tallest starter is 6-foot-7 junior Andre Marhold.

The Panthers have not been a consistent rebounding team, but two of their young post players are starting to come into their own. Freshman Khem Birch and sophomore Talib Zanna have combined for 40 points and 38 rebounds the past two games.

“It’s going to be key,” Pitt senior forward Nasir Robinson said of controlling the boards. “We’ll do a good job on the rebounds and take advantage inside. We have athletic guys like Khem Birch, Talib, Dante [Taylor] and me. We have to use our athleticism and get it done.”

The Dukes will try to exploit Pitt’s transition defense, which was leaky in its loss to Long Beach State. The Dukes, after scoring just 59 points in a season-opening loss at Arizona, have been much better executing their offensive game plan. With their up-tempo style, the Dukes have averaged 85 points in their four victories.

“Against Arizona we walked the ball up a little too much,” McConnell said. “Since then, we got the ball out every time and did not allow [opposing teams] to get set on defense.”

And no doubt they have been reviewing that Long Beach State game.


October 14, 2011

Quick Recruiting Rewind

Filed under: Football,History,Recruiting — Chas @ 11:34 am

The Russel Shell commit is obviously welcome news. The 4- to 5-star Army All-American Running Back is staying home to play college ball.

Depending on the recruiting service you prefer, Pitt how has three or four, 4-star or higher recruits in this class — Shell, Chad Voytik, Demitrious Davis, Corey Jones and Adam Bisnowaty have all been tagged in at least one recruiting site (ESPN,,

With the commit of Shell, Pitt’s recruiting class is rising in the national rankings (Insider subs).

“Aside from a strong power-base and ability to break first contact, Shell has good lateral agility the shiftiness to avoid through the hole which has helped him avoid a lot of punishment throughout his career. He can get outside with above average speed, make yards on his own between the tackles and is just a well-rounded back who the Panthers could lean on to help turn the program back into a Big East contender.”

Pittsburgh now has 18 Class of 2012 commitments and could push for a spot in ESPNU’s top 25 class rankings.

Realistically, though, as important as the big gets are — and they really, really are important — it will be the development of 3-star type recruits and the hidden gems — that will make the difference between mediocrity and contending for conference championships and BCS games. It will be getting those players that fit the system best and operate within it.


September 27, 2011

Link Items 9/27

Filed under: Conference,History,Money — Chas @ 3:26 pm

Just some other stuff to get out there.

UConn. Really? Didn’t your state’s governor learn anything from the Missouri governor trying to get his state school into the Big 10?

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, speaking to reporters outside his Capitol office, said he no longer expects the ACC to act quickly after adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East earlier this month.

“I think there was expectancy built up initially that this was quickly going to be resolved,” he said. “That’s clearly not the case. The ACC has the first decision to make and that’s whether they’re going to stay at 14 teams or stay at 16. I know that there’s one team, one school that they would like to get into the ACC that would guarantee them going to 16 teams and that’s been speculated to be Notre Dame. I suspect that that’s true. I don’t know how likely that is to happen or not happen. Although, I tend to think it’s not terribly likely.”

Malloy said if Notre Dame isn’t interested the ACC must decide if there is any compelling reason to expand again.

“Beyond that, then you fall back to the Big East,” he said “The Big East then has to rebuild itself to fill the loss of the two teams that left and has to worry about its ability to compete on the major sports of basketball and football in particular, as well as how do we make that work for student athletes.”

Well played, governor. I’m sure announcing that UConn will settle to fall back into the Big East will do wonders for the effort to rebuild the conference. It just enhances that image of stability.


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