This Pitt Fan’s Point of View

Lest we think the writer of this blog is all about blown game losses and the not-so-positive issues Pitt football has been through, let’s try to understand what his fan level is right now and how it came about.

Stay with me here – I have a point or two to make…

First off, no one sits down at a keyboard for 2-4 hours a day and writes long articles (sometime 3,000 words)  for others to read and discuss unless they really cared about the subject matter.  That just doesn’t happen especially when the writer gets no payment of any kind.  So, with that knowledge can we just drop the inferences that somehow I’m not a ‘real‘ Pitt football fan?

Yes, I get the various emails and Facebook messages telling me that I’m not good for the Pitt football program.  To that I say “So what?“and, more to the point, “Who are you to judge”?

The truth is The Pitt Blather and the new The Pitt POV blogs are two of the best things that has happened to Pitt football because we keep the issues, good and bad, in front of the people who Pitt football is supposed to be all about – the students, alumni and fans.

Just ask Pitt itself. Believe me, they love these blogs, all of them and not just the two I mentioned… throw all the blogs in that center on Pitt football.  They love them because we do the hard work that the university can’t, or in some cases won’t, do.  That isn’t a criticism of Pitt because  you can’t reasonably expect their Athletic Media Department to seed the media, in all its current forms,  with anything that is less than flattering about the University and its athletic department.

That ain’t going to happen nor should it.  But what they do instead, and this is highly professional and just plain smart, is open up as much access for established media outlets as they can (hard to believe but blogs fall under that label) … and then provide info and as-truthful-as-possible answers to the tough questions.

A case in point;  when I started writing for The Pitt Blather six years ago, very early on I got a call from the head of the Pitt Media Dept., Mr. E. J. Borghetti, offering me full media credentials so that I could have the same resources available to me as the more mainstream media outlets had.

I was a bit surprised because  1) I had just started writing full articles about Pitt football and  2) I was pretty critical of some things that were going on in the football program at the time and wasn’t shy about saying so in public.

But that is where E.J. said a smart and honest thing – basically it was we want you to have as much information as possible so that your articles have as much truth in them as they can. To that I said “Thanks, but I can’t do it unless there is zero conditions put on the offer – I won’t change anything on your behalf that I feel I need to say .”

That was exactly what happened and has been in effect to this day.  I have never gotten any pressure from anyone – save a few readers – to modify what I write.  That said, if I have my facts wrong I’ll hear from others, mostly commenters, but sometimes from the source also and I’ll decide to modify what I say or not.

So – within that historical framework let me explain WHY I do what I do.  In its most simple terms it is because I am a Pitt fan.  I’m a fan of the football team; a fan of the university itself (first and above all) and I’m a fan of some of the people associated with those two things.

As an older man I may have a different take on what I see in the Pitt football program than some others do. We are the sum of the parts of our lives that make us who we are and that is certainly true in my case.  I look through eyes with certain filters others may not – from 33 years of active duty in the military; from being a parent, husband and a minority in my own family.

Don’t laugh at that last bit, I am that and I have learned and come to understand things way beyond what I would have if I had never married an Hawai’ian girl 35 years ago. So what I see and feel isn’t what others do.

But as far as football goes this is what molded me…

I was a student at Pitt from 1974-1977 and attended, while actually staying stayed sober,  every single football home game of that great rebuilding period. That was as an 18-22 year old main campus student.  A filter that most of us have I think.

However, I had already been going to every single home game from birth and being dragged to old Pitt Stadium every fall Saturday since 1955.   My whole extended family went to, graduated from and worked at Pitt or in Pitt-related professions, some rather high level. So we all lived and breathed this stuff… and up until the mid-70s those years were basically, to put it mildly, “down years” for Pitt football.

I’m not talking about everyone just going to the game on Saturday and waving a pennant around. We had  regular fall Friday night cocktail parties before the home games with the Pitt brass in our living room getting tight and discussing the next day’s game or how our players were doing on and off the field.  Interspersed with that was serious conversation about subject’s like the Graduate Schools’ budgets, how to attract more international students to Oakland and other shop talk about the university’s dealings.

But for us kids (I was the youngest of five brothers and cousins) it was all about Saturday afternoons and sitting in the end zone while our parents were in their upper 50 yards line seats or in the Chancellor’s box.  aerial

I say ‘sitting’ but the truth is that back then most games were pretty much over for the Pitt team by the start of the halftime festivities so we ran around under the stadium bowl and got into trouble with the same security guards week after week, year after year.

Thus my young life was truly composed of 360° of the University of Pittsburgh.  It was all there all the time and our family’s lives revolved around it.

As to the quality of the football itself,  I spent Saturday afternoons either watching Pitt lose or listening on the radio as Pitt lost games.  From the time I could really grasp what was happening out on the field – let’s say at around nine years old – I experienced nothing but Pitt’s losing seasons – nine of them – until Dorsett came in 1973.  Those nine years Pitt averaged 2.4 wins per season.

But you know what?  We were proud of the team.  Back then you went to the games because it was something you did to support the university you loved and to have good times with others who felt the same way.

Wins didn’t matter so much as the fact that the kids gave everything they had and played a fair and honest game.  Yeah, it was the “Rah-Rah, Hail to Pitt!” era and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I think that, save for a few fans I know, there is something lacking in how the football program and the University are viewed today.  We were less image conscious then, less concerned about what other school’s fans or what sportswriters (and now TV outlets) might have thought about us.

It just didn’t matter in the long run because we knew there was a clear and real defining line between the academic side of Pitt and the athletic side.  The football team was not the end all be all of the school itself.

There were no silly “Next level” mantras being thrown out every time something embarrassing happened.  We didn’t hear platitudes like “Sports are the front porch of the university.”  because it wasn’t true then and friends, hate to say it, it ain’t true now.  The front porch of the University is and always will be Pitt’s academic accomplishments and the impact it has on the community themselves. Anyone telling you anything different is selling you an athletic bill of goods.

When we started getting away from that simplicity we started having those very real athletic-driven problems that tarnished our national and international reputations.  Forget about just losing games, we were losing a sterling stature that we had held for decades in areas that actually mattered.

But then was also a time where you didn’t have to outspend other schools to win games and have your students, staff and alumni enjoy the whole college football experience.

Instead of throwing money at something that had little to do with the actual mission of the university itself, Pitt tried to root out the better local high school players and then actually coach them to play football better than the other schools did.

The facilities didn’t have to have gold-plated toilets or a clubhouse game room where the student/athletes could unwind from a  tough game.

Was it better than in those days than it is now?

Well, we had better football teams in the olden days, that’s for sure.  Those nine national championships were won when we were Independent and not affiliated with any of the conferences.  We weren’t grovelling around in the Conference mud pits just to ensure another school didn’t get more money than we did year to year.   Heavens forbid if we got a million dollars less than WVU – they might win more games than we do!!  Honestly, I’d cry if it wasn’t so damned stupid.

I think it was, at the very least, more of an atmosphere that made it fun to be a Pitt fan. For people other than me and my family maybe it was different.  Maybe other families or fans felt that unless Pitt bettered some other school while playing a game it was a lesser institution than the team that won.  And you know that we have fans that feel that way now.

So in some ways it sure was better – simpler and I think a lot more enjoyable.   In other aspects I like the way it is now.  And maybe that’s because I have been able to keep a certain personal perspective about Pitt football intact.

When I tend to lose that perspective is if I’m very emotionally invested in something.  Sometimes that happens with my outlook on Pitt football.  That’s when I’ll look at the end of season’s won/loss column instead of looking at the whole shebang when trying to figure out if I am ‘happy’ about what happened or not.

I’ve written before that my favorite year of Pitt football lately has been the 2007 season.  We ended up with a losing 5-8 season, but so what?  I had a chance to watch kids come out of nowhere and bust their asses trying to win against hard odds.  I watched key players go down with injury and others, some who had only a few weeks of practice with other college players, get thrown in and win some ball games.

And I watched a 28 point underdog Pitt team kick the crap out of a arch-rival school and manhandle them to a loss to keep them from playing in a national championship game.

Only five wins?  Who cares! What I saw happen that season is what makes sports played by dedicated young men great.  They went out week after week and did the very best they could.

Other Pitt fans hated that year because we lost eight games. We didn’t win more than we lost so it had to suck, right?  There, my friends, is where we differ.

So contrary to what others think is my cynical and jaded attitude toward Pitt football I’ll say I’m the opposite.  I find joy in small things.  I like the kids who not only score TDs but graduate on time.  I like the players whose names we don’t recognize from Saturdays spending time with others less fortunate than they are.  I like to open the paper on Monday morning and not see a roll call of Pitt players who have been arrested over the weekend.

James Conner’s story is a heart-wrenching one with a huge silver lining to it.  But I want to see that undergraduate degree diploma in his hand while his Mother hugs him and cries for the hard work he did in the classroom – not just on the football field or in the doctor’s office.

I guess you’ll have to excuse my lack of unbridled enthusiasm toward the program nowadays because I have zero reason, and a hell of a lot more history of Pitt football to draw on than most fans, to think it will every simplify itself back to pure fun.

Back to when the players weren’t ‘special’, didn’t have excuses for their incredibly poor  behavior made by those who were supposed to be leading them, or be given outrageous amounts of money to declare for the NFL draft and thus slam the brakes on their education.

I don’t know how many times in my professional career I have counseled young men and women that quick money up front means nothing to your happiness and well-being in those longer, and less exciting, periods of your life.

Is anyone at Pitt sitting these  talented NFL-bound players down and really explaining how the world works when they step outside the sports cocoon?  Or are we just assuming these young men have their minds made up and no amount of concern can sway them?

So many times I have read or heard Pitt fans state that every player on the roster is only there to try to get into the NFL… or that is the dream of their parents and nothing we do can shed light on the actual odds of that happening for the young man.

I call bullshit on that. If  we aren’t putting as much effort and energy in preparing these student/athletes to live full, complete, and long lives after their time at Pitt as we are getting them ready for professional ball then shame on US and shame on the University.

I don’t mean the token support system that is there for appearances either – I mean really grabbing these young men and showing them the real and dirty facts of life… and how they can make theirs so much better by doing the right things now.

But here’s the bottom line with me as a Pitt fan today.   I will get very excited and really optimistic about Pitt football when it gives me this one simple thing:

I want a decent string of winning seasons that doesn’t have negative drama associated with them and doesn’t result in the firing for cause of head coaches.

That’s it – it doesn’t have to be a national championship although I’d love that. Throw a conference championship or two in there also. But hell, it doesn’t even have to be 11 or 12 wins. I’ll take  8, 9, or 10 wins as long as there are no asterisks attached to the record that says the head coach was fired because he (take your pick here):

Slept with a student cheerleader;   got her pregnant then paid hush money;   slept with a boosters wife;   let his agent publicly insult the university of Pittsburgh on a national stage;   let the animals run the zoo;   watched while his players committed multiple violent acts against others way smaller than they were including beating girls and drunken hit and run driving.

When Pitt can step away from all that crap and still win more than they lose I’ll be happy as a clam.  Do we have to throw untold millions of dollars toward salaries and always newer and better facilities that are used for basically one thing to get that?

I have to believe it isn’t so or what is the use?  But maybe I’m wrong and we do. Then at least can we take all of it seriously enough to believe that an extra win or two at the end of the season isn’t worth all the drama and the crap we went though not too long ago in trying to get just that?

Guess what?  I think Pat Narduzzi is just the guy to do it for us.  I think he’s got the backbone to look at things as important, if not more sometimes, than just wins.  I trust him to see these young men as his own and do right by them and not put their needs aside for a better record on the field because… he can do both equally well. It has been done before.

But in my opinion that  all hinges on the characters of the Chancellor and the Athletic Director.  If they aren’t 100% committed to doing the right thing in all aspects of  athletics at Pitt then it won’t happen.

If I am being true to my beliefs and feelings about the university I grew up with and still love today then I have to think that we can still keep high(er) standards and not sacrifice the joy and fun that should be associated with college sports and the good times for the fans who follow them.

When Pitt fails to do that – especially if and when they had the choice to take the high road – then I’ll keep being a ‘bad fan’ and try to point things out what could and should have been done better.

But cheer leading isn’t something I do well… if at all.

 

32 thoughts on “This Pitt Fan’s Point of View

  1. Excellent commentary Reed! Your passion for Pitt and tendency to keep it “real” make these a great read. I too am excited in the direction I feel Narduzzi is taking this program and feel the AD and Chancellor are guiding the ship toward success.

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  2. At times, I think some of the comments posted on this site and especially The Blather were counter-productive, but most of the blog articles were not. I do think there may be a chance when a prospect may look at a blog site and see a coach or player being unmercifully ripped to shreds and ridiculed to no end, he may think well maybe I’m better off elsewhere. But I doubt that happens very often.

    I also believe in HCPN and think he is the right guy for Pitt … but even more, I think the commitment made by the Pres and Administration is even more meaningful. In order t be competitive, the coaches need the same support as the ones they coach against …. and as well all know, that often hasn’t been the case at Pitt

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  3. Reed,

    It seems like you’re looking for the perfect Pitt world in college football and it’s never going to happen. Sometimes you’re just going to have to look the other way. I have no issue if Pitt brings in kids to help get them to the NFL because the school has already produced two terrific NFL stars who are great ambassadors in McCoy and Fitzgerald, and both only stayed two seasons. In most cases you have these kids for three years until they can turn pro, and they are getting three years of education in the meantime. It’s on the player to come back and get their degree. The door will always be held open by the school to finish.

    Who beat females because you make it sound like it was multiple players and it happened multiple times? I just remember one: the linebacker from D.C., Knox. Gone instantly.

    Sheard’s fight doesn’t count since who doesn’t stand up for a friend? Especially when the other guy is bigger than your friend. So funny how people ran with the report that Sheard threw the guy through the door while actually the two men were locked together and both went through the door with the other guy hitting it first, so, BOOM, Jabal threw him through the door. The store owner even said publicly that Jabal came down twice to apologize, even after the Sheard family paid for the door to be fixed.

    The drunk driver who hit the parked cars, that was a blessing he did that since no one was hurt. The kid was terrible and had a crucial fumble on a kick return versus Utah in that first game. He needed to go after screwing up. No harm done there.

    You say you find joy in small things and I’m sort of that way. What was better than having a coach who won 27 games in his final 39, worked under incompetent leaders and never cared how many people were in the stands? A Pitt guy would only work under those conditions and never leave.

    This doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with Narduzzi by any means. As a Youngstown guy myself it seems like Pitt really has a strong coach. I just can’t get over how terrible December 5th, 2010-2014 played out for the players and the fans. I hope to look back one day and say Dec. 5th, 2010-2014 was all worth it because it landed us coach Narduzzi.

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  4. Reed, so glad you haxe made PITTPOV your hobby. Your articles are all a good read and usually lead to great discussions.

    Looking forward to a great season. My time at Pitt ended when yours started so I experienced the dregs while on campus and the heights as a recent graduate. I am hoping the current administrative support of athletics extends to all sports and all athletes, not just football and basketball. AND THAT THIS SUPPORT IS SUSTAINED!

    Keep telling like it is and thanks for all you do.

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  5. @Reed Good article. I don’t always agree with you but one of the reasons I continue to read your articles is that your fair in your writing.

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  6. Austin TX, I agree about Sheard,, and was even told by some Southside cops who my friend knows that Sheard received the least penalty possible as it was clearly the other guy who was the protagonist. Yet, the most focus of that damning SI article was Sheard .. including picture. All Sheard has done since was be an exemplary player and person .. even being a finalist for the Walter Payton award a couple of years ago.

    But since you mentioned McCoy and Fitz, please note …

    – McCoy was in a nightclub brawl just this spring where he and his buddies battled off-duty Philly police He wasn’t charged because of insufficient evidence but I read the Philly police are very happy
    .- Fitz had a protective order against him several years ago by the mother of his child. Apparently, he and the Cardinals knew how to handle this since nothing was further reported.

    I agree all 3 have shed positive light on Pitt overall, but everybody had moments of weakness.

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  7. One thing that I enjoy about your writing is that you want the football program to be run as part of the university not the football program to run the university. This is what college sports needs to be. Otherwise what is the difference between the pro and college football other than the players in college are basically working for peanuts compared to their pro colleagues.

    As for your point of view, there are plenty of “rah, rah” Pitt blogs out there for people to read but very few blogs that give an honest perspective of the programs at Pitt. I enjoy and respect what you write. Maintain your course!

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  8. Reed. Great reading today. I look forward to reading you every day. I have watched Pitt football games since 1966. A lot of bad games bad teams and a good common thread-Pitt. I have had season tickets for the past fifteen years and look forward to a sound program with solid coaches I want Pitt to win and be respected in doing so. I do not want them to sacrifice the academics in the process win with class and go to class hail to Pitt keep up the good work.

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  9. Reed,

    I had to wait a while to first post on the PittPOV. Why I have no idea…still in denial I guess that the Blather is dead. That said, you are clearly firing on all cylinders and it is all GREAT. For you to worry about this all shows your true passion for Pitt. Keep worrying…but keep blogging.

    And do me a HUGE favor…find someone who can contribute on the BBall side! Yes Pitt is a football school, I suppose…but many of us are still equally or more passionate about BBall. Personally the dearth of scuttlebutt and blogging on Bball is killing me! Your one Bball post shows, you will not be the one to do this…and that is OK! But someone has to! And yes that is me being selfish! New coach, players thinking they are now free, summer ball implications, who will start and why…we need to DISCUSS!

    Anyway, thanks for your tremendous contribution with this site.

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  10. Reed if your ideal is to clean up the roster and oust the bad apples from the barrel, then let’s drop the name of Paul Chryst right here. Many discussions were prompted by HCPC’s decision not to permit Rushel Shell to return to the team after Shell had quit on his team mates. Even after a change of heart about his decision, Shell was not invited back. That was right at the beginning of Chryst’s tenure, and that was a very strong message to the rest of the team that did not go unheeded from then on. So give HCPC the credit he is due.

    He didn’t recruit the best athletes available but the kids that did matriculate to Pitt were good kids in the most part and they wanted to be at Pitt for the right reasons.

    I do agree with you on another one of your opinions too, you are correct in realizing that you usually suck at being a cheerleader for Pitt. And I say that with sincere appreciation for all you do with your top quality Pitt athletic blogs.

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  11. A new game:coach’s name in the column on the left; transgressions in the column on the right.
    Readers attempt to match them.
    Winners get magnets.

    And why are people reliving the Cincy game?
    Haven’t we suffered enough?
    Time to focus on Nova before crushing the Nits.

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  12. Dr Tom – I believe I have written in great lengths about what Paul Chryst was tasked with doing on condition of his hire as HC… and he did it. Believe me that in the conversations I have with Pitt people close to the program they are very grateful he was here for those three years. As I have said many times I don’t think the average Pitt fan understood just how bad off the football program was at that point.

    Fans point to Todd Graham’s less than stellar recruiting class of 2011 (which was blown up by the circumstances of 2010) and his same low quality 2012 class as his lack of recruiting talent. What people don’t realize is that no one in the local area wanted their sons or HS players to play at Pitt. Parents were horrified about what transpired over the 2010 year and HS coaches didn’t think Pitt was going to be stable enough to recommend to the recruits and their parents that they should go to Pitt… and they were correct.

    It wasn’t until Chryst purged the roster and got the program back on track before we had a decent recruiting class and that was his 2013 class which was rated #35 (Narduzzi’s last season was #32 to put it into perspective) and gave us almost all the starters we have today.

    But that was after he had been here a full year and Pitt could truthfully point to the changes they made, and a lot of behind the scene changes were made, and convince HS players, their parents and their coaches that we were on the right track again. I talked with many 2013 class parents and they told me that Pitt wasn’t even on their radar until Chryst sat down in their homes and talked about all the off-the-field issues that we were changing. Every coach talks about football and playing time but Chryst talked about taking better care of their kids than we had in the past.

    See, parents are smart – they know that the NFL is loooong odds so they concern themselves with two things. First is that their kids get a good education and second is that the other players on the roster, their sons’ peers, are going to be a good influence on their kids… or at least not bad ones.

    A while ago I published an article that showed we had over 28 or so players with disciplinary problems in the five years before Chryst was hired.

    Since then I think we can count on one hand his or Graham’s (or Narduzzi’s) recruits who have either had disciplinary issues or flunked out of school. Boyd and Blair come to mind but who else?

    This is exactly what my article of today addresses. It isn’t a coincidence that we change coaches and get rid of players and all of a sudden Pitt’s football program isn’t in the news for all the wrong reasons. It was damn hard work on peoples’ part at Pitt to make that happen.

    And here we are with a HC who looks like he doesn’t take any crap from the players. I couldn’t believe that there were many Pitt fans who thought that both Boyd and Blair shouldn’t have been suspended… that what the court system decided was enough.

    Well, leadership demands you are accountable for your charges actions – not some outside entity. Narduzzi knew that – I heard about the suspensions some time before they were announced and had to bite my tongue from praising him before that news went public. And the best part was no one in the Pitt administration had to twist his arm or threaten him to do it. Why?

    Because Narduzzi ‘gets it’. He seems to understand that winning a ball game isn’t more important than doing the right thing in other areas of his responsibilities. And I’ll tell you something else, there is no doubt in my mind those two players would have still been suspended even if we were playing Penn State in that opening game of 2015.

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  13. Well…..you said don’t hold back….

    “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” – Lou Holtz / Arkansas – Notre Dame

    “When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath / Alabama

    “A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.” – Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

    “There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes / Ohio State (James Franklin on 9/10)

    “I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” – Bob Devaney / Nebraska

    “I never graduated from Iowa. But I was only there for two terms – Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.” – Alex Karras / Iowa

    “I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.” – Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

    “Always remember Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David.” – Shug Jordan / Auburn

    “I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me .” He said,”Well, Walt, we took a look at you, and you weren’t any good.” – Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

    “Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel.” – Bobby Bowden / Florida State

    After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his post-game message to his team was, “All those who need showers, take them.” – John McKay / USC

    “If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” – Murray Warmath / Minnesota

    “The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

    “We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.” – Darrell Royal / Texas

    “We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.” – John McKay / USC

    “I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players.” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

    Ohio State ‘s Urban Meyer on one of his players:”He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”

    Why do Tennessee fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.

    What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs? Drool.

    How many Ohio State freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb? None. That’s a sophomore course.

    Two PSU football players were walking in the woods. One of them said, “Look, a dead bird.”The other looked up in the sky and said,”Where?”

    What do you say to a Florida State University football player dressed in a three-piece suit? “Will the defendant please rise.”

    If three Rutgers football players are in the same car, who is driving? The police officer.

    How can you tell if a Clemson football player has a girlfriend? There’s tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck.

    What do you get when you put 32 WVU cheerleaders in one room? A full set of teeth.

    University of Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves.

    How is the Kansas football team like an opossum? They play dead at home and get killed on the road.

    Why did the Tennessee linebacker steal a police car? He saw “911” on the side and thought it was a Porsche.

    How do you get a former PSU football player off your porch? Pay him for the pizza.

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    1. I love those quotes and thanks for the laughs.

      I do believe that athletics are a huge component of a well rounded university. I still go to some local universities and colleges here in MD to watch lacrosse, women’s volleyball, baseball, wrestling, etc… and while those aren’t the big ticket sports (BB & FB) they are full of close games and all the qualities we want to see in a sporting match. Plus they are usually free or a nominal charge.

      I just firmly believe that two big sports have been taken over by outside interests (mainly TV) and in a real sense distances the FB & BB programs from the university itself. Not just the tail wagging the dog, but the tail growing so long it curls around and strangles the dog’s neck (PSU’s scandal, Baylor, SMU, etc…)

      But it really is because of the history I have with Pitt that makes my stomach drop when I see the salaries for the FB & BB HCs get per year then look up what tenured professors are making.

      And here’s why – as I said a great HC can help make their players lives better in many ways on and off the field… but the reality is that a good solid tenured professor – regular ones plus the higher ups like those sitting in endowed chairs and heads of academic departments – get maybe 1/20 of those salaries yet influence thousands of times more students year after year after year..

      Yes, we live in a capitalistic society where your skills are worth what the market can bear how sad is it that we value (pay) a guy like Todd Graham a million dollars over our own professors or administrators, etc… who actually make the university what it is.

      I know – that is idealist and I am one albeit with a realistic streak. I just hope we can hit the ‘sweet spot’ that many, many other universities have done where athletics dovetails into the university’s mission statement and isn’t be a separate entity that needs huge money to feed the beast.

      Maybe with the increased revenues from the ACC monies we are getting to that point, I don’t really know. I do know that any public statements, documents, and such that try to explain the financial aspects of Pitt’s athletics are smoke and mirrors.

      Regardless – If we are losing money in those two sports on a continued basis then that is the time I think you take a hard look at exactly what we want the university to be in the long run.

      And that means that I don’t necessarily want Pitt to try to match any huge salary offers Narduzzi might have dangled in front of him by other programs. I’ll keel over if Pitt eve starts paying $4-8M dollars for one person’s salary… I don’t care who it is.

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  14. Just watching the Dem. convention. When Pa came up on the roll call what did you see. A Pitt towel in the camera frame. We are………everywhere! H2P

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  15. Look at the view of that stadium and the backdrop of the campus. That is heavenly, and to think it is never again b/c of a tool from Nebraska. There is no backdrop that beautiful except maybe 2-3 in all of college football. Hell Heinz doesn’t accentuate the city like PNC Park does. No reason football isn’t played on campus. I know 100’s of schools who would never let that shit fly. You play the game where you go to class and eat and drink. Idiotic. All for a basketball arena we never needed. Play at the Consol Energy Arena. SMH

    Nice write up Reed..

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  16. I drink the Pitt Kool Aid, all day, all night, and in my sleep.

    I don’t even put Vodka in my Pitt Kool Aid, it is too good by itself.

    I think this upcoming season, even if we just *squeak* to 6 wins and get a bowl-berth (da*m right we better at LEAST get 6 wins and a bowl game lol) —- what I want to see is no more of that Whack “Same Old Pitt” of the least 10 years with Wanny and Chryst where our squad goes out some games and look like a bunch of scared, glassy-eyed wussies who play scared.

    As long as Narduzzi and co. make every guy on this time go all-out, all-heart, all 12 games (plus the bowl game) that is great progress.

    Even last year, with Narduzzi’s fire and his new high-energy staff, Pitt came out weak and flat against North Carolina, Notre Dame, Miami, and against Navy in the bowl game. That is frankly 4 games Pitt basically threw in the white towel before the game even began. Forget any window-dressing points we added late in those contests.

    Like you said Reed, I agree 100% : Seeing our Pitt Panthers play their absolute hearts-out, have a blast, and go 110% is what makes a wonderful Pitt season no matter what.

    —- And think about it, it’s simple science: Narduzzi has to transform this Pitt program. From the Glass-Eyed, no accountability, soft-underbelly Character of Wannstedt’s teams, to the Hot-Mess “Lost Year” of Todd Graham, and finally from the, “Aw-Shucks”, “Oh well we lost to Youngstown State it’s okay”, Low-Heat Character of the Chryst regime.

    If Narduzzi truly implements the vision he always articulates, “All-In, 110%, Ferocious, Fast, Physical and relentless attitude” — and with the talent he continues to bring in, Pitt Is IT in the ACC with Florida State, Clemson and Miami for the future.

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  17. #ConnerStrong

    #KingConner

    http://www.theplayerstribune.com/james-conner-pittsburgh-college-football-cancer/

    ^^^ James Conner’s own words for “The Player’s Tribune” website about *Beasting* his adversity.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/17141539/james-conner-pittsburgh-panthers-running-back-full-participant-practice-opens

    ^^^ If you missed it: Pat Narduzzi on Nationally Broadcast Sportscenter speaking about James Conner+ a preseason article

    I hope James Conner knocks some PSU defenders (especially some PSU D-backs in the back-level!!) around like cheap rag-dolls 🙂

    Like

  18. Chryst was uneven in his discipline. K.K. Smith was able to stay, but the tight end and Eric Williams, a tremendous student BTW, were kicked off the team. None of the guys tested positive for any kind of drugs but the latter two were goners. The big O-lineman from Lebanon, PA, served his one-year suspension then came back and Chryst sent him away.

    Paul cleaned house based on kids who didn’t fit his system a majority of the time. His tenure was mediocre based on his record, 19-19. It was good riddance to his staff after the bowl debacle. That staff should have gone 26-12 or 25-13 but didn’t based on bad coaching.

    How can schools like USC, Michigan, ND, Texas, Ohio State, be football crazy yet not jeopardize its academics? Those are great universities of higher education. Anyone who thinks not is a fool.

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      1. Why does a meeting need to be called? They were friends with a bad dude, but weren’t doing drugs as the tests showed. Williams was probably busy studying since he was a terrific student.

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  19. @Reed

    I think you do a wonderful job with this blog and did the same when writing for the Blather.

    It helps connect me to fellow Pitt fans just like yourself and learn a lot of information about my favorite football team that I didn’t know and probably couldn’t find out otherwise.

    Sometimes I think part of being a Pitt includes an addiction to pain and the negativity. If that weren’t the case I guess we could easily root for a winner (Alabama, OSU, FSU, MSU, etc.).

    I have enjoyed following the team since 1992 and I must say just like your experience more bad has been experienced than good. However, it makes the wins that much sweeter.

    I find it interesting that you enjoyed the 5-8 season because I too really liked that team. The climb to the top in many cases is more enjoyable than the view from above. In fact that team in 07 reminded me a lot of the 1999 team. I think they finished 5-6, but we had a dynamic receiver in Antonio Byrant and Kevin Barlow was growing as an RB. We battled VT and Michael Vick and Corey Moore to end in a shut out but came up just short. Then we beat the Golden Domers to shut down Pitt Stadium. You just knew the next year was going to be better and it was.

    Just like those teams I think there is reason for hope for another step forward this year.

    H2P and keep up the good work Reed!

    Like

    1. Pitt went 5-7 in 2007. The big difference between the 1999 team and the 2007 squad is in ’99 there was way better QB play. The 2007 team had a better ground attack and a better offensive line. That 2007 team should have gone 6-6 or 7-5. You can make a case maybe 8-4 had some plays been made when they were there to be made.

      Like

  20. When is the first day of fall camp?

    Are there going to be any open practices?

    How much media access will there be?

    Just wondering.

    Like

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