There is always a lot of talk and writing in the media generated after a big win and that sure is the case with our Pitt team this week. Let’s get to some of it:
As this is a current topic of discussion on here, this is what Joe Starky of the P-G thinks about Pitt’s “All-Time” wins and where this last Clemson game land on that list:
5. Pitt 41, Notre Dame 38, Nov. 13, 2004: Like Tyler Palko, all Pitt fans were so “proud of their $#*@!@#$%%^* football team!” Pitt hadn’t won at Notre Dame since 1986. Palko became the first opposing QB to throw for five TDs at Notre Dame Stadium. Once again, we must leave out some classics here, including Pitt winning at Notre Dame in four overtimes in 2008, Pitt beating a top-3 Virginia Tech team in 2002 (and the Lousaka Polite game against the Hokies a year later), and even Pitt 12, Penn State 0.
4. Pitt 42, Penn State 39, Sept. 10, 2016: What a game! Glorious day. Rivalry renewed. Stands packed with fans from both sides. Tons of big plays. Think maybe they should play this game every year? Penn State, are you listening?
3. Pitt 16, West Virginia 13, Nov. 26, 2004: Against a ridiculously talented WVU team, Palko capped a dramatic late drive with the winning score. That put Pitt one win away from the Fiesta Bowl and its only BCS bowl bid (remember the BCS?).
2. Pitt 43, Clemson 42, Saturday: “The Rally in Death Valley.” One of the finest college football games I have ever seen. I still can’t believe ol’ Dabo, after throwing about 347 passes, decided to run it twice in a row. Pitt played utterly without fear.
1. Pitt 13, West Virginia 9, Dec. 1, 2007: I still put this game slightly above “The Rally,” because it was an ancient rival, because WVU needed only this win to play for the National Championship, and because Pitt was a 28.5-point underdog. The game will reverberate in West Virginia for decades. Maybe centuries.
It’s hard to argue about any of those entries – commenters on here have their own minds about these things. For me though any major conference win has to be given higher priority than out of conference ones – but that’s just my take. I think the seasons are all about conference play.
The Tribune-Review’s Kevin Gorman, who used to have the Pitt football beat, put up an interesting article about the importance of the Clemson win:
(Pat Narduzzi) “Based on my phone blowing up,” he said, “it was bigger than the Penn State win.”
I’ll go a step further: It was bigger than Penn State’s 24-21 victory over No. 2 Ohio State, as the Panthers ended the nation’s longest home win streak at 21 games at Death Valley while the Nittany Lions won at home in Happy Valley.
And it has the promise to be even bigger than Pitt’s 13-9 victory at No. 2 West Virginia in 2007, which knocked the Mountaineers out of the BCS Championship Game.
But Pitt is at a point where it shouldn’t be satisfied with serving as the spoiler.
I believe Gorman feels that way because Pitt has a better winning record this season than we did in 2007 when we ended 5-7. At the very least we’ll be 6-6… but really more like 7-5 or even 8-4 again. I’m leaning toward 8-4 but the good passing Syracuse QB scares me with the defensive backfield we have.
So even if we go 7-5 the bowl selection people will allow our Clemson upset to weigh heavily in where Pitt finally ends up. Here is why – both times Pitt has been featured as a national TV game (Penn State and Clemson) we won both games… and both were very exciting nail-biter games to watch
That will mean more viewers will be inclined to watch Pitt in the middle of all those post-season bowl games (of which there are too many) and thus the bowl itself will make more money.
Even if the PSU win wasn’t actually an upset for us it was a well-known rivalry game and a lot of long-time college football fans remember what they watched around the Thanksgiving football game year in and year out when the two teams played on a regular basis.
On another note – I want to take a minute to rebut what one of the POV readers, a long-time Pitt friend of mine, has said on here earlier. That being that I have constantly picked against Pitt in my game predictions that we post up the day before the game.
He’s referenced this to somehow allude to his belief that I don’t like the team or the head coach – neither of which is true. But below is how I predicted each game would play out and how the games actually finished. One caveat here – I pretty much suck at predictions:
So you can see here that I favored Pitt rather heavily in the first part of the season, even against the favored OK State and North Carolina teams… until I began to realize we have the worse pass defense in Pitt’s long football history.
Even with that in the 2nd half of the season to date the times I predicted against Pitt I was correct 2 out of 3 times – missing only the Clemson game. Of course I now realize that I was the only Pitt fan to feel that we might actually lose that game… 🙂
Anyway – I don’t think this team is poor at all but I do think that had we a semi-decent pass defense we may well be 9-0 at this point. For that I do lay the blame on the coaching staff. If we don’t make some changes with that elephant in the room issue over the off-season I think we’ll waste games we can win again next year just like we have done this season.
It is great we have six wins, I truly feel that, but I also have to be honest when I write my thoughts and opinions on here.
I have been waiting for Pat Narduzzi to show me something concrete that he’s a better head coach for Pitt that the previous regimes were. Winning eight games last year was nice – but really it was only one more than Chryst had a few years back. One thing I needed to see from HCPN was a big conference win and he did that last Saturday.
So – now that is accomplished I feel more comfortable in my thinking that he may be the HC to take us to a conference championship in the near future. You may remember that very many Pitt fans pointed to the lack of doing that, winning the BE conference, as the reason Wannstedt was fired after the 2010 season, so obviously that meant a great deal to Pitt fans then.
Which is why his beating Clemson last week means a great deal to me now. Pitt usually loses when they are underdogs in important conference games (Hell, even as favored ones also), but not so much now though, eh?
I’m looking forward to the Duke game and driving up to see another win in-person at Heinz. We’ll have the normal schedule of pre-game articles starting Thursday with a “Know the Enemy” piece up then.
HTP !!! and here’s to 7-4 !!