One of the first positions football fans look at in determining how good a team is is the Quarterback.  That is where the offensive plays begin and his play, good or bad, usually will determine how well the ball is moved up field and how many points are scored.

We have had a long run of QBs on our Pitt teams that looked like they would be fine on paper and some turned out to be OK on the field also. Others never really lived up to the recruiting hype and/or blew it when they had their chances to finally get into the starting position. 

Over the last 20 year we have had Tyler Palko, Pat Bostick, Bill Stull, Tino Sunseri, Tom Savage, Chad Voytik and just now ending with Nate Peterman.  Not exactly the equivalent to the Yankee’s Murder’s Row of the late 1920s, but then again some came in and played well for us.

But quietly this season, almost on tippy-toes or cats’ paws, Nate Peterman put up a year that is almost unrivaled by any Pitt QB in a very long time.  Let’s look at how he stacked up with Pitt’s more recent QBs’ play.

Local boy Tyler Palko was a fan favorite and ascended to the starting role under Walt Harris back in 2003. He had a good arm, tons of football knowledge and moxie enough to satisfy the hard-core and physical-game loving Western PA fans.  Pitt was 21-15 when he was starting. Here are Palko’s career stats:

TYLER PALKO

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2002 FR QB 6 2 3 66.7 13 4.3 4.3 0 0 103.1
2004 SO QB 12 230 409 56.2 3067 7.5 7.9 24 7 135.2
2005 JR QB 11 193 341 56.6 2392 7.0 6.8 17 9 126.7
2006 SR QB 12 220 322 68.3 2871 8.9 9.2 25 9 163.2
Total  41 645 1075 60.0 8343 7.8 7.9 66 25 140.8

Following Palko we went to another local player in Bill Stull as the starter for 2007.  That lasted less than three games until Stull was injured and journeyman QB Kevan Smith replaced him for the Michigan State game.  After Smith’s injury 5* recruit Pat Bostick, a true FR, was prematurely but necessarily called into action.

Bostick wasn’t ready to be a starter and it showed in his play as the team went 3-6 over the course of the rest of the season, ending 2007 with a 5-7 record… but beating West Virginia and knocking them out of national championship contention with a 13-9 win in Morgantown. That was sweet and truth be told that was Bostick’s defining moment at Pitt – coupled with a win over Notre Dame later in his spotty career.

This is the career stat sheet for Pat Bostick. Greatest kid in the world but never really panned out for us in the long run.

PAT BOSTICK

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2007 FR QB 10 155 252 61.5 1500 6.0 4.3 8 13 111.7
2008 SO QB 6 22 41 53.7 270 6.6 2.7 1 4 97.5
2010 JR QB 4 7 11 63.6 44 4.0 -4.2 0 2 60.9
Total  20 184 304 60.5 1814 6.0 3.7 9 19 107.9

After Bostick we rebounded with Stull for the 2008 & 2009 seasons, now playing again after sitting out that ’07 season. Stull’s career at Pitt spread out over five years but only in those last two did he make a real impact in the W/L column when we went 19-7.

BILL STULL

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2005 FR QB 2 1 2 50.0 17 8.5 8.5 0 0 121.4
2006 SO QB 4 6 8 75.0 69 8.6 11.1 1 0 188.7
2007 JR QB 1 14 20 70.0 177 8.9 9.9 1 0 160.8
2008 JR QB 12 188 330 57.0 2356 7.1 6.3 9 10 119.9
2009 SR QB 13 209 321 65.1 2633 8.2 8.4 21 8 150.6
Total 42 418 681 61.4 5252 7.7 7.5 32 18 136.4

Following Stull we had the QB everybody seemed to love to hate.  Tino Sunseri took over the starting job in 2010, Wannstedt’s last season, and kept it for a full three years.  Even with three different HCs in Wannstedt, Graham and Chryst, with the accompanying three different offensive coordinators, he remained very productive in his play.  The problem was that his decision making and play under pressure didn’t rise to the good level that his stats show.

TINO SUNSERI

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2009 FR QB 5 10 17 58.8 114 6.7 9.1 2 0 154.0
2010 SO QB 13 223 346 64.5 2572 7.4 7.2 16 9 137.0
2011 JR QB 13 247 385 64.2 2616 6.8 6.0 10 11 124.1
2012 SR QB 13 256 393 65.1 3288 8.4 9.1 21 3 151.5
Total  44 736 1141 64.5 8590 7.5 7.5 49 23 137.9

Once Sunseri departed Paul Chryst decided to skip over 4* recruit Chad Voytik who was slated to start in his rsFR year of 2013.  Chryst instead brought in strong-armed transfer QB Tom Savage who had been out of competition for a couple years.  Savage was a good stop-gap measure for us as he stabilized an offense that hadn’t performed all that well the year before.  He went 7-6 for us that season.

TOM SAVAGE

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2013 SR QB 13 238 389 61.2 2958 7.6 7.6 21 9 138.2

Then Chad Voytik got his shot at the starting job and did a serviceable job.  In some spots he played well in others he showed first year jitters and played less well.  In his only year as a starter he led the team to a 6-7 season. 

CHAD VOYTIK

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2013 FR QB 4 6 11 54.5 116 10.5 10.5 0 0 143.1
2014 SO QB 13 176 287 61.3 2233 7.8 7.8 16 7 140.2
2015 JR QB 7 16 25 64.0 112 4.5 3.5 1 1 106.8
Total  24 198 323 61.3 2461 7.6 7.6 17 8 137.7

Over the offseason between the 2014 and 2015 years Pat Narduzzi and his OC  took a page out of Paul Chryst’s book and lured ex-Tennessee QB Nate Peterman to Pitt to finish out his last two years of eligibility.  It was a controversial move in a lot of ways because fans and the media assumed that Voytik would remain the starter and build on his decent 2014 year.

But once the 2015 season’s fall camp started it was evident that Peterman was brought in to fully compete for the main role.  Voytik’s play in camp faltered; Peterman showed a bigger and more accurate arm and after the incumbent played, rather poorly, the first two games of the ’15 year Voytik was sat down and Peterman has held the reins of the offense ever since.

Peterman is an interesting type of player in that he doesn’t do anything so well he makes you sit up suddenly and take big notice.  Not like Tom Savage’s downfield passing, or Tyler Palko’s scrambles or Chad Voytik’s running ability.

But what Peterman had going for him was a good combination of all those things – in moderation as it were.  He was accurate on the short and intermediate passes, threw out patterns well and when his OC called deep plays (mostly with Matt Canada in 2016) he showed he could get the ball downfield quickly and with decent accuracy.

He could also run the ball surprisingly well as shown by his 172 carries for 525 yards (3.1 ypc) and 5 TDs over his two years.  However this is a very interesting tidbit – if you take away his minus “sacks allowed” yardage it shows that when he kept the ball and ran forward or was in a called QB running play he gained 6.0 ypc.  Get that folks?  When he meant to run the ball he picked up very nice yardage on average.

BTW – Peterman was sacked only 10 times for only 75 yards in 2016 which is excellent and 3rd in the nation.  Here are his stats for his tenure at Pitt:

NATE PETERMAN

Year Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2015 JR QB 13 193 313 61.7 2287 7.3 7.4 20 8 139.0
2016 SR QB 13 185 306 60.5 2855 9.3 10.1 27 7 163.4
Total 26 378 619 61.1 5142 8.3 8.7 47 15 151.1

What jumps out at me, and why I say his last year was a “Quiet Storm” is that even with the handcuffs put on him in the beginning of the year – when Narduzzi and Canada publicly stated that the running game was going to be dominant and it was, Peterman slowly but surely progressed game-to-game to finish out with one of the strongest years a Pitt QB has had in the last two decades.

Prior to this season I wrote that I’d bet readers a beer that Peterman would have a better season than Tyler Palko’s very good 2006 season and here’s how they stacked up.  Note that I think the key to gauging a QB’s impact and success in the offense revolves mainly around his passing efficiency rate.  I think I won that bet.

PETERMAN V PALKO

Year QB G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2006 Palko 12 220 322 68.3 2871 8.9 9.2 25 9 163.2
2016 Nate P. 13 185 306 60.5 2855 9.3 10.1 27 7 163.4

Peterman barely inches out Palko in my opinion although that 68.3% completion rate of Palko’s is damned good.  Palko’s team had a 6-6 year that season and missed a bowl game; Peterman was 8-5 this year with a bowl loss.

That is Peterman as compared to only Palko – but I’ll say that Nate Peterman’s career play at Pitt stacks up pretty darn well with historical Pitt QBs also.  Here is a modified table showing our best career QB ratings – interesting stuff to review and you’ll notice Peterman’s career 151.1 rating is right near the top:

PITT QB CAREER LEADERS

 NAME

GP

AT CM  Com%  YDS  TD  INT  Y/A  Y/G  RAT ▾
Nate Peterman 26 619 378 61.10 5142 47 15 8.3 197.7 151.11
 Matt Cavanaugh 22 175 95 54.29 1534 16 10 8.8 69.7 146.66
 Tyler Palko 44 1075 645 60.00 8343 66 25 7.8 189.6 140.80
 Tino Sunseri 44 1141 736 64.50 8590 49 23 7.5 195.2 137.88
 Rod Rutherford 46 842 458 54.39 6724 60 30 8.0 146.2 137.86
 Bill Stull 32 681 418 61.38 5252 32 18 7.7 164.1 136.38
 Dan Marino 44 1204 693 57.56 8597 79 69 7.1 195.4 127.73
 John Congemi 44 994 550 55.33 6467 42 32 6.5 147.0 117.49
 Sal Genilla 20 166 88 53.01 1156 7 11 7.0 57.8 112.17
 Pat Bostick 18 304 184 60.53 1814 9 19 6.0 100.8 107.92

What I didn’t realize is that Peterman is at the top or close to it in almost every statistical category listed; #1 in yards per game; #1 QB rating and #3 in yards per attempt.  Those are all important productions.

Peterman will be a hard act to follow especially for the supposed 2017 starter Thomas MacVitte which is why Narduzzi replicated his personnel move of 2015 and grabbed another transfer QB in Max Browne.

Fans didn’t know what to expect back in 2015 when Peterman showed up but were were, I believe, very pleasantly surprised. This last week we just had transfer Browne arrive on campus.  His will be a short time at Pitt with only one year of NCAA eligibility left to play.  But we need that QB position to produce this coming year and we need it to really show up given the state of our diminished OL and RBs.

If Browne can replicate Peterman’s 2016 year we’ll be sitting pretty.

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146 thoughts on “POV: Peterman’s Quiet Storm

  1. Gasman … if you have BPPV – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo( not to be confused with that dreadful bowl in Birmingham) try the canolith repositioning procedure or Brandt-Daroff exercises – vids on You-tube.. if there is an inner ear infection then meds are needed … speaking of meds ..a shout out to DARKIE for posting those Meineke highlights – we finally beat those Phucking Heels… next year we have’em at the Ketchup Bottle… I am bringing my Tarheel buddies, staying at the Sheraton at Station Sq, riding the riverboat n drinking beer and sitting in club seat so I can drink liquor while watching our boys beat the Heels.

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  2. As we still work on Upit….ike

    H2Pt, I’ll throw in this. I’ve dealt with vertigo for years and years and have been diagnosed with Meniere’s by a few ENT’s and one neurologist. A couple other ENT’s do not think it’s Meniere’s. As you can plainly detect, I’ve been to many specialists. I don’t want you to get discouraged though. Frequent flying, certain foods, stress, drinking and even the time of year can be certain triggers. Have you had any dissociation experiences in your past? At this point I’m thinking a problem in one or both ears. Any stuffiness in your ear or ears? Going to a neurologist is a great idea but he will probably just forward you to an ENT! Pick a good one with real references from someone you know, I could go on forever……good luck

    Hey Gasman, great advice and are you working in the area, UPMC? I may know you. I know many PITT fans and family who work in your field……ike

    H2P

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  3. Thanks Ike! Sorry for your struggles as well. Just want to feel normal again. What do you mean disassociation? Mom just passed and have some stress but nothing major. Going for fress air walk and getting gingerale. It is 26 degrees here so air is pretty fresh Gasman! Haha

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  4. funny how things work out. The other night Pitt BB does something they could never do under J Dixon ,,, beat UVa. Then today, they go to Cuse … a team JD pretty much mastered, and they look silly despite 4 seniors on the team.

    Meanwhile, JD takes his team, with 2 frosh starters, to Morgantown today and gives Top 10 “Eers alll they could handle … until a sequence with about 3 minutes left when Konate from Kennedy Christian blocks a shot on one end and dunks on the other, followed by a technical on JD … which broke the game open. Konate, you may recall, is a 6’9 shot-blocker who JD either ignored or was outrecruited by Huggy Bear. Whatever, he would have been exactly what the Pitt team needs right now

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  5. Dissociation means you may feel like you’re only witnessing events unfolding for a brief time. Some call it an out of body experience. Stress and being ultra tired is a big trigger and you have had to deal with so much in your recent life. I know you’ll see the right people to feel better soon. Good Luck….ike

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  6. Konate is a beast for sure. Doesn’t he have a brother? Dixon got lazy the past few years and that’s why I’m glad he’s gone.

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  7. Jan. 6, 2017

    PITTSBURGH–Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi announced the additions of four freshmen and a graduate transfer student who have enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh for the start of the spring academic term.

    The Panthers’ freshmen enrollees are quarterback Kenny Pickett, offensive lineman Jerry Drake, defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre and punter Kirk Christodoulou. Additionally, quarterback Max Browne has joined Pitt as a graduate transfer from Southern California.

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  8. And I noticed on that video, they have those horrendous white tops/blue pants, blue helmet ug uni’s to the right of Max. We were 0-2 in those things. Both horrendous losses. (tarholes & bigjoke team)

    PLEASE BURN THOSE HIDEOUS THINGS !!!

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  9. Pretty funny stuff, they postponed this game because of a dusting of snow. The snowflakes don’t like snow flurries.

    Snow and ice started to hit the Triangle on Friday night and continued during the day on Saturday. The ACC’s general weather policy is if both teams, the game officials and game operations crew can make it to the site, the game will go on as scheduled.

    The game referees were in Chapel Hill on Saturday, as was the UNC team. N.C. State, which practiced at the Smith Center on Friday afternoon but returned to Raleigh, was willing to make the bus ride down I-40 on Saturday afternoon before the ACC and UNC made the decision to postpone the game.

    “We were prepared to travel to Chapel Hill for this evening’s game, since both teams and the officials were available. While we are disappointed in the postponement, we look forward to playing tomorrow,” Debbie Yow, N.C. State athletic director, said in a statement.

    There were safety concerns specifically on UNC’s end, with the wintry weather about getting the game operations crew safely to and from the game.

    Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/article125164349.html#storylink=cpy

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  10. Couple tidbits that may interest some of you:

    Kirk Christodoulou the punter commit from Australia needed a helping hand his first weekend in the Burgh with his bed linens. Turns out Jordan Berry of the Steelers and also from Australia drove him to Targets to buy some comforts.

    Max Browne’s host when he visited PITT was a former teammate at USC and another Steeler, Xavier Grimble.

    Sharing the south-side facility does pay off.

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  11. Plymouth State: announced a historic hire Friday, naming Kim Bownes the first female athletic director since the position was established in 1950.

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  12. Pitt is down to three OC candidates, imo. Two are coaching for the Packers tomorrow and the other will be coaching with Clemscum Monday night.

    Patience – good things are coming. I keep telling myself that…

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  13. Erie let me make a guess on the possible OC coaches you posted about. The GB coaches would be either Tom Clements(GB asst head coach) or Alex Van Pelt(GB QB coach). MY Clemson coach guess is Brandon Streeter the Clemson QB coach and recruiting coordinator.—-If it’s either of the GB coaches gets the job I hope they can bring an Aaron Rogers clone with them. If we end up getting the Clemson coach, maybe he can bring a clone of the current Clemson QB with him.

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  14. jrnpitt – 2 of 3 were right on. Luke Getsy replaces Tom Clements on my prediction list.

    One other thought is that one of the three comes as a co-offensive coordinator/QB coach and Tim Salem is promoted to co-offensive coordinator/TE coach.

    In that scenario, who calls the plays? – I’d hope it is the new coach, with Canada’s playbook in hand.

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  15. Reporting from PGH… was at a party at Posvar’s daughter’s house last night. Interesting football talk as always. FLASH: No OCS in our lifetime. No.word on an OC though. Here is a rather sad fact – only one of the many friends I grew up with read the POV. A bunch of others graduated from Pitt but don’t care about the football team. As a matter of fact there were a ton of UPMC people at the party (Lisa works there) and no one cares about Pitt football but one very pretty young lady.

    My son came up with me to meet my old friends and old girlfriends (3 were there) and he started hitting on the lady I lived with for 4 years back in the day. I though it was hilarious but he was embarrassed.

    That may not be actual news. Getting out of town before the Steelers game starts though – should have a season wrap-up podcast out by late this afternoon.

    BTW – Pitt POV is now a LLC. I am my own boss now and am giving myself a raise immediately from $.10 and hour to $.15. I’ll spend the extra dough on drinks at our first tailgate.

    Also – I’ll try to get the Spring Game date firmed up for the golf outing plans. I can’t walk around but will be the bouncer in a cart when fights break out.

    Guys – I don’t see any real earthshaking recruits on the horizon who may sign with us before LOI Day. This class, if it stays the same quality throughout as is now isn’t getting me all that excited. I’ll probably drive up for the LOI Day dog and Pony show though if anyone is interested in skipping work that day. Which is Feb 1st this year – coming up soon and is on a Wednesday.

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  16. Reed – Never say never on OCS. All it takes is an AD that can build a coalition of supporters. If a feasibility study shows a healthy ROI and a benefit to constituents besides the university, it will have a strong chance of happening. Now lifetime is also subjective. But, I believe in 15-20 years there will be one; otherwise, Pitt has already decided without any study to hitch a ride with the Steelers and will be playing in a domed stadium far out in Washington County.

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  17. One must ask why alumni dont care. Why do locals dont care. And its not just football but sports in general. Maybe its because there was no special connection via sports (aided by an OCS). Maybe its because their memories are that of previous administrations that tried their hardest to give Pitt the death penalty by marginalizing athletics. Maybe its because Pitt has not nurtured traditions on campus that support its teams and represent the school. My point is Pitt has to give reason for people to care. Its done the opposite since Fazio. I still have hope with the right leadership…the right AD. Make Pitt great again.

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  18. Football culture wise … the University of Pittsburgh is much more of the norm than the exception. (more on this below)

    ESPN, CBS Sports, etc … spends 90% of their airtime and articles on 10% of the teams, and with the exception of Notre Dame, all of them are similar in that they are large schools with lots of alums, have a rich FB history, and reside in an fertile FB recruiting area. It also helps not to be located in an NFL city.

    There are a few variations … Clemson is not that large of a university but is located in a very fertile area …. but success breeds success. The top 10% is a very difficult club to join Clemson is a recent addition but we’ll see how long they stay. After nearly 15 years of unparalleled success (but included some severe sanctions), the U of Miami has never returned to the limelight … despite its great recruiting situation.

    IMO, these top FB schools may have lost its priorities …. as we have seen the last few years, the students/alums at the Dairy School are guilty here. Fact is that PSU, OSU, Mich and Texas are really accomplished academic schools (as is Pitt) …. yet the standard of measure these days is how good the FB teams are. Heck, look at Miami … it is actually a very good school, very high in academic rankings … yet very few people realize it.

    I say that the Posvar crowd has its priorities correct …. but that’s just me.

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  19. Tx, I think you nailed it in your above post. PITT football was replace by PITT basketball as the featured sport in Oakland the past decade or so. Jamie had the Taj-mahal built for him on campus and the students and locals flocked to the place where there should have stood a football stadium. With the football program being purposely d-emphazied it began to crumble and almost fell completely apart. That statement alone goes to show what loyal fans PITT football really has. We’ve stuck with our gridiron young man through thick and the very thin.

    PITT will have to find an alternative place to play their games as it’s plain as day the Steelers won’t be playing in downtown Pittsburgh for very much longer…

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  20. Local blue collar types are in the Steeler cult and can’t identify with the college game. See Pitt as elitist.

    Like Reed mentioned, I know many Pitt grads who could care less about Pitt Sports, or at best are lukewarm and pay little attention.

    Pitt has never been a rah rah place, far from it. Some of it is the commuter nature of the school, the size and that it has a large graduate presence.

    Something for the new AD to work on.

    Having been on other campuses, there is much more school spirit emphasized by the administration.

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  21. I think that basketball and the Pete has done great things for school spirit overall. I get a tear in my eye when I watch the Zoo. That rah rah experience is something that those kids will remember forever.

    No reason that Pitt can’t excel in both sports.

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  22. I don’t know where you get that the Steelers are leaving the North Side. The area around the stadium is still being developed and is finally becoming a destination point for restaurants and bars. A Pitt bar would certainly help, somewhere for fans to congregate for away games. To bad Ditka didn’t put his steakhouse on the North side and make it more Pitt Centric.

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  23. I find school spirit much higher down here among these southern and Texas schools. Often the focal point is the OCS or the Rec Center. They do all kinds of things in and around those places. From stuff the day before, the day of and after the games to fun school events, concerts, graduations, intramurals, etc, etc. Most schools realize that sports are part of a university’s fabric, culture and brand. It helps gives students a connection with the school. Those connections develop good memories and good memories means donations. Pitt has a very small percentage of alumni that donate. I attribute that lack of caring to the lack of strong traditions and school spirit that is often fostered through sporting events. If I recall under the Posvar administration, sports were not a high priority. In fact, I dont think sports were even an afterthought in Pitt’s branding efforts. A new AD has a chance to help change the mindset. Help make the college experience fun by incorporating sports as something to rally behind. I’m sorry but its just easier for one to take pride around a team as opposed to graduating rates and GPA’s compared to other schools. Its like these Posvar types think and want Pitt to be Ivy. Bragging rights based on how many grads become US Presidents.

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  24. Heinz was built to last 25 years. In 10 years, it will be 25 years old. Will the Steelers do massive renovations on an existing stadium or will they want to build a new one and realize massive tax breaks? I think they will want to build a new one which incorporates how the game will be watched in 15-25 years (technology is the reason why NFL attendance is down…the experience is better on your couch in front of a 70 inch TV). And the land Heinz sits on is far too valuable to be used for less than 30 times per year from games to concerts.

    And if an on campus B-ball arena is good for school spirit, one can see my point that an OCS would be as well. Or SMPC (Student Multi-Purpose Center).

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  25. Heinz Field will last at least 20 more years, they just added seats. Nothing worn down about it.

    Most of the people that actually attend the games love going to Heinz.

    An OCS would be great for school spirit, just never going to happen at Pitt.

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  26. Reed, pretty cool piece and thanks for sharing you hob-knobbier.

    Great news your #1 son is feeling better and traveling with you.

    Congratulation on your raise as well. You’re worth a nickel for sure. Plus you have been very busy on The POV pumping out articles both new and old, which are really fun to revisit.

    About recruiting? Too early yet with the dead period being over this week and sometime in the future (hopefully soon) a new OC. I like the class and I’m thinking it will get a little better, maybe a lot better…

    Looking forward to the season wrap-up article and many more during the new year…….ike

    H2P

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