POV Friday Reader’s Library

In a trip down a few memory lanes here are some interesting articles from the Sports Illustrated archives…


First off let’s go back to 1976, our favorite Pitt football year, and see what would have happened in college football had we lost the Sugar Bowl and National Championship. But even more interesting is how Pitt ended up in the Sugar Bowl in the first place.

What may be worse is ABC’s implied involvement—and possible duplicity—in the Sugar Bowl’s team selection, which was made more obvious this year because the Sugar pulled out the plum in top-ranked Pittsburgh and its marvelous Heisman Trophy winner. Tony Dorsett.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Sugar Bowl getting Pittsburgh. It is a deserving bowl, and New Orleans is a good place to go for oysters, and though it cannot match the Orange’s or Cotton’s $1 million payoff to competing teams, $750,000 sure ain’t hay.

But maybe it can, too, match the others. With a little help from its friends at ABC, all things become possible. Near the end of the regular season, Pitt, apparently Orange Bowl-bound, was suddenly presented an ABC regional telecast—worth $190,000—for its game with five-time loser West Virginia. One Miami newspaper, hardly a disinterested observer—called the West Virginia telecast “an outright bribe.”

A couple of days after the game a survey taken by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed that the majority of the 22 Pitt players questioned wanted to go to the Orange (Dorsett said he preferred “a good time on the beach—doesn’t Miami have a beach?”). When the actual vote was taken, the Sugar was selected.

As always and even today money rules and TV (soon Internet) money is King.


We all love Tony Dorsett but when we think of him we 1) remember his wonderful Pitt days and 2) recall how good he was for the Dallas Cowboys as their 1st round pick (2nd overall) in 1977.

What we Pitt fans tend to forget is that he finished his career with the Denver Broncos. Here is a nice piece that describes what it was like in the first days of the Broncos pre-season camp after TD arrived on the scene.

For all his agility, the greatness of Tony Dorsett is his toughness. Sitting back there in that I formation eight yards deep, he’s great at running for the tough yards. I don’t know what he weighs, 185 maybe, but he hits like 220. Shoulders level. God, he’s a great player. I like to think that our guy, Eric Dickerson, will be like that someday.


Tony Dorsett, for 11 years a Dallas Cowboy and for a month a Denver Bronco, is conducting a slow, carefully paced workout at the Broncos’ training facility in Denver.

The trade that brought him from Dallas for a 1989 draft choice that could range anywhere from the fifth to the first round is four weeks old. In another week he will report to camp with the veterans. He’s running striders, three-quarter-speed sprints, across the width of the practice field. On the sidelines, eyes narrowed, two of the Three Amigos, quarterback John Elway’s collection of moving targets, watch him run.

Dorsett’s time in Denver didn’t last long – only one season and then he hung up his cleats for good.  But for some time he was the only football player in America who won the Heisman Trophy, won a college national championship, then won the NFL Most Valuable Player trophy and played on a Super Bowl winning team.

He was superb at every level of football he played.


For a longer trip in this history lesson let’s go way back to 1960 when The East’s football teams were all independents and vie for the coveted Lambert Trophy, which BTW is still being awarded on an annual basis.  Here is a bit discussing the changing QB role.

Pitt’s John Michelosen, who plays what appears to be the most difficult schedule in the country this year, is another who believes the game scene has changed. “The quarterback is going to do a lot more on offense this year than just be a hand-off man and thrower,” he says. “He will run and block more. Also, the trend to change the defense is giving tackles a wider area to roam. They can shoot the gap, take quicker pursuit and enter into more spectacular play.”

Penn State’s affable Rip Engle, who had the ideal “new look” quarterback in versatile Richie Lucas last season, also agrees. “A mobile quarterback is a necessity today,” he says, “especially at Penn State where our entire offense depends upon his ability to pass and run. There will be more and more pressure on the flanks by the use of rollouts and options. We may throw only 15 or 16 passes a game, but our quarterback will call many more pass plays which will develop into runs when he exercises his option.”

They wouldn’t even recognize what we see today behind center.





38 thoughts on “POV Friday Reader’s Library

  1. I’m pretty sure that an RB life in the NFL is much shorter than most other positions. Thus, Dorsett’s 12 seasons was a pretty good run. (pun intended)

    FWIW, Pitt played the highest ranked team available in the ’76 Sugar Bowl. Georgia was 4th ranked (AP) with one loss. You may recall that back then, the top Big 10 team played the top Pac 8 team in the Rose Bowl, and Michigan and USC were ranked 2nd and 3rd. Maryland was actually the only other undefeated team and ranked 5th, but they were from the ACC which was pretty lowly regarded then. They played Houston (SWC) in the Cotton Bowl and lost 30-21.

    After Pitt’s domination of UGa, there were very few national dissenters .. aside of course from the USC folk who won the Rose Bowl.

    With the Wishbone offense implemented in the late 60s, the QB passing skill was very much de-emphasized. However, there were still many passing QBs around … Stabler, Plunkett, Phipps, Manning, etc.


  2. Incredible how Dorsett spent an entire season in Denver and it’s completely forgotten about. He was going to play in 1989 until that knee injury ended his career. It wasn’t like Franco’s tenure with the Seahawks. That is worthy of being forgotten, but T.D. was taking hand offs from Elway.

    I read once Pitt avoided the Orange Bowl because the Buckeyes awaited?


    1. First off, the Orange Bowl had a Big 12 tie-in so if Pitt chose the Orange Bowl, they wouldn’t have played OSU

      Note that going into that bowl, the Buckeye were 7-2-1 and weren’t ranked real high. I actually saw the 1 live .. a 10-10 tie vs UCLA. Had Pitt played OSU, it would have been especially interesting to me as I knew a DB for OSU very well. who grew up a block away from me. His apartment was free the night before the UCLA game (Woody puth them in a hotel) so his cousin and I used it. Woody actually ran out the clock on the last series to settle for the tie an dhew booed as he walked off the field. He responded with a double-handed thumbing of the nose.


      1. I’m sure I read that when I attended Ohio State, so it was probably written to make the Buckeyes look better, as though an undefeated Pitt team was scared to play tOSU and Woody. Makes sense now because I went there when tOSU beat the crap out of Pitt those four times in the 1990s.


        1. Ohio State was ranked 11th (just looked it up) and beat 12th ranked Colorado in that Orange bowl. And my buddy had an interception .. I remember announcer John Brodie giving him a real nice compliment.

          The following year, OSU played at PSU and his cousin and I went there to see him play. (6 hours round trip and about 5 hours at Happy Valley) In typical 1970s OSU-PSU fashion, the Buckeyes won 13-7. My buddy made a key 4th down tackle of a Nit WR just short of the chains.


  3. What does interesting about Tony Dorsett’s career in the NFL is that he never averaged over 5 yards per carry. And in the NFL it’s a lot harder to get that yardage than it is in college obviously.

    I think yards per carry is the most important statistic a running back can have except for maybe the number of touchdowns when you have a big back like James Conner. And it is another reason I think all of them should get a shot at the beginning of the season to get back to his 2015 form when he averaged 5.3 yards per carry.


    1. Not sure but my guess that NFL ypc is less because they have less really long runs since most of the LBs and DBs are speedy. That being said, TD does have the NFL record of 99 yards from scrimmage. It was a Monday night games vs Vikings, remember it well.


  4. Reed,

    I never felt like Georgia had the weapons to threaten or the defense to stop Pitt in ’76. To me, with all due respects to John Underwood, his piece is filler and pandering to the USC/Michigan audience. A loss to Georgia wasn’t going to happen. Pitt never trailed, let 21-0 at halftime and held Georgia to 181 total yards on offense.

    Didn’t Myron Cope in SI call it akin to Sherman marching through Georgia?


  5. Stallings swings and misses on another recruit in 2017, Simms the JuCo who had three years of eligibility. The kid is heading to VCU.


  6. Yet Heather Lyke let’s this bum continue to steal money. O/U 13 Games next year. I say under.


  7. Spanier 4-12 months prison, 2 months of this House Arrest $7500 fine

    Cully 7-23 months $5000 fine; Shultz 6-23 months $5000 fine. All 3 must give 200 hours community service.

    Would it be poetic justice if while they were in prison, all 3 would ,,,, oh, never mind.


  8. In fact John Wooden swung and missed on recruits during his decade of winning and terror. One player who’s name escapes me boldly stated he would attend Long Beach State instead to help them beat UCLA.

    If you don’t like the man you just can’t see the prejudice against him. I’m indifferent but KS reminds me of the forbid-able topic about a man we won’t and don’t discussed. Unfairly persecuted.


    1. I have no idea what meaning you intended from that second paragraph. I don’t see how TX or Upitt made it personal and I don’t know how persecution applies in light of facts.

      Stallings had a mediocre career (below .500 in conference) in the SEC . Only the Pac 12 was probably a weaker “power” conference during his time at Vandy. He had made one NCAA tournament in the past 5 seasons and lost that play-in game by 20 points. Stallings was strongly rumored to be losing his job at Vanderbilt when Scott Barnes threw him a reportedly generous lifeline. He willingly took the lifeline and demonstrated his past as prologue by guiding a Pitt team returning 6 or their top 7 scorers to the program’s worst conference winning percentage in 40 years and first sub .500 overall finish in 16 seasons. Along the way Stallings repeatedly used public humiliation of players as a motivational tool and deflected responsibility from himself. Stallings then ran off or lost nearly all of the remaining roster and recruited a bunch of mostly 2-3* guys who can’t shoot (I know it pains you deeply, but check their stats). He also didn’t recruit any rebounding forces to retrieve the bricks. Given all that, I’m with Upitt on the under for next season.


  9. Heather – tell me what checks you’ve collected in the past week from boosters? Thats you Fn job. Show me the money honey.


  10. Barvo and no offense intended to anyone. A coach that’s hired, imo, should be given more than one year before he’s insulted on an hourly basis. Again totally imo.

    Hate isn’t a flattering personality trait.

    I meant no disrespect to Upiit and/or Austin_Tx. I just have a different perspective of the PITT BB situation for now.

    BTW, it was strongly rumored that Jamie was about to lose his job.

    Stallings coaching in one place for 16 -18 years tells you guys one thing while it tells me something different. It’s merely a difference of opinions.

    With all due respect………………….. ike


  11. First wwb has it right. The Sugar Bowl had the highest ranked available team. I remember the USC folks, with one loss whining and whining because they wanted to play Pitt and couldn’t because of their tie-in which benefited the two conferences every year – if you were #1 and made it their it was easy coasting. USC even wanted to play an additional game after the bowls – waa waa, He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.. tOSU would’ve played USC in the Rose but they weren’t good enough.

    The Ped State sentences are a joke. All the jail time will be served in a county facility – not the more violent inmates and life will be good inside. They will not go to the state prison which is much less harsher. House arrest is a joke – they can drink to excess and have their cooks make great meals, TV etc.. Community service? Don’t get me laughing , some Ped State supported will sign a letter saying they served the community at one of his facilities even though they won’t show up. What a joke. The sentence is a joke – The Ped State Way. No responsibility for your actions.


  12. ON Stallings – 18 years at Vandy is nothing because they expected nothing. Thanks Herman Munsterhead.


  13. Upitt and I notoriously disagree on everything but … he’s right on the O/U. Under. Barvo nailed the class observation.

    I agree that Pitt added two more good ones. Look at the offers not the stars and you should be happy. Duzz has added a ton of height to the secondary. It’s starting to resemble those MSU teams.


  14. Ike – This guy is like a Stage 5 Cancer. He spreads negativity everywhere. He sucks and always has sucked. Instead of having some EQ and embrace people and own what a 2M a year coach should own he makes excuses. He blames. He is ugly inside and out. This is the stuff that burns me about Pitt. No one has stones to make decisions. Heather took this job agreeing to not fire this bum. That I have a problem with. Stallings deserved 1 day and you earn the second day. He never earned it. The Press Conf was a complete disaster. Barnes was a disaster. The whole damn place is a trainwreck. Narduzzi is the only qualified D1 coch at Pitt. Please someone tell me another one. Plus the track record of success. We have Big East Coaches in ACC. It is like wearing a windbreaker in 12 degree weather.


    1. the hiring was the disaster. It was collusion … called out by national sportswriters who has no stake in Pitt. Pitt could have hired so much better


  15. upitt stole my line so i will modify it slightly. Other than football, name me a program that has won a title….in anything….in the last 20 years.

    Narduzzi is on to something if he can get some scheduling assistance. We need a year where we are 4-0 ooc and I don’t care who we play.to get there. Then you go 6-2 or 5-3 in the ACC and shabamm! Winning begets winning. This is exactly how the Farmers High School buffaloed people the last few years. The only people that called out the Farmers was the POV. Too bad it’s not a national following yet! If Pitt had decent to good PR, we could pull this off.

    Narduzzi will get 4 stars all the time when you put together a couple 9-3 or 10-2 seasons in a row. The sell becomes easier as Urb says. You can tell the recruit that we are one guy away and they have to believe it because all of these 4 and 5 stars think they can win a game or two on their own. Nobody, repeat Nobody cares about out of conference difficulty. You rely on your conference for difficulty.

    I also think McConnell will get it done based on her past. The closet is clean and I truly think she rises up if not this year than next.


  16. Also, if you look at the ranking and not the stars, Pitt has a couple that are at 5.7. At 5.8, they elevate to 4 stars, so we are getting a different and better player than in years past at 5.5.Just an observation for the statistics guys.


  17. Huff – good point. Definitely going after higher 3 stars than in year’s past. Duzz and co. are just finding them before they hit 4 stars. Pinnock btw could end being a steal. Tearing up his track season. A better athlete than many may have realized.

    🔋Jpinny 🔋‏
    2x State Champion- Long Jump (22’6.25″) 🥇 4×1 (43.15) 🥇 & State Runner up in 110 HH 🥈


  18. Two good pickups for Pitt
    Seems like recruits like our football program but wont go near the B-ball.
    KS is a disaster and Heather not making the right call makes it worse. Her call was to continue the disaster. She has no you know what. Her first thought coming in was to say who do I get to replace this turd right now. She did NOT and Pitt will be lucky to win 8 genes next year. Pitt gets what they pay for. KS should reimburse Pitt after this year.

    The Dog will ask for a raise and Pitt will say F off. He then goes off to a P5 Conference making $4M a year. So typical of Pitt. Back to the MAC to search for Pitt coaches. Hiring one on the cheap. Pitt truly is Shat. The Hoopies are right. They might rape sheep but our Pitt so called leaders are deep n shat. Pitt will never be more than mediocre with our current BOT and athletic leadership. Heather – I have no faith in you but you are set up to fail so you can only do so much.

    And Pitt wonders why nobody donates.


  19. I think you guys will turn your frown’s upside down considering PITT football recruiting in the next two weeks. Positive thinking breeds positive results…. and there is a few really nice possibilities on the horizon.


  20. I hope you’re right Ike!
    For me, the only thing positive thinking has ever given me is a headache. :>)


  21. Total rebuild in BB. KS here next year and money is a consideration always. I hope he does have a decent year and see what happens. June will see probably another 4 to 6 recruits from here. Narduzzi wants to keep his powder dry for late fall early winter period. Partridge is a significant addition. Pitt will be stupid to not pay him some big bucks after this year.


  22. Is Narduzzi not able to recruit 4 and 5 stars? Serious question. The offer sheets are mostly better Miami and VT are destroying us in recruiting as is Penn St. would love more stars.


  23. Good to see some results in recruiting, no not 4 stars but very close. Doubtful any true freshmen will help this year anyway. Both of the last guys need to put on some man muscle.

    A nine or ten win season would help, but I have concerns losing Taleni and probably Bookser for a few games. We don’t need any more self inflicted wounds or injuries to key guys.

    The young guys must step up this year. Especially on D.


  24. I do try to keep an eye on divisional recruiting. Syracuse is borrowing out of Pitt playbook. 5 out of 6 recruits that verbaled are from Florida. That was shocking to me.

    @Upitt- You can look at VT and although ranked higher, noone on their list scares me as an opponent. That said, neither does Pitt’s group. What I mean is difference makers. The teams getting the impact players in our division are Miami and to a lesser extent, UNC. Virginia, Duke and Cuse are ranked higher for now but expect that to change. We will be in good shape divisionally, except for Miami.


  25. If Pitt had money Heather may have pulled the trigger. If next year is the same on and off the court and blasting players in public that would be the earliest I would expect Heather to pull the trigger. We shall see.
    Are the two linked players Pitt recruits? Thanks for the link Darkie but did mommy know you were up to 11:48 pm? 🙂 The LB has great penetration but did not fall for and even sought out the misdirections and screens. DB the II struck me a a free safety in college but what do I know.


  26. PITT’s two new recruits are really nice gets. Yet the good news is right on the PITT doorstep. Narduzzi will get his redemption with the WPIAL/412 crew.


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