Here is a new article submitted last night by Panther94…

There’s so much arguing on this site about who is right and who is wrong Should we be pessimistic about our team, our Pitt Panthers, or should we be optimistic? What does it mean for us to be realists? I don’t really know for sure,  but I can share my thoughts.

I can tell you that I have been an optimist about Pitt football. What does this mean to me?

Despite every piece of evidence telling me that things are bad, I choose to hope for the best and deny the worst. Why? Maybe that says something about me. Maybe I don’t want to cheer for a loser. Maybe I want to make excuses and continue to love my team. And it makes me angry to hear the pessimists talking about how we’re going to suck next year and how Narduzzi is a bad recruiter.

So, I have to ask myself, why do I hate to hear that? I think it’s because I need to be engaged in my team, because for me it fills a hole in my life. Now the next question then? is this, why can’t I be engaged if I accept the pessimistic view? We’ll get back to that.

Realism is next on the list. Here are some definitions:

  1. The attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.

“the summit was marked by a new mood of realism”

synonyms:    pragmatism, practicality, common sense, levelheadedness

“optimism tinged with realism

2the quality or fact of representing a person, thing, or situation accurately or in a way that is true to life.

“the earthy realism of Raimu’s characters”

synonyms:    authenticity, fidelity, verisimilitude, truthfulness, faithfulness

“a degree of realism”

Accepting a situation as it is”…hmm. We all have different opinions about what the situation actually is. Notice that neither of those definitions mentions anything about knowing what the future holds. All I can gather from this is that a realist doesn’t speculate, but sticks to the facts at hand and judges based on that, without an ounce of speculation. I haven’t seen anyone on this blog that this applies to 100%.

This next thought is for all of you pessimists out there. You used to make me angry…so angry. And sometimes you still do when you attack players and coaches personally. Giving this some good, honest thought now, I believe that everyone should be allowed to voice their opinion about anybody representing the University of Pittsburgh. You can even get personal with coaches, although I don’t like it.

Where I draw the line, is personally attacking our student athletes. That’s just uncalled for. That being said, I can separate vindictiveness from pessimism and have an honest debate with you pessimists. After all, I have to ask myself, as an optimist, what is your Pitt Point of View? What were you experiences with Pitt? How have you been affected by decisions made by the administration?

Perhaps I need to walk a mile in your shoes.

This all leads me to do a little bit of introspection. Why can’t it be true to me that Pitt just plain sucks and will forever (or a long-ass time) as a lot of you pessimists say?

And, what might be even more important, is how is that you pessimists can believe the way you do and keep coming back for more? I know most of you are not trolls. We’ve all thought that about UPitt at some point (sorry man). But, those of us who have been on this blog and the Blather, know otherwise.

So, what is it then? As an optimist, I have to apply my optimistic thinking to you as a person. Could it be that you’re being as realistic as you think you can be and not want to be disappointed as we all have so many times? I’m not sure. But, I try to put myself in your place, and then I think, “if it were so god damned bad, why would I keep coming back?”

Why continue to follow this team without hope? And then it hit me! If Pitt is a relationship (girlfriend/wife, whatever), I as an optimist am saying that I can only hope for better and without that hope, all is lost. You, as a pessimist, have already lost hope, but you’re not leaving our beloved. Perhaps the pessimist loves Pitt even more than the optimist? I don’t know the answer to that, but from my thoughts above, it’s quite possible.

So, I ask all of you, please, we can all learn from each other. Let’s just understand that we have the same love and we express it differently. When we disagree, it’s not personal. Let’s really understand our Pitt point of view.

118 thoughts on “Optimism, Realism, or Pessimism?

  1. I want to make one strong point here. Very rarely on here have we ever had anybody attack the personal character of a player. We talked a lot about player’s talents or lack of talents, but I can’t remember any time that has been done on the POV.

    I have tried to never write any poor character descriptions of any student-athletes unless they have committed crimes. I respect each and every one of them for what they try to do for Pitt and for themselves. However I will point out poor play or poor talent potential like I have done with Browne or Voytik and others in the past as that is part and parcel of writing about Pitt football.

    As for the coaching staff and the administration is a bit of a different story… But some of the most ‘optimistic’ posters on here have written libelous slurs about a few of those people at Pitt so be careful of throwing stones. But again, talking about or criticizing professional work is not making personal character references.

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    1. Thanks Reed. I don’t remember the exact quote, but I do remember the word “garbage” being used to describe a player. Maybe I’m thinking of another site.

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    2. Pitt has a world class philosophy department. Some of my fondest memories of Pitt are the few philosophy classes i took.

      I really struggle with this question. But I like the subject. Thanks for teeing up.

      I was an optimist for about 30 minutes into the Youngstown game. The terrible QB play and atrociously bad play calling ripped all Sun from the sky. I guess I turned realist.

      I like Narduzzi. I also respect Reed’s points that challenge my too rosy glass view of the administration.

      I come down as an optimist who hopes the kids on the team, the young men, are that one or two teams a year that breakout. Hopelessly optimistic who hopes just once the sun stays in the sky.

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  2. Nice write up Panther94. With Pickett on board I’m definitely optimistic. In fact I believe Pitt may have its best teams on the field next season in the Narduzzi era. That doesn’t mean I believe will either equal or beat the 8 win mark this coming season. It just means we will put up a hell of a fight each and every game and we will be in contention in most every game if we can keep our starting QB up right throughout this season.

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  3. Swami? from Scout?

    Just read the article and thanks 94. I do remember you from Scout as well.

    Just a quick note before I think on the topic and reply in fool or as one. As an example, I read earlier this morning that PITT had a big upset in wrestling against #18 Oklahoma. I felt an urge to comment about the win and then paused. I just figured, why bring a positive light to the wrestling program when it would just bring back negative vibes in return? There’s a very big difference between a constant jab at all things PITT and name calling from any of the tree types explained above. imo

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      1. … but Reed I’ve been told many many times that PITT sucks at all sports. Heather made a lousy cheap hire in wrestling and there is nothing good to see in any PITT sport in the distant future. I just don’t want to add more fuel to the negativity that has found a home on the POV like some sort of boll weevil.

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  4. Ike – I see your point but Wrestling is also 2-6 record if I’m not mistaken. Great win but bigger body of work makes the hire look iffy so far.

    Panther94 – Great Article.

    Some of my baggage is I busted my butt for Pitt for 2 years while playing on a field I wouldn’t raise goats and cattle on. No joke our high school field was nicer and better. But I digress. I gave 100% and against St. John’s stole 3rd base and tore my shoulder. My surgery at Pitt ( forget his name) was unsucceesful. So flew on own money to get James Andrews in Bama to do it. I got about 70% back but still enough to play and be competitive. Arm was always best attribute. We get a new coach and he made me tryout for a position meanwhile I was in the middle of my rehab and rushed it. My tryout ( a scholarship player) was 10 pitches and 5 mins of outfied work. It was a joke. He wanted to get rid as many of us as he could. Funny part is old coach told me he would give me Scholarship to transfer and start no matter the shape of my arm. So should I get over all this. Probably but that sucks when you bust your butt for a goal and are thrown out after an injury to fit the new coaches agenda. Pederson was part of that era. So do i hold onto to junk? Yes but in the same breath I stayed and got degree and moved on but it still hurts. Especially now when they upped the facilities and give these kids everything. I can tell you stories about being on tbe road. Buses and stopping for lunch meat and buying our own gear. Teams refusing to te Big East to play on our field. Notre Dame etc. so yes walking in shoes makes a difference. At the end I love Pitt and want to see us win and do everything in power to win and compete because when I was there the AD gave 20% if that. Nice article. Sorry I can be negative. Flying to Florida. Have a good week.

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      1. Thanks Man! Not mking an excuse but it did disinfranchise me for awhile. Maybe to this day in a lot of ways. Like you are a starter as a sophmore then hurt and thrown behind the barn. One thing it did was toughen me up and make me work harder and became semi successful in my eyes.

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  5. The BB players were attacked last week for having bad haircuts…. Tis true. DISCLAIMER!! Only posting as a joke. That comment didn’t offend the least bit. 🙂

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  6. Great article, Panther94!

    Some of you may consider me a “pessimist” so let me answer at least one of your questions..

    “if it were so god damned bad, why would I keep coming back?”

    MY answer? Because Pitt is MY school. Pitt was the ONLY choice for me from the first time I visited Oakland. My family wasn’t/isn’t a Pitt family. I grew up in Delaware and Eastern PA but my family is all from Somerset County- and all PSU fans. But for whatever reason, those mustard and blue uniforms had me hooked. It’s true to say the reason I chose Pitt was so I could go to games at Pitt Stadium and Fitzgerald Field House. Now, my son lives in the same dorm as I did, Tower A.

    So.. I can assure you of this. I am no “troll.” I care more about Pitt sports than I should. And THAT’s why I get so frustrated. I am not a “pessimist.” Only a true “optimist” would continue to buy season tickets to this mediocre product, annually thinking, “it HAS to be better next year.” I was “optimistic” when Wanny returned. I was “optimistic” when Narduzzi was hired. Hell, I was a student during the Majors II era and still follow this team! And yet, 35 years later, it’s the “Same old Pitt.”

    Heinz is a dump with zero game day atmosphere. Pitt stadium WAS better. How? Here’s a few ways.. our end zones had PANTHERS in them and they didn’t sell PSU and WVU gear on corner stands just outside the stadium. Students went to house parties while the “adults” got liquored up at Hemingway’s, Zelda’s, CJ Barney’s & Peter’s Pub or in the Trees and Cost center lots. Then everybody made that trek up Cardiac Hill. The stadium was old. We pissed in troughs.. But, it was our unique Pitt experience. Even when the football was bad, it was still Pitt football.

    What do we have now?

    Oh, I’ll keep coming back like a battered wife who just can’t bring herself to leave him.. “He said he’s sorry. He said, ‘it’ll never happen again.’ It’s going to be different this time. I just love him too much to leave.”

    But sometimes she’s going to complain to her friends. Well POV’ers, this is our coffee table and your my girlfiends. You’re just gonna have to listen to me complain about my man! “Pitt football beats me. But I love Pitt. And I know Pitt loves me, too.. It’s going to be different next season. I just know it. Pitt told me so.”

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    1. A couple things Jay:

      You are no troll! I know that. Many people have had enough and btw, unlike a battered wife, you ain’t getting any I’m sorries or this will never happen agains….. but you do keep coming back. Maybe you’re mad at yourself? << jus kidding a little.

      You certainly seem to be an enigma when it comes to PITT and I guess you have all the right to shout out your complaints. So be it Jay. I for one believe that PITT is making strides in football and will come around in the next few years and make you a much happier camper. Have a great day ike.

      H2P!

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    2. Wait, we still have troughs!

      I disagree that Heinz is a “dump” but do believe that much needs to be changed to make it a real home field for Pitt and its fans.

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    3. Great post/comments Jay. I’m a little older than you so I remember some of the better years as well. My family is also full of PSU folks. I’ll always be a Pitt fan, regardless of how tough that is.

      I did take a decade off (1991 through 2000) from watching or following closely… It helped me to put things in the proper hierarchy of importance….

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  7. PSU QB Kerry Collins had just been selected for College FB Hall of Fame

    Career Stats:

    Pass Pass
    Yds % TD Int Rating

    5301 56.3 39 21 137.3 K Collins

    8590 64.5 49 23 137.9 You Know Who

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  8. Glad you came forward Upitt/Mark. I knew there was an underlying problem between you and PITT. You may be justified with dissatisfaction with the Pitt baseball program or as PITT in general but that is one tough grudge to hold against all things PITT. That’s between you and the University.

    I don’t know why I let your poor outlook on PITT affect me so much but it does. I think it’s your relentless non wavering nonsupport. I understand but I don’t get it.. Have a nice warm week in Florida. ike

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    1. Ike – In you opinion is there anything regarding Pitt not on the rise? Campus? Atmosphere? Teams? AD? Not jacking you around just trying to see what you see.

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      1. Is that a trick question Mark? Let’s see, atmosphere is not on the rise and I agree with anyone who’s pissed that PITT doesn’t have an on campus stadium. I loved PITT stadium.

        Don’t laugh but I really like the BB team and the inspired way they play. They are young and improving.

        You know I believe the PITT football team is on the rise and the campus is also on the rise. Made me mad they didn’t get the PAA though.

        Yes the wrestling and women’s volleyball teams are on the rise as well. I just don’t think like you do. Hell Bells, I even see the good in you. How’s that for being positive? 🙂 🙂 …ike

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        1. Agree on Volleyball. Not on the rise but up on the mountain. SOP says that coach leaves. Heather should give him more money now.

          Campus I love parts but put money to use and buy it up and make more green space and fix traffic by woman’s magee hospital. I sat there at 2pm for 40 mins seriously. By that Italian market off semple.

          Eventually they will need room to grow and along river or buying up South Oakland is only option. I have a lot of good in me most of the time. Take Bama tonight. Luke won’t beat master Yoda.

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  9. Excellent post Panther94. Thought provoking for sure. Personally, with Pitt sports I remain a glass half full guy but not so much that I sing the old Monty Python tune “Always look on the bright side of life” all day. Situations dictate attitude. I need to be pragmatic as a manager where I work…outcomes, ROI etc. When I golf I need to be optimistic or I will stop playing…My one great shot in a crap round keeps me coming back. I am hopeful LOI day will have a few pleasant surprises and looking forward to seeing a few of the POV crew that evening.

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  10. I am optimistic about the direction of our team, Pickett, and Pat Narduzzi, but next year’s schedule is murderers row again. UCF and ND on the road as well as playing PSU and our yearly tilt with the turnover chain boyz. This is the second year in a row that we are playing an SEC like schedule…maybe harder than an SEC schedule.

    If we start off 1 and 3 for a second straight year, no one will give up crap about Pitt football except for us die hards and there will be a ton of yellow at Heinz next year.

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  11. I’d honestly take the Head of CMU to dinner at Eddie V’s and create a plan to totally build a 45k stadium where CMU’s field is. Will need a buy a fee homes but pay them 50% over value and they will sell asap.

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    1. There is big money in that part of PGH Mark, and I think the blow-back from that faction of people who don’t want a stadium and the hassles it would bring to the neighborhoods – in either Squirrel Hill or Oakland – will win out.

      Fact – CMU, Central Catholic, Schenley Park, etc… are in Squirrel Hill and not Oakland.

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    2. Now your talking Upitt. Sounds like a great idea a Stadium at CMU. I’m all in for that. However I would leave open the option of playing WVU, PSU and ND at Heinz Field for obvious reasons at double the ticket prices.

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          1. D3. Even worse. Haha.

            Well the ACC can’t be happy with the current Olympic Sports Facilities.

            I’m just thinking outside the box. That location is pretty.

            The other site is at the VA. God Bless the Vets they deserve a brand new hospital away from the city. That site high on hill would be beautiful and open endzone aimed at Cathedral.

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    3. I’ve looked and studied that CMU stadium site on google maps and from the ground and I believe a good architect could turn flip that stadium into a 42,000 seat venue. Perhaps PITT can hire George Costanza and Vandelay industries to build it?

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  12. Pessimist, optimist, realist, we’re all in the same boat. We’re all tired of mediocrity at best. Some of us see hope. Some do not. But we all want Pitt football to return to what is was from the mid-70’s to the mid-80’s – national relevance. H2P – Hobie

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  13. Realistically with regard to football next season, I am somewhat optimistic about our offense because we appear to have a QB that can change games; but, I am cautiously pessimistic about our defense because while that unit began to show some improvement at the end of the season they really struggled at times last season. I hope that the reality is my pessimism is ill-founded. Now that is optimistic!

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  14. I’ll chip in here also.

    Many times I have been called a ‘pessimist’ on here because of the style of my writing. Yet I can honestly say that I haven’t met many so-called Pitt fans who either follow the program or care about the team as much as I do.

    Why do you think that is?

    Well, for one example – I didn’t sit in the Press Box once this year even though I had my annual All-Access Media Pass… because you aren’t allowed to cheer the team on when sitting there. Most people would kill to be up there surrounded by interesting people and good conversations (and good food also) but I felt I couldn’t do it.

    Especially this season when things were bad as we were losing games, and I felt like my voice needed to be heard from the stands. Sit through a game with me sometimes – (especially if you have an extra Club seat!) and you’ll see I cheer as much as any non-insane Pitt fan.

    Yet I’m a pessimist.

    I travel 470 miles round trip for every game and almost every off-season event so that I can know as much as i can about Pitt football – and spend way too much money doing it – yet I’m not a ‘good’ pitt fan.

    I have written 588 in-depth articles in 712 days… yet I ‘hate’ Pitt football.

    I get into many detailed discussions with others not on this blog about some of the inner workings of Pitt and the football program and write about them on here and that information (as much as I feel comfortable talking about publically – and believe me that is about 10% of the stuff I hear) and am called a perpetrator of “Fake News” or that they are flat out fabrications – which I have never once done on here.

    But commenters do that because they really, really don’t want to believe that Pitt is like almost every other P5 school and has it’s weaknesses, problems and troubles like the other schools do – they want to think that every kid who comes to Pitt is never going to act out and get in trouble and get suspended (either publicly or internally) or dismissed (publicly called “transfers” in many cases).

    But as they say “Sh*t happens” whether you want to believe it or not.

    The bottom line on the POV is that I really believe that commenters on here only see other commenters (or myself) through the filter of what they feel as their own great Pitt fandom – and many on here can’t accept that others see the exact same things so they either refuse to believe them or let their OWN emotions overrule what others legitimately feel.

    I believe that almost everyone called “Pessimists” are only stating their own take on realism toward the Pitt football program (sorry UPitt) with one or two exceptions. But even UPitt knows Pitt football if you read the intent of what he has to say rather than the tone of his posts.

    This is what makes this site more popular that the other websites… the diverse opinions and comments stating those.

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    1. Reed, if I may? I don’t feel like anyone thinks of you as a pessimist at all…. and certainly not a “good” PITT fan. It’s obvious in the work you produce on the POV. I would also say everything you have done on the POV is 110% appreciated 110% of the time. Trust me on this, many posters were really upset when you walked out for the time you did thinking the POV had met it’s demise.

      Maybe I’ve told you this before, just like a poster referred to as a optimist, pessimist or realist. We all recognize the fact that we should have the right to express our own opinions on the POV. The point being here is how one make mold the way another thinks and feels about someone’s commentary. Brace yourself Reed. You, in my view, do come off as negative more than positive in my mind. Forget that realism schitt, it just doesn’t exist on a blog. It’s should be about how you feel but unfortunately it’s more about how we can make others feel about ourselves. It’s human nature. your good friend ike.

      btw, I’m pretty happy that this article remained fairly much civil.

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  15. Barvo, not only do we still have troughs…the water supply to the sinks gets shut off at times during the Pitt games so you cant wash your hands. What’s up with that? Cartman from SouthPark would call “shenanigans”

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  16. Yes – those are both original ACC members though. I was talking about prior to the ACC expansion and I remember reading somewhere that a criteria (of many expansion acceptable criteria) was a 50K stadium.

    I very much doubt the ACC would go along with a drop in 20K seating.

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      1. Who knows but we’ll never see a stadium in the East End of the city – meaning Oakland, Squirrel Hill or any city parkland whatsoever so it’s a moot point.

        I think we need to find some industrial land inside the city limits where there are no close neighborhoods and plan a stadium (and tailgate friendly parking lots) there. But even then I think Pitt will always piggy-back on the Steelers as it saves the university so much money to do so.

        East Carolina U. planned out their stadium perfectly and built the parking lots so that there were hundreds of “tree islands” and small peninsulas of green space specifically for tailgating…

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    1. How many seats are there in Syracuse’s Domed Stadium for football? I don’t believe you could seat 50K in there and they were admitted with Pitt to the ACC at the same time.

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  17. Oh…Okay. Understood. PITT really should do a stadium feasibility study. South Florida did one in Tampa. Proposed cost of 200M. It would at least fire up the fans.

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  18. Panther94 you nailed it. Fran great golf analogy that also captured it. Upitt, I understand better where you are coming from now. Few liked your negativity but now we know why. It already seems like you are more positive now and am happy to see that. Dissenting opinions are fine and expected, but angry bitter ones are no fun. Let’s have some fun on this site and agree to disagree anytime and have a beer afterwards. I played rugby for twenty years (separated shoulder ended my career) but when we played we were angry and bitter and tried to kill the other guy on the filed, but afterwards we all had a beer together. Not sure if that was a good analogy, I should probably leave those analogies to Fran.

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  19. Georgia Tech and TCU did it right. Smack dab in town and beautiful stadiums and kept the original look. We can build them to look that way now.

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  20. Ike – This is like your insistence that I don’t “like” Pat Narduzzi even though I continually praise him for what I think are the most important part of a college football program – the handling and leadership of the student/athletes.

    Do I dislike Narduzzi? Well, I don’t think he’s a very good game day coach and i have major reservations about his recruiting abilities. Those are two huge things for me in a football coach.

    I get that fans think he’s a great motivator – but we pretty much played like crap against a very poor NC so what does that tell you? Down at the half and eventually losing to a 1-8 (0-6 in conf play) team… Win that easy game and we would have been 6-6 and in a bowl game.

    His players do come out and play uninspired ball sometimes. But that happens with every coach and he has gotten them sky high to beat PSU, Clemson and Miami.

    I’d give him a C so far in his Pitt career for the games themselves and and D in recruiting… but a B+ in the things I mentioned above with off the field issues.

    But I don’t think it is negative to say that a recruiting class with zero blue-chip 4 or 5* recruits is poor – because it is. And that following a not-so great 2017 class it makes me wonder. He should have come into the Pitt job and recruited like gangbusters for all the hype and excitement there was with his arrival – instead, and especially after following two 8 win seasons, his recruiting is disappointing.

    And yes, i know you think it takes 20-25 years for recruiting classes to show they are any good but the truth is the starting lineups in 2016 and 2017 should have been more populated with Narduzzi recruits if they were all great athletes as most Pitt fans think (based on their recruiting offers none the less).

    So negativity? I don’t really think that – I just try to look at Pitt football as logically as I can and go from there. i was very happy with those 8 win years – I had predicted 7 in ’15 and 7 or 8 at best in ’16. I also predicted that we wouldn’t drop below .500 last year so I think, given some of the many other lower predictions we read on here before last season started, that I was somewhat optimistic.

    What I don’t get at all are the readers who say ‘Well, I think we’ll only win 6 games but I can’t actually predict that (or predict a game loss) because i’m too big of a fan” … as if predicting something is akin to rooting for it to happen. I want Pitt to win every single game but I’ll predict that they will lose individual games when I think that is warranted – and that is not being negative but realistic in an opinion.

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  21. I am an optimist about Pitt Football in the coming season of 2018 and I can argue 2 deep with any of you. I believe we need a NCS ….Near Campus Stadium of 45,000 seats connected by overhead rail. I believed from the first throw I saw him make in Spring practice that Pickett is the best QB at Pitt since Marino ( really not that big a stretch).

    UPitt …I am sorry that you still carry the weight of your Pitt baseball situation around so heavily.
    That anger will drive you to success business but will kill you physically and mentally in the long run. Took me to age 58 to get rid of mine.

    I’m am not optimistic about Pitt Basketball and one of the biggest hoaxes ever pulled off by any university. I direct my anger at Stallings even though it’s not fair but I can’t direct my anger at Herman…he’s gone…or Gallagher …he doesn’t care ….or Heather…she was brought in to look the other way! So Stallings it is.

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  22. Richman, good post but how can you play angry with a big smile on your face while checking out the cheerleaders and their perky you know what’s?

    Upitt, I understand the reason for your bitterness and thanks again for opening up. Sounds like you got a raw deal and your dreams were crushed. I get that. I’ve known all along you had a bad experience concerning your time at PITT. Hope this makes you feel a lot better. Now open your mind and I will try and open my small mind. I have seen you trying to be more positive but realize, it’s not an easy thing for you to do. On the other hand, put down in writing, what is on your mind… ike

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  23. … Or UPitt for a small fee of $10,000 USD I can ensure you will never be banned and always have a voice on The Pitt POV.

    This offer stands for all readers and commenters. Just send a certified check, money order or transfer through PayPal and you are set for life!

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    1. 10K is a steal for me Reed. I have probably caused much more than that in headaches. Haha!

      Cold here in Fort Lauderdale! 71 UGH

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  24. Here is an email I received from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

    You pose an interesting topic of the mind of the pessimist or the optimist regarding Pitt athletics. Which is better for the person or the program?

    As an old timer since the Mid-1950’s, I’ve followed Pitt sports and known quite a few of the players, coaches, and NFL players. Those who made it to the NFL have had the unique ability to monetize their talents in ways that few other associated with Pitt could do until later life. So, having spoken to some of those whose pennants fly during the Pitt games, there is a strong consensus among them of wanting Pitt to do well. Most disliked intensely the tearing down of Pitt Stadium although no one has complained about Heinz Field. Life changes and they recognize it as well.

    So, what do we make of a turbulent time at Pitt for all of the major sports there? It seems that only softball and swimming have gone well. The wrestling team has had an awful start although beating a ranked Oklahoma squad. A new coach seems to be evaluating his squad and their capabilities. The football program has left many wondering if 2017 was the setback year before a leap forward. The basketball team was wiped out at the end of last season, and a new cast of starters and bench players were added for this season, so far not impressing.

    Does this give reason to be optimistic or pessimistic? No one has the answer except perhaps the Athletic Director who answers to the Chancellor on the success of the programs. It does seem that Pitt through the AD is putting more money into the quality of coaches and the effort to retain the right people or replace those underachieving with new coaches.

    Much will be seen in how the Pitt football program handles the additional money, signing a new Defensive Coordinator, and providing more for recruiting.

    With the basketball program, the question will be how confident is the AD really with Kevin Stallings and current plan to revitalize Pitt basketball. There is certainly the stigma of losing and being the underdog for all of the ACC scheduled games this season. There is the lack of any semblance of support by the fans to show up for a sporting event even if this young squad is the underdog. How big a leash does Stallings have?

    I am not a critic of Kevin Stallings. He is in a terrible situation with resentment and rumors attacking how and why he was hired. Then to have to clean house with players unwilling to play as a team, he is in one of the worse coaching spots I can see short of being guilty of violating NCAA rules. How much belief and patience does the Pitt administration have as they undoubtedly are losing money with the basketball program?

    As some may have seen recently, there have been recent articles on the cracks in college football related to the playoffs and the money paid for rights to the playoffs and National Championship Game. What specifically is addressed in these articles is the imbalance of money as conferences and participating teams get more and more money, leading to a bidding war for coaches and top assistants.

    Now, DC’s and OC’s salaries are in a million dollars or more per year bracket. Head coaches at major colleges are now anywhere from two million to eleven million dollars a year to produce winners who make it to the playoffs. Where does it stop? How many schools can or will pay out those kinds of dollars? Is it right for an academic institution to pay incredible sums which are the equivalent of paying for perhaps twenty five highly accredited professors? Are major college sports worth this type of expenditure?

    I’m a huge college football and basketball fan, but now I’m wondering about the fiscal realities of playing and paying the type of investment needed such as an Alabama, Florida, PSU, Michigan spends. I can see the reasoning if you are somewhat isolated and not in the middle of a major city where there are professional sports, theatre, concerts, and other entertainment.

    Are the kids playing the game, suffering the injuries, having dreams shattered, and hopefully rejoicing in success making anything beyond their pittance of tuition, books, room, and meals? With year-round conditioning, months of training, non-football jobs are rare and difficult for the players. Do they have the money to go out on dates, go out with friends, or to visit their homes?

    Yes, I want Pitt to play for ACC championships and hopefully be ranked every year plus make the playoffs/NCAA Tournament. But, increasingly I am seeing the wisdom of cutting back and perhaps taking Pitt’s fine academic reputation and solidifying it such as a University of Chicago, Boston University, etc.

    Much as I love sports and have decades of enjoyment with Pitt athletics, are we reaching the point of insanity?

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  25. I want to say something here. The long anonymous article above and the comment I’m about to post below are from two long time Pitt men who have been associated with the University for many years and in the upper piece’s case his extended family has been also.

    They hold contrary viewpoints to most on here but these thoughts also have a lot of validity and echo opinions I have heard many times from some Pitt administrators going back years…

    “The article (not the comment posted above at 3:02 pm) deals at great length with the money issue, particularly coaching salaries, but there is a great deal more than that which makes college football obscene.

    There is the flagrant immorality of the recruiting process (with sexual favors used to lure boys – I would say young men, but most of them aren’t men, they are just boys). There are the academic fraud issues of taking kids who are not and never will be students – and pretending that they are. There is the problem of crime committed on and off campus by the juvenile delinquents recruited as players (assault, rape, theft, and even armed robbery).

    There is the problem of concussion and other serious injury brought about by the increasingly violent nature of the sport. There is the problem of exploitation of these kids lives for the purpose of entertainment (like the Roman circuses) for the enrichment of media executives.

    And there is the hypocrisy of pretending that the institutions are interested in the kids’ futures, when all they are really interested in is winning games, and the vast majority who never make it to the pros are spit out and have to fend with less than a genuine college education. In fact college football is not merely headed for a ditch, it’s already in one.

    But, the truth be told, no one really cares. As long as it is entertaining, and feeds the egos of the alumni and other fan base, it’s all acceptable!”

    This is the article the above is in reference to:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/columnist/dan-wolken/2018/01/07/underneath-glitz-playoff-warning-money-coaches-not-players-me-too/1011059001/

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  26. Anyone see a difference between Boston U, U of Chicago, and PITT? PITT has the potential to do both all the while generating revenue for the Olympic sports. That’s not forward thinking its bass ackwards thinking. It’s often referred to as, at Katz business school, as a prudent investment. P-5 college football should make money if managed correctly.

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      1. With that goal in mind it looks like PITT will sadly disappoint in both. So this is where PITT is at? … and here I already sent my donation in….

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  27. ^^^ I have long held the view that it is the worse advice to give an upperclassman who doesn’t already hold a degree from Pitt to declare for the NFL draft early. Regardless of the larger signing bonuses Rounds 1-3 draft picks can get the fact is that very, very few players return to college to finish out their degrees after they are done with football’

    And many are done with professional football so soon they don’t get (or won’t set aside) money enough to invest for their futures, thus they severely limit their earnings potential over the course of their lifetime.

    Every single player I have talked to that left early and is no longer in the pros wishes they would have either stayed or gone back for a degree – and the sad fact is that many don’t have the financial resources to do that… and many can’t get academic scholarships to offset the coast of school.

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  28. Does anyone know how good of a deal Pitt gets for using Heinz Field? Don’t we pay rent? How much? To who? The Steelers? The Sports & Exhibtion Authority? Does Pitt keep all of some of the money from concession sales during their games?

    Like

  29. First, let me clarify a bit of a distinction that I think is important. If someone points out the shortcomings of the team, the coaches, or the players, based on what tangible evidence they see on the field, they’re not necessarily a pessimist. If they believe that the current recruiting or expectations for next year aren’t good, that still doesn’t make them a pessimist IMO. The true pessimist can make these observations, but what makes them a pessimist is that can see no path in the future that shows a positive outcome. “We’re bad and we will always be bad”….that’s a pessimist.

    I think one of your observations about pessimists is quite interesting. If someone is truly pessimistic about the Pitt program, why do they keep following it? Could it be that the pessimist actually cares MORE about the University and the Program than the average fan?

    That could very well be the case. I’ll draw an analogy….I have close friends whose daughter is thoroughly addicted to very, very serious drugs. Sadly, she’s been an addict for almost 15 years. Her parents will be the first to tell you that her long-term prospects are bleak. They fully expect her addiction to take her life at some point. They will readily tell you that they have little hope for a happy ending to the story. At that level, they are pessimists, yet they never stop trying to help.

    They spend unbelievable resources on interventions, counseling, rehab, half-way houses, etc. All for naught. Why?? It’s obvious that they love their daughter deeply and simply cannot give up despite the fact that they clearly understand reality. I think the pessimistic Pitt fans are a bit like these parents…. they can’t or won’t give up even though when you talk to them they are quite pessimistic. Fortunately, Pitt football is not nearly in as serious a condition as this girl and football is nowhere near as important as drug addiction, but I think the same basic psychological factors are in play.

    SantaCruzer

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    1. Santa – My brother had major issues on major bad stuff for 12 years and is now clean for 6 years and doing well. There is hope but tough love is needed and the person has to reach bottom and be part of the solution. Good Luck to the family. Helping others and leading may help her.

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  30. Pitt needs to invest in Group Therapy….. for a very abused fan & alumni base.

    Do we have any Shrinks among the faithful ? Oy Vey

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    1. Doc Tom asked me to sit on his couch and tell me about my feelings one night in Savannah. Okay, maybe it was a park bench and maybe we were all hammered but the cigar and conversations were awesome!

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      1. I remember that evening with fond memories, Upitt. We all have baggage, it is how we decide to carry it that determines if we are optimists or pessimists going forward.

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  31. Pessimist, Optimist, Realist. I tend to side with those who are critical or pessimistic and those that can see the truth, the facts and whats real. I think being an optimist given what we see and what we’ve been through is foolish.

    Whats real is that Pitt does not support athletics the way that most ACC schools do. The truth is that Pitt will never truly support athletics with the current BoT in place. The facts are that Pitt is mediocre or worse across most sports programs and nothing will fundamentally change that fact anytime soon.

    I do have hope that blogs and forums like this can result in some change for the better. The administration does read them. But as I say, if you want change, students, alum and fans need to bond together to do something. The first step could be merely asking for how BoT members are appointed and how they are held accountable. You know where I’m going with this.

    If you want Pitt to achieve balance between sports and academics. If you want that nice front porch that Gallagher promises. If you want to increase a students quality of life on campus and generate positive and fun experiences while in school. If you want alumni to support dear olde alma mater with donations. If you want to elevate Pitt’s brand….

    You start by changing the governance structure.

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  32. Back to FB:

    One of the reasons Conklin was hired was his defensive Takeaways at FIU, which was 3rd in the nation in 2014.

    However we averaged only 9 INTs per season when he was here and the few fumbles we recovered put us
    64th, 58th and 66th in turnover margin the last three years.

    He really didn’t do the job he was hired for guys and we should be rejoicing he’s gone.

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  33. Per Justin at the Blather Scott Shafer has started following several Pitt players on Twitter. I am rejoicing that Conklin is gone…now we need a kick ass replacement.

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  34. Quick query @ All & the Reedmeister – Is Narduzzi a “C” in your mind as a head coach or as the 65th overall highest paid coach?

    There is a critical difference in the analysis. To me, he should be judged as the 65th highest paid coach only. Can’t compare him against Franklinburger, Satan, Hurban, etc. Just saying we need to be realistic, not just say that he is a head coach and as such, we should compare him against the aforementioned.

    Does that make sense?

    Should we then handicap him for having a BoT that is not supportive of athletics in general?

    Finally, whoever is trying to compare Pitt to UChicago, BU or whomever, is silly. The rankings are manipulated. Also, for those that don’t think there is class clustering and class “fixes” at Pitt, pllllease. May not be as bad as some factories, but it happens.

    Double finally, if you think that a Provost doesn’t care about average joe student and whether he stays or leaves Pitt is crazy. Universities use students and their parents to achieve their personal goals, just like coaches do in athletics. Let’s stop thinking it is only a sports epidemic.

    Dilly dilly.

    Like

    1. I think I get what you are saying Huff. Narduzzi I being paid a C salary. So if he is recruiting in the 40s, and with an overall ranking in the 30s, 40s, then the BOT may see him as a steal.

      Like

  35. Panther94 – thank you for putting it out there with your post. T’was a good read and from the looks of the early responses, it generated a good dialogue. Group therapy perhaps.

    Like

  36. Few coaches or AD’s want to come to Pitt because they will be handicapped. Its an ok place for a young assistant without head coaching experience to learn on the job and step into another higher paying coaching job elsewhere. Pitt has created this environment. If Pitt demanded more than just mediocrity, the Pitt job could be a destination. But that requires a cultural change and supportive administration. Pit’s admin has been nothing but inept and dysfunctional throughout the years. The BoT wants it that way. Thats why I cease to get all that upset with our head coaches. They are set up to fail. I actually feel sorry for them.

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  37. Refreshing to see that a few posters are starting to put the blame where it belongs. It’s not on Upitt, it’s not on me, it’s not on Narduzzi it’s on the PITT administration. Own up to the facts BOT, you get what you pay for. Own up to it or step down. I’m tired of paying for what you all feel is just a necessary evil. ike

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  38. If Pitt wants a stadium, I think no matter where they put it, they have to go with a 50k to 55k seat, domed stadium.

    If they want to raise the funds, they need to offer something the metropolitan area does not already have – that being a large building that can potentially be used every day of the year by more than just Pitt.

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  39. Great post and comments guys!! Seems like what we need are some big money heavy hitter alums to put pressure on the BOT to change the culture and their way of doing things. As my hubby always says, “Money talks and Bull$**t walks.”

    Like

  40. Its going to take more than money. It will unfortunately be some event that will force Pitt to react. Like a scandal. A severe drop in academic rankings. A boot from the ACC. Pitt’s culture aint changin anytime soon even with Mark Cuban throwing out rolls of Benjamins.

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  41. Reed that is the point. If Pitt was paying $3M, he wouldn’t be our coach. We would have one that can recruit better and coach better. It’s a simple equation and not bull. It’s not a Narduzzi argument.

    You all are asking for a top 20 team and top 20 recruiting when you pay the leader a top 65 salary. That’s not realistic. When you pay a top 65 salary, you get a top 65 coach and top 65 recruits.

    Like

  42. After reading this article, it got my own optimistic writing fluids flowing. I feel another Dr. Tom byline article coming on. Or maybe, it could just be that burrito that I had for dinner.

    Like

  43. Alabama’s true freshman QB from Eva Beach, (swam there) Hawaii, turned the game around,

    We needed to play La Pickett earlier after his redshirt was burned, Gets us to a Bowl movement 🙂

    Like

  44. Great article Pitt94. Whether it’s positive or negative posts it’s just good to know that there are some Pitt people out there who at least care about Pitt sports. Most of the people I know could care less. Regarding Narduzzi I’m still willing to give him some time to right the ship. There are many of you who say he is a terrible recruiter because he doesn’t bring in 4-5 star players. I too wish we would get those kids. However my question to you is: what do you think he is doing wrong that those kids go elsewhere? They offer and are aggressive in following up. It seems like this group of coaches are recruiting more extensively than I have seen in years. My point is would Richt, Petrino, Fedora,Fuente,and even Myer and Saban be able to recruit top talent if they were at Pitt? I don’t think so. Schools like Illinois,Purdue, Minnesota,Maryland,to name a few don’t get the big time players because they are mired in mediocrity just like Pitt. It’s a hard hole to dig out of. You can’t win big without top recruits but you can’t get top recruits without winning.Im not a Narduzzi apologist, but I think that is his biggest obstacle.

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  45. Pitt, as many of the Big10 teams and Northeastern teams suffers from the demographic migration that began in the early 80’s. Mills, and corporate headquarters moved to the southeast for cheap labor. Second Bear Bryant got tired of getting his ass kicked in bowl games and ended segregation in Alabama football and the rest of the region colleges followed suit.
    I live in Atlanta and football is King. If your a good athlete you play football. You transfer to high schools with coaches making over $100,000.00, and there is no break in summer from football. All schools have training camps in the summer.
    Pitt will not be able to recruit Green, Jackson, Walker, Williamson, Haygood, all from Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Florida again. They will play at Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, FSU, etc.
    This circumstance will not change in fact it will become more prominent.
    Look for a young successful coach from the south such as the head coach at Troy State, age 39, record last two years 20 and 3.
    Take the chance Pitt can not afford a Top-Tier SEC coach. We better gab him fast or he’ll be gone after next year.

    Like

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