Here is a well written and very detailed article about recruiting and recruiting stars awarded. It is written by long-time reader and commenter Joe L.

Much has been written and discussed recently on the Pitt POV about Pitt’s football recruiting, including the lack of 4* or 5* commitments in the current class. One of Reed’s most recent posts concerned the development of Pitt’s 4* recruits over the past eight years. I found it to be a sobering analysis; one that clearly shows there are no guarantees that a more highly touted high school player will turn into a star – or even a solid contributor – at the Division 1 Football Bowl Series (FBS) level of college football.

3 Star Bell CurveThe recent discussions about the current class of 3* kids caused me to wonder how Division 1 schools who consistently recruit at the 3* level actually perform on the field.  And by the way, from all I’ve read a 3* player is generally perceived as “OK”.  Not great, not very good and not bad. Just OK.

It probably makes sense for me to share my definition of “OK”.  I’m certainly not talking about Oklahoma. When I speak of “OK”, I’m thinking of the word acceptable, meaning not very good or very bad. In my mind, 3* players are like C grade students. They represent the bulk of the population. They are average.

As I pondered this world of OK recruits, questions came to my mind such as:

  • Can a school averaging 3* win (i.e. 8-9+ wins/yr) consistently?
  • Of those 8-9+ win schools, do they have any common characteristics?
  • Does Pitt fit into the group of 3* schools and if so, where?
  • Where does our ACC competition fit into this group – or not?
  • How many schools outside of the Power 5 are in this group?

To be clear, I did not approach this with the intent of determining if a 3* program has what it takes to consistently win championships or record 10+ wins per year consistently. When you see the schools below who earn this designation, you will quickly note that most of them do not perform at such a level. Clearly the ability to do that requires a roster with multiple star players, who mostly graded out as 4* or 5coming into college. What I did want to understand though was how 3 programs perform and just how does Pitt compare to those schools.

With these in mind, I performed an analysis using data from the recruiting site using recruiting class data for the last five years; 2013 to 2017.  In each one of those years I pulled out any school with an average of 2.75* to 3.25*.  That yielded 50 different programs who made the list at least one time. So – there is a lot of company in the land of OK-ness.

The following table shows those 50 schools and the number of times in five years that each qualified as having a 3* recruiting class:

Div 1 3 Star

Some of these schools are outliers as they only turned up a few times and are either better or worse than a “3* program”.  Many would agree that schools such as Oklahoma, Texas Christian University (TCU), Washington, Miami, Stanford and even – sigh – Penn State belongs on a 4* list.

They are all pretty good and I would never call them “just OK”. Likewise, there are other schools that perhaps got a bit lucky and popped up for a year or two from an otherwise 2* existence. These schools are really “sub-OK”. What they have going for them is that they know they aren’t very good. Ask any Indiana or Illinois fan.

But here’s some breaking news… there aren’t any Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) schools nor any non-Power 5 schools in the list. Nada. Seven schools come from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Five from the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference (SEC), three from the Pacific Coast Conference (PAC) and two from the Big 12. So, I think we’ve resolved any issue out there that Pitt is recruiting at the MAC level. They just aren’t. In fact Pitt is OK on that front.

With a desire to separate all that chaff from the “truly OK” 3-star programs’ wheat, I pared the list above down to those who registered 3-star ratings for four or five years. Those are in the lighter shaded area in the table. Pitt made the cut by registering a 3* class in each of the five years examined. The resulting group (lighter shaded area in the table above) is composed of 22 schools.

Here are some observations about the group; in my opinion it’s not a bad group in which to be associated.  In fact, it is indeed an OK group. A definitively OK group, if you will.  There are some well-run, successful programs in this group. Really OK programs; actually, pretty good programs. We Panther fans should be delighted if Pitt had those higher listed school’s win levels and consistency.

By the way, I made one exception to the four+ years filter. I kept Georgia Tech on the list because one of their other two classes was very close to 2.75 and they are an annual ACC opponent. Further, I think they have an OK program.

In the table below, the five-year average recruit star ratings of those 22 schools is shown. Also included are the ratings of the 2018’s early signing period, the five-year average number of recruits by Rivals’ star level and then average wins per year. Note that the ACC schools are shaded in blue. Also, this list is sorted in descending order by average wins per year.

3 Star Graphic

Note that this OK group averages around three 4* and almost no 5* recruits each year. Start landing a 5* or two and you will be kicked upstairs into the “pretty good “ category.

Likewise, these schools tend to have about four recruits each year that are below the 3* level. Pitt is consistent in comparison to the group averages, or put another way, “pretty OK”.

But a key point is that our average Rivals class ranking is 42.2 over that time period. That’s below the mean ranking of 38.5 for Power 5 programs plus Notre Dame. In fact, we are near the bottom of our current 3* peer group, which is definitely not OK.

Going back to the questions I posed at the beginning of the post…

Can a school averaging 3* win (i.e. 8 – 9+ wins per year) consistently?

Yes, it’s possible and happens about one-third of the time. I was most surprised that Oklahoma State was in this group, followed by Virginia Tech. I would have expected them to be above the OK level. Wisconsin though is the prototypical program for achieving high levels of success using 3* talent. Could it be there is something in all those cheese curds they eat or is it just the Big Ten schedule?

Of those 8-9+ win schools, do they have any common characteristics?

These winning programs generally have stability at both the AD and HC positions for long periods of time and for the most part have managed transitions smoothly. The AD’s are generally great fundraisers, although they don’t tend to be alumni or necessarily from a football or basketball background. And in case you were wondering, none of them came from compliance, although that might have been a good idea at Baylor or Louisville.

And none of those AD’s hired Mike Haywood for 10 minutes or Todd Graham for 11 months. And no surprise here, they all have nice, on-campus stadiums. Perhaps Pitt could ask Boone Pickens to fund a near campus stadium Pitt to amend for his raiding of Gulf Oil some years back.  I’d forgive him, once and for all – promise.

Where does Pitt fit in this group of 22 3*schools?

Pitt is in the lower third of the group and that isn’t good. A solid C grade. Of course, If I want to try to make myself feel better, I could say that we’d look much better in a group composed of Cincinnati, UConn, Rutgers, University of South Florida (USF) and other 2* former Big East programs.

But we did that once, got the tee-shirt and it didn’t make things much different, did it?  So even though we are among the “mediocre OK” programs in this group, I’m OK with it as things could be “worse than not-so-OK” had we not been called by John Swofford one fine fall day.

Does our ACC competition fit into this group – or not?

Most of our Coastal Division foes are on the list. Pitt matches up well with them, which begs the question, “Why aren’t we in the hunt for Coastal division titles every year?” Perhaps it’s more than just the Jimmies and the Joes? Could it be the X’s and O’s?

How many schools outside of the Power 5 are in this group?

Amazingly none. And to think of all the posts I’ve read over the years that said otherwise. Well, now we all know for sure. 3* OK is not MAC mediocre or American Athletic Conference (AAC) mediocre; it is “Power 5 OK” for gosh sakes. That must be worth something.

Having done this little bit of analysis, I’ve decided that I’m OK that Pitt is in this group of 22, but dammit I’m not at all happy about being “below average OK” – I believe Pitt can be and should be “elite OK”.  And to do that, they need to win two more games per year. For that to occur, Pitt needs to take that above average – actually Top-Five – schedule and change it so it better fits our OK program. Of course, supplanting two top opponents with two sub-OK ones is no guarantee of two wins as we all know. So, before we give up the big games with big crowds, we will need to understand that upfront. OK?

Look, I appreciate that there are plenty of you out there who remember the glory years of the 70’s and early 80’s and believe we can get there again. That’s another debate entirely.  All I’m trying to say here today is we can realistically get to a “better than average OK”, C+ grade program before we become a decent program in the “land of the OK” but we are underperforming as a 3* school and that is definitely not OK.




239 thoughts on “Is Everything OK on the Football Front?

  1. Thanks so much Joe L. for that heavy and enlightening look at Pitt’s recruiting (on paper)!! I’ll wait until other’s weigh in before I comment my thoughts on this… But what an informative piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here is a piece on well-travelled QB Ricky Town…

    “But what else can Town say other than that he’s here to vie for the starting job? He didn’t make it through his first college training camp as a freshman at Southern California in 2015. He redshirted, then provided depth under center for two seasons at Arkansas but never played a down. So when he elected to continue his career at the junior college near his hometown of Newbury Park, Calif., it was all about just getting to play again.”

    Boy – can we just start recruiting decent QBs and keep them here for four years? We hit gold with Peterman, but i’m wary of this kid. It’s one thing to go to his original school that recruited, play some for a couple of years and then transfer out but we are getting kids who have bounced around thru all different levels of college football and then end up at Pitt.


    1. Pitt needed a backup immediately. Gives Patti a chance to redshirt….we hope. Picket is the man.

      This is what happens when your freshman QB takes the starting job. Every college team that has had a freshman take the starting job loses the guys older. Kids want to play.


      1. Why that idiot Wanny didn’t give Cross and the wildcat with Shady a chance in that ridiculous 3-0 bowl game loss is beyond me. It was evident to anyone with an IQ bigger than their hat size that you couldn’t throw the ball in that wind.


  3. Joe L,
    That was a wonderful analysis of where pitts recruiting stands. When a program does everything on the average you get average results. If Pitt wants to compete for the Coastal year in and out they need to get recruiting back to a wannstedt level. I’ll be honest I never dreamed pitt could recruit as good as it did under wanny. I’m hopeful that pitt can win a couple extra games this year and actually land a top 30 class. Pass the Kool Aide!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s what gets me:

    ““…said Mooshagian, who added that Town was receiving interest from Central Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Indiana State and Stephen F. Austin.”

    Read that and weep. That’s who we are competing with for this transfer.


  5. Chase Brown, OL, 6-5, 310, Ashburn, VA/Briar Woods H.S./Lackawanna College

    Video Interview: Brown

    Jake Kradel, OL, 6-3, 275, Butler, PA/Butler Senior

    Video Interview: Kradel

    Shyheem Jacques-Louis, WR, 6-0, 170, Fort Myers, FL/Dunbar

    Video Interview: Jacques-Louis

    Taysir Mack, WR, 6-2, 200, Brooklyn, NY/Grand Street Campus H.S./Indiana

    Video Interview: Mack

    Ricky Town, QB, 6-3, 205, Newbury Park, CA/St. Bonaventure H.S./Ventura College

    Video Interview: Town


  6. What’s interesting is a high percentage of those 4 stars he recruited did not pan out, but since he brought in more 4 stars in volume we had more 4 star players. Even kids he brought in that were 2 stars panned out in a class where 4 stars did not. Darian Street 2 star, Greg romeous 2 star, Andrew taglianetti 2 star all panned out while tommy duhart, Chris Burns, Shane Hale, and Maurice Williams did not. Since he brought in multiples though Nate Bynam, Todd Thomas, Shady, Ray Graham, Aaron Berry did pan out!!!


  7. Ricky Town is a kid who no one wants much like Kam Carter. I worry about Narduzzi’s ability to recognize talent even when he needs to get say a two star to fill out a class. You can’t tell me there is not a high school kid in WPA or somewhere in our recruiting foot print that could have been given a last ditch scholarship over Town.


    1. He could have done that had he been able to keep DiNucci on roster. But we do desperately need a back-up to Pickett because relying on a walk-on and a true FR doesn’t cut it.


      1. Now hold a minute here Reed. If a true freshman doesn’t cut it why all the clamoring for Pickett last year? Now not necessarily you but all I heard was that Narduzzi messed up by not playing the true freshman QB.

        I’m hearing good things about Patti this year as well. I liked Ben D and he did take a little too much abuse from the grandstands but he did have a limited upside for a P-5 school. If Pickett goes down, I would rather see what Town can do or even Patti..


  8. On one hand narduzzi wants to run a clean disciplined program, and on the other hand were getting the Ricky Towns, Chris Clarks, and Kam Carters. If I was hiring and I looked at these guys resumes I would rip them up and throw them in the trash!!!!


  9. Joe L, good data. Some thought-provoking info.

    Recruiting value is a big factor of success, but there are a few others. Two other factors, of course, to measure is stability and schedule. You mentioned stability.

    Last year, two ACC teams that Pitt beat (UVa and Duke) both made it to bowl games. I suggest you compare their schedule to Pitt’s. The last 3 years, Pitt has played 4, 5 and 5 teams respectively that have finished ranked in the Top 25. And this coming year should be no different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In fact, I would like to see a comparison of Pitt’s OOc schedule the last 3 years to every team listed in the green matrix above


    2. Still not sure about poll rankings and bowl appearances to make a case but there is apparently no breaking that habit.

      Sagarin Strength of Schedule
      Pitt Wisconsin Iowa Louisville NC State Duke
      2015 27 66 52 35 54 68
      2016 9 13 33 54 30 74
      2017 28 47 5 45 18 50
      Average 21 42 30 45 34 64

      2015 8-5 10-3 12-2 8-5 7-6 8-5
      2016 8-5 11-3 8-5 9-4 7-6 4-8
      2017 5-7 13-1 8-5 8-5 9-4 7-6
      Total 21-17 34-7 28-12 25-14 22-16 19-19

      Pitt played Iowa in 2015 at Ames and lost. Pitt played Louisville in 2015 at home and won. Pitt played NC State in 2017 at home and lost. Pitt plays Duke every year and was 3-0 over this span (2 away, 1 home).


  10. After reading this article it made me feel OK about this year’s class. I think they’ll do OK. I just hope we’ll do as OK. As other OK recruiting schools like VT, this coming season.
    Joe L, thanks for putting in the time to write this article. You’re OK in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. By the way, here are the ACC Coastal Champs since Pitt entered ACC, along with their total wins followed by their Coastal record

    2013- Duke 10 6-2
    2014- GTech 10 6-2
    2015 UNC 11 8-0
    2016 VaTech 10 6-2
    2017- Miami 10 7-1

    Pitt’s best year was 2015 8 6-2


  12. Thank you so much Joe that was excellent or as some say Brilliant! Lots of data to digest there and like all hard stats there will always be outliers between the facts. But boy did you hit the nail on the head when you came up with stability and continuity concerning coaching and the AD situation. I don’t have a doubt this is what PITT’s problem has been not only the past 5 years but a very long time, (pederson)

    PITT football was on the cusp of becoming a yearly 9-10 + win team with DW. Then all heck broke loose with a gooey pile of mess and misdirection. This is why I cry out loud for keeping the coaching staff intact for 4 to 5 years and see where it goes. … and a btw… I am happy the DC switch was made. I never said that tinkering is not allowed when appropriate.

    Another interesting thing about this article along with stability is the sometimes infamous coaches recruiting eye. Some coaches who are mostly forced to take lesser players (3*) because of their place in the pecking order of the college football scene. I like to think Narduzzi has a bit of a recruiters eye. He certainly doesn’t pigeon himself to one specific area or style.

    It is what it is we say and that truly is the case with PITT. However I do agree, PITT can and will climb back and rise up to the top of the mediocre world of football where they rightfully belong. PITT can and will win an ACC title game and do it sooner than later.. . . .ike


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Joe L

    Great write up, thanks!

    If PN gets back to averaging 8 wins per year, Pitt rises to the top of the OK list.

    However, most on here will NOT be OK with just 8 wins per year.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You know that guy who relentlessly says the “Rent is too goddam high” well I’m the guy who shouts “The schedule is too goddam hard”. Add one and a half wins to our yearly record and see how we jump up the average win list.

    Is that all we need to do? Of course not. But if we had done that the entire conversation would be different.

    And once the conversation changes our conversation with recruits changes.

    At the same time we need better coaching. (That’s an entirely different conversation.)

    Here’s where I am optimistic. Pitt has such a storied history and has had so many truly iconic players that it more than most other teams) has the ability to brand itself and thereby separate itself from the OKs. What should that brand be about and how does Pitt develop and market that brand?


  15. Forgive me please, I should have thanked Joe L. for a fantastically stimulating article loaded with valuable information. Really appreciated his hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Interesting stuff. The elephant in the room is that the 4 and 5 star programs are the ones that really compete for Championships. If we want to be better we have to recruit much better. PSU is on that list due to their NCAA punishment. No doubt our coaching fiasco’s have have contributed to our current status.

    The question I propose is are we on the way up, down or just in a never ending SOP holding pattern?

    As far as our Coastal competition, interesting that there have been five champions, speaks to the lack of dominance by OK teams, the one outlier being Miami, which is definitely on the rise with a huge recruiting advantage. Other than that we are definitely in a division of mediocrity where we most certainly belong.


  17. JoeL… great article with in depth analysis backed by facts.

    It’s amazing how similar our numbers are compared to Wisconsin except in the win category. Wisconsin and Iowa are two programs to emulate.

    Pitt FB Chronic Wasting Disease is what we have witnessed over many years. The disease is caused by poor management with lack of commitment,no vision for the program.and bad decision making. The symptoms are average recruiting results, .500 win- loss record and below average attendance.

    For the moment we have coaching stability. Hopefully, they can coach up this group and finish the class with a couple of 4 stars.

    The white elephant in the room is management. Why have the Browns and the Lions never been in a Super Bowl.. bad management.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. One thing Wisconsin and Iowa have in common, big strong offensive linemen. The one thing Chryst tried to bring to Pitt pretty effectively, paid dividends for Narduzzi.

    The worst thing that the coaching changes have brought to Pitt is the constant churning of players, which seems to be continuing Stable teams always have more 4 and 5 year players giving them continuuity and experience. Changing QB’s every year does not help. Of course Tino’s longevity didn’t help either, as far as wins are concerned. It would be really great if Pickett is really good and plays for three years.


    1. Big strong OL are certainly an asset … but remember, much has to do in the conference you play in. Pitt sees much more speed on both sides of the ball in the ACC than in the B10 West.


      1. Iowa kicked our butts the last few times we played them, I am sure Wisky would do the same.
        Big Strong lines are required no matter what conference you are in. Did you see Alabama vs Georgia?

        Just pointing out that Iowa and Wisky have been very consistent on their O-lines. In our two recent 8 win seasons we had the best O-line we have had in years. If we had a D-line to match we would have got our 10 plus wins.


    2. remember, Tino’s last year was Chryst’s first … and each year he QBd, he had a different HC and OC. That is not stability especially when you throw an entirely different offensive scheme right in the middle of the 3 years.


      1. Sorry to touch a nerve. Having new coaches each year certainly was a factor. As were the other 21 guys on the team. Just pointing out that it seems Pitt is below the bar no matter what the circumstances.


  19. Every ten years or maybe longer in FB the stars line perfectly, the gods are happy, and coincidences align and we get a 10 win season followed by maybe a bowl win. That is my reality. As for BB …


  20. I disagree with the article’s premise almost completely. What this shows (and shows in great detail) is that Pitt is just nowhere near good enough to win 8-10 football games per year getting the types of recruits we are getting.

    We need way more 4* recruits – as you saw from that chart I put up a few articles ago almost all of our star power (great players who win games) were 4* and 5* recruits – some 3*s for sure, but mostly blue chip recruits.

    While the article above concentrated on the number of 4* kids who didn’t pan out I think it glossed over the great 4* kids who did.

    Pitt has to have real star-power players on the team to win football games. Last year we didn’t have one player who played like a true “star” out on the field and we ended up with 5 wins… that didn’t happen by accident.

    However, over Narduzzi’s first two years we had true star players in Peterman 4*, Boyd 4*, Conner 3*, Whitehead 4*, Henderson 3* and O’Neil 3* who played like true stars and we won 8 games each season. That doesn’t happen by accident and half of those ‘star’ above players were 4* kids.

    It isn’t enough to get 4* or 5* kids to transfer in from outside. They have already failed at one place and they rarely play up to that earlier recruit ratings potential no matter what school they transfer to – lately Peterman was an outlier here at Pitt.

    We need to be able to recruit real blue chip kids directly out of HS and have them play 3-4 years for us to be a successful program year in and year out. Get those big recruits who will play like stars play, start winning games and then other blue chip players take notice. The best HS recruits want to be surrounded by other blue chip players.

    Our best years in modern history have been when we had those a bunch of true star power players out on the field. Majors, Sherrill and Wannstedt knew how to recruit star players and they won games. Narduzzi does not and will not (imo) unless his recruiting drastically turns around ASAP.

    Who has Narduzzi had commit to him out of HS who has played anywhere close to stardom over the last three years? O’Neill, Whitehead and Q. Henderson were already committed when he took over. And we lost all three of those guys a year early.

    Heer is who Narduzzi himself recruited as 4*s:

    ’15 – 0
    ’16 – Hamlin. Pugh, Hill, Watts, Flowers. Flowers hasn’t caught a pass yet, Pugh and Hill are gone and maybe Watts and Hamlin will breakout.
    ’17 – Davis, Reeves, Ford. We’ll see about Ford. Davis has played a bit – the other two not at all and maybe Ford will hit stardom.

    Who will in the future starting this season? Ford? Weaver, Hamlin maybe? Pickett – maybe, but I don’t see anyone else on roster who fits the bill guys, I just don’t – and none of those four have played hardly above average for any length of time so far.

    I love the article Joe, but I will never be convinced that a program like Pitt, with the inherent problems we have with our non-engaged BoT, weak Admin, pitiful football financing, 5th place in the City’s sport hierarchy, etc… will be able to win championships at any level by recruiting only 3* kids.

    What your last graphic shows is that Pitt actually does less with more than a lot of other programs… and because of that we have to change all aspects of the football program (as mentioned in the above paragraph) to be able to really compete for championships at any level.

    Hell, it has been since 2004 since Pitt won anything close to a conference championship and that was by tiebreaker… but what is the common denominator from 2004 until 2017? All the external issues above – that’s what.

    It just ain’t going to happen here unless we see drastic uptick in recruiting AND a drastic change in interest from the University itself. Which has been talked about at great length but not really come to fruition.


      1. It looks to me like: Better admin. support=better paid coaches=better recruiting=better players=better results. It all starts with the admin. folks. Without their commitment and support, Pitt FB is doomed to mediocrity. Sigh. – Hobie


    1. I say this about the abortion that is Pitt Basketball but it applies to football as well.

      You can coach up talent, but you can’t create it!!


    2. Reed – thanks for the feedback.

      I’m not sure that what I wrote is in conflict with your points.

      The post does not concentrate on 4* star kids who didn’t pan out; I only gave that passing note before transitioning into my topic and it was not intended to offer a contrasting view of your previous post regarding 4* recruits.

      Instead, it was supposed to be was an acknowledgment of life in the land of 3* recruiting. I did note that schools who started to recruit 5* kids would probably move out of the group of 22 3* programs. I will readily acknowledge that more 4* recruits would also do the same.

      I also didn’t discuss championships because I don’t see that as realistic unless something more than changing the out of conference schedule occurs. I simply wanted to look at our peer group as it is today.


  21. So you completely disagree but then in your 5th and 6th paragraph you write,

    “However, over Narduzzi’s first two years we had true star players in Peterman 4*, Boyd 4*, Conner 3*, Whitehead 4*, Henderson 3* and O’Neil 3* who played like true stars and we won 8 games each season. That doesn’t happen by accident and half of those ‘star’ above players were 4* kids.

    It isn’t enough to get 4* or 5* kids to transfer in from outside. They have already failed at one place and they rarely play up to that earlier recruit ratings potential no matter what school they transfer to – lately Peterman was an outlier here at Pitt.”

    So you need 4 and 5’s but give examples of only one of 6 that help your argument, Boyd, and it is arguable he played like a 4*. You then explain away Peterman and then list Conner who was a 3* contradiction and then 3 others that played on last year’s horrible 5-7 team.

    I know I am kinda stupid, but….


  22. I do have other things to do – big tournament this weekend for son:
    sophomore with 10 – 0 Dual Record, 15 – 1 Tournament Record, 25 – 1 Overall Record 13 pins 2017

    69 – 5 HS Record, 42 pins

    I do still appreciate the POV and another great submission, this time by JoeL.


      1. Where are you at rockymtn?
        We are in Maryland, wrestled youth at the place where Kyle Snyder began, he was at “the Barn” several times before his Olympics working out while we were at practice.


  23. Joe L,
    Thank you for the excellent read!
    Richard Ellison @ 11:07
    We did have a very good QB in Rod Rutherford. I sat next to his mom at the Texas A&M game in College Station (which was a W). She was a very sweet lady and my wife and I really enjoyed her company.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. tvax1,
    Congrats on your sons hard work and success!
    I, like you, were a wrestlers dad. Not an easy field to hoe! Would be glad to talk to you about your son’s future as our boy got a D1 full scholarship and I’m sure that is your desire. I may be able to offer a few tips.


  25. We need more 4 stars
    Need a QB
    Need big strong lines
    Need good coaching
    Need easy schedule
    Need some luck or breaks
    Need a supportive culture

    That’s your recipe for ten win seasons


  26. Thanks Pittman, I had forgotten that you mentioned that some time last year. Perhaps at a tailgate or sooner.
    Funny thing, he really has a lot to work on technique-wise, but he has started to make it a priority.

    Really if it ended in 2 years, I will miss it, but thinking D1 wrestling is a tough grind, he would need to love it enough to commit. More importantly he does well with grades so far.

    You might have mentioned it, but what school was your son at?


  27. I agree. We need more 4 stars. I am not defending HCPN’s recruiting. It has been mostly average. However it doesn’t seem to be from lack of effort. He is offering 4 Star kids from everywhere. Can someone tell me why they don’t sign here. Is he not doing something other coaches are doing? Are other programs getting the top kids by breaking rules? I can remember back when Gottfried was coach there was some dubious tactics to sign high profile kids. Tony Siracusa referenced this in his book. I’m not condoning this. Maybe it just comes down to Pitt just isn’t an attractive destination for top recruits when they can play somewhere with packed stadiums and programs with recent success. We are in a hole right now and the only thing that will get us out of it is winning and creating some buzz nationally.


  28. Nice write up JoeL. I am soooo glad that you wrote that we are a “C” program. We are led by “C” BoT members that want “C” results and pay for them. It is the fans that want an “A” program and have unrealistic expectations.

    All – we have been heavily mislead by our chancellors, coaching staffs and AD’s for a real long time now about winning championships. Those are lies and we believed em. The real slick AD will tell the masses that we are competing for championships. No crap sherlock. If you play in the game, you are competing. Don’t be cute with words, especially when my money is being taken to go to games.

    @Reed – You can’t recruit better paying in the 50th percentile to your coaches. You just can’t do it. As an example PJ row the boat Fleck didn’t recruit 4 and 5 stars to his prior university. He was only paid $725k per year and his coaches in total of about $850k. That doesn’t get you 4 and 5 star recruits. Now he is being paid $3.5M, was just extended a year and IS expected to recruit better and win more. Minnesota has taken the plunge. Pitt wants to be a “C” program.

    Don’t let facts get in the way so here goes. From 2014 thru 2017, Western Michigan had a total of ZERO 4 and 5 star recruits. In 2018, Minnesota got 3 with Fleck. Expectations go up and results go up, when you pay more to get better recruiters/coaches. From 2014 thru 2017, Minnesota brought in a total of 3 four star recruits (two were local kids). The point is that expectations should go up when you pay more. Too many folks want “A” programs when we just flat out pay for a “C” program.

    One of the most stupid things I’ve ever seen that alumni and fans allow to happen. Spineless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Golden Gophers, like Pitt, are in an urban area. One thing they did was build an on-campus stadium. Previously, they played on the other side of town at the Hubert Humphrey Dome. They were fortunate to have the right size of flat land adjacent to campus as well.


    2. If we won 1.5 more games a year because the schedule was easier we could win 8-10 games a year and that alone would help recruiting. I love it when the obvious is rejected by many. Makes me feel so smart even if I’m not.


  29. Right 68, the nonstop coaching carousel without a defined direction has created a difficulty for Narduzzi. Reestablishing local recruiting ties is the way to go. Thinking the tenth coach should be a local guy or woman? with some serious pull in WPA. ike


    1. We looked over the Top 250 Rivals players for this year and next year. Just a couple from Pennsylvania and then even less from Western Pa.

      The Top players in the country are not in WPA anymore. That train has left the station with an occasional stop every so often in WPA.


  30. One other note. Wannstedt got canned for players getting into trouble according to those that need to make excuses for a firing at Pitt.

    The reality is that many of our current kids have been in trouble as we have noted as many are leaving the program. It’s just not as public.

    I liked Wanny as a recruiter. Liked him more as a motivator. Questioned his decisioning during games and always felt he could have benefited from a seasoned coaching decision maker at his side.

    We also know that Paranoid Peterson was afraid the powers that be were starting to support Wanny over him and actively promoted the “player conduct” excuse for getting rid of him. What a sham! Same issue is going on here, kind of. Hard to tell with all the silence.

    Just back from NCAA National Conference in Indy- Great stuff! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kool-aid with a shot of Tito’s = Sunseri T

      JoeL – enjoyed your article and I believe Pitt is on the verge of winning with it’s current 3* roster. Someone asked in a post who will step up and be the stars on the current team?

      No one knows for sure, but here is a shot at “greatness” –

      QB Pickett – if he doesn’t charge up the fan base with his play, then some on the POV really missed the target.
      FB Aston – has already shown the fans what a star looks Lyke. Needs to recover fully from his injury(s).
      RB AJ Davis – there is a reason he saw the field as a true FR. OC Watson was lost though, as the guy in charge of Pitt’s O.
      WR RaRa Lopes – best receiver last season on a team with 2 potential NFL draft picks.

      New comer picks –
      WR Shocky – looks and sounds Lyke a star.
      WR Michael Smith – former 8A FL offensive player of the year (1 redshirt year removed).
      TE Reeves – this guy should be used to “gronk “ our opponents. OC Watson should study the Patriot’s O and mimick their use of Pittsburgher Gronkowski.
      OL – the entire unit. As a whole, they were below average last season. Good that we lost 3 of 5 starters and 1 back-up (IMO). New start with a fairly new unit. I expect improvement over last season.

      Now on to D –

      DB Hamlin – when he was fairly healthy last season, he showed glimpses of stardom. UPMC needs to have an assist here and help get this guy healthy.
      DB Ford – this is his start to the next level. He is one year older, stronger and smarter, now it is time to be a STARter.
      MLB Wirginis – second chances don’t come around often. This guy needs to not only be a STARter, he needs to be the leader of Pitt’s D.
      OLB Brightwell – better fit and should develop into a very good Pitt player (see late season highlights from his FR year).
      OLB Chase Pine – former HS QB/LB, has size, speed and very good athleticism. Needs to put others on the “Pine”.
      DE Hendrix – needs to quit playing the guitar and get after the QB. Pitt must get double digit sack #’s from this former 4* recruit.
      DT Camp – 4* from FL (really).
      DT Watts – 4* from IL and an ok dancer. Needs to add sacks to his dance.
      DE Weaver – 2* from FL playing Lyke a 4*. Reminds me of a former Pitt player from Erie we all know & love.

      Newcomers –

      DB Campbell – hits hard, plays hard, looks Lyke a STARter to me.
      OLB McKee – needs a little help from UPMC (see Hamlin) – we need him healthy to see his talent on the field. (An older newcomer)
      DT Twyman – 4* from DC with a high motor according to Duzz.

      My personal favorites –

      RB Q.Ollison
      LB Cam Bright
      DE Folston – NFL pedigree
      OL Drake – 4* from FL (really).
      OL Bookser – 4* from Pittsburgh (I’ve forgiven him for his bad brush with the law and I thank God no one was seriously hurt).
      TE Clark – 5* is rarified air and means something, right? Lyke Hendrix on D, only we need double digit TD’s from Chris in 2018.

      Reed’s sleeper –

      DT Shane Roy – breakout season as a run stuffer. Adds 15lbs of strength & weight, becomes a workout machine with conditioning & weight lifting. Wears a T-shirt that says “3*’s Rule” under his jersey.



  31. Nice writeup Joe L. Pitt can win big with “Great QB play” and very good 3 star class surrounding him. We may have the QB play in house now with Pickett. At least I’m hoping so.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pitt over the last 5 years.

    2017 5-7 Grade D+
    2016 8-5 Grade B+
    2015 8-5 Grade B+
    2014 6-7 Grade C-
    2013 7-6 Grade C+

    If I came home with a Report Card like that… would not be OK.

    But with Pitt’s BoT, it appears it is OK.

    We have been nothing more than a C+ program. And that has been our grade for a lot longer
    than just the last 5 years. C+ programs gets you 3 star recruits.


    1. I like your grades.

      2013 very well could have turned out to be a B- if not for Pitt allowing Ryan Switzer to return 2 punts for touchdowns in a 7 point loss.

      2014 very well could have turned out to be an A if not for a game winning field goal miss versus Duke, 6 fumbles lost versus GT, a very late 5 point loss to UNC, and squandering a 21 point 4th quarter lead against Houston. I know we hate the term, but there was some serious Pitt-ing this season.

      2015 very well could have turned out to be an A except Pitt had a frustrating habit of starting slowly and finishing strongly in losing home games to UNC, ND and Miami.

      2016 very well could have been an A with an average pass defense. Pitt certainly could have beaten Ok State, UNC and VT.

      Ah, Pitt. It’s why we keep coming back.


      1. Exactly Barvo. And thank you. You know even if we had won the damn Bowl Games in 2015 and 2016, could have turned those into A- seasons.

        Lots of missed opportunities and lots of bungles, flops, gaffes and other things we’ve all come to know as things associated with losing games we should have won.


  33. Your bottom line was spot on. Pitt is an underachieving program and I think most of us agree with that.

    Teams with similar recruiting rankings are getting more ‘bang for the buck’.

    What gets you another 2 wins, is a good to very good QB. The only years BC competed in the Atlantic Division in the ACC, was when they had Matt Ryan at QB.

    Pitt needs to recruit and then develop better QB’s. Hopefully La Pickett is a step in that direction.


  34. New DC Bates grew up in Zanesville (SE OH), Steeler fan, and collected Iron City cans when he was young. His credentials had improved IMO


  35. Pitt got real lucky when Majors came and got Dorsett. That lucky National Championship sustained the program for about 10 years. Before that we stunk since the real good ol days, and since then we have been mediocre or worse for the most part.

    The problem with us fans is that we keep thinking our fortunes will be reversed. However in this era of giant budgets, and total commitment we will continue to be an OK program, or worse.


    1. Right, at least we were alive and saw us win a NC and be a National Power for that time period.

      And we had a couple good to very good seasons(Sugar Bowl) maybe even great(1963) with John Michelosen, before my time.

      JM for Johnny Majors and John Michelosen

      JS for Jackie Sherrill and Jock Sutherland.

      We need a HC with either one of those initials it appears 🙂


  36. What pitt inherited from the glory days was quickly squandered away. Pitt needs to make themselves. You go about doing that through hard work and good decisions. And not accepting mediocrity. Pitt is content with mediocrity. It won’t cost them big money, you don’t have to work too hard, you don’t have to cheat and you can be a moron. Thank you BoT.


    1. Recurring theme since the late 1930’s.

      Nothing ever seems to be learned, as we’re seeing the implosion of the bball program that it took Howland/Dixon 15 years to build up, along with around $150 million dollars.


  37. Just watched Randy Bates introductory presser online. He came off well and I love his background as a lieutenant in the Navy. Hopefully that will bring structure and discipline to the defense.


  38. So Pap, you’re saying we should give Bates a chance? Brilliant!

    If he can bring discipline along with a solid scheme he may very well go down known as the Master…


  39. The biggest question with Bates has to be his lack of calling defensive signals experience on game days. He certainly has been around long enough to understand what it takes to play good defensive football. You would think that he and Narduzzi can both spend the time necessary to get the most out of what Pitt can put on the field defensively. Keep in mind folks calling defensive signals is not rocket science and as such finding a competent coordinator should not be an impossible task.


  40. Kids need discipline, focus, training, guidance, direction, motivation. Bates will do just fine. I want Pitt players to be Marines. I want them to crush our enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women.


  41. ESPN: Pitt’s Brian O’Neill could be drafted 16th overall — to the Ravens

    Now we know why he left early.


    1. Saw that and it caught me by surprise. Like him or not, Kiper is usually in the ballpark. Gopod for O’Neill if it works out that way.


  42. These kids leaving aren’t exactly winding up at notable football schools. Are they ?

    Former Pitt running back Chawntez Moss, who was dismissed by coach Pat Narduzzi after the 2017 season, has enrolled at Division II Grand Valley (Mich.) State and joined the football team


  43. And my next predicted star at Pitt says :

    He hasn’t even been on campus for a month, but Shocky Jacques-Louis already is scoring big at Pitt.

    “I’m starting to get A’s on the quizzes,” he said Thursday.

    Nice, but Pitt’s freshman wide receiver has other goals that go beyond the classroom.

    “They have Biletnikoff Award winners here (Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald),” he said, “and I plan on being one of them.”

    And he doesn’t apologize for setting such a lofty standard.

    “Dreamers gotta dream,” he said. “People may overlook this school, but I see it as an opportunity for me to get to the NFL.”


  44. The recruiting value of a great QB is something to be considered in the short run. When you bring in these “one year” wonders via grad transfer at QB it does very little to encourage a good offensive recruit to come to come to a school like Pitt. Why? Because by the time the new recruit arrives he’ll be playing with the next grad transfer. It’s already been reported that the WR transfer Pitt got from Indiana was quite impressed with Pickett after his mom called him to tell him to tune into the Pitt versus Miami game and watch Pickett in action. We don’t know if Shocky’s decision to sign with Pitt was influenced by Pickett play at seasons end. But I’d be willing to bet that may have influenced him greatly since getting to the NFL early playing WR with DiNucci at QB might not have excited him to any great degree.


  45. We know the Steelers rarely draft Pitt kids (Conner first in ages) so O’Neill possibly to Ravens maybe not a surprise as they draft ahead of Steelers. H2P


  46. wwb
    January 19, 2018 at 9:54 am
    In fact, I would like to see a comparison of Pitt’s OOc schedule the last 3 years to every team listed in t he green matrix above

    I had some time so I looked it up. I did it by conference so not in the same order. I have done SEC & ACC.

    School Year OOC W/L Overall OOC opponent
    Mississippi State 17 4-0 8-4 Charleston Southern, La. Tech, BYU, UMass
    16 2-2 5-7 So. Alabama, UMass, BYU, Samford
    15 4-0 8-4 Southern Miss, Northwestern St., Troy, LaTech

    Missouri 17 3-1 7-5 Missouri St., Purdue, Idaho, UConn
    16 2-2 4-8 Hoopies, Heather’s old school, Del. St., Mid.Tenn
    15 4-0 5-7 S.E Missouri St., Arkansas St., UConn, BYU

    Arkansas 17 3-1 4-8 FL. A&M, TCU, New Mexico St., Coastal Carolina
    16 4-0 7-5 La Tech, TCU, Texas St., Alcorn St.
    15 2-2 7-5 UTEP, Toledo, Tx. Tech, UT-Martin

    Vanderbilt 17 3-1 5-7 Mid-Tenn., Alabama A&M, Kansas St., Western Ky.
    16 3-1 6-6 Mid-Tenn., Ga. Tech, Western Ky., Tennessee St.
    15 2-2 4-8 Western Ky., Austin Peay, Mid-Tenn, Houston

    Kentucky 17 3-1 7-5 Southern Miss, Eastern Ky, Our AD’s old school, L’ville
    16 3-1 7-5 Southern Miss., N. Mexico St., Austin Peay. L’ville
    15 3-1 5-7 La.-Lafayette, Charlotte, Eastern Ky. L’ville

    PITT 17 2-2 5-7 Youngstown St., Penn St. Ok. St., Rice
    16 3-1 8-4 Villanova, Penn St., Ok. St. Marshall
    15 2-2 8-4 Youngstown St., Iowa, Akron, Notre Dame

    Hope this posts w/out looking like garbage.

    Seeing Austin Peay (pronounced PEE) reminds me of one of the great student cheers. Fly Williams was one of the first three points shooters. After a made 3 the students would cheer “Fly’s open. Let’s go Peay.”


    1. in other words,the other schools listed didn’t have a demanding OOC. Only a couple actually played a ranked opponent


      1. I started doing research with the ACC & SEC. I picked them because they play 4 OOC & I follow those conferences (the “cocks” in PITT-cocks is for the So. Carolina Gamecocks-my other team). The other three conference only play 3 OOC.

        It took me longer then I expected to research & a whole lot longer to hunt & peck the info in the comment.

        Still have more to do.


  47. Question…. could the Steelers with their lack of maturity be a negative influence on the
    young Panthers?


    1. Yeah, but if you have a QB it increases your chances at winning. The receivers have to make catches for yards, or run full speed into the end zone instead of slowing down. The stars don’t matter when the ball is in the air. Pickett will give them a chance to make plays.


  48. No reason why Pitt cant be closer to Va Tach
    Wisky has easy schedule
    Okie St…great coach and QB
    Louisville has great QB and cheats
    Iowa weak schedule

    All these programs have stability. Commit to sports. Support in a big way.



  49. Let’s not forget a comment Reed made recently about a recruit’s parent telling him that phone calls were not returned, and that he was passed around between different position coaches. If this is the case, there is a real problem with recruiting.


  50. You know now rhino I’s like to aww from Bates…players that HIT hard and knock the ball carrier backward. Hasn’t happened for two years. We drag guys down from behind or drag them down as they run over us. One of my constant pet peeves with the defense. You don’t need 5 stars to be tough.


  51. Of the 16 commits, 10 are rated 5.7 which is the highest 3 star rating. I think getting very high three star that are .a decimal point from 4 stars s good. Pitt also will have of the four to five commits in February most are high 3 stars and 4 stars. So Depending on the four who commit in February. Pitt can finish with a top 35 class if that is the case if not a little higher. I don;t understand the angst here. This is a pretty good class.


    1. You do understand that you’re reading comments from a bunch of old Pitt fans, right?

      And you expected,,,,,?


  52. ACC OOC records:

    17…………..4-0……..8-4………Purdue, Kent State, Murray State, Kentucky
    16…………..2-2……..9-3………Charlotte, Marshall, Houston, Kentucky
    15…………..2-2……..7-5………Auburn, Houston, Samford, Kentucky

    Virginia Tech
    17………….4-0……..9-3……….Hoopies, Delaware, East Carolina, Old Dominion
    16………….3-1……..9-3……….Liberty, Tennessee, East Carolina, Notre Dame
    15………….2-2……..6-6……….Hiya State, Furman, Purdue, East Carolina

    17………….3-1……..6-6……….N.C. Central, Northwestern, Baylor, Army
    16………….3-1……..4-8……….N.C. Central, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Army
    15………….3-1……..7-5……….Tulane, N.C. Central, Northwestern, Army

    Hoping this reads better.

    Does anyone care? I will wait until the A.M. before I post the last three ACC teams.


  53. It’s amazing how things have changed in my lifetime.
    Growing up, Steelers often played at Pitt Stadium. Steelers sucked throughout the 60s (and before).
    Pirates won a title in ’60, and then swooned thru much of the 60s (but was always fun to follow)
    Penquins began in later 60s and pretty much sucked until Lemiuex
    After a great ’63, Pitt FB sucked
    Pitt BB sucked throughout the 60s.

    Then came the 70s and everyone got much better (except Pens) … and all of the sudden Pgh became City of Champions


  54. Yes I care Richard. Thanks for the great effort and showing us how playing a difficult OOC schedule can help create havoc within a fan base.

    Playing Hiya State, Furman, Purdue, East Carolina would have no doubt changed PITT’s record this past season and all the hysteria over a 5 win season would never have happened.


    1. Good between you & wbb I will keep it up.

      The yinzer in me pronounces Ohio – Hiya. Back in my teenage years, my friends & I would go swimin’ in the Hiya River about a half mile below the Emsworth Dam. I also have a habit of dropping “g’s”.


          1. lol Joe, I didn’t catch that at first but remembering the first 4 hours of your life would be quite the memory…


            1. What’s funny is I went to Sewickley Academy for three years on scholarship. They couldn’t beat the yinzer out of me. (Well not beat but my English teachers really tried hard.)

              Funniest comment a teacher ever gave me was when my 3’rd year French teacher told me, in the last week of class, that “I still spoke French like a Spanish cow”.


  55. Goes to my post for years and everyone on here said if you schedule easy, the fans won’t show. Our fan base is loyal at about 35k. We need three easy wins and a difficult OOC game. Wins will help recruiting.

    Then, 4~4 at worst in ACC gives us an easy 7~5 record, every year. When things align, 9~3 seems pretty good. Don’t give me credit for this. That is how Dairy High School did it and they convinced the media they were back. What a farse!!! I spent time there this year and it was planned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree 100% , When I proposed it, roundly criticized, but it makes more sense than 5-7, and a must if you want to see 10 wins some day.

      Liked by 1 person

  56. Great article, Joe! To me it shows where Pitt could and should be in the College football hierarchy. Maestro Ike, I reckon the appropriate music video for this thread is “The Kids are Alright”.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Dan, I have noticed a serious uptake in positive thoughts from you lately. This is welcomed and I totally agree. The bigger the puzzle the longer it takes to piece it together. Patience paints the picture…


  58. Great article Joe L
    Recruiting is the life blood of college football and the more I read about it the star ratings are about 70% of what I would consider important. Some talk about talent evaluation; coaching up; coaches schemes thay use but to myself I have no way to evaluate these things.
    I like to simplify things. One theme over the last several years has been a fundamental shift from getting recruits who have better offer sheets— previously we were winning over MAC type schools. This combined with Narduzzi staying in place, grooming internal QB and the maturation of this young squad the football gods may look favorable at Pitt in the near term future.

    One off topic question: Does Pitt have the youngest combined basketball & football rosters in college?

    Liked by 1 person

  59. tvax1,
    My younger son wrestled in high school at Amarillo High (TX) and was offered and accepted a full scholarship in the Pac 10 at Cal State Bakersfield. Sophomore year he shattered his C-5 (basically a broken neck) and had a titanium plate fused between the C-4 and C6 with a cadiver bone inserted where the C-5 was. Needless to say he never wrestled again but did graduate from CSUB, got a PhD at UNLV and is now a Dean there. His neck still pains him to this day.


    1. Bittersweet. A PhD and a position of Dean are such great accomplishments.

      I always appreciate it when scholarship athletes take full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them. It seems to get lost these days when all we hear about are the athletes who are good enough to leave school early for the pros.

      Remember Pitt of the 60s when the teams weren’t very good. Starting QB in mid 60s, Ed James, became a dentist as BB star Bran Generalovich. Then there was FB’s Doc Medich who not only became a medical doctor but a MLB pitcher. Heck, even All-American Paul Martha became a prominent lawyer after a long NFL career. Don Hennon, A-A basketball player became a surgeon.

      Nowadays, very little is written about athletes who go on to become great successes outside of the world of athletics. Success just seems to be measured by if they makes the pros. Maybe Pitt has it right when it seems to value success in the classroom above success on the field or arena.


  60. Reposted from earlier at 5:57am today – responded to others –

    JoeL – enjoyed your article and I believe Pitt is on the verge of winning with it’s current 3* roster. Someone asked in a post who will step up and be the stars on the current team?

    No one knows for sure, but here is a shot at “greatness” –

    QB Pickett – if he doesn’t charge up the fan base with his play, then some on the POV really missed the target.
    FB Aston – has already shown the fans what a star looks Lyke. Needs to recover fully from his injury(s).
    RB AJ Davis – there is a reason he saw the field as a true FR. OC Watson was lost though, as the guy in charge of Pitt’s O.
    WR RaRa Lopes – best receiver last season on a team with 2 potential NFL draft picks.

    New comer picks –
    WR Shocky – looks and sounds Lyke a star.
    WR Michael Smith – former 8A FL offensive player of the year (1 redshirt year removed).
    TE Reeves – this guy should be used to “gronk “ our opponents. OC Watson should study the Patriot’s O and mimick their use of Pittsburgher Gronkowski.
    OL – the entire unit. As a whole, they were below average last season. Good that we lost 3 of 5 starters and 1 back-up (IMO). New start with a fairly new unit. I expect improvement over last season.

    Now on to D –

    DB Hamlin – when he was fairly healthy last season, he showed glimpses of stardom. UPMC needs to have an assist here and help get this guy healthy.
    DB Ford – this is his start to the next level. He is one year older, stronger and smarter, now it is time to be a STARter.
    MLB Wirginis – second chances don’t come around often. This guy needs to not only be a STARter, he needs to be the leader of Pitt’s D.
    OLB Brightwell – better fit and should develop into a very good Pitt player (see late season highlights from his FR year).
    OLB Chase Pine – former HS QB/LB, has size, speed and very good athleticism. Needs to put others on the “Pine”.
    DE Hendrix – needs to quit playing the guitar and get after the QB. Pitt must get double digit sack #’s from this former 4* recruit.
    DT Camp – 4* from FL (really).
    DT Watts – 4* from IL and an ok dancer. Needs to add sacks to his dance.
    DE Weaver – 2* from FL playing Lyke a 4*. Reminds me of a former Pitt player from Erie we all know & love.

    Newcomers –

    DB Campbell – hits hard, plays hard, looks Lyke a STARter to me.
    OLB McKee – needs a little help from UPMC (see Hamlin) – we need him healthy to see his talent on the field. (An older newcomer)
    DT Twyman – 4* from DC with a high motor according to Duzz.

    My personal favorites –

    RB Q.Ollison
    LB Cam Bright
    DE Folston – NFL pedigree
    OL Drake – 4* from FL (really).
    OL Bookser – 4* from Pittsburgh (I’ve forgiven him for his bad brush with the law and I thank God no one was seriously hurt).
    TE Clark – 5* is rarified air and means something, right? Lyke Hendrix on D, only we need double digit TD’s from Chris in 2018.

    Reed’s sleeper –

    DT Shane Roy – breakout season as a run stuffer. Adds 15lbs of strength & weight, becomes a workout machine with conditioning & weight lifting. Wears a T-shirt that says “3*’s Rule” under his jersey.



    1. The defensive review omitted names like Wheeler, Weaver, Jones II, Reynolds, Jackson & Garner.
      This young defense comes into it’s own this coming season😉


      1. I think the D is loaded with talent and I only had one cup of coffee when I penned the above STARter posting. So hey, the names you mentioned, ‘cept Weaver are going to be good back-ups and possibly swipe a STARting spot or two.

        If you read and listen to some Pitt fans, why would I want to renew my season tickets to see a bunch of “losers”? I’m not buying their schtick.

        I listened to the Bates intro presser (minus Barnes, thank goodness) and he scouted this talented young Pitt D and said that’s a big reason he came to Pittsburgh. I’m sure the money had a lot to do with it too (sarcasm…)


  61. A few things:

    Re: OOC schedule – we Pitt fans really can’t have it both ways.

    First we want a lot of wins so we want to play OOC teams that we can almost surely beat (although that doesn’t always hold true for Pitt as we have seen over the years). All well and good but personally I like hard, tough competition in sports (and in life) so that rubs me the wrong way.

    But on the other hand we want to see the stadium filled and big excitement from the fans and the sportswriters both locally and nationally. We will not get that by scheduling push-overs for a full quarter of the regular season schedule. We just won’t get that attendance or emotional push.

    Pittsburghers and WPA people know their football and those ‘casual’ fans who we really need to attract for filling the seats and buying season tickets won’t give a rat’s ass if we are playing rent-a-wrecks in the first half of the season.

    Thirdly, lose to PSU or an OK State early in the year and fans can understand that. Lose to a school of lesser talent and prestige than Pitt at the same time and we’ll hear howls from every quarter.

    Remember what we felt like after that Akron loss, the Bowling Green loss, etc… Throw in the disappointing squeaker in OT against YSU this last season also – those are crippling to a program’s excitement and reputation. Lose to them and we fans scream like crazy…

    Then there are the wins against OOC teams. Beat the patsys and it’s ‘Well, we should have anyway’. But beat OOC PSU or ND and that is a real feather in the cap.

    And then there is TV – Pitt needs to get on national TV every single chance it gets and that only happens outside of already scheduled conference play if Pitt is playing another team of importance… and then we win those ballgames while millions watch.

    Honestly, that is why I scratch my head when I read that some fans are crying out for an easier non-conference schedule so that we can get an extra win or two on the schedule – well, that will happen with no one but the fans actually inside the stadium watching and a miniscule regional broadcast.

    But those same fans wave away the importance of getting into and winning bowl games – like they don’t matter one bit. Well, they sure as hell do – and that is the prime example of a important OOC game that will be nationally televised.

    I have thought that to dismiss the two bowl losses and them missing out this year have been the height of excuse making for some fans… we do need all the wins we can get – but they shouldn’t be rented punching bags in the beginning of the season – those should be tough games and then we must get selected for and win the bowls also.

    That is the win that will put us from 8 to 9 wins or from 6-7 to beat a .500 season and actually mean something. Pollsters don’t just look at the number of wins to select the Top 25 – they also look at who the teams beat to get those wins.

    You want for Pitt to be seen in a better light – that won’t happen with one extra win against a YSU or a Rice… but schedule an additional hard OOC opponent and beat then and people sit up and take notice – and then if we lose that OOC game at least it was against a formidable opponent and not a school that embarasses us by losing to them.


    1. Beat patsies. Get better recruits. Schedule better teams. Hold your own. Wait for the stars to align. Convince BOT to purge PSU alum off BOT. Beat better OOC teams. Success. And somewhere in this plan create brand for Pitt Football that markets its storied history and blue collar toughness.


  62. I think 2 hard OOC games and 2 hopefully easier games is the right balance for now. Stack up about 3 consecutive 8-9 win seasons and then if recruiting is improving, consider improving the OOC schedule. Getting ours a$$es kicked on a yearly basis by OSU is doing nothing positive for Pitt right now but set the program up to fail. Follow the Wisconsin/Iowa template as per JoeL’s article.


  63. Erie, nice job. Didn’t we hear at the last tailgate that Aston graduates in May and he is deciding on his options…or did I have one too many Sunseri T’s?
    First impression of Bates is a good one…Duzz stated he trusts him within the first minute of the presser.


    1. Not to be an ass but Narduzzi has said that at every presser he has had for his coordinators… and BTW – I think this is a pretty good hire considering the financial restraints Narduzzi is working under.


    2. Yes, Aston does graduate and is considering his options. If he moves on from FB, the injury(s) were probably too severe to come back as the impact player he was as a SO. As an athlete, he will have a strong gut feeling and hopefully he is getting some wise counsel as well.


  64. I’d rather schedule 2 sure wins and make a good bowl than a crappy. Good bowls (warm and fun locations) reward fans. Our fans dont travel so I guess it doesnt matter. I’d rather schedule two tough teams for national exposure and attendance but…bottom line Pitt needs to win whoever they play

    No question that Pitt needs a much easier OOC schedule going forward though but cant become too easy since strength of schedule is part of the rankings.

    And its tough to get good teams to play you. Pedos dont want to ever again. Hoopies would like to and I’m for that. What other team would pack them in though? Domers of course. Maybe tOSU?

    And the flip side you can get blown out by good OOC teams or lose to bad MAC teams. Its still embarrassing either way. Perfect world is what every other school does. 1 bad/2 ok/1 good


  65. We should schedule games with WV, Maryland, Temple, Cincinnati, and the Directional Michigan schools, as perhaps being fairly local, their fans would make the trip to sell a few tix here and would be a fairly easy game for Pitt fans to travel to.


  66. It still seems evident to me that in the eyes of the college polls and media a 9-3 season record is more highly ranked and acclaimed than a 7-5 record from a team that played a harder schedule. They all look at the # of W’s – not the “but we played harder teams excuse.” It’s just the way it is in my opinion.


  67. Get Navy on the schedule every year – Maryland is a nice 4 hr drive down also. And another Big Ten school like Iowa.

    We should play WVU every year if possible also.

    But we have to remember that other, bigger programs (PSU, ND, tOSU, etc…) look at their OOC schedules and see pitt as a “Not Big school” so they have to decide who they want as filler also.


    1. Let’s “punch” the nitters square in the mouth again at Heinz Field. Send them home with bloody noses and back eyes. The game in 2016 was a classic.

      Who cares what the “creeps” think of Pitt?

      Bates’ LB corp will be up for that game – BAM – BANG – SMASH – bring back the Dark Knight!


    2. I forgot about Navy. Their offense obviously poses a challenge but at the same time would serve as a great tune-up for GT. Plus Annapolis is an awesome town for an away game. Good call, Commander!


  68. I have nothing against 2 hard OOC games. (this year, there will be 3) It just seems that too many people here are judging Pitt teams solely on a number of wins and/or if they make a bowl. I’ll say it again …. that this past year’s team was just as good as some of the 6 win teams of the recent past … but nobody here wanted to hear that.

    Ir reminded me of the 2006 team which won 6 games in a BE that had 3 teams finish in Top 12 and 4 teams ranked.


  69. Good points all around but Pittman and PittPT I think you guys nailed it. Reed, you are correct as well as PITT can’t have it both ways. Yet for the sanity of the fans an extra win or two last year would have changed the mindset of a few PITT fans. and the same thing may happen again this year?

    I think building wins first is the ideal way to resurrect a flailing college football program. But again if PITT is to lose at home, in front of a packed house is the way to go.

    Jim, I agree with your premise that a 9-3 record against cupcakes gets a little more respect than a 7-5 record against tougher opponents…. and btw… PITT’s big wins against psu, Clemson, and Miami had little staying power and lasting impressions even with some PITT fans.


  70. The Balance of the ACC teams:

    Georgia Tech (note: only played 3 OOC games in 17. UCF game cancelled due to hurricane.)

    17………..1-2………5-6………Tennessee, Jacksonville St., (UCF-cancelled), Georgia
    16………..4-0………8-4………Mercer, Vanderbilt, Georgia Southern, Georgia
    17………..2-2………3-9………Alcorn State, Tulane, Notre Dame, Georgia

    North Carolina

    17……….2-2……….3-9………California, Old Dominion, Notre Dame, Western Carolina
    16……….3-1……….8-4………Georgia, Illinois, James Madison, The Citadel
    15……….3-1……….11-1…….South Carolina, North Carolina A&T, Illinois, Delaware

    North Carolina State

    17……….2-2………8-4………South Carolina, Marshall, Furman, Notre Dame
    16……….3-1………6-6………Willie & Mary(sitting in a tree), East Carolina, Old Dominion, Notre Dame
    15……….4-0………7-5………Troy, Eastern Ky., Old Dominion, South Alabama

    Comment: Ga. Tech does try to schedule hard. NC played two FCS in both 16 & 17, though James Madison
    did win FCS title


  71. wwb, that obvious truth is lost on the majority of college sports enthusists. A very, very small % of the total of college sports scholarship student/athletes ever make it into the pro sport that they participated in during their college days. When you consider the wide range of sports plus the total number of higher education institutions that offer athletic scholarships, the idea that this entire infrastructure is nothing more than farm leagues for their respective pro sport is ludicrous!

    But when the focus concentrates only on the football factory schools, like the perennial top ten teams, as the epitomy of what a university should aspire to in creating a winning program, then IMO, you’ve taken your eye off the ball if the priority of that university is to look out for the best interest of their student athletes during that process in the 1st place.

    I am totally “OK” with a roster full of 3Star football recruits, if they want to be here and are here to obtain an education as well as to play on a major college football team.

    From what I’ve seen since the debacle of the negative SI article & the firing of Wannestadt through the coaching revolving door that resulted over the succeeding year was a shift in who this University was willing to offer scholarships to.

    When HCPC came on board, his “job one” was to stabilize the program & get kids on the roster that were not going to be trouble makers and who wanted to be here at Pitt. The results were self evident, and we saw only very minor discipline issues crop up with Chryst’s kids overall. During this period we also saw an uptick in acedemically honored athletes as well. Although I haven’t checked the numbers, I’d bet the graduation rates for our football student athletes increased for Chryst recruited kids too.

    Call me idealistic about my feelings on this but in my mind it is actually just being pragmatic about where the large majority of these young men are headed after college, & it ain’t the NFL!

    For the high school students (& their families) who realize these realities at the front end, picking a college then becomes more than just selecting one that will be winning championships and ascending to the NFL eventually. It’s about getting an education also.

    That’s the balancing act that we are seeing at Pitt now, IMO. Getting solid recruits that have the academic requirements in hand to matriculate from social/economic situations that don’t spell potential trouble due to their previous living circumstances.

    When those types of kids are a priority, my question is, “does that limit the number of 4 & 5 Star HS athletes that are on our radar and conversely, keeping the highly rated kids interested, who may not want to be here, once they are informed that, yeah, we expect you to go to class and maintain a minimal GPA in order to remain eligible to play.

    I’d like to see somebody crunch those statistics. Graduation rates, academic All Americans. Student scholars who have made an impact in the real world after graduation. I’ll bet you that Pitt can hold their own in those statistical catagories. And in my mind that is just as important as fielding a competitive football team.


    1. Chryst wasn’t here long enough to see his kids graduate. He coached a lot of Wannstedt’s players and as I’ve harped on here before, there were a lot of great kids Dave recruited to Pitt. You can only be a great kid to endure three coaching changes in your lone college career due to grave inept leadership by a university and those paid handsomely to make the right decisions for the athletes. Epic failure.

      People on here are brainwashed into thinking Wannstedt recruited a bunch of thugs due to an SI article that decided to focus on 25 teams and look into a kid’s background dating back to when he was 16 years old. Oh the horror of a kid in trouble as a teenager for throwing rocks at an abandoned building.

      For a fanbase so memorized with doing it the right way, shame on Pitt alums for not supporting a hoops team that had such a high GPA in the fall. Wait, you mean the fans want wins? Is this about winning and not study halls?


  72. Just got a call yesterday from a friend who tells me and I believe him that PITT student athletes are held to higher standard than some other schools. If so, you have to believe some kids who are only interested in playing football after college ball do not want to try extra hard in the classroom dismiss PITT as an option. ike


  73. I’m doing the Big 10 next as they had 4 OOC games in 2015

    17…………..3-0…….12-0………Utah State, Telani’s grad team(FAU), BYU
    16……………3-0……10-2………LSU, Akron (PSU rival), Georgia St. (another PSU rival)
    15…………..3-1…….10-2………Alabama, Miami (the one in Ohio), Troy, Hawaii

    17………….3-0………7-5……….Wyoming, Iowa State, North Texas
    16…………..2-1……..8-4……….Miami (still from Ohio), Iowa State, N, Dakota State
    15………….4-0……..12-0………Illinois State, Iowa State, PITT, North Texas

    17………….1-2………4-8……….Voytik grad school (Ark St.), Oregon, Northern Illinois
    16…………..3-0……..9-3……….Fresno state, Wyoming, Oregon
    15…………..2-2……..5-7……….BYU, South Alabama, (the real)Miami, Southern Mississippi

    17………….2-1……..9-3………..Nevada, Duke, Bowling Green
    16…………..1-2…….6-6………..Western Michigan, Illinois State, Duke
    15…………4-0………10-2………Stanford, Eastern Illinois, Duke, Ball State

    17…………2-1………4-8………..Texas, Towson, UCF
    16…………3-0………6-6………..Howard, Fl. International (FIU), UCF
    15…………2-2………3-9………..Richmond, Bowling Green, South Florida, Hoopies

    I am going outside. It’s going to be in the 50’s today. While there is still snow on the ground, I am getting outside to do stuff I truly love to do – clearing property of invasive trees. This exercise has kept me sane after all the snow, cold, damp & windy weather.

    I will post Big 12 & Pac 12 during Duke BB game. (That will keep my mind off of that.)

    I’ll post on here & copy to game thread.


  74. hey
    They make the schedules years in advance. Pitt has to beef up the non conference when the Big East fell apart. The ACC teams had a solid conference and could play weaker teams.
    I am sure Pitt will ease the schedule down when the slots open up.


  75. Once again Richard and Joe thanks for the interesting data. While you’re cutting trees, clearing the grounds and such Richard while saving your sanity, we have two grand kids here this weekend and we will be pretty much shut-ins as we all feel under the weather, preserving our insanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. OOC scheduling is critical to better bowls and winning. Has the national media questioned dairy high school OOC or did they claim “They’re Back”? When you are trying to build a program to be great, you don’t schedule teams that out recruit you and are better. That leads to 6~6 , 5~7. We know how that works because we have lived it for 35 years.

    Time for a new strategy. I have never in my long life heard a head coach say “ I’d rather be 5~7 and schedule tough, then win 9 games, go to a nice bowl and have an easier schedule”. You win games and then sell recruits. You get better recruits and schedule accordingly. Most schedules are not finalized 10 years in advance, trust me. I just approved a P5 game contract for Sept. 2019 and broke a contract with a different P5 opponent to make it happen. It is only work. It’s not cost prohibitive. It’s done all the time.

    Attendance can’t suffer any more than it has. If you lose to a lesser OOC opponent, it probably means your team is bad. If you get blown out by P5 really good teams, you get to be on espn for all recruits to see. Pick your poison. I prefer the non espn lowlight. People in Pittsburgh don’t support mediocrity with regard to records. Ask the Pirates. People want to be associated with winners, ask any 16~21 year old.

    Reed, quit scratching your head on this and join the new strategy! 3 easy, one tough, hutt, hutt, hutt.


  77. On the OOC, a question I have is should Pitt have a top 5 or even top 10 strength of schedule?

    For me, the answer right now is no. Better to develop a pattern of 8+ wins.yr with a weaker OOC then 5-6 wins with a top 5. We will definitely get better bowl games and recruits will take notice. I think average game attendance would improve. Bringing in a stronger OOC may yield higher attendance for those games, but only for those games.


  78. Need to let your conference carry your strength of schedule, you know, like everyone else does except Pitt.

    ThanksJoel. I take longer to make points. Can’t get away from my billable hours training.

    Liked by 1 person

  79. PSU, WVU, ND should be the tough games, 1 a year if possible. They fill the stadium and are fan favorites, traditional enemies. I am absolutely opposed to playing Navy since the option is really a problem to defend and can cause injury. Plus a loss to them really hurts you and a win doesn’t help that much. Rather play Army and West Point is also a great venue.

    But an easier OOC is a must with the coastal each year and FL ST, Clemson, Louisville and ND mixed in.

    When you play two tough OOC opponents and then add one of the above, you are going to have a bad year unless you are really good that year. Are you willing to give up a possible 10-11 win season for 8 wins against a really tough schedule? Plus you never know which of the Coastal foes is going to be peaking.

    What we really need are some new rivals within the coastal. Maybe UNC since we haven’t beat them. Unfortunately we don’t have the hatred that takes time to build up. We had nearly a century to build hatred with WVU, PSU and ND. But rivalries are also built in the years when you and your rival are really good and we haven’t been really good in a long,long time. Syracuse used to be a rival, maybe that can happen again if both teams ever get good again.

    If we are lucky enough to ever get good again, most likely Miami and V Tech will be the ones standing in our way.


    1. I’ve been to UNC games twice at Chapel Hill. Two loses that Pitt had every right to win but just couldn’t get it done. In my mind this is a budding rivalry. Unfortunately, one we suck at for the time being.

      Also, I can tell you from personal experience that the VT vs Pitt series is also developing as another one too. We were at the the loss in Blacksburg and you could have heard a pin drop when Weah crossed that goal line for our apparent winning TD. While the play was under review, the murmuring in the crowd was that they couldn’t believe such a bad Pitt team was going to find a way to beat their beloved Hokies once again.

      There were a whole lot of relieved VT fans who left that stadium with big smiles on their faces after that one. They know better than to expect to just pencil in a win when they play Pitt now. It will take a few more years but the ACC rivalries are developing.


      1. UNC will never reciprocate on a rivalry relationship for the following reasons:

        They will only pay attention to football wins and losses if there is a corresponding rivalry on the basketball court.
        They already have a tradition of rivalries with Duke and NC State.
        They would never consider a rivalry with the team from the north because they are provincial, Tobacco Road, arrogant stinking bastiges ( to borrow from Johnny Dangerously).

        VT is a whole different animal. They worry about us. We have their attention. And they don’t carry the elitist baggage that some of the original ACC teams do.


  80. I.m all far scheduling WVU or PSU. And wouldn’t mind a middling P5 school …. Maryland, Purdue, Kentucky, etc. In fact here are the scores of our 4 games with Iowa over the past decade …. 21-17, 31-27, 24-20, 27-24. Yes, we lost 3 of them but had a chance to win in each.

    I will get back with the overall record of each school since we first played them in 08. The HC scorecard is 4 to 1 .. in favor of Pitt


    1. in last 10 years, Pitt was 73-54. Iowa 82-48. Both missed one bowl game in those years … but the Hawkeyes appeared in the Orange (09) and Rose (15)


  81. I have mixed feelings on the OOC games. Wins are great, but I’m leaning toward top notch opponents. In my undergrad years (70-74) the team lost a lot but many of those losses were against teams like Southern Cal, UCLA, and Oklahoma. Of course WVU, ND, and the dairy school were always big games. We’ve seen the team play down to the competition far too many times with mixed results. The question is does a program improve long term by playing lesser talent or better? I think attendance would improve against the name brand teams, but I’ll still go to games with whomever is on the schedule.


  82. I’ve been pondering whether to post for awhile. This is really beating a dead horse. If you don’t learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it.
    The problem is we have to build a brand and a program. This takes a lot of time and will. We seem to want a quick fix. There is no quick fix to this problem. The Nitters did it the right way, in fact the only way it could be done. They underscheduled for years. They had a very tint stadium and drew flies for many, many years. But the won consistently. Gradually they started to get better players and had stability in coaching. Those 7 and 8 win seasons developed into 9 and 10 win years. They could then gradually expand the stadium. Fans gave more money to support a winner. When the house of cards fell down they went back to an old tried and true formula, they dumbed down the schedule even more. Please stop the nonsense that these schedules are made up so far in advance. They can and are frequently changed. The Nitters played teams that were so bad they couldn’t lose, even with a depleted roster.
    Everyone wants wins against quality competition, but until you are ready to compete with that opposition you must build. Too many want instant gratification, and don’t want to endure the long,long building process.
    I actually want the instant route, as I probably won’t be around to see the long term results if we go the other route.
    We aren’t going to miracle into 4 and five star players. They aren’t lining up to play for Pitt. It will take years of constant winning to get there. There is an easy way and a hard way. Cheat and drop standards, play the long game, or continue spinning your wheels. Those are your choices.


    1. I mostly agree but juts so you realize that Pitt doesn’t have close to the resources that they have. But you’re right,they had terrible teams under O’Brian and 1st couple of Franklin years but because of easy schedule …. not only OOC but Indiana, Purdue, Rutgers, etc. … they always won 7. And of course, they always play the directional schools at home


  83. Don’t remember great crowds for Iowa. Not sure why we should play a team that beats us 3 of 4 and really isn’t a marquis team. That was fine when the old Big East lost Va Tech and Miami, but now that we are in a solid conference we need 3 sure wins. Gives you a good chance to get to 8-10 wins every year.

    Would love to see a PAC school on the schedule if we don’t have one of the big three.

    If we ever build a solid program again, fine, play tough teams, but while we are just another OK team, foolish to play play OK ST when you have PSU and ND on the schedule.

    We were very lucky to get two giant upset wins the last two years and a solid win vs PSU. I don’t think you can count on that every year.

    Look at Paterno’s record before and after he joined the big 10. When the level of competition goes up, winning percentage goes down. Why do you think he refused to play Pitt, but was happy to give Temple a home and away series?


    1. in 2nd year at B10, PSU went 11-0 and won Rose Bowl to finish 2nd nationally. Throughout 90s, PSU finished in top 3 every year … just 1 division then. It was early 2000s when PSU slipped, not only in B10 but lost at home to Toledo and had a coupe of years when they won only 3 or 4 games. Now they are back to early 90s status


  84. Really interesting and informative article. My takeaways:

    It’s possible to play some pretty darned good football (just below championship level but solid nonetheless) recruiting in the range we’ve recruited.
    While it’s possible, it’s certainly not easy or common to win at a high level with this level of recruit.
    Pitt’s recruiting overall needs to improve if we’re going to be truly competitive in the ACC.
    The most damning point is that while our recruiting has been average, our actual performance has been even worse then expected.
    Coaching churn probably has a lot to do with both our recruiting results and on field performance.


    Liked by 1 person

  85. The only goal that matters is to get into the ACC Championship game, getting a chance to win the ACC. That is what would make us relevant again. Getting beat up in OOC games does not help to achieve that goal.

    Paterno was smart enough to know that his new rivals were tOSU and Michigan when he joined the B1G. He didn’t need Pitt anymore.

    We need to move on and make FL ST, Clemson, Miami and Va Tech our rivals. They are the big games that will matter.


  86. JoeK, the long way and patience approach is my daily sermon on the POV. As long as there are signs indicating progress. Remember 2 steps forward and one step back always gets you ahead.. << sooner or later.

    There are only 3 teams that PITT can realistically schedule to sell out crappy Heinz Field. ND, psu and WVU.


  87. Following up on Dr Toms ACC rivalries… it’s a shame we don’t play Clemson each year… that’s something to get up about and would be a heck of a rivalry game. Was drinking with some Clemson ole timers like myself the night before the
    2026 game.. to a person they told me this PITT game was the
    One that worried them.. I told them they would beat us by 40 points… shows ya how much I know.. I can still smell the sweet smoke of Dr Tom’s Victory cigar.


    1. I can smell all our cigars from the Tyler Boyd lost bet after dinner cigar wat hing those big Freight ships on Savannah River. Wish I could post pics on here.


  88. No idea the line hut take Pitt and points today vs Duke if greater than +15.

    Pitt will cover after the asswaxing a few weeks ago.


      1. God that is sick WBB. That is to many points. Maybe a sucker bet. If we can’t cover 28 points Rockports needs fired and not allowed home via Pitt money on the plane. The players young or not need cut and the scholarships extended but off team.


  89. Hey BigB, is the # 2016 the point spread for the PITT/Duke game or a correction from your comment about the Clemson game or both.


  90. The other problem with a tough OOC is that it minimizes the opportunity to get a better bowl.

    No doubt that more prestigious bowl games would help raise the bar in recruiting and fan support.

    The ACC will never give us one of the better bowls unless we have the wins.


  91. Play a lighter OOC schedule at the front end and you’ll still get a tougher opponent at the back end in the bowl game. Win-win.


  92. Unless wins and our fan base travels. Pitts fan base has never traveled well. But you first start with wins.

    They only look at SOS when you’re in the BCS. Would love to see us play WVCC every year. Pedo’s dont want to schedule us for fear of losing. Domers are fine with us and us with them (Pitt is ND’s 5th or 6th most played school). Va Tech looking like a good rivalry. Too bad Maryland isnt around. That had potential in both sports.

    I want good bowl games, good wins against good competition, no bad losses, and 9-10 win seasons. Thats not too much to ask is it?

    But Pitt needs stability, support and scheduling.


    1. It is more than winning. It is building an experiwnce for Students that become alumni. Playing in a off campus rental with no campus feel is bigger than winning.


      1. We give money to something that touched our lives. Winning helps but I give to things I love and can reflect back on positively. I dare say alumni that have the on campus feel and pride give more. As the older folks who lived that die off Pitt will struggle. New grads have no real affinity to the Game Day Experience. Hopping on a freaking Pat Bus and leaving even when Heather gives them a bag of Utz and Fanta.


  93. Another point and I know some teams conferences do not allow this but how bout scheduling your rival OOC game towards the end of the season? You know, the games that do not draw over Thanksgiving while the students are back home. The way they use to do it before the NCAA got real stoopid.


    1. Seems like this was the 3rd year in a row we’ve played Miami on the day after turkey day with the 2018 game on Saturday after. Wonder if the ACC is trying to create a rivalry of city schools?


        1. The problem is no program in ACC is really a rival. You can’t create a rival. Has to happen organically.


  94. And as we’ve been told by the ACC, Swofford and tv networks, Syracuse is our main ACC football rival.

    That’s a good thing. Since we generally can beat them. Always a good thing when you can beat your rival on a consistent basis.


  95. JoeL – great work, and much appreciated by the data lovers.

    JoeK – spot on.

    Strong recruiting gives you a chance but is no guarantee of success. I find it just as interesting to try to figure out how big programs with clear support from administration, strong fan bases, top notch recruiting year in year out, and coaching stability can have bad runs (not single seasons). In recent memory, Texas, Notre Dame, possibly Florida State (is this just going to be one bad season).

    I just can’t figure out how a BoT could be happy with being average at anything. Maybe we can get them to put a sign in the tunnel at Heinz that everyone can slap on the way out that says ‘Play like your average today’.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. Nice job JoeL.

    Coach Duzz caught my ear when he emphasized 2 things about new DC Bates. One is his attention to detail and the other is that he’s considered an excellent teacher.

    I think the latter is terribly important. Everything is on tape, so there are no secrets. But there’s a mighty difference between knowing something and being able to get others to that something.

    I also like that CoachBates brings an experienced and fresh set of eyes to the Pitt coaching staff – versus promoting someone from within.

    Lots of good comments above. On scheduling, I say 1 tough, 2 you should beat (and be able to play backups), and one of those big conference teams that’s always floundering, like Illinois, Kentucky, Rutgers…

    Go Pitt

    Liked by 1 person

  97. Fantastic work Joe L. I wish I had the energy and time to put in that kind of analytical effort. I would love to run regressions on the data and add a couple of variables. My expectations would be that Pitt would routinely fall below that regression line. This group of “average” teams is the benchmark to which the coaching staff needs to be measured against, and Pitt needs to get to that top third rather than its current position.

    Liked by 1 person

  98. Big 10 & Pac 12 : both all 3 OOC games per year

    Oklahoma State
    17………..3-0……….9-3……….Tulsa, South Alabama, PITT
    16………..2-1……….9-3……….Southeast Louisiana, Central Michigan, Western University of Pa. (PITT)
    ………………………………………………(Love those directional schools, my fav- the WUP,s))
    15……….3-0………10-2……….Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, UT-San Antonio (UTSA)

    17……….0-3……….1-11……….Liberty, UTSA, Duke
    16……….3-0……….6-6…………Northwestern St., Southern Methodist (SMU), Rice
    15……….3-0……….9-3………..SMU, Lamar, Rice
    ….What a truly outstanding OOC schedule – but they have a new on campus stadium to fill those seats.

    Arizona State
    17……….1-2……….7-5……….New Mexico St., San Diego St., Texas Tech
    16……….3-0……….5-7……….Howland’s school: the Lumberjacks of Northern Az., Tx. Tech, UTSA
    15……….2-1……….7-5……….Texas A&M, Carnegie -Mellon’s rival: Cal Poly, New Mexico
    …..Octane but not High Octane enough OOC

    17……..2-1……..7-5……….Northern Arizona (FBS Az. teams support state FCS team), Houston, UTEP
    16……..2-1……..3-9……….BYU, Grambling, Hawaii
    15……..3-0……..6-6……….UTSA, Nevada, Northern Arizona

    That’s all 22 teams but in 5 posts.


    1. Oh doo -doo, I forgot

      17……….3-0……….5-7……..North Carolina, Weber State, Ole’ Miss
      16……….2-1……….5-7……..Hawaii, San Diego State, Texas
      15……….3-0……….7-5……..Grambling, San Diego State, Texas


  99. Texas is a power struggle from what I heard at the ncaa national conference meetings last week. Very political with head coaches put in the middle. Too much meddling by rich boosters.

    ND is almost the same except the AD likes Kelly and big boosters….don’t. My guess on FSU is that 1/2 the people still think bobby Bowden got hosed.

    Pitt BoT doesn’t create a linkage between campus stadium experience and future giving. That is shortsighted thinking. School rankings are bogus. We hire people to manipulate the survey answers in order to get a higher ranking. The SCHOOLS complete the freakin surveys!!!!


  100. GC has the right formula, one big game against either ND, PSU or WVU and a couple of patsies to go along with the ACC schedule. Also keep NAVY(and ARMY) off the schedule and any other GT like triple option team that is always very difficult to defense against on any given week.


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