Another Voice…and What Makes Us Fans

Another Voice…and What Makes Us Fans

Yesterday we discussed optimism among the Pitt football writers and our friend & fellow blogger SaturdaysAreBetter (John Baranowski) wrote a great article last month which chronicled Pitt’s football modern history compared to other D1 schools.

To put things in context his piece was a response to the Panther’s Prey (Dokish) article “Why Pitt Football Recruits at the Level they do” when Dokish wrote:

 “In the second group we have very good programs that could flirt with top 10 status with the right coach. That group includes Louisville, Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Utah and Texas A&M. None of these programs are always excellent, but they’ve proven that they are good enough programs that with an excellent coach they can be among the elite.”

John’s piece isn’t for the faint of heart but I highlight it here because it tries to answer the question of “If Pitt has played so poorly over the past 30 years why are we still such intense Pitt fans?”

The upshot of the article, supported by facts and statistics, is that there really is no valid reason other than the fact we love Pitt and its football team.  Pitt has failed compared to even the other schools people throw in as peers to our program – and by that I mean this (remember we are talking about the last 30 years):

How close has Pitt come to flirting with top 10 status?  In that 30-year period, the highest Pitt has been ranked in the final AP Poll was 15th back in 2009. To put that in perspective, the following list of schools have finished 15th or higher in a final AP Poll within that same time frame: Air Force, Arizona (2x), Boston College (2x), California (3x), Central Florida, Colorado State, East Carolina, Houston (3x), Illinois (2x), Kansas (2x), Marshall, Maryland (2x), Miami of Ohio, Mississippi (3x), Mississippi State (3x), Nevada, North Carolina State, Oregon State, Purdue (2x), Rutgers, Southern Mississippi, Syracuse (5x), Tulane, Virginia, Washington State (5x) and Western Michigan. All those schools finished higher than Pitt ever did in the last 30 years but somehow Dokish omitted them from that second group just below the elite of college football.

What about winning percentage over the last 30 years? Care to guess which school Dokish listed has the lowest winning percentage?  If you guessed Pitt, you are correct!

That isn’t real easy to read is?  Yet it’s true and pretty scary.  But I’ll bet that if you look at attendance figures among all those schools mentioned Pitt would be up close to the top.

51 Pitt













OK – well maybe not close to the top but in the 65th percentile of the 129 D1 schools – and that is indicative of how we care about Pitt football.  After all, just since June of 2016 since the POV was created I have read and heard at least 50% of our commenters state ‘That’s it – no more Pitt football for me.  It’s dead as far as I’m concerned’!’  but here you are reading about Pitt football again!

Look – we are nutcases, and let’s face it we kind of have to be. Pitt football isn’t for the faint hearted by any means.  Pitt is 65th of all FBS teams in winning percentage of .507 over those 30 years.  .507 my friends but who cares?  We love the Blue and Old Gold.

Hell, even the savior of Pitt football, Pat Narduzzi (and you know some of you were thinking that when he was hired) has only had a .550 win percentage and who knows what that may be like after this next season.

And honestly 55% isn’t anything to sneeze at when you are a Pitt fan. Not when you look at what other Pitt HCs have done over their careers here.  It is somewhat surprising in who leads in winning percentage over the last 30 here but maybe that’s because I was living in Guam and Alaska when it happened:

Mike Gottfried:  .600

Dave Wannstedt: .575

Pat Narduzzi:  .550

Walt Harris:  .542

Paul Chryst: .500 (We’ll overlook that pesky .829 he has at Wisky)

Johnny Majors:  .500 and

Paul Hackett:  .397

So, yeah – King Pat is right in the mix to be a wins leader if he can turn the team around in 2018.  Hell even a 6-6 season will keep him in good stead, but of course we fans want to get back up to eight wins.

I think part of the love we have for Pitt football is because we keep churning awesome players through the program.  Dorsett, Marino, Green, Jackson were some oldtimers.  Siragusa, Mark May, Stepanoski, Fralic, Heyward, Bryant, Fitzgerald and others up until McCoy, Sheard, Donald, Conner and Boyd are some of the kids we watched come in as recruits and blossom into superstar players.

But even that makes us sad to see that with all that talent – and those guys had some great supporting casts around them – we still played average football for the most part. That is frustrating as Hell isn’t it?

Ya just can’t win as a Pitt fan but that doesn’t stop us from hanging on every word written about the team and program, does it? Most Pitt fans I know understand what the score is with Pitt football – get your hopes up and then wonder what happened for the most part.

But then there are the grand surprises like we saw with Narduzzi’s first year when he came in and won eight games…then did it again in his second season.

So we don’t stop loving the team because we lose games or have problems in the program.  As even-keeled as I am looking at the Pitt program I always hope that my lukewarm predictions might be wrong and boy am I happy when they are.

But we each have different personalities as Pitt fans.  MajorMajors will predict 9 or 10 wins again this coming season and Ike will feel that nothing is at all that wrong anywhere and that’s what makes them great fans.  UPitt will zing the staff every chance he gets and that’s what makes him a great fan also.

I, as your humble servant, will keep calling them as I see them…but I’ll still keep my fingers crossed we win each game.

Hail to Pitt!!