This article was sent to me by Bill Aloe, whom many of you know as WWB, on January 17th.  I told him I’d hold it until the appropriate time and Bill was good enough to make some edits last night.  Enjoy…or not!

 

PITT POV Perspective, Please

After Alabama’s loss to Clemson a couple last month, I couldn’t wait to turn on Paul Finebaum’s call-in show the following day on the ESPN SEC network.   As some of you may know, Finebaum is an ardent Bama fan as are many of his callers. And I was not disappointed …..

Saban is too old …. Saban is over-the-hill …. Saban needs to be replaced before it gets any worse …. (and my favorite) we need to hire Dabo even if it takes 25 million to do so.

Yes, the man who brought Bama five national titles over the past eight years definitely needs to go.

Isn’t it fun to look at people who lose perspective because they are so wrapped up in something they are so passionate about?   But the fact is that we all do it …. whether it is a sports team, a political candidate, or a girlfriend. (There is indeed many fish is the sea, by the way.)   When things don’t turn out as we hoped that we really care about, we all tend to take this myopic view of the situation without stepping back and getting a general perspective.

This is what I perceived when I read the comments after Pitt’s loss in the Sun Bowl and then when MJ Devonshire chose to go elsewhere.   Passionate fans venting out their frustrations. Now I don’t mean to compare Narduzzi to Saban or Pitt to Alabama, but that’s the issue!  Fans have far too high expectation on the teams they follow … whether it has won 5 national titles in the last 8 years or it has one double digit winning season in the last 35 years.

I noted the disappointment here with Pitt finishing 7 and 7, which is only natural after they lost the final three games.  But I was caught a bit surprised by the furor it caused, especially when so many predicted doom and gloom before the season.  And of course, the angry ones continue to forget that five of the opponents this season finished in the Top 20 …. that’s over 33% of the schedule.   And by the way, let me be the first to mention that of the 14 games played, only six were played in the (quasi) friendly Heinz confines.  Lastly, I got a kick by the POVers who predicted a minimum two TD Stanford win but took the coaches to task for the one point loss.

Long-time Post-Gazette high school editor, Mike White, wrote two articles over the last few years about how the number of Western PA FBS recruits are dwindling in an alarming fashion.  Note that he was not only referring to 4-stars, but also 2 and 3 stars. Not only are there only 5 players in the WPIAL / City this year that have been recruited by Power 5 teams, there were only 14 being recruited by all of the FBS teams.   That’s out of a total of well over a hundred schools. Like it or not, Western PA has become a barren waste land when it comes to high school football talent. No wonder the coaching staff has all but ignored the immediate area for recruiting.  

There is recent local news about Penn Hills School District being in dire condition financially.  It wasn’t that long ago that the school was the area’s largest, providing Pitt with Fralic, Flynn and Donald, to name a few.  Now, apparently the story that it was unable to fund its football team’s trip to the state finals without Bill Fralic’s help was quite accurate.

The Pittsburgh city schools provide very few recruits these days.  They all play their league games on one field, and the practice fields are deplorable.   The coaches are to be commended for their efforts but the days of Pete Dimperio are long gone.  Also are the Morningside Bulldogs for that matter. Even Franklinstein himself only recruited one Western PA player (a Rivals 3-star) this year.

From 1995 through 2011, Woodland Hills has graduated a dozen players that has made it to the NFL.  This includes Lousaka Polite, Shantae Spencer, Lafayette Pitts and Ejuan Price. However, Price was its last graduate to become a pro, and WHHS hasn’t even produced a 4-star recruit in the last 5 years or so.

No doubt, Coach Narduzzi’s recruiting of offensive linemen / tight ends leave much to be desired.  (He is literally the anti-Chryst in that his classes are very defensive oriented.) But anyone who thinks Pitt belongs in the Top 25 of recruiting rankings are guilty of the myopic view that was described above.  Yes, the focus of the recruiting has been re-directed to where the quantity and quality prospects are (New Jersey and southeast US) but Pitt is just another school to many of them, let alone the fact that most of them have not heard of Tony Dorsett or Hugh Green.  To them, Pitt is just another decent program that plays in front of a half-empty stadium. It should not come as a surprise that Pitt is willing to take a chance on a lower level recruit who is deemed to have potential.

I was also alarmed by the negativity of many of the posts in the blog article about the 2019 schedule last month.   It is one thing to be sarcastic as Michaelangelo was in his article, but once again, we have to read in the comments of  how pathetic the coaching staff is and there is little chance of success this coming season.

The fact is that Coach Narduzzi is 20 and 12 in the ACC, and those 20 wins rank 3rd in the league in that time period behind only Clemson and Miami.  Not bad for a program that for the last 30 plus seasons has had one 10-win season, one division title and two share league titles.   And for those who think Paul Chryst would have done the same or better, maybe so but remember it would have been Chad Voytik or Adam Bertke handing off the ball for 30 plus times per game for the first two years.  How did that work out in 2014 against a schedule when Pitt played only one team that finished ranked? Even with Conner running for 1700 yards? Would Henderson be running all those varieties of the jet sweep, or Aston catching all those shuttle passes, or Weah having a break-out year?  I highly doubt it.

Before you tell me that Narduzzi should be winning 9 and 10 games in his 3rd and 4th years, tell me who has done this at Pitt since Jackie Sherill?  Foge didn’t, Gottfried didn’t, Hackett didn’t, Majors II didn’t, Walt had a banner year in 2002 with 9 wins but only 6 his last two years.  Even Wanny went from 10 wins to 8 in his final season. Chryst had 6 wins in his 3rd year, again playing a very easy schedule.

And anyone who thinks these other guys played harder schedules than what Narduzzi has faced since he began is out of his/her mind.    You should know all of the data by now of how many Top 15 teams and 10 plus win teams Pitt has played the last four years.

Lastly, Narduzzi is taking a big hit because of the ranking of his latest recruiting class.   Narduzzi’s current class is ranked 49th made up of only 19 total recruits due to scholarship limits.  Well, did you know that Chryst’s 2013 class was ranked 47th … and that class was made up of 27 total recruits?   And that was before Franklin was at PSU, and the Nits were being sanctioned.

Yes, I was disappointed by the final three games this year.  I also very much think that Narduzzi needs to recruit better, improve the passing attack and beat UNC.   But I am not going to put down a coach who has done as good or better than any other of the eight coaches this program  has had over the past 35 years, and under harder conditions.

Perspective please!  And now time to get off of the soapbox.

 

240 thoughts on “Perspective Please

  1. I love that photo of Oakland

    I see a place where that OCS can go. 🙂

    It comes down to expectations and excuses

    Come Year 5 in a program, I expect 10 wins and decent (top 25) recruiting classes

    But in reality, I see Narduzzi as a coach with a 8-9 win ceiling.

    A coach that struggles mightily with recruiting (look at this years class…the worst in 5 years).

    A coach that has won no bowl games and has never had his team ranked come years end.

    Yet Pitt is paying him $3.5M and Pitt is affording him the budget to hire good assistants and to recruit. Pitt is not cheap anymore.

    Some will say that Pitt’s OOC schedule is too tough.

    Some will say that the talent in the WPIAL is down.

    Some will say give him more time.

    I will say that those who say those things are making excuses.

    Enough of the enabling.

    Time to move on.

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  2. Dont get me wrong, I do appreciate your perspective Bill. I just think the goal of 10 win seasons should be the expectation particularly given the money that Pitt is allocating now to the program.

    If the OOC schedule is too tough, its Heathers job to change it. I agree. But still no guarantees that Pitt will win those games. And Pitt will have to pay close to $1 Million dollars per game for these ‘easy’ wins and deal with 40k yellow seats.

    And knowing the talent is down in the WPIAL, Pitt needs to expand their recruiting footprint. And to their credit they have. I would just like to see more inroads into Ohio, a very talent rich state.

    After 4 years, I’m not willing to cut Narduzzi any slack. This years recruiting class was poor. We have yet another coaching change on offense. Pitt’s QB is still a work in progress. Pitt’s O-line will be inexperienced along with Pitt’s running backs. But I do think the D is finally where it needs to be after 4 long years.

    So thats my perspective.

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  3. wwb….. thanks for the great article. First read I would have thought I wrote it… Heading for sleepy time right now but it’s much appreciated.

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  4. One thing to keep in mind about Narduzzi is that Pitt is his first head coaching job. We have been suffering through his growing pains. He first had to assemble a staff from scratch. This has been an ongoing experiment. He is now on his fourth offensive coordinator and second defensive coordinator. Hopefully both will be around for 2020 as well so we have some continuity. Given that next year will be his fifth year, I hope he has finally attained Head Coach status and has graduated from Head Coach in training status!

    I was one of those who was all for his firing after the bad start to the year. Alas with the Coastal Division title win he will be with us probably at least this coming year and next. I wish him all the best, but my hopes are not high!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wwb — excellent article – I especially liked your use of the “anti-Chryst.” Very clever.

    And obviously you knew a while back that we would have no great recruiting pluses today… ☹️

    Go Pitt!

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  6. WWB: First, I enjoyed the article. Nicely done. I agree with your perspective about keeping things in perspective…but not entirely.

    Things are generally never as bad or as good as fans make them out to be. That said, you should consider an alternative perspective. I’m one of the older guys on the board. My freshman year was 1975/76. You may have heard that we won the National Championship that year. I’ve seen what truly great football looks like. Pitt football has mostly marched relentlessly towards mediocrity since that shining moment. Which brings me to the current state of affairs and HCPN. IMO, the program is stuck in neutral (but just barely). We’re right back at the 500 level, which isn’t particularly exciting from where I sit. Our recruiting has been a major disappointment. Quite simply, there is no reason to believe that Pitt will ever be more than a 5, 6, 7, or occasionally and 8 win team. It’s depressing to think that I might run out of years on this earth while Pitt continues to wallow in mediocrity. Those of us who have seen greatness would like to believe that we have some small sliver of hope. Sadly, my perspective is that we don’t.

    Scotts Valley Panther

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  7. An excellent and well written article Bill. As Ike said and if I didn’t read your lead in on who wrote this piece I would have thought it was Ike getting one in before Reed gets his chance to submit another article.—-That said I agree of a great deal of what you said. But IMO I don’t believe Narduzzi is really a very good sideline game day coach. Many may disagree but I think that factor alone is far more worrying than his less than satisfactory recruiting success.

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  8. Well done Bill…thanks for writing.

    Nice crowd at the LOI last night, but seemed smaller than the year before. Sorry Major could not attend. Always enjoy talking with him. Scooter, Richman, raypgh, MarkPT, the Lacko brothers and our tailgate friends, the 2 Mikes were in attendance.
    I’ll post more thoughts later today…busy morning. (indoor golf haha)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Here’s a little more perspective.

    According to numbers just released by SBNation, over the last 5 Years Pitt comes in as the “No. 36” College Football Team in the country.

    During that same period, Pitt also ranked 36, 37, 31, 70, 45 in Recruiting Class.

    As a matter of comparison, over the past 5 years Wisconsin ranks as the “No. 9” College Football Team and 40, 35, 35, 44, 33 in Recruiting Class.

    Talk about ROI.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. POD, what I didn’t see mentioned here over the past 24 hours is that Pitt’s current only has 19 recruits due to scholarship limits. BTW, did you know that Pitt’s 2013 class was ranked 47th with 27 recruits?

      How’s that for perspective?

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    2. and of course those rankings you pointed to doesn’t consider difficulty of schedule. Why do you anti-Narduuziers keep avoiding this factor?

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  10. Thanks for a well written and thought out article.

    Narduzzi’s ACC record is what should be applauded and if the non-conference schedule wasn’t so brutal his overall record would be better. The obstacles the program faces are many and persuading a kid to play off campus in a pro stadium that is half empty is impressive.

    Make no mistake, if Pitt foolishly let Narduzzi go Lyke would find out real fast the lack of interest from coaches in the job. I’m talking head coaches, not an assistant who gets hired on the cheap.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. to all, thanks for the (mostly) positive comments, much appreciated. I just always like to bring a different perspective, especially when the natives are restless.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey Bill.. < btw, nice to put a name to the wwb handle, Narduzzi really did make a rookie head coaching mistake when he was first hired at PITT. He came in raw and with a chip on his shoulder he had no business wearing. Now look at how people are continuing to hold that against him, which makes the title of this article so dead on. Narduzzi is way over scrutinized and way under appreciated because of his surly entrance to the PITT fans and media. I think it’s time we all look past all that and move on, cause Narduzzi is not going anywhere.. . .ike

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    1. It was more than a chip on his shoulder! It was “this program sucks and I’m here to save it!”
      That arrogance combined with constantly underperforming has not worn off. He acts to most as if he’s won 3 National Titles!

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  13. Thanks for the nice article, wwb, and good timing for its posting, Mike! I’ll follow up on Fran’s initial comments and also had a blast with Fran, Scooter, Ray, Richman, and the Lacko Bros. We missed your sage commentary Major John ( hope you are feeling better) and missed seeing everyone else as well. Regarding the event, it was definitely less well attended than the others I have been to, but was better organized with the stage in the center as opposed to one end of the hall so everyone could see the stage and the multiple big screens much better. I couldn’t track down new coaches Whipple and Beatty, had some face time w Narduzzi and DC Randy Bates. Regarding Narduzzi, I’m not surprised that he has trouble with recruiting as he just seems uncomfortable in social situations, maybe a sports psychologist would help? I asked Bates which of the new defensive recruits he thought may see the field the soonest, and at first he gave the pat answer that you hope you don’t have to play any of them right away, but then said perhaps Sir Dennis. I asked if he would play at linebacker or In the secondary, and he seemed a bit perplexed and asked me “how big is he” (lol), then said linebacker.

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  14. Thanks Bill for the article on a realistic perspective on Pitt football. I share this perspective but I still get super angry and depressed when we lose.

    Most of us on this blog have love for the city of Pittsburgh, grew up near it, or had family that went to Pitt. The place gives us fuzzy feelings. Try recruiting top athletes that have no connection to Pitt. Pitt isn’t an easy sell so please quit blaming Nard/past coaches so much. Here is what the average recruit sees about Pitt:

    1) a team that is usually right at .500 or a little below for the majority of the last 20 years and has no realistic shot of going to a BCS/New Year’s Six Bowl
    2) a team that has little fan support from the students, university, and tri-state area at large
    3) a team that does not have many of its own facilities, I can’t think of too many D 1A programs that have to travel by bus or car to get to practice
    4) an urban campus that does not have the greatest weather or housing, If you have ever been to a place like Ole Miss or UNC, Oakland has a tough time competing with those campuses.
    5) A team that gets little to no national exposure except for an occasional Thursday night ESPN game or our thumpings on ABC against PSU, Clemson, and Okie St. Hell, we played four games on the CW this year.
    6) A total lack of excitement for the future of the program by most that follow it.

    I hate to admit to these things being a Pitt diehard…but we are what we are.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reed, I’ll give you the fact that PITT did play lousy the last 3 games as that was plain to see. What gives me more hope than some others have is that Narduzzi changed the offensive coordinator and WR coach in the wake of those pitiful performances. . Narduzzi and Heather both know the score and he’s well into the 3rd quarter of his coaching life at PITT and he has to do better..

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  16. Who cares what the WPIAL is like now? Recruiting is national and PN himself said that three years ago. The fact is that he’s not recruiting well nationally either. And then whiffed on the best local player anyway.

    Pitt gave him a big increase in recruiting $$ and a use of a chartered jet and it hasn’t paid any returns. That is a problem.

    Pitt fans sung his praises when he was hired so yes, expectations were high. Has he fulfilled those expectations? Simple question…has he?

    A lot of Pitt fans don’t think so and don’t see a big turnaround happening anytime soon.

    Some other Pitt fans will point to any reason as to why the last two seasons have been subpar as 3rd and 4th years in his tenure as the article above does. Gee, he’s the highest paid Pitt HC (by far) and he’s done the same or worse than his predecessors.

    Sure you can look at the past Pitt coaches and compare him… But no one brings up Majors or Sherrill when doing so, do they?

    The fact is that instead of his teams and his recruiting getting better the longer he’s here the opposite is happening.

    Spin it anyway you want but the above question is valid – after four full seasons at the helm and four full recruiting classes under his belt is this what you honestly believed Narduzzi would be producing as our HC?

    Yes or no? All else is excuse making.

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    1. Reed – welcome back – hope your surgery was successful and your back is feeling good.

      I’ll give you my shortened & simple answer – Heather’s extension to PN was a “thank you” for helping to get her the Pitt AD job. Skip to the 2018 season…

      If it wasn’t for the Coastal championship, I believe Heather would have canned PN and started with her own choice to run Pitt FB. Instead, she couldn’t fire him (yet) because of that Coastal championship – it would have looked bad nationally and may have hurt her chances of landing a good HC.

      Now, in 2019, barring another Coastal championship, 9 or 10 wins is a must for PN to survive another season.

      By the way, I personally have not renewed my season tickets – I’m waiting for a call from Heather so I can get details on her vision for the program. I won’t hold my breath.

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    2. I’d say signing the kids from the south is a payoff having the jet. And Pitt should have a jet for whomever the coach is. I’m not going to applaud Pitt for spending the $$$, it should be there regardless. The price you pay for sticking your hand out for an ACC check.

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      1. Reed, where do you think we should be? Unless we landed some huge name expensive coach or ex NFLer, this team given its finances and challenges is not meant to win more than seven games a year. Anything more than that is utter overachieving.

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      2. Actually, the question you asked is rather oblique and therefore will not yield the most meaningful and helpful information. The great success Franklin has had had not yet occurred when Narduzzi was hired; The WPIAL had not reached its current state of decline, etc. Nevertheless, I am not reticent to answer the question directly by saying I’m quite disappointed but that’s because my expectations were way too high. And yes, I am disappointed for many of the reasons you, our Commander, pointed out to us so persuasively, e.g. the abysmal defenses Narduzzi put on the field and the painful inconsistencies of beating Clemson only to lose to Northwestern. And ugghh, then there’s getting beat in the 4th quarter by North Carolina, twice no less.

        But I have to say, Narduzzi has had his positives also (beating Clemson in 2016 and Miami in 2017 were no small things and then there’s this year’s Coastal title). And no one can deny that Pitt’s schedule in 2017 and 2018 was brutal. Hey, we beat Syracuse with their 10 wins so were we better than Syracuse. Also, I think its at least inaccurate to say Narduzzi has 4 “full” recruiting classes in now because his 2015 class was not “full” by any measure and the 2019 class are kids who are not yet on the team.

        Still I think I am a realist from the WWB school (great article by the way), and I have to say that this year better show progress. What progress is may be like pornography – I will know it when I see it (no 10 win test for me).

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  17. Typically, coaches make it come Year 4…thats the 10-11 win season and a nice bowl
    It worries me that Narduzzi has flat lined and his recruiting is trending down
    I think his ceiling is 8-9 wins
    That Coastal title means nothing if you cant win your bowl game and become ranked at seasons end

    Yes – an easier OOC would help but how many extra ‘rent a wins’ are we talking about? There are no guarantees especially when Pitt finds a way to lose to these teams historically. Pitt is paying New Hampshire $1 Million to play them. Pitt just doesnt have that kind of money to pay for wins. And then you’ve got maybe 30,000 showing up to see those wins and Pitt is taking a revenue hit.

    To Pitt’s credit, they are going out of state to find recruits but the quality of recruits leaves much to be desired. Just three recruits rated 5.7 stars or above in this past class. And Ohio, a talent rich state, appears to be ignored.

    Pitt has the money now for recruiting and coaching salaries. That should not be an excuse.

    Pitt is a stable program, but one could argue there is no consistency on the offensive side since Narduzzi goes through OC’s like toilet paper.

    Pitt has its challenges but that hasnt stopped Pitt from succeeding in the past (see Walt and Wanny).

    If Pitt wins, fans will show up to support them.

    I do believe having an off campus stadium does not help the program. Heinz is too big for Pitt’s needs. Pitt really needs to consider tarping the upper decks or at least the non-TV side and endzone.

    Students dont like being bused to games. Players dont like being bused to practice. Even Wanny mentioned this as a logistical problem nearly 20 years ago. Wanny also understood the value of playing on campus. So I think Pitt should consider including a football venue as part of the Victory Heights project. A 45k stadium will fit on the OC lot and Cost Center footprint.

    An urban campus isnt for every student or athlete but Oakland is vibrant, exciting and unique. The University is also spending big dollars to improve the quality of the educational experience…see future rec center and housing plans.

    Pitt is very lucky to be part of the ACC. This conference provides them with national exposure and the new ACC network will further help Pitt promote its brand and programs. Pitt also receives a $27M-$32M check each year as a member. Pitt wouldnt be able to support its programs without it.

    Its up to the Narduzzi to generate some excitement. Like I said if Pitt wins and is providing fans with hope for the future, fans will attend games and donate.

    There just isnt much hope at this point. Still waiting for a bowl win. Still waiting for a ranked season. Still waiting for a good QB. Still waiting for Narduzzi’s players to make an impact. Still waiting for a stellar recruiting class.

    I expected more at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tx, that’s a great comment but I hope you realize that you answer a lot of your own questions right there in it. You’re not a lawyer are you? …. you know asking questions you already have the answers to. Ask Eric. It’s an old litigator move.

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  18. Reed: Considering all things and that difficult OOC schedule…. YES. Not saying I’m happy as heck but I understand what holds PITT football back. and I don’t think it’s Narduzzi but many other factors. and hey.. how about a Sunday morning podcast from you sometime?

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  19. Excellent perspective Bill, unfortunately it doesn’t make me feel any less depressed this morning.
    It is a most realistic perspective. Unfortunately it leaves me with the realization that there is nothing that can be done to improve Pitt Football.
    An OCS won’t change anything, we had one and there is no difference between then and now. A new coach will give temporary hope to some, but what if the recruiting level is not changeable? An easier OOC will give us more wins which may change perspective a little, until we face a top ten team. The WPIAL is not coming back ever and the best kids in FL are staying in the South.
    Winning the Coastal was a measurable achievement, but was it a one off or a turning point, my guess is the former.
    The Days of Dorsett, Danny and Hugh are as relevant as the days of Sutherland and Warner, they are never coming back.
    Narduzzi saying he wants kids that want to be in Pittsburgh, tells me he now realizes what his ceiling is.
    Most of us do too.

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  20. In hindsight, like I mentioned earlier, Narduzzi has helped stabilize the program after horrendous hires, and has certainly built a decent foundation here. He also appears to be a good coach, and pulled off a few big-time wins. But unless you are really good at bringing in under-the-radar players, like a Michigan St. or Wisconsin (to name a few), then recruiting failures are going to limit a program, and that’s where we’re at today. Do I think Narduzzi will turn it around? No. I think it would take some top flight recruiters on his staff and a rejuvenation under Whipple coming together, and though possible, I think it’ll be tough to pull off.

    I got a kick out of seeing the Hackett reference, that guy was Stallingsesque, it was funny to see how quickly he brought down USC’s program after he left Pitt.

    Anyway, good article WBB, appreciated!

    H2P

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  21. Reed, for you or anyone else to ask “who cares what the WPIAL is like now?” is absolutely stunning. What makes you think Pitt can successfully recruit on a national basis? Even local recruits are snubbing Pitt these days. Heck, even when Wanny was here, Terrell Pryor made it well known that he wanted to played in stadiums with 90,000 fans.

    You would think Pitt would have a better chance with locals but suburban players like from Pine-Richland (who has a Pitt alum for a HC BTW) can care less about Pitt. Heck, I live in Cranberry now and I see PSU shirts, license plates and flags everywhere.

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    1. If PN can’t land decent players from elsewhere what makes us think he’d be able to get them from the WPIAL?

      PSU, WVU, Mighigan, ND, etc have kicked our asses with local recruits anyway.

      The fact is that Narduzzi is not a good recruiter and can’t close on the big ticket kids who end up going to places with better HCs as those schools mentioned above have.

      If Pitt had a dynamic recruiter as a HC we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      Even the blue Chip kids he has recruited have, in the majority, not panned out for various reasons.

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        1. Was that the recruiting year when Wanny was so desperate to get a QB that he sent out letters asking if any QBs were interested in playing for Pitt?

          Wanny was a Pitt Guy, so bless him, but his legend of coaching at Pitt is way over-estimated by some, IMHO…

          Go Pitt.

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          1. Wannstedt still is a legend for winning 27 of his last 39 games against the odds of working for two doofuses and coaching at Heinz Field. Sure he couldn’t recruit QBs, but he would have kept Pitt between 7-9 wins a year, which is impressive with the BoT standing high and mighty at you.

            The coaching changes and 6-6 records were an awesome way to head into this decade.

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  22. Pitt should be able to recruit successfully on a regional basis. PA (both sides), OH, NJ, MD and VA. Plenty of talent in those states. Plus Florida.

    Whisky will always find it tough to recruit given its geography. But they are pulling in more 4 stars now. Thanks to some very good assistants. And the fact that they have been successful…winning bowl games and getting ranked.

    It also helps that they pack the stadium.

    So, if Pitt cant pack the stadium, why is Pitt playing in a venue thats too large?

    100% capacity in a smaller and more intimate 45k stadium is just as good an atmosphere than in a larger packed stadium. Solution – move people down and closer together, tarp 20k yellow seats.

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  23. Well this I agree with, Pitt can definitely get it done and turn itself into a top program, with the right commitment from Leadership and the right coaching hires (HC & staff). Will it happen is another matter, but the self-limiting excuses we occasionally hear from some is lame excuse-making, loser mentality. The stadium situation is a constraint, for sure. And I agree with Reed’s sentiment above, a dynamic recruiter would overcome any regional talent issues one way or the other.

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  24. The Kentucky football program that some of you are swooning over. Head coach Mark Stoops record his first 5 years at Kentucky. 2-10, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, sound familiar? His overall record at Kentucky. 36-39. and lets not forget their OOC schedule is a yearly win fest of patsies and staged fake P-5 football wins.

    What I shake my head in disbelief in, is the fact that we all agree that PITT plays a very challenging OOC schedule and yet still complain about their win loss record? That’s seems queer to me. and now…. some of you want to be jealous of Kentucky. You want Narduzzi fired and he has abetter record than Mark Stoops after 4 years of being a head coach at one school. Much better in fact with a much more difficult schedule to deal with. Great article Bill… you’re right… perspective please..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good stats ike! I’m not sure anyone is jealous of Kentucky though. They play in the best league and have improved remarkably under stoops to their/his credit, but I suspect their ‘rise’ will be capped and/or short-lived.

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      1. KY’s two best players will be in the NFL next year – let’s look back at the end of 2019 and see how good there record is.

        My bet is they are 4-0 in OOC games and .500 in the SEC with a bowl loss.

        Stoops with one winning season in six years.

        Predicting Pitt FB is a whole lot harder. I’ll defer when I make my decision on season tickets – renew or not to renew.

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  25. One can also argue that a tougher OOC better prepares the players for conference play. It works both ways.

    Right now, its Heathers job to put together a reasonable OOC. A softer OOC might net Pitt another win or two. But it comes at a cost. Pitt needs to pay the visiting school money for these wins and then live with lower attendance and reduced revenue.

    Until then, its up to Narduzzi to win those games. He needs to find ways to beat Penn State, Notre Dame and not get blown out by UCF. And then not lose to the likes of YSU or Delaware or Toledo.

    If Narduzzi can go 3-1 in OOC and then 5-3 in ACC play, Pitt goes bowling. If Pitt wins their bowl, thats 9 wins and a final ranking in the top 25. Narduzzi hasnt proven he can do this yet and I dont see how he will given the QB issue, lack of player development, and poor recruiting.

    Other teams in the division are getting better with new coaches and stronger recruiting classes. Pitt is going to be left behind.

    Like

    1. The argument against that TX is schedule a softer OOC and Pitt has perhaps a 3-1 record heading into conference play vs 1-3. That attracts fans as well. Over the long run, it can be argued that a program with 8-9 wins/yr with a softer OOC will attract more fans – again, over the long run – than a 6-7 win team who plays top-ranked opponents and gets crushed. Spend money to make money.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree.

        If Pitt thinks roughly $2M-$3M per year for rent a wins and another roughly $1M-$2M in lost ticket sales/concessions/parking/misc is worth picking up an additional win or two, then go for it.

        But Pitt has to win these ‘guaranteed’ wins. And Pitt needs to be ranked come year’s end or its all for not.

        Like

    2. That’s a good point Tx….. maybe the reason why PITT won the coastal?? but I don’t buy it… PITT needs to have their cake and eat it too.

      Like

  26. there were seven 5.7 rated or above recruits in that Wanny class
    Narduzzi only got three in this years class
    Each year, half of Pitt’s class should be 5.7’s and above. That should be the target. Va Tech does it.

    Mainly PA and NJ in that Wanny class. None from OH. Only 2 from FL
    Narduzzi had 7 from FL this year

    Like

  27. Mr. Aloe, that article was not only a great read, but it was….soothing (ba-da-bum).

    Seriously Bill, a well-balanced post and much needed after what I think most would call a slightly disappointing class.

    Like

  28. wbb/wwb/Bill…excellent article and you say it as it is and I mostly agree….There are concerns about the HC’s personality..one of my friends who has been a big donor says Duzz is a “Dick”…I have heard this from one other person….I don’t know the man but he i the face of our program and I wonder how he comes off with recruits and their families, afterall, recruiting seems to be his weakness….on the other hand I hear the kids he has recruited love playing for him. Somewhere in the middle of those two statements lies the truth. I hope Duzz has a handler helping him work on his weakness’s. I think Dan72 suggested having him take Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people.” Probably a good suggestion. I see PITT in the 6-8 win class for the next 2-3 years all things being equal…We had a chance to pivot this past year after the Wake game and gain some positive momentum but we all know how that turned out. maybe we get there…maybe we don’t..I am not giving up and neither are any of you…it’s a way of life.

    I am looking for a fun 2019 in my 67th year on the planet..2018 was a blast and that includes all the ups and downs of our beloved PITT Panthers,,,,, it’s even better now that I have a bunch on new friends to weather the storm…Hail to PITT..

    On another front I have totally changed my view on men’s BB …PITT needs to start playing the money game…it’s a business and not really “college ball.” I used to be all about academic standards and all that BS..no more ! Play to win.it isn’t going back to being a college game if you know what I mean…Capel will succeed at PITT (pay those agents..give’m a nicer car or SUV!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dooz does come across as arrogant and snarky sometimes. He can’t seem to help himself. But I think it’s because he’s so passionate about his job and because he’s so competitive.

      I’ll bet he really doesn’t like the kid who went to Kentucky, because he didn’t go to Pitt. I think that’s just the way the Dooz is – as he sees it, you’re either with him or you’re against him…

      While his passion and competitiveness are good qualities, he doesn’t handle losing well, whether it’s losing a game or losing a recruit, and the way he handles those situations tends not to help the way he is perceived.

      Coach Dooz needs some better people skills — maybe he should spend some time with Fran…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Pitt will not risk scandal even though scandals don’t seem to stick or taint a school for very long if at all.

    Pitt should definitely lighten up on the OOC and only use the lower bowl for most games. But if recruiting doesn’t improve the program will continue in mediocrity.

    Like

  30. I don’t know EE, I don’t think winning the Coastal had anything to do with the retention of HCPN…What would have looked bad was firing a coach after giving him a six year extension before this season.

    IMHO, HCPN gets this season and at least the next two unless the wheels totally fall off.

    Like

  31. Narduzzi was a total oblivious ass that came off as a narcissistic arrogant pip. I do see him trying to rectify that beginning but unfortunately….. first impressions last a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Reed – my answer to your question above is yes.

    Pitt hired a defensive coordinator who had no prior HC experience from a program that had success while recruiting. Prior coach left nice pieces in place on offense, but the cupboard was bare on defense. Why would anyone expect 10+ wins seasons knowing that?

    In light of that, I’ve been cutting him a break knowing that it will take time for him to either pan out or not. I expected this to take more than four years.

    Here is another question – would I have liked to have seen more on-field success? Yes of course. The bowl record sucks and the losses to inferior UNC teams really sticks in my craw. I give him a pass on this year’s OOC. ACC games are frankly more important to me.

    Comment for all….

    I love this theoretical notion of “in a coach’s 4th year…” ….. what data is that based on? Where’s the study on that? We just read about Stoops, Stoops, Stoops record at UK and I can point to Frank Beamer’s without even blinking. Both of these guys took longer than that to get to the level of play everyone yearns for.

    List some schools who have had long-term mediocrity that have changed to consistent winning programs and make your case as to why the coach was singularly responsible and you will have my attention. And not 1 or 2 programs – give a reasonable sample if you can. Then compare those situations to Pitt’s. Pitt’s situation is unique in so many ways and it faces challenges that other schools with long histories of mediocrity prior to succeeding have not had to deal with.

    This is not a ringing endorsement of Narduzzi. He might not be the right guy in the end and I am not suggesting that he’s gonna make it. But you will not convince me that a change in head coach alone is going to change the quality of recruits Pitt gets on a consistent basis. Its a multi-faceted, institutional issue that will take commitment, resources and time. To the extent there is stability within Athletics leadership, BOT and Chancellor commitment, I believe it is possible.

    Looking forward to the Spring Game – I think we may go Slovakian with the cuisine this year.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. agree to disagree. I’m confident the right coach can bring the recruits to just about anywhere, this program included, but that assumes proper administrative support for staff, facilities, etc.

      Like

  33. In summary …. Wanny’s 2006 class got a 21st ranking (Rivals) which was the only top 25 class Pitt has had in the last 30 years. Many of of the classes have been in the 30s and 40s but a handful has been in the 50s or worst.

    I guess all I am trying to say here is why do you expect the current HC to do better than anyone else especially when considering the difficult schedule he has faced since he has been here as well as the dying recruiting base. And further …. what makes you think his replacement will do any better?

    After 35 years …. don’t you think that just maybe it’s the program and not the coach

    Liked by 2 people

        1. What do you think brought about Baylor, Ok. St., and Oregon’s rise to power? To name a few. Granted, some of them may be on their way back down now a little (although Oregon is on the rise again), but those programs sucked for a very long time, and the right coaches turned them around rather quickly. Or simply check out Purdue and Kentucky in the 2019 example, both ranked top 30 recruiting, but just a couple years ago were perennial bottom feeders. Sometimes we get to caught up in the ‘woe is me’ mentality, which is understandable, I just hope we never hire a coach or any other leader with that type of character.

          Like

          1. coaching and cheating at Baylor
            coaching and boosters at Okie St
            coaching and $$$ at Oregon

            coaching is the common theme
            Pitt doesnt cheat but Pitt also isnt cheap anymore
            Pitt spends more than enough to have Pitt ranked in the top 25 each year
            Pitt has the resources to always compete for a Coastal title
            Some schools cant say that

            Like

  34. Some on here are like NFL owners: you constantly want coaching changes just for the buzz of the new hire and to be in the news. Three years later your cheap hire stinks because kids hate Heinz.

    Lyke better stick with Narduzzi for a while.

    Like

  35. all the support is there for Pitt football to succeed today
    what Pitt doesnt have is a coach that can take them to the next step – 10 wins and a final ranking

    below are coaches who achieved 10 or more wins and when they got it based on year
    Narduzzi has yet to achieve 10 wins after 4 years. His high mark was 8 in years 1 and 2 (without his players)

    WVU Holgorsen in Years 1 and 5
    Temples Rhule in Years 3 and 4
    Toledos Candle in Year 2
    TCUs Patterson in Years 2, 3 and 5
    Mich Sts Dantonio in Years 4 and 5
    Cincys Butch Jones in Year 2
    Cincy’s Brian Kelly in Years 1, 2 and 3
    Syracuse Babers in Year 3
    Stanfords Shaw in Years 1, 2 and 3
    Navy’s coach in Year 2
    W Michigan’s PJ Fleck in Year 4

    Many more out there who came into similar positions like Pitt’s

    I dont see Narduzzi doing it come Year 5

    High probability he never does it at this point and its not Pitt’s fault
    It is his and his alone

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Narduzzi couldnt win 10 games if Pitt played Elon, Holy Cross, Air Force and Bowling Green for an OOC.

        Why?

        Because the offers he makes to kids are the same offers they get from these schools.

        Like

    1. TX – if you are responding to my point, you may have missed a couple important elements of what I wrote

      school needs to have been mediocre before the HC turns it around all by himself.
      the HC needs to win consistently after arriving

      That of course is assuming one believes Pitt was mediocre prior to Duzz. If one’s view is that Pitt was below mediocre, then pick schools that are also in the same spot.

      WVU – had rather consistent success leading up to Holgerson, Stewart years aside. On campus stadium with longstanding good fan support. IN my book, its not a match

      Cinn- I will agree on Brian Kelly, not on Butch Jones.

      Cuse – good comparison, but Babers hasn’t won consistently yet. We will have to wait on that.

      Stanford – will never be a comparative. Seriously?

      Mich St – not a good comparison. Perles and Saban had good programs for years with a bump in the orad (John L Williams) prior to Dantonio. ONCS with great fan tradition and rivalries, etc.

      Navy – can never be a comparative given the programs’s status. Come on man.

      Temple – you might be on to something with that one. Pretty good comparative.

      Western Mich – good comparative, although Fleck not there long enough. GUy who followed him is meh so far – coaching with Fleck’s kids.

      So Cinn and Temple. With only a couple, its hard to judge.

      Like

      1. other programs and coaches in far crappier situations have achieved 10 wins in less time than Narduzzi ever will

        the real question is: what should $3.5 Million buy you?

        I think it should buy you top 25 rankings.

        Then the question becomes: how long should it take you?

        I’m willing to give Narduzzi another 1-2 years

        Narduzzi has no legit excuses on why he cant reach the 10 win level

        each of the schools I mentioned have their own unique constraints and are not in recruiting hotbeds. Many also operate on much lower budgets.

        Nearly impossible for an apple to apple comparison.

        But these coaches overcame the constraints and found a way.

        Narduzzi and most fans are full of excuses

        Like

  36. None of these programs were all that great before the head coach hire
    They didnt cheat to get 10 wins
    They didnt play all patsies for their OOC games and many of the smaller schools played far tougher compared to the talent gap
    These coaches found a way to win despite the constraints
    They made no excuses

    Liked by 1 person

      1. the smaller schools do not play the game of rent a win (standard home and home series)
        in fact, they often play tougher OOC’s if you look at the talent gap…a team of 2 stars going up against a team of 3 stars should be pummeled on the field unless they are playing Pitt
        the larger schools got to 10 wins through coaching and recruiting
        Pitt seems to have deficiencies in both areas
        And many of these schools did it on a much smaller budget than Pitt’s
        $3.5M should buy more than a 12-14 record over the past 2 years with no bowl wins or final rankings

        Liked by 1 person

  37. In a nutshell, the ACC Coastal has been like the Big10 West. Barry Alvarez knew this and had known it for a long time. Schedule an easy OOC where you are 3-1 at worst. Beat up the weak big10 west opponents and poof, success.

    Pitt had the Coastal handed to them 5 years ago. A commitment to football at that time would have changed the culture of pitt football and brought with it also, national respect. Vtech and Miami have been dumpster fires for years and we didn’t capitalize. That is on the ADministration and our head coach.

    The fact that we have gone through so many coordinators let’s us realize that the current head coach could either not identify a superstar, or, and maybe also, could not afford to pay him. I read excuses about how many coordinators we have gone through, but that goes right back to the coaches ability to identify coaching talent.

    The same can be said about recruiting talent. You either have it or you don’t. Had the Pitt AD scheduled appropriately, which is to a 3-1 minimum OOC slate, Charlie Partridge can then go after the 4 stars because a vision of ACC championships is real. What we did last year is fine. It reminded me of getting into a BCS game with an 8-4 record and Utah killing us.

    Life is about seizing opportunities. The good news is that it is college athletics and you have more than one bite at the apple. We are into bite 2. Recruiting looks really weak.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. when you offer a bunch of no star and 2-star kids, this is what you get

    Like

    1. Not a good trend in recruiting. By the way Narduzzi has offered 4 star guys, they just aren’t interested.

      Not that impressed with you list of coaches. Kelly at Cinci OK and Babers, but the rest had players or recruiting areas. 10 times that many coaches that didn’t win. It just isn’t that easy. All three FL teams with all of Florida’s players are struggling.

      It is always easy to cherry pick the one or two guys that beat the odds every year. If it were that easy to win 9 or more games at Pitt it would have happened a lot more over the last 30 years.

      Like

      1. the fastest way to change a program is through a coaching change
        Yes – Pitt can create an easier OOC. That might net an extra win or two per year
        But how do you get to a top 20 final ranking? Thats 10 wins (includes winning your bowl game)
        Its through good coaching and recruiting
        Pitt has had some bad recruiting results and the trend is down
        Thats not good for the future of the program

        None of the schools I mentioned save TCU are from recruiting hotbeds. And TCU isnt all impressive with recruiting. Much like Whisky and Mich St, they develop players, they find the right fits, they have good coaches.

        Pitt has plenty to offer 4 stars or high 3’s. Narduzzi and staff just cant sell.

        What excuses are there?

        Yellow seats? Tarp them.

        Other schools have won 10 games with bigger constraints. If schools like Buffalo, Toledo, Western Michigan, Temple, and Cincy can do it, Why cant Pitt?

        Like

        1. Because Pitt is in the ACC and all those schools listed are ummmm, not.

          Typically agree TX butnot on this school list. OCS, tarping, coaching, OOC scheduling, branding, etc. We don’t even know our colors or name. Look at 4 star OL Doug Nester’s commitment video of vtech stadium. We can’t fill a stadium, let alone have each section wear certain colors. That is atmosphere. We ain’t got that.

          What has Purdue recruiting skyrocketing despite a poor record?

          Like

          1. Purdue has a good coach (excellent recruiter)
            Thats the major difference

            Pitt wont have an OCS anytime soon so tarp sections
            I do like the Whipple hire
            Yes the OOC can become easier but that still doesnt get Pitt to 10 wins and a final ranking
            Marketing and branding can be improved no doubt

            Like

  39. Here are the Rivals recruiting rankings for the ACC

    Clemson
    FSU
    VT
    NC State
    UNC
    Miami
    Virginia
    GT
    Duke
    Pitt
    Syracuse
    Wake Forest
    BC
    Louisville

    Note how the southeastern schools are near the top while 3 of the bottom 5 are from the northeast. And how did that 10 win season with a bowl win work out for Syracuse?

    Unless you are an Ohio St, Penn St, etc with the 100k sellouts …. the closer you are to best recruits, the better you are going to do

    Liked by 1 person

    1. most of Syracuses recruits committed before their bowl win and 10 win season
      The payoff should come this year

      Granted Syracuse had a far easier OOC than Pitt. But they still needed to win their bowl game to each 10 wins. Pitt has yet to win a bowl game and be ranked come years end.

      Babers did it in only his 3rd year.

      So yes an easier OOC might have provided Pitt with an extra win or two. Pitt still wouldnt have won 10 games in Year 4. Pitt lost to Stanford despite 5 starters not playing for the Cardinal.

      Plenty of good recruits within a 400 mile radius of Pittsburgh. And these kids are used to playing in crappy weather. Not all kids need 100k in attendance.

      I would like to see Heather make football the focal point for Victory Heights though. 45k in a 45k venue would be impressive to anyone.

      Like

    2. String a few 10 win seasons and watch the change.

      Recruiting is about long term relationships, One year out is not enough time in the recruiting world.

      Like

    3. And Penn State ranked 13th today by Rivals. We are getting slaughtered in the recruiting game because we have a coach who comes off as a horses ass!

      Like

      1. Pitt is ranked # 50 today by Rivals. Duzz knows his seat is hot. His reaction to MD choosing KY was childish and I bet he is embarrassed by that and Heather should and probably did reprimand him.

        If Pitt is going to win 10 games anytime soon, it has to start in 2019 with a focused plan on all three phases of this team.

        The D seems to be heading in the right direction – there is a solid core of JR’s and SR’s that will be starting and the back-ups are better than anytime in the last 7 years.

        The ST’s should be better if Kessman and the Aussie become more consistent. The return game could be improved with Ffrench, Shocky, Paris and V’lique – the Ffrench Legion should continue the successful return game we’ve seen in the past with QH and MoFf.

        The O is the big question. Whipple being a former HC and his QB coaching successes give me the hope that we may finally bring all three phases to the field in one season. If that happens, 10 wins is within reach in 2019. The question marks need to be turned into positives – Lyke for instance, can TE Gragg become the 4* talented recruit he was out of HS in his final year, can the stable of 4* RB’s emerge with a stallion and can the veteran WR’s get open and make some plays under their new coach’s leadership (Beatty). The offensive line is more than a question mark – but it was ridiculed and spit on prior to last season – I see Whipple and Borbely surprising us in this area, because Whipple will have a detailed plan A and B as a former successful HC.

        As for Duzz, he is still learning on the job. Mistakes will still happen, we just hope they are fewer than in years past. I would really Lyke to know his vision and plan for this coming season. I’m still confused by what “lock the gates” really means. Was it “don’t let the opponent out so we can kick their butts”? Or was it “keep the world out and only we coaches and players know what is going on”? Or something else?

        In business, your employees, stockholders, customers and vendors need to know what your vision, values and mission are to achieve success for them to buy inand back the leadership efforts. As a Pitt fan, season ticket holder (currently former) and alumni, I want to know where the CEO is taking this FB team. I need to know (Good spot for a song) – so I will patiently request that information from Heather Lyke. I thought about asking Jerry DiPaola, but I’m concerned he’d turn it into an article about Pitt having NO vision.

        Liked by 1 person

  40. here’s what you need to know about that great 10-win 15th ranked Syracuse team this year ,,

    — they gave up 44 points … to Pitt

    — they got to play most the game with Clemson using their 3rd team QB who hadn’t played before

    — they got play their bowl game against a team whose QB didn’t play … who threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 37 TDs and is projected in the top 2 rounds in the NFL draft

    — they needed overtime this year to beat UNC .. at home

    — they lost on a neutral field to Notre Dame 36-3, and

    — their other 3 OOC games were Western Mich, Wagner and UConn

    maybe one of these years, everything will work out for Pitt and (mostly) all here will be happy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and Syracuse was Pitt’s best win last year…at home in overtime with Dungey playing one of his worst games

      You are what your record says you are. Kudos to Syracuse for not making excuses and finding a way to get ranked.

      I dont think Pitt has finished ranked that high since 2009.

      No reason why Pitt cant be ranked in the top 25 each year

      Like

      1. in Pitt’s win vs Cuse, Pitt took over the ball deep in its own territory down by 3 with about 5 minutes left, and ran the ball right down Syracuse’s throat. Only 1 pass was thrown and it was incomplete. Pitt tied it up, and then in OT, once again, it ran the ball right down their throats

        Yes, Pitt may well finish in the Top 25 … in 2020 (that may be their only chance)

        https://fbschedules.com/ncaa/pitt/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Add two more cupcakes in 2021 and Pitt could stack some wins to change the perception. Can’t change Heinz, but you can swell the W column, which is all that matters.

          Liked by 1 person

  41. Mark Stoops record at Kentucky (from Wikipedia):

    Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
    Kentucky Wildcats (Southeastern Conference) (2013–present)
    2013 Kentucky 2–10 0–8 7th (Eastern)
    2014 Kentucky 5–7 2–6 6th (Eastern)
    2015 Kentucky 5–7 2–6 T–4th (Eastern)
    2016 Kentucky 7–6 4–4 T–2nd (Eastern) L TaxSlayer
    2017 Kentucky 7–6 4–4 T–3rd (Eastern) L Music City
    2018 Kentucky 10–3 5–3 T–2nd (Eastern) W Citrus 11 12
    Kentucky: 36–39 17–31
    Total: 36–39
    National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth
    †Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years’ Six bowl.
    #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Watched the Whipe interview… polished… has a command of the crowd… comes across as knowledgeable articulate leader … would behoove Duzz to pay attention and learn from “ the Whip.”

    WUPs and WHIPs !!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Why has Pitt been so mediocre these past 35 years?

    It comes down to coaching.

    Foge was a bad hire. The University and boosters supported him. The WPIAL was loaded. Yet Pitt under-achieved.

    Gottfried was a good hire. He recruited well. The Chancellor, BoT and AD at the time were beginning to de-emphasize football. They wanted Mike to recruit choir boys. He was pushed out.

    Hackett got the job because he believed in the mission statement. Pitt’s budget was cut. Character guys were recruited. And Hackett had some of the worst losses until Pitt went ‘Back to the Future.’

    Pitt reached out to Johnny and paid him scraps. Pitt was seriously thinking about relegating the football program. It was on life support for 3 years.

    Then Walt came in. The coach who saved Pitt football despite what the BoT wanted. Brought Pitt back from the ashes and provided 8 years of ups and downs but left the program stable.

    Hired Wanny, a passionate coach, who achieved Pitt’s only 10 win season since Jackie. Recruited well despite a low budget. Wanny coached for peanuts since he loved Pitt. His boss didnt share that same love and created a manufactured crisis about how the program was out of control to force his retirement.

    Cornhole hired Mike Haymaker who was accused of beating his Baby’s Momma. The Pitt ‘marriage’ lasted less than 60 days and Mike was fired for cause.

    Cornhole then scrambled to find a Fraud who sold High Octane as snakes oil. After less than a year, Fraud bolted for a place where Penny had relatives and the school supported Fraud with resources and compensation that Pitt could only dream.

    Pitt then accepted Godfather Barry’s offer that they couldnt refuse. Hire Chryst, a career assistant, and provide on the job training for a future HC job at Whisky. After 3 mediocre years, Barry called and Chryst was gone but not before he ratted on Cornhole in the exit interview.

    Narduzzi, another career assistant, was then hired without Cornholes input. A committee was formed to find the Dog so as to escape accountability. Narduzzi was brought in with high expectations since Chryst left the program in good shape. A new AD then extends the Dog after a 5-7 season since she owes her hiring in part to him.

    Several themes or threads emerge by understanding this history.
    Pitt’s BoT has not generally been supportive of the program
    Pitt has tried to run a program on the cheap and do just enough to get by
    Pitt has a history of hiring assistants without any head coaching experience

    These factors have brought about the mediocrity.

    But today the program has several advantages:
    world class facilities
    decent budget for coaching salaries and recruiting
    membership in a very good conference
    a 5 state regional area that still has plenty of good talent

    There is no reason for SOP to exist today unless you dont have the right coach.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. TX… agree with your basic premise.

      One thing to mention is that Narduzzi was NEVER identified and sought out as a coaching candidate by the Search Committee or the Head Hunters.

      Narduzzi took it upon himself to call Pitt.

      However, bottom line… Pitt Admin has defied chance in the way they have repeatedly hired REALLY BAD Head Coaches.

      And you are right. It started with Fazio who took it upon himself to wreck what had been one of the Nation’s TOP College Football Programs.

      Never been the same way since.

      Like

    2. Why didn’t you add in a less than ideal off campus stadium unlikely to sell out any games outside of PSU, ND and WVU? That fact in itself puts us well behind many average P5 programs in our pursuit of highly ranked players.

      Like

      1. I went to a few Pitt away games in the ACC this year – W_F and UVA have very nice, older, on campus stadiums. If I lived close to those two campuses, I would attend a game or two without being a fan – great views, wide open atmosphere, by not many butts in the seats, Lyke Pitt at their off campus stadium.

        Pitt will never create a “cult” following in Pittsburgh. Winning will help – hiring an assistant to be the HC did not help. Just one man’s opinion…

        Like

  44. BTW… with all of the back and forth concerning Pitt’s DIFFICULT OOC schedule… a couple of simple questions.

    Why does Pitt Admin do it knowing the risk it brings of adding an EXTRA LOSS every Season? And what might be the solution?

    TX… I think you would be one of the FEW on this Blog who might immediately know the answers.

    Like

    1. Cupcakes cost money – the talk that the Pitt admin has opened the checkbook is a stab in the dark. Those that say it, don’t really know – I have a family member that worked for Smug Stevie and he still has strong connections inside the ATH Dept – not much has changed.

      You want evidence – check out the Pitt FB marketing efforts – what are yinz seeing that I’m not?

      Liked by 1 person

  45. Here’s the answer POD….

    psu………… everyone and their brother wanted it’
    UCF…………they were not considered a real threat to win and a good game in PITT’s favorite state to pluck the best recruits. That backfired.
    Notre Dame……… The ACC scheduled that game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having the Nitters and Domers on the schedule the same year was just plain stupid. I’m sure Pitt could have gone to ND and the ACC and gotten it changed. Not sure why they didnt since the ND game was on the road and it wouldnt have hurt attendance. But remember, Pitt would have to go 4 straight years without playing the Domers in order to play State consecutively.

      You’re spot on with the Nitters and UCF.

      Pitt should never allow an OOC to have more than 1 P-5 school.

      Like I said before, bring back WVU and rotate with Notre Dame.
      The Nitters are dead to me
      Get Navy and Temple on the schedule
      Get Cincy on the schedule
      Get some Florida teams on the schedule

      Recruiting areas, schools within travel distance, historic rivals

      I dont know why Pitt makes things so difficult.

      And then make sure to have about $2M per year for the rent a wins…Delaware, YSU, Old Dominion,

      Liked by 1 person

  46. Great article, WWB! Perspective is definitely warranted. For me, sporting events, including Pitt football and basketball are just entertainment. I don’t go to see a loss. I don’t go to see a win. I go to see an exciting competitive contest. The Duke game was the highpoint of the season for me. A 50 point win over Liberty isn’t much better than a 50 point loss to Clemson.
    The tailgate is frequently as much fun as the game. The Penn State tailgate was more fun than the game.

    Instead of rent-a-wins, I would rather play home and home against some bottom half P5 teams. I believe it would result in more close, exciting finishes as opposed to blowing out Albany followed by a blowout loss to one of the top 10 teams.

    I have mixed feelings about an on-campus-stadium. The tailgating scenario around Heinz is poor. Tailgating on campus could be horrendous. Imagine having an assigned parking space in the garage under Soldiers and Sailors.

    I have been a football season ticket holder since moving back to the Pittsburgh area in 1977. I accept our role as a relatively small school with a poor fan base and a meager budget. With a good coach and a stable coaching situation, I think we have a shot at winning 8, maybe 9 games on a fairly consistent basis. But I am well aware that if we catch lightning in a bottle, exceed our organic level, and win 10 or 11 games, kiss that coach goodbye. Happened with Majors, Sherrill, and Howland. Jamie Dixon and Dave Wannstedt are the closest we’ve come to having coaching stability. And we ran them both off.

    I’m tired of the churn and won’t participate in the angst. They’re just games. But I still love my Alma Mater. I’ll still have Pitt clothing and paraphernalia up the wazoo. And I’ll continue to buy season tickets until I physically can’t attend the games. And I suspect I’ll enjoy it more than most because my expectations are not as high.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. ……This approach to Pitt football clearly reminds me of the husband’s same philosophy in the song “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life marry a fat and ugly wife.”
      IMHO – great song, lousy philosophy for wives and football!

      Liked by 2 people

  47. My answers.

    Question 1… $$$$$$$$

    Question 2… Pitt needs to come up with a way of attracting CONSISTENT attendance for Home Games without having to rely on PSU, NDU or WVU.

    Sure, 10 Wins a year MIGHT do it. But you obviously can’t count on having 10 Wins every year.

    So how do you ensure the COFFERS are filled?

    Like

    1. PoD – if I didn’t have to work today, I’d love to answer #2 with some well thought out options/strategies. Lyke, how about integrating the branch campuses with an “unsold” ticket and transportation program. You could very inexpensively charter a convoy of buses from Johnstown, Bradford and Titusville and make a fun day of it. Have specific tailgate locations for each branch and show them a grand time. Word gets around and interest begins to grow…

      I have other ideas, I’m just not getting paid by Pitt to develop them. I’ll talk with Heather when she gets back from vacation.

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Pitt’s football budget puts them at 8-9 wins in the ACC. Maybe 10 occasionally with a realistic schedule. Pitt isn’t cheap anymore, but let’s not act like they are putting out big bucks. It isn’t in the cards.

    The recruiting class ranking was disappointing this year. Not so much in previous years.

    Pitt should now be over the hump of the missing OL class. Plenty of guys to step in this year. If they suck, it is on PN.

    Pitt’s RBs will be better this year than last. Not stats-wise because Pitt will actually be able to throw the ball. They will be more exciting by far. I doubt Hall and Ollison make an NFL squad.

    Pitt has some good players on D now. PN recruits. Better LBs, better DL. They will shine this year and in upcoming NFL drafts.

    Pitt will never fill Heinz on a regular basis. Yinzers only care about the Steelers. Just look at the ridiculous coverage Antonio Brown gets. The fans eat it up like teen girls watching the Kardashians.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Great Jimmy Soul tune…have it on an old 45 record.
    I appreciate Farmers High perspective…my experiences are similar.
    Pitt has always had the capacity to compete at a high level but lacks the competence of leadership to pull it off.
    Erie and many others have great ideas… I’ve heard many of them at the tailgates and on this blog over the years.
    Hopeful 2019 on the field performance can jumpstart some excitement in the program.
    See yinz at the spring game…
    I was joking with Mark at the LOI event that my tombstone should say “life is good…and then the game started”

    Liked by 3 people

  50. I know it is easy for a non-alum like me to be more critical of the Pitt FB program, but IMO the issues began from within .. and it started 30 years ago. While PSU and WVU have always put a priority on its programs, there were plenty of times when I had the opinion that the Pitt admin could care less. I remember the discussions back in the mid 90s when there was actually consideration of dropping the program from D1.

    Then, after the 2008 season when it looked that Pitt FB was finally starting to climb back into respectability, the AD slashes the recruiting budget. And any doubt what the Pitt admin felt about FB when in late 2010, WVU hired its new HC at $2M, while Pitt hired its at $1.4M. And of course, a year later after the Fraud fiasco, Chryst was hired at about $1.5M.

    The problem is that it is no longer 1973 when a new coach can come to town and recruit 85 players, primarily from a Western PA / Eastern OH area which was very fertile with FB talent. It is also not baskeball where 3 or 4 recruits can make a significant impact. Pitt has had its share of stars for the past 30 years …. Curtis Martin, Reuben Brown, Antonio Bryant, Larry Fitz, Darrell Revis, Shady McCoy, Aaron Donald, James Conner … and where did it get them?

    IMO, the other issue is the Pitt alumni. Quite frankly, your alums, in general, don’t one sh*t about Pitt FB It is just not a big deal at all. I’ve written many times when I had co-workers and even a couple relatives who are Pitt alums, and they cared much more about the Steelers than the Panthers … and still do. I guess that the past 35 years of mostly indifference has had a big impact here.

    Liked by 4 people

  51. even when Pitt was a national power, Pitt was only drawing on avg 52k to old Pitt stadium.(94% capacity)
    so even if Pitt becomes a consistent 10 game winner, they probably max out at 50k in attendance
    thats still 18k yellow seats…73% capacity

    Pitt is a small, regional school
    It has a small fan and donor base
    Pitt has done a poor job connecting fans to the university, engaging students, and building new fans for life

    Pitt should really take a look at how the Premier League football clubs in England do it
    From branding, marketing, sales, stadium design, connecting with the community, and building supporters

    Liked by 2 people

      1. the clubs in major cities face competition from cross town rivals (Man U/Man City, Everton/Lierpool, Arsenal/Chelsea)
        Most towns also have their own rugby clubs
        So there is competition for the entertainment dollar
        But I’m sure its more difficult in Pittsburgh since its a 3 pro sport town

        College football is a different experience and actually a different game (player and rules wise)
        Thats why it should be marketed differently than pro football
        It should be played in a college stadium on campus
        It should be more about the school than the city (The Steelers are already Pittsburgh’s team)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Fully agree, TX.

          One advantage the Premier League enjoys is that the stadiums are smack dab in the middle of neighborhoods near public transit and without the huge masses of parking lots we need in the USA. Tottenham is replacing their stadium within the footprint of the old one and the Hotspurs are playing at Wembley during construction.

          The challenge Pitt would face if it decided to return to Oakland for FB is getting city planner to agree with a concept that limited the parking.

          I guess one could keep the shuttles to and from downtown, but have the fans use them instead of the students? Perhaps not realistic, but it could work if run properly.

          Like

  52. I really hope that the theme of this article Bill just wrote is understood and I say that because I keep reading great comments that outline why PITT is a middling football program. Yet at the same time I read comments from the same posters that they are confused to as why PITT is a middling football program. << Then I get confused. Are you confused now?? 🙂

    It could be as easy as… if PITT would have played Syracuse and Kentucky’s OOC schedule this past year to complex as budget constraints, no on campus stadium or lousy coaching?

    I choose D (all the above)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For who? The NFL team that hire him? Stoops is the recruiter that closed the Devonshire to KY deal.

      But I’ll give you the LOL – that does sound funny.

      Like

  53. I could see CMU but couldn’t see the stadium exactly. Still would like to see the two merge and add on to that stadium but they would have to build over existing structures.

    Like

  54. I agree with WWB that there are many Pitt grads who don’t care about Pitt sports even though they follow professional teams. I also know and appreciate many rabid Pitt fans who are not Pitt grads. Thank God for them or we would be pulling the plug on our revenue sports.
    I would just like to see us allow a somewhat successful coach (yep, subjective but Coastal Champs and upsets of top 10 teams count for something) play out an era to see what can happen. For 30 years we’ve tried the other approach … replace the coach, nope that didn’t work, replace the coach, not that time, replace the coach …..
    Wish I had the answer or heard someone I thought had the answer, but that hasn’t happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. From previous thread:

    Sorry, but I have a problem with PN’s statement; PN still has that Alabama attitude. Substitute Alabama for Pittsburgh: #Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi: “I want guys that love Pittsburgh, okay, and that’s what it comes down to. You either love Pittsburgh and you want to stay here and play for your city or you don’t. And if you don’t, I’m good. We wouldn’t win with you anyway. It’s beautiful.”

    Maybe kids like Devonshire have friends and family who might consider Pitt someday. Or Devonshire may someday want to transfer. Would they now want to play for this guy? This arrogant attitude could be characteristic of a coach who consistently brings in top 10 recruiting classes, but not #54. I think he knows he is not cutting it, and is very defensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I think the Doozer is just so passionate and competitive that he can’t help himself from somehow “getting back” at people when he’s on the losing side of anything…

      I like the passion and competitiveness; I wish he could control the need to take verbal revenge shots. Doesn’t help him in the big picture.

      I bet many at Pitt love Dooz’s fire, but cringe when he has to “get back” at someone…especially a local someone… Heather can’t be pleased…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  56. The idea Erie had to set up trips from the Pitt branches to Pitt games is great.

    The branches often feel neglected and disconnected from the Pitt main campus.

    They do have their own athletic teams but they are still part of the Pitt family.

    Like

    1. I do like Erie’s suggestion about arranging buses from regional campuses for Pitt FB games. But I’m not sure if we would get enough takers to fill some of those buses.

      Like

  57. Matt House…new KC Chiefs LB coach…he couldn’t cut the “Mustard” at PITT..no way !! LMAO..goes to show ya how much some of us know…..

    Like

    1. Goes to show you that many PITT fans are always peering over the fence and think the grass over there is just a little greener…. and I include myself.

      Like

    2. Ike – he couldn’t handle the PITT job. He handled the Kentucky job better. What really helped him landing the KC job was the interest OSU had in him as their co-DC. Once that happened, KC came calling. We’ll see how they do going forward, but you can’t compare a position coach at the nfl level to a defensive coordinator in college. The job descriptions are just not the same.

      You will start seeing more and more about US population concentration. If Pitt was smart they would have one of their coaches actually live in GA. or DC or FL for half the year so he can develop personal relationships with coaches, while all other universities only recruit at certain times. For instance Pitt coaches (except strength and conditioning) cannot meet officially with their players during this time, therefore our coaches should be living in those areas, developing relationships. Pitt needs to think outside the box to gain an advantage. Wake up AD

      Like

  58. ERIE, i contacted my AD contacts from the fan committee and they liked your idea. Of course i told them it was my idea ;-). Kidding. But their response was something to the affect of
    ..they do offer tickets and transportation to the students…but having a full day gathering for the entire campus is a good idea. They will review it for sure.
    And that is why i love this blog. Thanks to all of you who provide ideas.
    I can, and have been, getting the ideas to the administration.

    Liked by 4 people

  59. Matt House is another great example of how coaches get better when they have better players.
    The great thing about being a pro coach is that you don’t have to spend half your time recruiting.

    I think the thing that bugs me the most about Narduzzi’s poor recruiting results is the hubris. He came here with a chip on his shoulder and an attitude of superiority that he hasn’t lived up to. The theatrics of the “Pat Signal” is really sad when you are recruiting kids that few other P-5 teams would take.

    He led us all to believe that he would take us to the promised land, but hasn’t lived up to the hype, but still has that chip on his shoulder.

    Guys that do great things let their results speak for themselves and don’t have to tell us how great they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. did he lead us all to believe …. or do we lead us all to believe ,,,, with virtually every new hire?

      How about all of the furor when Graham was hired? “About time we get an offense oriented coach” “we’re finally getting a 21st century offense”

      My article here was every bit a part of our expectations and the fact that we keep believing we are going to reach the next level …. but never do.

      Like

      1. No doubt there is usually hope when we get a new coach, not surprising. Although I do remember in the brief period between the hiring and firing of Heywood, most were very negative. Fraud was a big showman and people were enthusiastic. With Chryst I think the response was more subdued, but still hopeful.

        New coaches should be received with a positive response from the fans. We want the new coach to appear confident and enthusiastic, nothing wrong with that. But like anyone in a new position, you need to show results in a reasonable period of time (determined by your employer). When you don’t get those results, it is normal to act a little more humble and come up with a new action plan.

        With the mediocre results on the field and the downward trend line in recruiting, I would expect some sort of contrition and effort to turn things around.

        We may never reach that next level, especially if we don’t admit when things aren’t going the way we want them to.

        I am not advocating a coaching change yet, but some visible recognition that we aren’t satisfied with our current results, and some acceptance of responsibility for improvement. The coaching changes on offense only goes so far.

        If Narduzzi does not get better at sealing the deal with more elite players the trend downward will continue. Saying we want kids who want to be in Pittsburgh kind of deflects on the fact that he needs to sell that more effectively. Almost sounds like Chryst’s attitude toward recruiting.

        Like

  60. and by the way Gordon Conn, what did you expect Narduzzi to say when he was hired? “I want to assure all of you that I am here to preserve the program’s mediocrity”

    The clear fact Is this … Narduzzi is being picked on because he is the current coach and is not reaching the lofty expectations that many of you have set for him. If history holds, we will be saying the same about his predecessor and the predecessor’s predecessor. (by that time it will be > 45 years of indifference from the alumni base)

    Like

    1. Bill, I don’t expect Pitt to compete for National Championships. But after 4 years, I do expect at least a middle of the pack passing game. Really not a lofty goal. I do expect at least one bowl victory and one win vs UNC, again not that lofty.

      What I don’t expect is after 4 years to be near the bottom of recruiting vs our ACC peers.

      I don’t expect us to be in the top 20 every year or get 10 wins with our current scheduling.

      I expect some improvement with the financial resources provide by ACC membership.

      Liked by 2 people

  61. I posted this in the wrong place really early this morning –

    Pitt is ranked # 50 today by Rivals. Duzz knows his seat is hot. His reaction to MD choosing KY was childish and I bet he is embarrassed by that and Heather should and probably did reprimand him.

    If Pitt is going to win 10 games anytime soon, it has to start in 2019 with a focused plan on all three phases of this team.

    The D seems to be heading in the right direction – there is a solid core of JR’s and SR’s that will be starting and the back-ups are better than anytime in the last 7 years.

    The ST’s should be better if Kessman and the Aussie become more consistent. The return game could be improved with Ffrench, Shocky, Paris and V’lique – the Ffrench Legion should continue the successful return game we’ve seen in the past with QH, RaRA & MoFf.

    The O is the big question. Whipple being a former HC and his QB coaching successes give me the hope that we may finally bring all three phases to the field in one season. If that happens, 10 wins is within reach in 2019. The question marks need to be turned into positives – Lyke for instance, can TE Gragg become the 4* talented recruit he was out of HS in his final collegient year, can the stable of 4* RB’s emerge with a stallion and can the veteran WR’s get open and make some plays under their new coach’s leadership (Beatty). The offensive line is more than a question mark – but it was ridiculed and spit on prior to last season – I see Whipple and Borbely surprising us in this area, because Whipple will have a detailed plan A and B as a former successful HC.

    As for Duzz, he is still learning on the job. Mistakes will still happen, we just hope they are fewer than in years past. I would really Lyke to know his vision and plan for this coming season. I’m still confused by what “lock the gates” really means. Was it “don’t let the opponent out so we can kick their butts”? Or was it “keep the world out and only we coaches and players know what is going on”? Or something else?

    In business, your employees, stockholders, customers and vendors need to know what your vision, values and mission are to achieve success for them to buy in and back the leadership efforts. As a Pitt fan, season ticket holder (currently former) and alumni, I want to know where the CEO is taking this FB team. I need to know (Good spot for a song) – so I will patiently request that information from Heather Lyke. I thought about asking Jerry DiPaola, but I’m concerned he’d turn it into an article about Pitt having NO vision.

    Liked by 3 people

  62. VOR: “I think he knows he is not cutting it, and is very defensive.”

    And, here’s why:

    “For college football, recruiting is the lifeblood,” said Luke Stampini, a recruiting analyst at 247Sports. “If you’re not recruiting well, you’re probably not going to be around for long.”

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Here’s an idea for an OCS to take to the AD, Richman. How about if Pitt buys out the CMU stadium, upgrades it to 45,000 seats, and then rents it back to CMU for game days and practices. Or they could use Pitt’s practice facilities. It would take some coordination to schedule game days, but it is likely with TV and other considerations that they could easily schedule to avoid conflicts.

    Like

  64. I also would like Narduzzi to reign in his tongue at times but again… I think he’s improving in that area little by little. They say you can’t make a race horse out of a jackass. Here’s hoping PITT can at least get him to stop bucking so much.

    Like

  65. It wouldn’t be very easy but I can see a 45,000 seat stadium. Starting by getting rid of the track. They could use PITT’s facilities.

    athletics.cmu.edu/facilities/images/2014images/gesling/index

    Like

    1. An OCS wont lead to necessarily better recruiting, higher attendance, more wins or more regional brand appeal. That was the crap sold to us by Cornhole as justification for razing Pitt Stadium and leaving campus to play at Heinz. It was an economic decision…pure and simple. One of my degrees is Econ from Pitt…I know too damn well.

      But, if done right, an OCS could lead to those things.

      Think about it.

      A smaller, more intimate venue full of charm and character. No yellow seats. Max capacity at 45k. On campus and part of Pitt’s Victory Heights plan.

      Pitt would be at 90% capacity for most games based on recent attendance trends. Heinz is at 55% capacity.

      No yellow seats that stand out.

      Design the stadium in a way that can create a true home field advantage for Pitt. Keep the noise in. Move the fans closer to the field.

      Connect the fans to campus, to the university. Showcase Pitt and not the Northside to visiting fans and media.

      Playing at Heinz probably costs Pitt half a game each year. That cost is measured in millions.

      Liked by 2 people

  66. Just a couple of observations…

    1) PItt will not get rid of an anchor team for season tickets
    2) Keeping that in mind this season the only game you likely would’ve seen replaced is what? Not PSU? Not Notre Dame (because they want to keep that Home & Home series for that anchor I spoke of in #1. UCF when the contract was signed was 0-12 and 6-7 in successive seasons. So where is that gimme game you speak of going to come from?
    3) You will get your chance to see what it may look like in 2020 of the 4 non-conference games it is Miami (OH), Richmond, Marshall and Notre Dame (at home). Marshall is the only away game
    4) Be honest here…if PItt had replace PSU with a cupcake and hell for shuts & grins they replaced UCF with a Villanova team and went into Miami with a 9-2 record and then went on subsequently blow the three final games the way they did and ended up 9-5..would that really have been something to be proud about as a Pitt fan?

    Would it really have moved the bar significantly from a recruiting standpoint that your national TV games were embarrassing over the last 3 weeks of the season?

    I get the perspective point, but I think if you took a scientific poll most Alabama fans would tell you they have one of if not the greatest football coaches in college football history.

    My perspective is that we have at best a mediocre coach, with at best a mediocre facility, with at best mediocre results.

    From my perspective, I don’t really see a New Year’s day ball game in the next decade given the current head coach in place. If he has 2-3 years more and fails to reach a better result, he will be gone, and the new coach will have to pickup a bare cupboard and start anew and then we will have to wait at least 4-5 seasons to see what fruits that new coach/program will yield.

    that is 6-8 years from now.

    That is my perspective and frankly seeing his recruiting class ranks, I really don’t have much optimism at this point.

    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

    1. when was the last time we were in a New Year’s game? Answer … It happened once since the 1980s, and we lost 35-7 to a (then) mid-major.

      IT’S THE FREAKIN’ PROGRAM!! And it’s due to 35 years of indifference

      Like

      1. consider Chryst. In his third year at Pitt he goes 6-7 which includes a mid-season 21-10 loss at home to Akron. Then the following year, he goes 10-3. (taking over for a coach who left despite winning 10 games)

        Program or coach?

        Like

        1. Narduzzi took over for Chryst and then went 8-5
          Chryst wasnt a good fit at Pitt and the definition of bland and mediocre

          Chryst played in a bad division that year just like Pitt this year
          He played 7.5 home games (1 game was at a neutral site…where I live)
          3 of the OOC were patsies
          They played 2 top 20 teams and lost to them both (Bama and NW)
          He got win 10 by winning his bowl game…something Narduzzi has yet to do

          It sure wasnt the program or the coach that got to 10 wins

          So his success was driven by an easy schedule, an abundance of home games, playing in the weakest division in the conference, and winning his bowl game.

          The program did nothing for him and his coaching that year if looked at objectively…Sucked.

          Like

        2. That Akron game might be the worst loss by a Pitt coach, then the perplexing loss to Duke that was in the bag, just like the Houston game later.

          Narduzzi has avoided those Akron-type of losses, which isn’t an easy thing to do at Pitt.

          Like

          1. That was not you question. a bit surly aren’t we? You stated it’s been over 35 years, It happened and Utah is in the Pac12 not at the time, but they were being built into a very good team that fought UW this year for a PAC12 title.

            Look I get your perspective point, but it’s still ok to have expectations to be better than what Pitt currently has to offer.

            Not accepting it is part of why we get to debate here.

            Dave

            Liked by 1 person

  67. Hey, the Duke fans wanted to run Coach K out of town the first few years. Not saying that PN will be a successful as Coach K, but I am not ready to say that he should be run out of town yet either. PN has brought a sense of stability to the program that wasn’t there foe many years. This is a big year for the Panthers. A successful season (8-4 or better with a bowl win…finally!) and the ball is moving forward. 4-8 with no bowl game and PN’s seat is hot, REALLY HOT!! All POV’ers should read the Post Gazette article about Beville and Liam Dick in the news the other day. H2P!!! Hope that the B’Ball team comes out of its funk this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  68. How does one change the program?
    What happened to the program since 1974?

    To me, its not the program today. It is the coaching.
    A coach that fails to win bowl games and get the team ranked come years end.
    A coach that fails at recruiting which is the lifeblood of the program.

    What can the program do to help Pitt’s Head Coach?

    So, if I was HC and was prone to making excuses about my deficiencies and my staffs shortcomings, I would say:
    1. Pitt isnt providing me the budget for my staff and recruiting
    2. Fans arent supportive of the program and it creates too many yellow seats
    3. The AD has us playing one of the toughest OOC schedules in the nation
    4. The WPIAL is not producing high numbers of D-1 talent
    5. I’m handcuffed by the type of players I can recruit
    6. The Pitt brand stands for Pitting and SOP
    7. The Pittsburgh media is too tough and people like Reed give me no respect

    The program is only at fault for #3 and that can easily be changed. Moreover, it is NOT the reason why Pitt cant win 10 games and be ranked.

    Pitt has placed the ball on a tee for Narduzzi and provided him with the club. All he has to do is swing and hit the ball. Instead, he misses with every opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. I’ve read pittpov sparingly and stopped commenting over the last few months when the Narduzzi hating became unbearable. Michelangelo has been a great addition though.
    In any case, this is the best post I have seen on POV. Amazing job wwb!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  70. One thing we can say for sure is that recruiting budget money, or lack thereof, had NOTHING to do with Pitt losing out on Devonshire. Narduzzi botched his recruitment it’s as simple as that.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. “Basically, you consider whether a coaching staff filled its needs and did so with priority recruits. If you can answer yes to both of those elements, then it’s a successful recruiting class.”

    Chris Peak
    Pantherlair

    And sometimes the sky is Blue and other times Cloudy.

    Like

  72. These are trying times for Pitt fans. We so wanted Patrick Regan Narduzzi to succeed. And our fervor for Felton Jeffrey Capel has stalled a bit.

    Some thoughts to talk you off the ledge …

    Whipple- I feel he’s a former head coach who is meant to be an offensive coordinator. I like the guy, I like what he says and I think he is exactly what this team needs at this point in Coach Pat’s Head Coaching tenure.

    Armand C. Dellovade: January 24, 1938 – February 4, 2019. I was a young age 24/25 Mechanical Engineer working for U S Steel on the 9th floor of the U S Steel Building in the mid 70s. I had to buy roofing and siding for a huge steel mill building. Don’t think they taught that course at Benedum Hall. Mr. Dellovade showed up and I can’t remember for sure if he got the order but when he found out that I was a Pitt grad, he Ok’d it with my boss to pick me up, take me to the PAA for drinks (I always wondered what the inside of that building looked like) and took me and a bunch of other lucky souls to a Pirate opener.

    Lastly, it is obvious that Coach Pat can’t talk- at least in public and particularly when imprisoned in back of a podium. Of the 351 Division 1 basketball coaches and toss in the 130 Division 1 football schools, Coach Capel has to be at the top of great speakers. Either by osmosis or by inferior embarrassment, Coach Pat has to get better. This can only help when he is alone with a recruit and his parents in their living room. And maybe we start getting those so-needed recruits.

    Alma Mater, wise and glorious,
    Child of Light and Bride of Truth …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Speaking of Mr. Whipple — I noticed in one interview, he said that the quality he looks for in a QB is winning.

      Yet I would bet that Pitt is accused of starting KP, who they have invested a year+ in playing time, because he is somehow the Doozer’s pet. I never understand that thinking…

      Looking forward to seeing how well and how soon Coach W. can impact the offense.

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The Dale Carnegie courses would be looking really good on Pat’s resume right now – it’s never too late until they show you the door.

      Continuing education is part of the process.

      Liked by 1 person

  73. Pickett may end up starting this season because there is little in the way of alternatives for Whipple to chose from. Then again Trevor Lawrence(Clemson QB) came off the bench last season to play himself into an NFL 1st round draft choice after one season as a freshman. Let’s hope either Pattii or Beville are potential Trevor Lawrence clones.

    Like

  74. Another impressive award for Pitt FB amongst an overall mediocre looking season.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/CoachDuzzPittFB/status/1093954568159932422?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1093954568159932422&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fpittsburgh.forums.rivals.com%2Fthreads%2Fpitt-ol-nationally-recognized-with-joe-moore-award.146993%2F

    Results matter – no denying we won the Coastal Division and now the Joe Moore semi finalist award for an Outstanding Offensive Line – but remembering the bad losses brings me back to the mediocre state of Pitt FB.

    My wife is asking me why I havrn’t renewed my season tickets – she doesn’t understand why I need to hear from Heather? Who’s Heather was the response – uh oh?

    Like

  75. EE, selfishly I hope you renew because I would miss you guys at the tailgates…but I understand why you are on the fence.
    I agree Dooz is not a good public speaker and he has not improved…anxiety? never bothered to improve?
    lacking insight?
    Hopefully his boss is offering suggestions for improvement.

    Like

    1. The way Duzz can “cure all” would be to win FB games. His post game speeches would be less scrutinized by most, season ticket sales should increase, interest in the program would grow and thus recruiting becomes easier and elevated. I could go on and on.

      Winning matters to most fans. For me, the entertainment value escalates with wins – the new tailgating experiences lately have enhanced my interest as well.

      Across the country, athletic departments are searching for ways to entice college football fans — especially the next generation of season ticket-holders — to fill their stadiums. What is Pitt doing? I want to know. The price of being a fan has never been higher, and the comfort of watching at home has never been easier.

      I don’t want to watch the games at home, but I also don’t want to waste 3 days on a weekend supporting a losing program.

      My golf game would suffer…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Football attendance across most schools are suffering declines. Unless you are a tailgater and love to walk campus, you are going to stay home and watch the game on TV. The viewing experience is much better. From a widescreen TV, surround sound, comfortable reclining sofa, good low cost eats and drinks from your frig, and climate control. How can you beat that.

        What the TV fan misses are the sights, sounds and smells leading up to the game. The tailgating aspects and other pre-game traditions. The TV fan misses certain angles and views that only the game fan can see (cheerleaders and fan fights are my favs). The TV fan misses being hugged and high fived by a complete stranger after a Pitt score.

        Attending a game can be a better experience. But Pitt makes it difficult when tailgating lots get built over for parking garages and hotels. Students and players have to get bused to the game instead of walking. I search for a stranger to high five but there is only a yellow seat staring at me. I have to get out of bed early for a noon game in cold rainy weather.

        Wouldnt it be nice if Pitt could just do the right thing?

        Build a 45k retractable dome and configurable stadium on campus. The footprint would be smaller than old Pitt stadium and could easily fit on the OC Lot and Cost Center. Use the dome for rainy or very cold days but otherwise keep it open. Provide large glass views of downtown and the Cathedral on either side. Utilize Pitt engineers to do what the Japanese do with their multi-purpose stadiums…interior configuration for events. Its not high tech…you just need a few good engineers.

        Like

    2. Hopefully Doozer’s boss is demanding improvement in the way he comes across.

      And if I were Dooz, I would have taken Beatty and one of the young black coaches to Devonshire’s house with me… I’m just guessing they could relate better….

      Go Pitt.

      Like

  76. ex-Pitt OC Shawn Watson just got hired as Georgia Offensive QC Coach so now he works for ex-Pitt OC Jim Chaney … oh wait a minute! Chaney is now with Tennessee. hard to keep up these days (with coaches and players).

    Speaking of ex-Pitt OCs, Matt Canada is still without a job. Two years ago, he was one of the top paid OCs (2nd or 3rd) in college FB.

    What a wacky world college FB has become.

    Liked by 1 person

  77. Coach 2018 Salary 2019 Salary Raise
    Brent Venables (DC/LBs) $2.2 million $2.2 million N/A*
    Tony Elliott (co-OC/RBs) $850,000 $1.0 million $150,000 (17.6%)
    Jeff Scott (co-OC/WRs) $850,000 $1.0 million $150,000 (17.6%)
    Robbie Caldwell (OL) $540,000 $570,000 $30,000 (5.6%)
    Danny Pearman (TEs/STs) $480,000 $505,000 $25,000 (5.2%)
    Brandon Streeter (QBs/RC) $445,000 $500,000 $55,000 (12.1%)
    Mike Reed (CBs) $440,000 $495,000 $55,000 (12.5%)
    Mickey Conn (Safeties) $370,000 $400,000 $30,000 (8.1%)
    Todd Bates (DTs) $300,000 $375,000 $75,000 (25%)
    Lemanski Hall (DEs) $300,000 $350,000 $50,000 (16.7%)
    Total $6.775 million $7.395 million $620,000 (9.2%)

    I really hope this transfers over. In a nutshell, the above is the Clempson football coaching staff salaries as approved by their Board of Trustees for 2019. They will have 3 assistant coaches making a million or more per year beginning next year. Yes, assistants. This supports TX theory above that it is all about coaching and continuity.

    It is also about commitment to excellence by the administration. One can only dream, right! You can have it all if you commit to a plan and execute it. Hope is not a plan. What I read on here is a lot of hope which is great. Unfortunately, the smart people of the POV do not get to make the plan. If you want to be the best you hire the best and let them run.

    The AD only needs to copy the salaries and give them to Gallagher and the Board. It speaks for itself. At that point, Gallagher and the Board have a choice. They either get in the game or they don’t. If they do, fantastic. If they don’t, tell the fan base why not. That is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. I don’t get it folks. Is the Administration afraid that they will lose 500 season ticket holders if they admit they don’t want to be the best? What they don’t understand is that the truth is powerful, just tell it. Stop making the fan base wander around the dessert for 40 years looking for direction. Biggest fail of the new ADministration.

    Leadership is influencing. Influencing is truth telling. Truth telling begets real support, not the other way around. People won’t follow a program that has no commitment. Build football to excellence. Build basketball to excellence. Build wrestling to excellence. Build women’s volleyball to excellence. Build baseball to excellence, and so on.

    Like

    1. I think Clemson’s football budget was around $35M a year ago. Probably gone up since then. Pitt’s was around $23M. 5th highest in the ACC but several other schools hovered around this mark within $1-$2M of Pitt. I think FSU was the highest and it wasnt close. Very bad ROI there.

      So, Pitt isnt cheap but they arent breaking the bank. Good assistants are going to cost $1M. Is Whipple making close to that? I think his HC salary was around $600k at Mass.

      And I’m fine finding another $2M per year for coaches and another $2M for rent a wins. Pitt has this money from the new ACC network starting this year. Its expected to generate an extra $5M annually for Pitt.

      I agree the Pitt program has been lacking commitment but it appears the commitment is now there in terms of budget and facilities.

      Branding, marketing and operational management can be more consistent and effective. And Pitt does need better leadership to communicate its vision. Heather is struggling right now building support for Victory Heights, a small potatos project for woman’s volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics and track.

      Wouldnt it be novel to think bigger?

      Instead of a $50M project, shoot for the moon with a $500M. And make football the centerpiece. Raise $250M via private and public donations. Raise some more by securing contracts, advertising and naming rights, and seat licenses. Finance the rest through low cost debt. Pitt has plenty of room to raise their debt load and still be under their max threshold. Can be done over a 5 year period and all without raising tuition or student fees or cutting any existing programs.

      Build for the future…on campus.

      Like

      1. I think Pitt’s priority should be basketball because it has a much better chance of becoming relevant, as it was earlier this decade. I think the ship has sailed for FB a long time ago. While the FB team should be in a battle each year for the Coastal crown, there is such a wider chasm between the haves and the haves-nots in FB than in BB.

        For example, Butler (2), VCU, George Madison, Wich St and Loyola-Chicago all made the Final 4 in recent years …. you will never see this in FB (although UCF made a really good run for it.) The lone exception. There are just too many resources and intangibles required for FB

        Pitt BB has had recent success (2 #1 seeds within last 10 years), a great facility, and a noted fan base (while the Pitt students FB fans are known to leave after Sweet Caroline.)

        Like

        1. Pitt made basketball a priority when Pitt stadium was razed and the Pete was built. Basketball is a money maker for Pitt outside the Stallings years. A sold out Pete generates between $10-$15M in profit annually. Now its not Kentucky like profit of $60M but it still is profit and few schools can do it.

          By comparison, despite renting Heinz for only $1M annually, Pitt football is still a money drain. The program loses between $7M and $10M each year. Money from the general fund is used to offset. The only way to make money in football is through very high attendance and large donations. Its very expensive to run given the overhead of 10-12 coaches, recruiting budgets, 65 scholarships, stadium maintenance, medical insurance/liability costs, and debt financing.

          Pitt will never have more than 50k in attendance. The Jackie days produced 95% capacity and 52k fans. Thats the max back then. Its much smaller now.

          Further, Pitt doesnt have many big whales and there is no longer the Golden Panthers.

          And sadly it often requires bending the rules if not outright cheating.

          So why try to become elite and play catch up with the big boys? Be happy winning 8-11 games each year. Do your best to string together consecutive 10 win seasons since winning and bowl games in warm climates are fun. But dont delude yourself by thinking Pitt can consistently be in the running for a championship playoff. Coastal titles should always be possible.

          So build a better atmosphere. Make it fun for fans. View it as entertainment.

          Fans will show if Pitt wins or loses if you build a program that way. But Pitt has to make sports part of the schools fabric. Find ways to connect and engage students, fans and alumni. Make it a small part of your identity. Instill greater amounts of school spirit and pride. Build new traditions.

          It can all start with bringing football back home to campus.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. The Pitt Board doesn’t need to tell fans why it won’t spend on football at the level Clemson does. Those salaries are ridiculous, that’s why.

      It was a huge adjustment and concession for Pitt just to get up in the middle of the pack…

      Go Pitt.

      Like

      1. If Pitt generated revenues like Clemson, they could. But until then, Pitt is spending on par with the rest of the ACC pack. And its not a sustainable spend for any of them.

        This arms race which forces smaller revenue schools like Pitt to spend to support competitive programs is going to result in conference schisms. In the short term, Olympic programs will be cut. Because if you start cutting the football budget, you might as well drop down a division. Thats the hard reality today.

        So I see a 32 school football national conference. 16 on the East and 16 on the West. Those schools with the most powerful brands and highest revenues. Pitt is ranked around 50 today based on published financial reports and branding studies.

        That wouldnt be bad for Pitt. In fact, they would be in a better position. Theres no chance for Pitt to win a national championship today. The only teams that would be dropped from Pitt’s regular schedule would probably be Notre Dame and Miami. They’d continue playing everyone else. Pitt might actually win a ACC championship for once.

        Like

  78. Justin Fields who just transferred from Georgia to Ohio St has already been declared to be eligible for this season by the NCAA. No details were given as to why. Note that he is an undergrad and is subject to sitting out a year.

    Of course, these days it is not uncommon for an undergrad to be deemed eligible without sitting out a year. Pitt even benefitted by Taysir Mack becoming eligible this past season. Of course, Pitt had to wait months for the ruling; he transferred last December but wasn’t ruled eligible until August 17 (halfway thru training camp)

    In basketball, 4-star Marvin Bagley to Duke on Aug 14, 2017, graduated HS on Sept 1, and was declared eligible by the NCAA clearinghouse on Sept 8. Paris Ford graduated in early June that year but wasn’t declared eligible until August 21, missing most of the fall camp. Both Bagley and Ford attended 3 different high schools.

    However, just because Fields was ruled immediately eligible at OSU in FB, and Bagley for Duke BB, one shouldn’t assume any favoritism

    Like

    1. Fields received immediate eligibility because he was called the “N” word from a baseball player. Fields indicated that the environment was dangerous for him and he was granted the waiver of time. Interestingly, Fields sister, who also attends UG, did not transfer.

      The more interesting case is the Tate Martel transfer to Miami. His case will be heard soon. In his petition, he indicated that the reason to transfer was because his head coach quit and he didn’t commit to the new coach originally, hence the reason for change. In reality, the new coach didn’t want him. If the NCAA rules for immediate eligibility in the Martel case, welcome to collegiate free agency. It is an interesting case for that reason.

      The NCAA is losing its grasp on all things college football. I expect a college football czar to be named in the next few years to get rid of the red tape and inconsistencies that are the NCAA, although that would be bad for me since I attended the last two national NCAA meetings.

      If the NCAA actually looked at these cases closer, they would see that Fields chose to transfer purely for athletic intent and nothing more. He mentioned nothing of personal differences between school and indicated it was purely for athletic reasons. That’s bot fair in my opinion, but the ncaa has lost its power. Martel will be different in my opinion. I am guessing the NCAA will not rule him to be immediately eligible although the majority of folks believe it is a foregone conclusion. I am sticking with a denial. Decisions coming soon as spring football is right around the corner and positional changes need to be made.

      Like

    1. Pitts annual public report releases revenue and expense. Each year Pitt typically offsets a deficit for their football program. Historically, its been around $7M. Pitt’s revenues have been flat but expenses are always increasing.

      National news publications have researchers that pick up these bits and assemble for comparison purposes between schools. Several links to them have been previously posted.

      Pitt’s donor rate is the lowest in the ACC. Thats not going up. Huge long term opportunity there. Pitt’s ticket sales have stagnated but an extra home game this year helps…but no Penn State though. Merchandising is not impressive but should receive a boost with the new colors but thats just a short term boost most likely. Advertising and rights and contracts with 3rd parties generates little revenue. Tough for any advertiser to give you money when 30k fans show for games only 6 times per year.

      And football is a money hungry program. Much overhead and fixed costs. Its a money loser unless you can pack 80k stadiums and have donors to step up and help subsidize. Any AD will tell you that.

      Pitt is revenue poor when it compares to other P-5 programs. Pitt just doesnt have the ticket sales and donations. Never will.

      And now Pitt is playing with the big boys in the ACC. Its spending money on coaches and recruiting budgets across all programs. But its not elite level of spending. However, much more than in the past. In other words, its not cheap.

      And when the women’s basketball team loses $5M in a year and when the men’s loses $10M in a year plus another $10M buyout. That $27M ACC check is eaten alive.

      That check subsidizes every program but basketball, a profit maker.

      On average Olympic sports loses around $1M-$2M per program. Pitt has 17 of them (excludes FB and MBB).

      At some point, Pitt wont be able to continue deficit spending and raiding the general fund to support sports. Pitt needs to find ways to increase revenues. They are cash poor.

      Pitt is close to becoming an Eastern Michigan where programs had to be completely cut. Its not as healthy as it appears. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money. Pitt is finally starting to invest in updating campus facilities and in people. Might be too little too late.

      Pitt needs to spend that money wisely. You think a 12-14 record justifies paying a coach $3.5M a year? That membership check from the ACC ,which is easy money, leads to speculation and recklessness if not careful.

      Liked by 1 person

  79. Well done Tx, thanks. At the same time, doesn’t that go a long ways in explaining why PITT football tops out at 8-10 wins per season? The answers are right there yet we still ask the same questions and point fingers at people who are not responsible for the problems. Now if Narduzzi can’t win eight regular games this coming season. He needs to take his spot on the hot seat. << He won’t but he should. He’s here for at least the next four or five years.

    Like

    1. yes – even a top coach who can get Pitt to 10 wins and have a nice run wouldnt be retained due to simple economics. Pitt couldnt afford him. But my response would be Pitt cant afford not.

      So Pitt needs to find the money. ACC membership was a godsend. $32M each year (with the new network) helps subsidize Olympic sports. But it leaves no money left to build new facilities, upgrades or make other types of investments.

      Thats why it must find new donors and give them a reason to donate. A new ‘OCS’ could be like Pitt’s Cathedral. The Cathedral was built on donations. People need to be sold on a vision and then actually see it being built.

      It must also find ways to increase revenues. Thats ticket prices and merchandising.

      Pitt should raise ticket prices. It would be the smart thing to do. Do an elasticity study. I believe there is enough inelasticity to work. Example – a 30% price increase would result in a less than 25% decline in attendance. If thats true, Pitt generates more revenue under the new pricing. Easy to do particularly if the stadium was smaller and in more demand…see my OCS ideas above. 🙂

      The new colors will really help I believe. But the merchandising bump probably wont establish a higher revenue baseline. People will scramble for the new colors, fill their wardrobes and then be done. The novelty will also wear off eventually. Unless Pitt expands their branding footprint beyond Pittsburgh. They need distributors in Philly, Ohio and a better online presence.

      Advertising, contracts and naming rights can be other incremental ways.

      Thats why Pitt needs a CEO type AD. Sports is a business. You need someone savvy with the finances and ideas to generate revenue streams. Expenses are only going up if Pitt wishes to compete.

      Like

      1. Pitt has already priced the average guy out of the game. That is why there are so many empty corporate seats, or opposing fans in prime seats.
        Next year separate seat license for Football and Basketball making it more expensive to do both.

        Like

        1. Its still a very good value for the entertainment dollar,

          Too cheap a ticket price badly reflects on the brand.

          Its tough for Pitt to properly optimize that supply vs demand equation in a stadium nearly twice as big for its needs.

          Like

        2. does Pitt have flex pricing for non-season ticket holders?

          For instance, higher pricing for marquee opponents
          Higher prices if Pitt is in demand and doing well

          In other words, game day pricing that adjusts or changes for market factors like supply and demand?

          Thats dynamic pricing and could help Pitt optimize revenues.

          Like

    2. My biggest beef is that Narduzzi isnt a coach worth $3.5M. I’m still steaming over that extension. I could find a coach and pay him $2M for the same results – 12-14 record over past 2 years, no bowl wins and poor recruiting classes. Those savings could support the operating budget of Pitt’s entire athletic department (Heather and team).

      Like

  80. Pitt’s new softball HC off to a bad start at 0-2.

    Losses to Purdue and Charleston, giving up 13 and 10 runs respectively. There are 15 returning players and 8 seniors on the squad that finished as the ACC runner-up last season to National Champ FL ST.

    Like

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