It’s been four days since I’ve posted anything and I can tell you guys are getting antsy, and so I’ll interrupt my regularly scheduled content for something juicy.


I was planning on continuing to preview each position and also sprinkling in some ACC coasting previews done my Pitt-Cocks Fan (Richard Hefner), but frequent reader and sometimes commenter “Joe L” posted something on his twitter (and on the most recent comments section of this blog) that made me decide that now is the time.

And so here you go.  I’ll preface this by saying…if you are a recruit, or a coach or a player or someone close to the program, you will know the facts around Pitt football.  I do not.  I am simply a reasonably intelligent guy who lives in Atlanta (i.e. SEC country) who also happens to be passionate about Pitt football.  I am good at reading and I’m fairly decent and synthesizing content and applying it to what I see in reality.  With all that being said, I’m about to reference an article, heck it’s practically an expose, on how recruiting works in the South.  And I’m not talking about South Carolina and Vandy.  I’m talking about the big boys… UGA, ‘Bama, Auburn, Florida, etc.  Based on what I see, it also extends to Clemson, Florida State, and probably Miami because when things are clicking their recruiting is on par with those good ‘ol boys.  The newest addition to this club might just be UNC.  Again, this all based on the tweet below:

As you can see UNC is doing pretty well for themselves on the 2021 recruiting trail, having secured verbals from nine four-start commits…and eight of them are from North Carolina.  (I’m assuming the numbers above are the 247 composite rating or perhaps just the “regular” 247 rating – which is usually directionally aligned with the rivals rating.  .9+ is consider four-stars I believe.)

And so it begs the question.  What is UNC doing that Pitt isn’t?  Well if you’ve been following UNC football for any length of time at any level of detail, quite a lot.

It all came to a head in 2014.  Basically fake classes for athletes.  The full context can be found on its very own wikipedia page.

“On October 22, 2014, the report was released reporting that for 18 years, at least 3,100 students took “nonexistent” classes, saying, “These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible.”

Now in fairness… the article states that UNC has put “Reforms” in place, but also the NCAA found them not guilty, put them on probation….and nothing happened.  Titty boom.

Sorry, I digress.  That’s just what UNC is (er was…) doing after their student athletes get to school

What I really want to talk about though it what happens before those four-and-five star athletes commit, and so I will introduce you to what I consider to be one of the most fascinating and lurid news stories about NCAA football…ever. 

It was written in 2014, and so again, it’s not new news.  I also, for the record, don’t think Pitt is doing this.  And if they are doing it, they aren’t doing it very well.  Because if they were, their recruiting would look at lot more like Mack Brown’s and a lot less like the way it looks today.

Okay so on to the article.  First:  If you want to read the whole thing, you can read it here.

If you aren’t going to read it, I’m going to borrow from the article pretty extensively below.

Here are the first four paragraphs:

The Bag Man excuses himself to make a call outside, on his “other phone,” to arrange delivery of $500 in cash to a visiting recruit. The player is nationally #1 at his position and on his way into town. We’re sitting in a popular restaurant near campus, almost a week before National Signing Day.

”Nah, there’s no way we’re landing him, but you still have to do it,” he says. “It looks good. It’s good for down the road. Same reason my wife reads Yelp. These kids talk to each other. It’s a waste of money, but they’re doing the same thing to our guys right now in [rival school’s town]. Cost of business.”

Technically, this conversation never happened, because I won’t reveal this man’s name or the player’s, or even the town I visited. Accordingly, all the other conversations I had with bag men representing different SEC programs over a two-month span surrounding National Signing Day didn’t happen either.

Even when I asked for and received proof — in this case, a phone call I watched him make to a number I independently verified, then a meeting in which I witnessed cash handed to an active SEC football player — it’s just cash changing hands.

So yes people, lets stop there and establish rule #1.  If you want to play with the big boys, you pay the recruits.  This will go on in perpetuity, by the way.

Though of course not every player at every level is paid for, this is the arrangement in high-stakes college football. Providing cash and benefits to players is not a scandal or a scheme, merely a function. And when you start listening to the stories, you understand the function can never be stopped.

Oh and by the way, paying players isn’t going to solve it.  (But it will give the guys who aren’t premier recruits some cash in exchange for all the blood and sweat they put into the program)

”If we could take a vote for these kids to make a real salary every season, I would vote for it. $40,000 or something. Goes back to mama, buys them a car, lets them go live like normal people after they work their asses off for us. But let’s be honest, that ain’t gonna stop all this. If everyone gets $40,000, someone would still be trying to give ‘em 40 extra on the side.”

Second rule:  These guys aren’t the traditional “Big Donors”

One caveat. If you’re stinking rich, a good athletic director or university fundraiser has already contacted you for above-board donations, and you likely won’t get into the business of paying players. It’s the guys with just about 15 grand to burn annually that usually become bag men.

Also, if you’re not one, and you want to become one, you probably can.  (Except at Pitt…because we don’t do this)

”I think it took me seven years. I knew some guys. They knew some older guys. And before, I really didn’t believe any of this happened. Then I start coming around different events, parties, tailgates. After a while one guy says, ‘Oh hey, I know him. It’s okay, he loves the [team],’ and starts talking who needed to get what. And so I was a part of it. I wanted to be.”

Okay then next part is really interesting.  The geography.

Each state has vastly different cultural, economic, and physical territories, but every state with a school in a conference “like the SEC” (editor’s note:  Or the Big 10) contains consistent features:

  • The university housing your team. (That would be Pitt… or in the case of a PA team that actually does all this bag-man stuff, Penn State)
  • A capital city.  Your school likely has some concentration of lawyers or elected officials.  (Harrisburg…just an hour and a half away from State College. )
  • The metro (sometimes also the capital) (Heyyy!!! Pittsburgh…and also Philly).
  • A community closest to your state’s border with another conference state (In this case Pittsburgh IS THAT COMMUNITY and I’ll tell you…after looking at the last five classes, it’s Penn State, Notre Dame and then Pitt who are grabbing all the top WPIAL talent, and in about that order.  For not “playing the game” Pitt has actually not done all that bad in their own backyard.  Would be a good followup article actually)
  • Enemy territory. Just as your team has boosters active in other states, so too are enemy agents inside your borders. In many cases they’re concentrated in a single area, like an in-state rival’s town, a town close to the border, or an area with a concentration of sidewalk fans.  (Again, by the looks of of where the recruits are going, the Pittsburgh metro is primarily Penn State territory, with heavy Notre Dame activity and Pitt as the hometown contender in certain pockets.)

From these areas, borders are drawn and districts are created, but specific territories are shaped by the bag men in them. It’s a somewhat fluid map over long amounts of time. 

Regardless of the state, a school’s bag men gravitate toward two centers of power: the university and the state’s metro area, the former because of power, the latter because of football talent. Regardless of where top-dollar shadow boosters and bag men might live, the university town serves as the primary center of operations. After all, that’s where the coaches and players are.  (And so the Penn State Bag Men are all either in A) Happy Valley, B) Philly or C) Pittsburgh.  Pitt, of course has no such bag-men, but if we did I would imagine they would be mostly located in Pittsburgh.  Sure would be nice if we could get a few in Philly…)

And then there is the common sense part:

The rules of communication tend to follow your typical sleeper cell or drug-dealing outfit. Talk in person as much as possible, preferably in group settings. Don’t use email. Never interact with the media. Avoid the university’s public relations or sports information departments whenever possible. Buy burners. Lots of burners.

With a dash of real-to-life humor

”It’s the bat phone. Everybody has a bat phone. Buy some in a gas station out of town, use ‘em for a while, toss ‘em. The worst part was convincing my wife it wasn’t so I could carry on an affair, because I wouldn’t let her use it or see who I was talking to.”

Oh and by the way, nobody cares.  And if you think the NCAA is listening in, you’re wrong.

”I can call up a guy in real estate and say, ‘Hey man, we thought about it, and let’s do that 24-acre plot. How’s a 4 p.m. meeting sound?’”

This is a payment to the player who wears jersey #24. The second number here is an amount — in this example, $4,000. Listen long enough and it’s not much of a code, but there’s never been much to codebreaking here.

”I don’t sell drugs. I don’t even speed on the highway. No one’s listening to me.”

Also…if Pitt Bag men did exist.  Pat wouldn’t know who they are (but they don’t)

”Coach has met me a few times. I’ve talked to Coach. But Coach doesn’t really know me from Adam. How many other folks do you think he meets a week? After he got hired, I walked up and shook his hand, and the guy introducing us says, “Hey Coach, this here’s [first name], he takes care of stuff for us.’

“Now, what does that really mean? Do I charter planes for the university? Do I run a company that sells concessions to the stadium? Or do I make sure kids get taken care of? Coach doesn’t know what I ‘take care of.’ He knows someone out there is doing this, and that’s all.”

Again…under the radar.  Also, remember Henry Parrish , the four-star running back who flipped from Pitt to OLE MISS last recruiting cycle?   “I just have to do what’s best for me”, takes on a whole new meaning after you read some of this stuff.  What I put in bold isn’t about him directly, but well, this article is talking directly about the SEC.

A good bag man will never be famous. He will never be that guy hovering next to the head coach after a big win. His name will never be known by the majority of students, fans, and alumni of the university he loves. There are no memorial scholarships named after the guy who gave a running back’s mother $3,000 a month for four years.

As you might suspect this is a cash only business:

“Yeah, I’m gonna open a checking account with statements someone could subpoena. Oh and hey, in this small town of however-many thousands of people I’m gonna go in and open some account and then ask for a bunch of black teenagers to be put on there and ask for a bunch of debit cards they could get caught with. Why don’t I just take out a [expletive deleted] ad?”

Here is how it actually works.  Now we know why Ag-school and recruiting go hand in hand:

The actual money never pools in a single area. A collective of shadow boosters keeps an unwritten counter on how much each of them can contribute in cash at any given moment for three major purposes:

  1. Large single sums to convince a recruit to sign with the school.
  2. Maintenance payments to current players, delivered in an ongoing basis.
  3. Cash owed by an out-of-area shadow booster to a bag man living in the college town. Sometimes a player whose sponsor lives back at home needs money immediately, so a local bag man not assigned to that player will pay the player, with a marker going to his booster back home.

The small business fuels America. Cash that doesn’t have to be accounted for exists in any variety of ways. Sell a pair of lower bowl tickets to a guy you know from church? Cash. Sell a bass boat on Craigslist? Cash. Run or own a restaurant? Cash. Work in agriculture? Lots of cash.

Back to geography.  Ever notice how Pitt can just never seem to get some recruits out of some high schools?  We wouldn’t you know it the rumors are true…

Some towns or high schools have already made a recruit’s decision before he’s out of diapers. These are strongholds. The local money, the high school coaches and principals, the parents, and the “uncles” are already on the same team.

This is built by heritage and takes decades and sometimes millions of dollars. Maybe it’s a local business that employs working-class families. Jobs for parents can be arranged with ease, as can pressure on those currently employed.

And the mechanics of it all:

Extenuating factors to consider when putting together a plan:

  • What’s the climate? Does the high school coach lean toward or away from your college program?
  • Is this a stronghold town or disputed territory? How fast will competition come in? Or is someone already in with the family, meaning you’re the competition?
  • What’s the economic status of the family? Any criminal history? Could other incentives (jobs, cars) be arranged?
  • What is the family dynamic? Who other than the mother or grandmother is workable? (“I’ve never encountered a situation where a parent or guardian worried about the legality. I can’t say that’s ever even been asked of me.”)
  • Who is the one person who can be trusted to take payments and keep the money out of public view?

”If mama’s been working all her life to provide, that’s a very manageable situation. But if you’ve got an uncle talking about being the kid’s manager or agent, talking about his rap label he’s starting, or interviews with ESPN, [crap] … you better hold on, or reevaluate how bad you want this player.”

And it ain’t always the money:

”I’ve paid to put a single mother through rehab. It was the recruit’s older sister. He’s playing ball and mama’s raising two grandchildren, his sister’s kids. Mama’s tired and doesn’t want to raise another set of kids. So we make the calls and arrange for the daughter to go to rehab, then set her up with a job when she’s done. Fast track her to a job at a private business, nothing suspicious. Now mama can enjoy her son playing and the daughter is back on her feet. And when it came time to sign, we made sure she saw something [cash], but I promise you that meant more than just money.”

I don’t think this happens for the WPIAL, kids.  But interesting southern flavor for y’all who don’t actually read the article:

”One time grandpa needed his tractor fixed. He and grandma were the primary care-givers of this kid out in a rural area. Well, they aren’t going to turn down the money, and they didn’t, but what they needed was a tractor to get fixed. But we couldn’t take this tractor to get fixed just anywhere, because the guy who does that locally works for a business that’s owned by a [rival school] fan.”

Why not just buy a new tractor?

”Because that would be like a Lamborghini showing up in their driveway. See, you don’t know how much a tractor costs. So we’ve got to get this tractor to a repair guy who we’re comfortable enough calling up and saying, ‘Hey, fix this. He’s good for it. We’re taking care of it.’ The tractor gets fixed. Now you try and prove we fixed that tractor.”

Advantage SEC

”We can only get away with whatever’s considered reasonable by the majority of the folks in our society. That’s why it’s different in the SEC. Maybe that’s why we’re able to be more active in what we do.

“Because no one ever looks at the car or the jewelry and says, ‘How did you get that, poor football player?’ They say, ‘How did they get you that and not get caught, poor football player?’”

And that brings me to a salient point, because if you are going to call out Narduzzi as a recruiter, you need to call out his lack of bag-men first. -ahem-

You can have a rival coach who is considered a great recruiter, and he might say, ‘We feel great about this kid, if we can just get him on campus.’ Well, what if you can’t even get him to show up? How great a recruiter are you now?”

This is a shining example of how influential shadow boosters are in the recruiting process.

Oh yea, and if these bag men don’t like a coach.  They stop paying.

”The coach won’t know exactly when we decide to make that happen, but they’ve got a good idea. Then we get to see just how damn good a recruiter he really is.

“I know one of our guys once stopped putting in big bucks, way more than what I do, just because a head coach cussed too much on the team plane. [The coach] was losing anyway, but because he took the Lord’s name in vain, that guy was offended by his morality and stopped illegally paying college football players.”

And last but not least, this.  Again, Pitt doesn’t do bag-men, so it kind of doesn’t matter.  But if we ever decided to, stability would be a good thing:

College majors like Exercise Science and General Education have long been assailed by critics as crip-course degrees, but shadow boosters see them as a vital way to perpetuate the cycle. If a player finishes out his eligibility and has no feasible future in the pros, he might return home and become a high school coach. It doesn’t matter if it’s junior high or 7-on-7 camps — each means a new brand ambassador for the program.

”You win the gym teachers, and you can go a long way. That’s why all those basket-weaving degrees are so important, because we need ‘em on both ends. You need ‘em to keep the kids qualified, and you need ‘em to produce guys who can go back and coach and teach and help us.”

It doesn’t hurt that the system produces agents who often become the most powerful male influence in a young athlete’s life. And there is, of course, a fiscal incentive for the ex-athlete to steer future players in the same direction he went. The bag man doesn’t expect any coach to push 100 percent of his Division I-worthy talent to any one particular place, let alone his alma mater, but rather pick spots for the big ones.

So that’s the nuts and bolts of it folks.  How to play the game.  Clemson plays it.  Miami plays it.  By all accounts UNC plays it.  You can be damn sure Penn State plays it.  Notre Dame too.  Does WVU play it?  Probably, and their recruiting is no better than ours (imagine how bad it would be if they didn’t…).  By most accounts the last time Pitt played it was under Wannstedt.  And you know what?  That was the last time we won ten games.

So a little message to Heather:  You’ve got a compliance background, and well if you even sniffed this kind of stuff I know you’d shut it down.  But you know what I say?  You gotta know the rules to know how to bend ’em.

Of course, that will never happen.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

128 thoughts on “How the Game is Played

  1. First let me say that NCAA Basketball recruiting makes this look like child’s play!

    Second … my brother went on many recruiting trips, some w Wanny before he was paid to go to Rutgers.
    He was his a cut under Big 33 but a highly recruited OG from Baldwin.

    I could regale you with stories of recruiting that would make the above by MM seem trivial. It’s been going on a long time. My HS QB 1968 went to Iowa…. Full Scholie. How does Iowa recruit at frickn Baldwin? See if aid gym teachers/ coaches


  2. Is the guy holding the money bag the great SEAN MILLER? The problems are worse at many places but happen everywhere (except PItt of course). Wonder what they pay to AAU coaches? Haha HAIL TO PITT.


  3. I was an AAU Coach. Most I was ever offered was $10K and a car…..and that was girls BB. My point guard ended up starting at an ACC School for 4 years.


  4. Great write up Mike, exactly the reason that drives me crazy when people talk about PITT and Narduzzi’s lack of recruiting. (which btw, I think is pretty good all things considered) When we have all the answers as to why why why and we still put the blame on the coaches that have little chance in the big stakes game. (see Robert Foster)

    But watch out and appreciate what PITT does and how they finish this 2021 recruiting class.

    I’m rooting hard for PITT to win one more time in the big race for a vaccine. I just hope our boys are staying in shape in case there is a football season this year! … . …. …iek

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great article Mike!!! It is a shame that the major college sports are divided into the haves and have nots. Makes those rare Cinderella victories all the sweeter. H2P!


  6. Great article.

    Questions? Was Fedora at UNC a good guy who forsake the bagman approach at UNC or just a lousy coach (except against Pitt)? Were the UNC bag man just hiding in the bushes waiting for a new more recipient coach?

    Was the article written with Mack Brown at Texas in mind when article discusses the bag man who quit being a bag man $ donor for using the Lord’s name in vain ( & losing)?

    On a side note – My grandson is a good athlete. My late wife & I were always laughing about supplementing our retirement income with generous bag man donations. He choose baseball instead of football as his sport. Guess I will just have to bet by.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fact is that UNC recruited well under Fedora

    Year / Rivals Ratings

    2014 / 23
    2015 / 28
    2016 / 26
    2017 / 30
    2018 / 23

    The ironic part is that their best year on the field under Fedora was 2015 when they were undefeated in Coastal 8-0, lost to Clemson (ranked #1 at the time) in ACC title 45-37, finished 11-3 and ranked 15th. Yet ….

    2012 / 42
    2013 / 44


  8. BTW – 24/7 as Mike states, uses 0.9000 and above as 4-stars. They have nine total 2021 commitments above 0.9000.

    In comparison, Rivals has UNC with 6 4-stars (3 – 5.9 & 3 – 5.8) & 6 3-stars (3 – 5.7, 1 – 5.6, & 2 – 5.5).

    There is a difference in analysis & ranking of players. Or does 24/7 just have more 4-stars in total than Rivals?


      1. Thanks. I need to spend some time getting an understanding of 24/7 & composite. I refuse to learn ESPN.


  9. Lack of a bag man doesn’t excuse the recruitment of players with offers from Elon and Holy Cross. There are plenty of high end 3 stars with P5 offers. Narduzzi needs to do a better job closing on those.



  10. off topic …. I had 3 different baseball gloves that I could remember. My favorite was a Wilson Model Al Kaline that I used in Little League and Pony League. My 2nd favorite was a Glenn Beckert model that I used playing adult league baseball and softball (I may still have it, not sure)

    Both of these guys passed away in the past week (neither from the virus).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent article, MM. Thanks to you and JoeL.

    Makes sense that the head coach doesn’t have any need to know who, how much, or when. Easy for anyone from afar to figure out who are the top recruiting targets for their favorite school.

    Maybe the next so-called “stimulus” bill could include a provision for a sizable recruiting slush fund for each school to be administered by a randomly selected tailgate party…

    (And did the game get easier now that the bag-man can where a mask all the time…😊)

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thanks Mike for taking our minds off of this house arrest for a few minutes.

    Cash is King, always has been always will be.

    This really shows how naive Narduzzi was when he first started by offering all the four and five stars nationally. He has been much more successful recently at getting the kids just below that elite level.

    When some have jumped to that level, they go elsewhere, but some have held to their commitment.

    Been saying for years recruiting is a very dirty business. Fact is nobody cares and nothing ever changes.

    I had two uncles that were stars at Allegheny High School in the thirties and forties. They both went to Tennessee and were “taken care of” way back when.


  13. I see PSU just reeled in four 2021 commits in the past few days …. one from MD and three from Mich. 3 of them were 4-stars. They apparently outbid Harbaugh on his own turf

    But just think what Oh St pays out. The only 5-star in PA this year (2020) class committed to the Buckeyes. He lives about an hour east of State College


  14. Maestro – bravo, bravo. Tutto bene!
    Leader in the clubhouse for post of the year.
    Reads like something out of a Scorcese film.
    My post came via a Hokie golf buddy who follows 247. I’m sure he will read this with interest.

    Looking forward to reading the referenced article as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. As a follow-up to Richard’s question from last night, if I run across something I want to post here that is not already availabel via a weblink (like a photo/image), I will tweet it and then copy/paste the link. Guessing there is a better way, but have not yet figured out what that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It wasn’t just Dorsett and it wasn’t just recruitment. There were the personal Tutors and A’s being handed out without even having to show up.

    No reason to believe it’s still not going on.


  17. @dan – sorry it took so long to respond. I think your personal example of 10k and a car while in the “AAU Game” was typical for girls sports back in the day. Your depiction is spot on. The “game” has evolved. The stakes and steaks are much higher now. The really good AD’s recognize and understand the importance of “the game” as it will not go away. The real good ones understand the process, embrace it to an extent and then look at ways on how best to protect their coaches and players from the seedy group of bag men.

    I may have shared this outside the POV to a select few of you, but the actual “persuasion” of recruits started in the South. In the old days, athlete students were often guided by ministers/preachers serving as their mentor and trusted consultant. Those folks typically accepted things like riding lawnmowers to cut the church lawns and small transport buses in return for a big push for their congregation member choosing a particular school. Those were the roots of recruiting incentives. Who would have thought it…..

    Also, let’s not be naive about academic integrity at Pitt. All schools manipulate the academic side of the house. I know Pitt has struggled in this area as well during the last five years, so we need to tread lightly when mocking other schools practices. Part of the reason that athletics and academics administrators dont trust each other. Different missions.


    1. Well put huff. Two thoughts

      And this is a warning to other readers. Let’s not let huff’s post about ministers start us down a slippery slope towards religious discussion. I welcome the history. I don’t welcome comments about whether churches or ministers today may or may not fall on the moral spectrum.
      Do we we really need to be that careful about pointing out academic issues at UNC? Pitt may or may not have had (and may still have) their share of basket weaving classes but I’d be shocked if they actually did not hold the class. “Academic support” is one thing. No body showing up and everybody passing is completely another. But again, I’m no where close to an insider.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The NCAA doesn’t care about academics. All they care about is money. Those who run the NCAA can all rot in Hell.



        1. Sad but true. Tressel is YSU Prez and turned down same position at Akron. I can assure you it had nothing to do with him being a great academician


  18. So while is a great article by Mr. Michelangelo Monteleone spawned by JoeL and aided by Richard the Great it brings a question or thought to my mind concerning these different recruiting sites. First to be very clear, I agree that one site (rivals) should be the bench mark site we go by. With that out of the way I have to ask.. should all the “other” sites be totally ignored? Now I ask that for a couple reasons and I’ll use 247 as my example. The fact that 247 ranks a player a 4* player while rivals ranks them a 5.7 3* make them a lesser of a talent? Second and Richard made me think of this, with different sites and their different rankings create more 4 and 5 star players? With Rivals there are only so many to go around making it no wonder why PITT can only get their fair share after all the money exchanging hands.

    So going back, how has this impacted the bag-man and who do they target? To think the head coach has no influence on who gets the cash would be shortsighted.

    My point here is this. PITT recruited five 4* players for this coming year or is it six and they will recruit just as many or more for 2021. I just think that a player by any service that is rated high should be just as lauded no matter which service has them ranked.

    Obviously I lost my train of thought here from being interrupted so I’ll just leave this as is and regroup. 🙂 .. iek.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Recruiting is relative. How does Pitt stack up against other coastal schools. That’s all that matters. Pitt finished behind Miami, NC and Ga Tech this year in recruiting. That’s middle of the pack in a mediocre division. Pitt doesn’t need to pay for high end 4 stars to compete for participation trophies against these schools. It needs good coaching, good schemes and good player development.


      Liked by 1 person

        1. Miami has been bitten by poor coaching, poor schemes and lack of player development. The coaching has gotten in the way of all that talent. Based on talent alone, they should be a top ten team.



        2. Pitt has mediocre recruiting, above average coaching, decent player development, questionable schemes on offense but solid on D. That nets you 8 wins…not 10. Contingent on Whipple and recruiting as I see it.



      1. Tex, you just mentioned two of the schools (UNC and Miami) talked about in the article about cheating… <<< That was the point of the article.


        1. Yes they cheat and recruit well and still can’t win because their coaches couldn’t win coaching at Gannon. Pitt just needs to be good in the 3 facets I mentioned. It should only be significantly outrecruited by Miami. But again miami’s coaching makes the IUP coaching staff look like Rockne and Lombardi.



      2. Pitt finishing behind Miami, UNC and an optionless GT in recruiting is to be expected; Pitt finishing ahead of them would be news.

        Go Pitt.


          1. I do. GT is located now where Pitt was located back in the day. Surrounded by a ton of excellent players…

            Go Pitt.


    2. Ike – I didn’t have anything to do with this article. It’s all Mike’s with a very good assist from JoeL,

      Mike’s just references me on a series of articles I wrote to give Mike something to post when he is to busy to write a great article. ( I can hear the groans now from the POV readers that have to suffer through another(s) data ridden article.

      Poor coaching at Miami as an excuse. Jeez it the CULTURE.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL Richard, you’re way way to humble. All your data is highly appreciated……… .. and yes, Miami has an excuse but PITT doesn’t seem to be given the same courtesy. Miami continues to lose with high end paid for talent while PITT has done fairly well with the lowly recruits Narduzzi can scrape together while not cheating. Insert a sarcastic emoji about now for that last sentence.


    3. I decided to post the table despite the fact that it came from 247 data vs Rivals, simply because someone else had already gone to the trouble of making it and the shading of the recruits by school color was evocative. Decided not to get too hung up on recruit scoring this tme.


      1. And well you should have JoeL, like Mike mentioned it’s all relative as well as subjective. As far as a standard goes I’m fine with rivals as being just that but when you take a young man such as Hemmingham who was a 4* rated rivals recruit then demoted when he signed with PITT it makes me go hmmmm. BTW, nice job JoeL.


  19. Laying awake last night, I thought of so many x as a sales rep and a VP where I did analysis of my ideal client in terms of where we’d been successful in the past, what fit us as a company etc.

    I wonder if Heather or Duzz has done an analysis of the ideal football recruit? Not just who fits Pitt but where Pitt has been able to get wins on 4 stars vs PSU, ND etc. There are reasons….
    Maybe family hi income level where bag $ is not that important, maybe family Alums etc You get the picture. You have to know where youve been to know where you are going. You have 5 years of recruiting data.



    Here is the 2020 class from 247 and Rivals. They look similar in most areas but what you see on 247 are the Composite scores. If you click on the actual ‘recruiting profile’ in 247, you will also see that 247’s own ratings has Taylor, Barden and Bengally also as 4-stars in addition to Hayes and Addison. I believe only Hayes was an original 247 4-star when recruited …. but these other guys had stellar senior seasons.

    The fact remains that these are all 17 year olds, many of them rated when 16, and it remains to be seen what the future holds for all of them


  21. A recruit that likes the color yellow

    Is a closet Steelers fan

    Prefers concrete over grass

    A mid level 3 star

    Good grades and no character issues

    Resides within a 500 mile radius

    Has offers from low to mid P5 schools along with Mac and AAC

    Strong parent support

    Likes the smell of Oakland on a early Sunday morning

    Can be easily pursuaded if offered some large O fries and a 6 pack of Milwaukee’s Best



    1. Any Pitt student worthy of his Student ID has no valid reason to know what Oakland smells like on Sunday morning. Now if it’s 3am on a Saturday night that you’re referring to then that’s a different story totally. As Jimmy Buffet says in one of his songs, “it’s a thin line between Saturday nite & Sunday morning”!


    2. Defending the honor of the O…owned(or was) by my friends the Simons(Bruce, Larry & Terry), for decades.

      The O had the biggest variety of foreign beers in Pittsburgh for 15 years. Elephant Malt Liquor
      was a fav. Big can, easily consumed and warranted pretty good effects.


  22. just curious …. take away Netflix, Hulu, etc, what are you watching on TV without sports? Here is my Top 5

    1) old movies
    2) nature shows on BBC, NGC and Animal Planet. Key words: Serengeti, Yellowstone, national parks
    3) Aerial America and America in Color on Smithsonian
    4) cable series … Better Call Saul, Doc Martin, Better Things, Homeland
    5) Live PD


    1. Bill, pretty much the same for me. Plus I have a few of the Eric Clapton Crossroads festivals on tape…great music.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Normally,I can’t stand to watch baseball and couldn’t name you 2 of today’s active players…but I have been glued to the old world series games being played on the MLB network (Channel 213 Direct TV)…I can’t get enough of my ole baseball heroes and remember just about every name…..what a great game…

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Just rewatched the UCF game. We sure did try to give that game away after going up 21 to Zip on the Golden Nights. SOP loses that game 100% of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Tomorrow night at 7:00 AT&T sportsnet is showing the 7th game of the 79 world series.

    When I was a kid my baseball glove was either on my hand while I was playing ball or hooked on my bikes handlebar waiting for the next game…


    1. same here. When I was 5, I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. At 10, it was an MLB player. After that, I had no real aspirations (except maybe replace Duane on the Allman Brothers, but except for the opening to ‘Satisfaction’ I can’t play a lick)


  24. The five surviving members of the Allman Brothers Band carried on, resuming live performances and finishing the recording work interrupted by Duane Allman’s death. They named their next album Eat a Peach for Allman’s response to an interviewer’s question: How are you helping the revolution?” Allman replied, “I’m hitting a lick for peace, and every time I’m in Georgia I eat a peach for peace.”

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Excellent article, Michaelangelo! This issue has really stirred up some opinions among POVers. It seems to me that most reputable colleges would not sully their reputations by offering a player a $500 pocket money payoff that most likely is not going to be the deciding factor. Other colleges could find ways to turn these colleges in, or plant stories with the local press, to attempt to get them placed on probation. But there are some colleges that will attempt to win at any cost, I guess. I wonder what Michigan State was doing when the Duzz was there… And now, for that matter, when they are down a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. So Skippy just changed his mind and will enroll at UVA, spurning Rice. Initially this pissed me off as I can see him beating Pitt….but then thinking it over, he can’t create his own shot, doesn’t play any defense and is slow as molasses! So…never mind.


  27. What a great post, Maestro. Brings a question to mind:

    If Pitt doesn’t play this game, what are the chances of ever getting a top of the line coach and staff at Pitt? Why would a successful coach ever want to go where “FOU” (Friends of the University) don’t play ball for the athletic department?

    If JC and PN ever leave, what makes anyone think they could be replaced with better?

    Liked by 4 people

  28. On recruiting, I always think of the story that Tony Dungy used to tell about why he welcomed leaving behind college coaching and taking an NFL coaching job. Had to do with a kid he was recruiting for the U. of Minnesota (I think it was). Tony had recruited the kid a long time and had the understanding from the kid that he would sign on with UMINN. But then on signing day no fax came in and at the last minute the kid signs with Michigan.

    Tony later asked the kid what made him change his mind. The recruit said that Michigan had offered at the last minute and ever since he was a little kid he had wanted to wear one of those Michigan helmets…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. What NCAA did with UNC for years of violations is a joke and shows why nothing will ever change. That one is a joke in how they look down on NC State. The big boys like Peds and all the others will keep paying recruits and the Pitts will fight to be best of the rest – striving for mediocrity. Does anyone believe that Saban and Alabama bag men don’t pay? Saban did not become a good coach after leaving the pros he just could buy players. And dont tell me that players go there to be pros, Alabama dropped way off til they found the right man to pay. True of all the bigs including that cow pasture team. Nothing going to change. Dabo a great coach and doesn’t need to pay, he was diagramming plays in his diapers etc etc haha. Look at the mess that was (is) Baylor back on top, nothing from NCAA. What are a couple rapes and murders. The NCAA needs replaced as it is beyond help. At least the unknowing Petino is back. I could rant all night, Thanks MM.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. I’d like to see the NCAA create new conferences where they align the teams according to how much they pay recruits.

    Put all the big cheaters in the
    “The $EC” and “The Bucks 10,” and let the rest compete in conferences where they compete for recruits the way it’s “supposed” to be done.

    Each year they’d award the coveted “Cheaters National Championship Trophy” and “The Student-Athletes’ National Trophy” to the payers and the non-payers, respectively. 😊

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 4 people

  31. Do you suppose Todd the fraud came here expecting to find a network of bagmen in place and then bailed when he didn’t find one?

    Nah, Penni had family in AZ. That’s all there was to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Great article Mike and as long as we all understand the odds stacked against PITT we should all cherish the wins instead of admonishing the losses. Who in the hell do we think we are? I’ll tell you who.

                                                WE ARE PITT!!
                                         Stand up and be proud!

    Liked by 5 people

  33. Great article, and better job by MM to structure his insight and additions around it. Not that anybody here needs convincing, but I couldn’t help remembering several instances that validate this. Two of the most obvious were Reggie Bush and- in a different twist with the same “bag men” mentality- Lori Loughlin (and like minded SoCal upper class parents.)

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Surprised no mention of the one of the longest standing, decade after decade after decade after decade, Player always in the running for Cheaters National Championship Trophy.

    And they are only 185 miles to the West of Pitt. I give you The Ohio State University.
    And then we know about what lengths the degenerates…. 136 miles to the East of Pitt will go.

    And then only 76 miles South of Pitt, we have another, while less well funded than the above 2
    abominations, have their ‘bag men’, former hs coaches, operatives, etc. in the WPIAL area.

    When you won’t play by the same rules as those around you, you get near 40 years of mediocrity,
    with a dwindling fan base, that in 20 years, will almost be non-existent, unless excellence is achieved
    again, to create a new fan base, on the order of what happened in basketball at Pitt, pre-Barnes/Stallings.

    Oh well, maybe when we’re off Probation 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  35. We need an operation like Oceans 11…simply rob the Casino on the North shore and have Danny Ocean funnel the money.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. the time to strike will be when the casino reopens since nobody will be suspicious when we enter with masks on. I think a good diversionary tactic would be someone getting close to a security guard and start having a coughing spell.

      Another plus is that brown bags are probably still one of the paper products still on the shelves. Dokish would be an unsuspecting accomplish as he will keep us informed of what hot prospects the Panthers are going after.

      Of course this wouldn’t be Oceans 11, but Rivers 3 instead.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. we could secretly communicate with each other using this site. Example: (4-star) Tyrone Shoelaces is to announce on June 6th but he may take one more visit on June 3 (meaning that is the day when we make the drop-off)


    2. I’m thinkin’ a key figure in the heist would be Scooter and his ability to open any locked doors… 😷

      Go Pitt.


  36. I often think about what a difference a Tyrelle Pryor or Levar Arrington would have made at Pitt, but for the bag men who knows. Pryor ended up costing a coach a career, but didn’t hurt tOSU for a nanosecond.

    Although it did not turn out well for him the QB at Penn Hills that ended up at PSU, with his father getting a job up there is another story.

    But the odds on Favorite Bag Man story has to be Cam Newton.

    But as was mentioned Reggie Bush cost USC a couple of championships. Must have really been bad for the NCAA not to overlook that one.

    On a side note my Central PA friends telling me that the cult is in a frenzy over the possible loss of football.

    When will it be safe to go back into a locker room? How do you social distance on a football field?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Loss of football hits economy of the state college town hard. Plus the cult has lost their religion for the fall. Where else can one dress as the Klan, throw marshmallows and yell ‘we are…pedo state’



        1. Back in the day people used to tell me I looked like Annie Lennox. I did (and still do) not agree.


  37. Had a lovely day out, getting a biopsy. But I did get a cheap facemask so I got that going for me. Iek kids were not safe in showers from mid to late 60’s and beyond. They care for kids, like to get em young. Was at the Ped game in rain two years ago and group of 12 a row behind me were chanting sarcastically “Hail to Pitt”, I got mad, my brother sitting next to me cringed, I stood up an faced them and I yelled one word SANDUSKY. Crickets till I left the game in 4th quarter – cowards all (thank goodness).


  38. Nitter fans are cowardly lions. Sandusky and Poopy Pants 💩 are forever stains. Happy valley will always be creepy valley to me. Joe knew. And he rots in Hell today.


    Liked by 1 person

  39. Jake McConnachie 6’5″ 190 WR from Verona NJ choses Pitt as a Preferred Walk On. Pitt needs all the Preferred Walk On’s they can gather in the hopes of getting another Morrissey in the mix.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BTW, Jake also had preferred walk-on offers from Rutgers and WVU.
      I like taking a chance on. 6-5 WR.

      Big Ben will be jealous…😊

      Go Pitt.


    2. ^^ I like this kid, sorry I can’t upload his video but it is impressive…. you know, like all highlight video’s


  40. Poor Jake – probably never met a bagman! 18 years old, 6′-5″ 190 lb WR. If he can add 100 lbs of muscle, he may become a great OT! Hope he busts his butt, and turns into something special!

    We’re pulling for you, Jake – welcome

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You know what’s funny Bill? I’ll bet the O sells a lot of recruits, it’s that unique. << I know I once thought it was the bomb!


  41. Sports will only continue before a vaccine if fans are tested for the antibody and if the venues practice social distancing. I can see max capacity at venues being 50 percent. Pitt is well positioned.

    Pitt really needs to get out ahead and build the first certified virus mitigation stadium.



  42. What is UNC doing that Pitt isn’t? They have the best young, and actually the best QB of any team in the country.


    1. I hear that the UNC QB has a burnt out light bulb or not burning quite so bright. Only saying what I heard from a reliable source. George Westinghouse not pleased.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Jackman- UNC offers their “legendary” ex-coach, he accepts, and comes back to take over a dumpster fire program. And his first 2 recruiting classes are filled with 4*s. This is a school who turned a blind eye to made up classes with real As &Bs. It’s not too hard to figure out where all the Tar Heel State Bagmen are working. (It sure ain’t for NCSU or Duke football!)

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Iek, you can have a burnt light bulb in college if you dont have to go to class..
    It’s like Pitt brings a knife to a gunfight.

    Liked by 2 people

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