MAC Loss – The Good, Bad and Really Ugly

Well, if no one else is going to chip in I’ll do a quick recap of the loss to Western Michigan- but honestly the thread of Game Day comments – some very long and well written – will provide more background and info as that post will.

The Good:

Pickett’s stats – great for padding the Pitt fan’s appreciation of him. Sorry – he played a good game yesterday but also had some troubles that we will discuss in the Bad and Ugly sections.

Also good (kind of) were are players that use their feet for success. Sam Scarton, our placekicker, almost got 100% of his Point After Touchdown (PATs) kicks through the uprights – only missed one for an 83% success rate. Maybe it was the crowd noise that distracted that last one.

The Aussie punter, Kirk Christodoulou, who we have had for years showed up to play, and not drunk like every other Aussie I have ever met, but his effect on the game wasn’t that great. A 37.5 average yardage is at a MAC-like level. Actually his first punt put the WMU Broncos on their own 19 yard line so that was well done.

DE Habakkuk Baldonado did a good job also with 5 solo tackles and seven total, one sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. – kind of like the only tree left standing after a forest fire. The rest of the DL and LBs? Blah at best.

The Bad:

Remember Pickett’s great stats yesterday? Well, sometimes numbers do lie. Six TD passes is pretty impressive in gaining points on the scoreboard. Unfortunately a huge part of a QB’s job is to keep the ball in his offense’s possession long enough to deny the other team’s scoring opportunities. That sure didn’t happen.

In seven combined 3rd and 4th down plays where Pickett dropped back to pass he either threw an incomplete pass, threw a too-short completion that was well defended or was sacked (twice!) for a loss of downs. If you are as appalled as I am by Pitt’s only have a 20 minute time of possession (TOP) in this game you can look directly at our QB play – and play calls by the offensive coordinator (OC)… then glance real quickly at the running game before looking back at the OC and QB.

I suppose you can blame the Pitt defense for some of the 40 minute TOP WMU had – but if we had gotten even a few 3rd down conversations (vice only 1 of 7) then the defense wouldn’t have had to homestead on the field of play.

But this has been somewhat of a trademark in Pickett’s 13 years as a Pitt QB – guady stats with not a whole lot to show for it. Fans don’t want to hear that but it’s true.

The Ugly:

In my 60 years of being a Pitt football fan (started going to games in the stroller) I’m not sure I ever saw a more ridiculous play then when at the 7:44 mark of the 3rd quarter two Pitt safeties tackled each other and allowed the WMU wide receiver stroll into the endzone for a 54 yard TD. That broke a 34-34 tie and WMU never looked back until their victory was complete..

Wasn’t just that play though – a rather average MAC QB lit up the defensive back’s islands by doing this: 23 for 35, 337 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs for a QB rating of….drum roll please…186.3. I say again: a MAC QB had a QB rating of 186.3 against our (crap) defensive secondary. Ugly!

I said this yesterday and will say it again – why is anyone who has followed Pitt football under Pat Narduzzi in any way shocked at this loss? Look, we had bona fide star defenders on our team last year and still played just about .500 ball at six wins to five losses. We replaced those 2020 stars with 2021 average talent players (or even poor in some cases) and we lose games. That is how football and sports work. You have to keep getting better talent, not worse.

Each year the local media falls for this HC’s bullcrap and they slobber all over him – then act oh so outraged when we don’t win games we are supposed to. Well, who in Hell says which games we are supposed to win or not? The betting line? Ask the bookies how much confidence they have in Pitt to do what they are supposed to do.

I do find it hilarious that now local pundits are calling Narduzzi “arrogant” and want him fired like that negative trait is something that no one had realized he had before. Ask anyone one who isn’t in his sacred closed circle of acquaintances what he’s like and you’ll have heard that word being used often since 2015 when describing him. Here is a quote from Pittsburgh Sports Now that says it pretty clearly (albeit years too late):

That certainly won’t be the case when Pitt and Narduzzi eventually part ways. I can promise you that very few people will shed a tear when that day comes, which certainly wasn’t the case with Wannstedt.

With the arrogance in which he has always conducted himself, you’d think that Pitt is currently a Top 10 program with a trophy case full of recent championship trophies but that’s hardly the case. The reality is his personality only drives people away from caring about Pitt football, which isn’t the smart thing to do when you’re a perennial 7-8 win team which draws 25,000 to 30,000 actual fans a game.

Now – I read PSN pretty often and I can’t remember anyone on there calling Narduzzi “arrogant” publicly before today.

One last thing: every local media outlet is full of outrage and vitriol against Narduzzi for this loss to a middling MAC school. They all are basically saying “I told you so” or at least implying it. But wait! Let the truth be told – the only media outlet on Pitt football who didn’t buy into the off-season hype was The Pitt POV when we predicted 6 or 7 wins on the season and stuck with it…

Take a look at this article in PSN dated September 2, 2021 – only two out of 18 writers (experts I tell ya!) felt that this season’s team would be just like every other season Narduzzi’s had his own committed players on his roster (save one 8 win season). All the others should be eating crow right now. Holy Hell – Paul Zeise was practically kneeling at the Narduzzi alter 48 hours ago and now he’s saying this: “

Narduzzi has been given a lot of time to build a program. He has succeeded in some areas but he has failed far too often when it counts. There’s a lot of football left to play, but if things aren’t corrected immediately, the end could be closer than you think. 

Seven years is plenty of time to build a program that wins, but — so far — Narduzzi has fallen short. At some point, time will run out.

2021 Pitt Win Total Predictions

Dave Wannstedt (Fox Sports): 10
Paul Zeise (PG/93.7 The Fan): 11 (Paul has Pitt winning the Coastal)
Chris Mack (93.7 The Fan): 9
Bob Pompeani (KDKA-TV):  9
Chris Mueller (93.7 The Fan): 7
Joe Kaap (93.7 The Fan): 8
Mike Asti  (Steelers Now): 8
Rich Walsh (KDKA-TV): 8
Chris Peak (PantherLair): 9
Joe Starkey (93.7 The Fan): 9
Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News): 9
Josh Taylor (KDKA-TV): 8
Brett McMurphy (Action Network): 8
Andrew Stockey (WTAE-TV): 8
Bill Bender (Sporting News): 7

Harry Psaros  (PGH Sports Now): 9
Mike Vukovcan (PGH Sports Now): 9
George Michalowski (PGH Sports Now): 9

Could go on and on and on… But will save some for the Monday Morning QB article tomorrow (any takers on writing that article for me?)

Here are Pitt’s National Rankings after three games- note that anything ranked with a number higher that 60 is pretty damn poor:

Hail to Pitt? More like:

Oy Vey to Pitt!

106 thoughts on “MAC Loss – The Good, Bad and Really Ugly

    1. I want to hear from the complainers about UPITT, Tex etc that they are so negative. I mostly agree with them and like when they post.
      Are they right?
      I say yes


  1. The Stillers losing to da Raiders was pretty predictable too !

    Tomlin is now 2 wins & 5 losses against one of the worst NFL teams in his tenure.

    Tomlin is another bonehead who can’t motivate, can’t coach and can’t speak, except in coach speakisms.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Vinegar is one Hell of a drug.

    I’ll have an article on replacements for king Pat. I’ve identified six so far.

    I really feel sorry, NOT, for that Bickell booster who forked over $20 million in coin for Narduzzi. What a fool.

    But heather has a chance to make things right. By first admitting her mistake and then finding the money for the buyout. She can start with my list. No need to hire an expensive search firm. Just need a PI to vett.


    1. Not sure why you would need to feel sorry for him. He’s got the coin to give and it’s not like he gave it to Narduzzi personally. That money can be used by the next HC and if it’s one of your guys, you will be glad he has that in his Arsenal.

      Mike, as you realize I’ve not said you were too negative with this post. Finding a bright side doesn’t make me a supporter of the HC or the Admin… just so all are clear. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The only thing that will save a Nardummie Defense from being shredded… a really bad QB.

    And that will save…..just about any Defense !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. True freedom is the ability to speak the truth without fear of repercussions. I think most of the media is afraid of upsetting the Pitt administration by speaking the truth, having a controversial opinion and questioning authority. They fear their press creds being yanked. But for non professional commenters and writers, there is no adulteration. We are free to speak our minds and not one ninny wit can stop us. This blog is the purest form of democracy and free thinking we’ve got. Use it to the fullest extent. The media and minions read it. A comment is free. That pitt booster paid $20 million. What did that get him? So embarrassing. But so true.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, if that was the case I 1) wouldn’t have been offered medial credentials by EJ back when I was writing about DW on the Pitt Blather and 2) would not keep being offered press passes by E J now writing what I do about Narduzzi.

      And I’m more critical than any other media guys. BTW I think it takes some real professional guts for EJ to keep me on the list knowing how much I’m disliked by the HC and staff (told to me by the guy who was shadowing me everywhere I went at the last alumni function I attended.)

      That $20M is going to keep the donor’s name in the press and media no matter who the HC is…the word “Narduzzi’ is not mentioned anywhere in the position title.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. EJ is a class act. The others in the office, I have little to no respect. Sometimes you have to be a Pitt man or woman to really get it. EJ gets it. That why I respect the man and his family contributions to dear olde alma mater. I really don’t like carpet baggers from Michigan.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Even Dokish is piling on now:

      “ Nothing shows that you know less about Pitt than saying Pitt couldn’t get a strong candidate. Narduzzi was the best DC in the country. Chryst was the best OC in the country. Graham was maybe the hottest non-P5 HC in the country. Whether they succeed or not is a different story.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As some of you know, I don’t watch Pitt football anymore. I just record the game if I can and then watch if they win and delete if Pitt loses. I do watch other games from time to time, however, while I wait to see if I’m going to watch or delete Pitt. I am tired of seeing full stadiums full of fans rooting for their teams win or lose and comparing that excitement to my lack thereof for Pitt. Yet, I’ll keep recording and hoping for a win. Yoi and double yoi.


  6. I saw that JoeL and others made the comment of how depressing it was to turn to other tv channels and see packed houses of rabid fans rooting on their well coached teams. And then there’s Pitt. I feel totally hopeless after yesterday that Pitt will ever succeed on the football field or with fans. The PSU game was like watching an NFL Playoff game compared to Pitt.

    Then last night watching Capel lose out on two more recruits ….ugh. Please make it stop!


    1. Pitt will stink and have empty stadiums decades after my coffin disintegrates underground. Fact is that the University hasn’t really cared about football since the 40’s.


    2. Pitt football also lost out to Kentucky on a top ten in state DE from the wpial.
      Four star with enormous upside.

      Isn’t seven years long enough to know what Pitt has between the ears.

      And isn’t four years long enough to know someone is still clueless and way in over her head?

      There was what 26k of real butts in the seats. Many of those tics were free I bet, paid by some organization and not by a real fan. Next weekend, pitt will be lucky to have 20 percent capacity. What a great look that will be. Thank goodness no recruits will be there and the game isn’t televised.

      Yet nobody sees this as a problem. Nobody in the last four years until it’s now fashionable and convenient. That’s why Pitt can rot. Burn it all down I say.

      Utter disdain is what I hold for the 95 percent of enablers. Including that fool who gave pitt $20 million just to have his name associated with crap. You deserved that in spades.

      The Steelers are the same. Needs to be a biblical flood to cleanse the foul stench and be reborn anew.

      But Pitt fans will keep hanging on. Hoping. Delusional fools. Yes I’m mean to those that damn well deserve it for thinking this administration and coach has the chops. Pitt is chopped liver and has been since Posvar road on his horse with the three killer B’s. You just didn’t know you witnessed the Apocalypse.


  7. UPITT/Mark gave his take on the Narduzzi D when he was 1st hired 7 yrs ago saying how the MSU D did ok vs Big 10 style but get lit up by teams that could pass using the Oregon game(I think) as an example,,, UPiTT saw it coming…and we have witnessed the shredding of the Narduzzi D with REPETITIVE MONOTONY!!! sad thing Narduzzi is clueless…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. UPitt, a baseball guy even knew it.

      In all seriousness, why spend this much money for these results. Might as well drop to division 3.

      I’d support a D1 hockey team though.

      I just ask that y’all wear some glasses. Because you are blind to an emperor without clothes.


      1. I stayed at Marriott in Cranberry this weekend, across from the Lemeiux Sports Center. The parking lot was filled the entire time we were in town except from 11pm to 6am.

        Hockey is big in western PA. Pitt should have joined the party years ago. I understand it takes money – if I’m the AD, I’d survey the alumni base and see what interest there is to support such an endeavor. From there, send commitment pledge forms. I could see the initial return being $1000 from 1000 alumni. I’d sign up today.

        That would be $1,000,000 start.

        Today, HL could get at least 5000 alumni to pledge $1000 for a Narduzzi buyout. That should easily do it – make Partridge the interim HC for the remainder of 2021. If he wins 8 or 9 games in 2021, he gets a 3 year shot at 10+ wins and securing a future as Pitt’s next legendary coach.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pitt has partnered with the Steelers over the past 21 years sharing practice facilities and a stadium. Has than gotten pitt anything more than one top 25 ranking?

    I think it’s time now to cut bait.

    Butt heather never fished a day in her life.


  9. Does anyone, and I mean A N Y O N E in the world, agree with Reed on the point he makes in the first paragraph of “The Bad” ? There is Darrin Hall’s thrown out long runs manipulation in judging him but this tops that by a mile.

    Then the last paragraph in that section, “gaudy stats”. No, not really, and so “true”, just NOT.

    The funny irony of that whole section is just this – it actually aligns with HCPN’s halftime interview where he was throwing some blame on the offense for yesterday’s problems.

    A B S U R D


    I don’t even want to discuss the unfortunate result from the attempt to separate the receiver from the ball via the shoulder hit tackle by Hill unluckily becoming a Bronco TD. U N F O R T U N A T E, but hardly ridiculous as in foolish or comical, maybe you can clarify how you mean “ridiculous”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. tvaz – a great (or even very good, effective QB excels in all aspects of QB play. i laid out a bunch of concrete examples on how his paly was one sided. I also said that throw for those stat numbers is good – but did that win us the game?

      No, it didn’t.

      But I will argue that had Pickett converted even half of those 3rd and 4th down passes we’d have won that game – and maybe even easily.

      And you still do not understand my point about Hall and his EFECTIVENESS as a runner. His three super 89+ yard runs added to his total yardage, TDs and to his YPC average. But when you remove those three (3) really big gainers out of his 153 carries – the remaining 98% (98%!) of his carries averaged just around 3.7 or so YPC – which isn’t that effective at all really.

      Again – 98% of his carries…

      I think you look only at face value and don’t have the ability of actually understanding what EFFECTIVENESS in in football play.

      Pickett put up great numbers on Saturday – but his EFFECTIVENESS when we really needed him to do well – that is to keep our drives alive and thus running the clock to keep the ball out of the WMU offense’s hands so they couldn’t score so much – he did pretty poorly.

      But keep keeping things simple.


      1. well, you’re wrong about me not understanding your point re: Hall
        your position there is reasonable about Hall, I kid you about it and would not have made it but NOT because I don’t understand it

        your critique of KP and his ability to affect TOP is not reasonable as it applies to yesterday’s game
        KP doesn’t call plays
        KP has little impact on making the run game more effective WHICH DOES IMPACT TOP
        yes, if KP converted a couple more 3rd or 4th downs TOP would’ve improved,,,, but I’m pretty sure HE wasn’t the only or even the main reason for each and every one of those failures

        did you or anyone else agree with PN’s choice to go for it on 4th and 4 or 5 or 6 or whatever it was in the 4th quarter?
        I think that was a stupid call
        should KP have walked off the field and protested “going for it”?

        Much like someone blaming KP for throwing a ball with the point in the wrong direction creating drops, KP and lopsided TOP disadvantage yesterday is a crazy connection of dots that doesn’t rely on complex comprehension but more so erroneous judgment and assignment of blame where one has little control(not NONE, but little)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. btw, I saw the screwed up link to pdf from the game day Post was happening to at least one other person,

    were others affected similarly? if so maybe just click a “like”

    I like “likes”

    I like Iek too but at this point want to ask him if he agrees PN needs to go like me and everyone else now clearly know

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This PITT game flabbergasted me in many ways.

    )1 Not making an adjustment on the slant pass?
    )2 Not slowing down the runs up the middle?
    )3 Pickett with two turnovers.
    )4 Whipple displaying a great passing game.
    ) Still not throwing the ball past the sticks on third down. (actually I saw many teams do this over the weekend)

    I did not see any signs of PITT dogging it out on the field.
    I think the mixed D-line caused by individual substitutions instead of wholesale changes screwed the continuity of the defense.
    Sure I’m disappointed and understand others being upset.

    Like Reed tells us, if you don’t like what you read on the POV… look away. I think the same holds true for all you brokenhearted PITT fans that can’t stand for PITT to lose one game? Look away dixieland!

    I’ll be happy but not surprised if I’m around for next weeks game. Between the PITT game and sitting in my chair to watch the game?? I don’t call the plays anymore, I get a signal from the sidelines!


    WMU wide-receiver juggled the ball at the two yard line and it wasn’t a catch.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Tommy… I’m not so dumb to think the cries from the guys in the cheap seats are ever going to be heard. Why worry if Narduzzi goes or not when he just plain isn’t going anywhere. So direct your thoughts to the BOT, who has control of that.

    Should he go? IMO, no.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hey, I was in an expensive seat yesterday 🙂
      and I don’t cry,,,, at least not over Pitt football 🙂

      your point #1 is of course accurate and at this point the inexcusable indictment of his never going to get it and can’t and shouldn’t be tolerated any longer


    2. If I was AD, I would have fired him yesterday. Not for the loss itself – that happens at a lot of places.
      I would have done it for his attitude after the game.

      “I need to watch the tape”?
      That was the time to take full responsibility for the loss.

      Something like this would have been a bit better…

      “The loss is on me. I thought we were ready and we weren’t. We failed to adjust defensively to what WMU was doing. Thats my background as you know and I was outcoached today by TIm Lester. I’ve got to get this team focused on next week as we have another game to play.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And btw… Im not saying that it would have been the best move to fire him yesterday, but I may have done it anyhow.

        Who would interim HC be for instance?


  13. What’s going to get Coach Pat shown the door is recruiting.
    Worser and worser and worser.
    What’s the current class? 48th? 52nd?
    Maybe Bickel’s money can go for the buyout of the extension never should have been.


    1. 53rd ranked per Rivals

      Missed on two locals this weekend – both on D. One to KY and one to psuX.

      WR Sky Moore for WMU and from the Pittsburgh was passed over during the recruiting process by the Narduzzi staff. He sure looked good vs the Pitt secondary yesterday.


  14. Was the performance we all watched or attended the beginning of the end for Narduzzi?

    It is year 7, the program has achieved stability, it is his players, his system, he owns it.

    Have we seen any progress?

    Instead of the program moving forward and building off last week they lose to a MAC opponent yes a MAC opponent.

    Why did they lose?

    Was it turnovers, lack of a running game, penalties, or horrible coaching and poor game preparation ?

    Sound familiar, it happens every season.

    He has to go, even the most myopic fan has to agree or am I expecting too much?

    How many fans in attendance next week 12,000? 24,000? Why would you go after Saturday’s debacle.

    This program is the definition of mediocrity and the head coach bears all of the responsibility.

    Time for a change because the program has not advanced under his guidance and it isn’t going anywhere with Pat in charge.

    I can’t watch them any more because the definition of insanity is:

    “If you do the same thing over and over and over again and expect a different result each time, that is called insanity. “

    Folks, Narduzzi has proven his incompetence to us and why should we expect anything different.

    Some of us hope, well that ship has sailed, Narduzzi is a Neanderthal, by not adjusting to game conditions by your opponent. How many years has he put this on display?

    It’s time for the administration to break the cycle.


  15. I wonder if Pitt will consider the next two seasons of strong OOC games in regards to firing Narduzzi. If he’s fired finishing with a 7-5 record you’ll see a mass exodus of players taking advantage of the free transfer rule.

    See just how bad Arizona is after changing coaches, Pitt would fall back to 1990s bad because the next coach will be another mediocre, hard-headed one with no players.

    And how is he going to rebuild? Zero local talent to pull from. It would be so Pitt to succumb to this scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. and btw, KP is not great,

    maybe not even very good overall but I’d be perfectly OK with someone thinking he is VG

    but he has been good and very good this year with a couple of great moments mixed in


      1. Well, I’ll debate that. I feel he’ll be drafted late in the rounds and will be on a taxi-squad somewhere. If he ever becomes a starter I’ll be surprised. Like many of the better past Pitt QBs – good in college sucked in the pros.


  17. An empty Heinz Field will get Narduzzi fired. You may recall that Stallings got the axe when the whole country started to see an empty Pete. A lousy record can be tolerated if the program is perceived as rebuilding, But if the message is that the fans have given up on a coach, then the administration will soon get the message.


  18. Reed – “a rather average MAC QB”.

    He was top 3 in FBS last year and depending on the view was snuggled between Mac Jones and Zach Wilson.

    Not sure why we need to trash him with so much to work with on the Pitt side.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Probably the most troubling aspect of this weekend was that the team did not look ready to compete. Narduzzi admitted that in his post game presser and put the blame on himself. When asked why that was the case, he said “I don’t know”. That my friends should be a trigger to termination. This morning he would be in my office with an answer – if he still did not know, he’d know his time was limited and he better not lose more than 2 more games or he is toast.

    In the secondary, #’s 31 and 14 were constantly being beat and chasing WMU receivers. The front seven on D had # 95 and # 10 being beat like drums against a MAC OL and # 7 looked out of position on most every play.

    On the offensive side of the ball, only 12 RB carries? One for Izzy…the center with his high snaps was finally replaced by a better player. KP8 was scrambling way too often against a MAC front 7 – causing him to only convert 2 of 9 third down attempts.

    Prediction: KP8 will rack up a boat load of stats and win 5 games total in 2021. Duzz survives another three years and then retires.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. gasman, maybe Jimbo is a company guy? Isn’t John Pelusi on the BoT? If Fralic was still with us he would let his feelings be known and I doubt he would favor Narduzzi (just ask Steve Pederson)


        1. Correct on Pelusi. David Morehouse of the Pens and Art Rooney from the Steelers also sit on the BOT.
          Morehouse is a CCAQC/Duquesne guy (which doesn’t disqualify hime) and Rooney went to Pitt undergrad. And this nonsense some have proposed that the Steelers hate PItt is garbage.

          I believe that John G. Conomikes, a past Golden Panther, is on it as well.

          Heather Lyke is not on the Committee… but is a non-voting liason.

          Point is that there is competence there.


  20. Mike Yurcich, Joe Moorhead, whomever…if they had a brain, they’d reach out to fans, media, high school coaches, the cleaning lady at Carrick Junior High – it ain’t that hard. Our current HC does nothing to market the program. That is undeniable.
    And as for a new coach causing a mass exodus of players…perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.


  21. As Gasman states above, I would not be worried about a mass exodus of players if Narduzzi is canned! While rosters can be decimated under the new transfer rules, they also can be rebuilt. The transfer rule works both ways. One of the main criteria for a new coach would be his recruiting ability. Assuming Pitt makes the correct hire, lack of players would not be a problem.

    If Heather ever wants to get a better job, she will have to pull the plug on Narduzzi at the end of this year. His performance and her lack of action to correct it would be a huge black mark on her resume. Hopefully that will motivate her!

    With the Steelers going into a rebuilding mode over the next several years, now is the time for Pitt football to make some noise. There is also a possibility that Happy Valley may be under a new coach next year as well. Both of those things need to be exploited! Please Heather, can Narduzzi!!


  22. I’ve been following PITT football for a long time. Aside from years…75-83, I can’t see a stretch of PITT’s football winning record sustained over a significant period of time that’s any different from, almost, 100 years.

    We should all go down to Richards burn-pile and help burn it down and chill out!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Well,I think I vented enough yesterday. Narduzzi is well on his way to his minimum of 5 loses. Again, not sure of the path, only the destination. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a major upset along the way, although after yesterday that might be New Hampshire. And when it happens some will crow about it, seeing no hypocrisy in that.
    I’m pretty much over yesterday, I expected them laying an egg at some point, andI also expected them to do so in an ugly manner. It’s just what Pat does.
    There will be no save from the BOT or anyone else. I’ll go to the rest of the games for one reason. My wife likes to,go,,and I love her company. I do expect actual attendance to be around 15k, that’s homecoming folks.
    I’ll watch with interest what happens with Pat, Jeff, and Heather. But I do agree with others, it’s a shame because the ACC is just so poor this year. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. If my prediction plays out to be true and Pat survives another 3 years he must ignite recruiting again to be somewhat respectably mediocre.

    I’d start with a spotlight on all four star players and developing a plan to get all of them playing time vs NH with the emphasis of earning the right to travel to GT.

    On offense I can’t think of many four star players other than at QB who aren’t getting playing time. Stovall and Krull are regulars if not starting – Stovall started the season opener and Krull started both games. KP8 will pile on the stats and thus leave the other QB’s on the bench.

    On D is where the four star players are somewhat stock piled with several on the DL, none at LB (ouch) and a few in the secondary. My thoughts are that the coaches probably run a less than realistic simulation of game day in practice (see RB over the past few years). The the FR DL earn playing time due to the poor performance of the 2-deep yesterday. Did Alexander even play or did he sit with his pre-season injury?

    DE Nahki Johnson
    DE Naquan Brown

    DL Elliott Donald

    DB MJ Devonshire
    DB Rashad Battle
    DB Javante Royal
    DB PJ O’Brien (ESPN)

    Highly talented and recruited by numerous P5 schools
    DB Khalil Anderson
    DL Dorian Ford

    This is an opportunity to show other 4&5 star talent that you can play right away at Pitt. Against NH, these talented young men will see live action and Narduzzi will have “tape” for each of them that he can look at.

    Get on with the rebuild – your starters and back-ups need a kick in the pants.

    Why wait?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like that idea, Erie. Unless they have demonstrated in practice that they are obviously not ready to play. E.g., not knowing the entire play book, which on defense can mean an instant 7 points for your opponent. But there will be no better opportunity this year to get them out there.

      Someone might lose a red shirt. But I have never been a fan of that option. Four years of college should be enough for anybody.


  25. Pulled this from The Pitt News (student paper) –

    “The Panthers struggled mightily on Saturday afternoon against the Broncos to run, defend and play without penalties. Some outstanding individual performances kept them afloat, but were unable to cover for the fact that Pitt was thoroughly outplayed by Western Michigan.

    This loss hurts more than just Pitt’s record

    After Pitt topped Tennessee on the road last week, they broke an ugly pattern and passed what, on paper, looked like the only formidable test of the non-conference schedule. It looked like they were ready to take the next step and put together a special season. But they came crashing back to earth in week three.

    Pitt was not ready to play. The Panthers refused to adjust, committed bone-headed penalties and handled the ball sloppily. They failed to show up and now, even if they turn things around and become the team that was expected entering 2021, the shadow of the WMU game will follow them for the remainder of the year. “If we had just won the Western Michigan game,” will become a common refrain because of the way it marred any momentum Pitt built when they defied recent history by taking down a Power Five non-conference opponent on the road.“

    Note: from where I sat, I saw half the students leave by halftime. That seemed to be the case where I sat as well. The first half displayed a team of players and coaches who were not ready for WMU. Half-time adjustments, who needs half-time adjustments. Many fans knew what was to come and left before SOP officially laid its egg on Heinz Field.

    Another disturbing attribute of this game – down 10 with five minutes to play, there was not much urgency, almost like the team and coaches had already accepted the loss. Re-watch the game and see if you see the same. Shameful – I’d ask for my money back if I could – many friends that I know who were planning to come for Homecoming are trying to sell their tickets and instead visit with family and friends. Good luck with that sale…


    1. Under note: half the fans in my section left by halftime as well, very much like the students.

      My suggestion for improvement on the D side last night was to play all the four star players you have to try to entice future highly rated recruits that playing time was available. Also, that may keep these young highly rated players (on the roster) from jumping into the portal if and when things go south on Duzz. Five wins seems to be the ceiling as I see it this season.

      For the O, the only suggestion I have would be to eliminate the RB al together and go with a two TE set to help protect KP8. If Krull refuses to block, split him wide and let Kyi Wright or Carrigan line up to block.

      Ah, Kyi Wright – a forgotten athlete amongst a team in desperate need for athletes. He was a PA Player of the Year. He was a HS QB, WR, RB and MLB who was forced (upon arrival at Pitt) into the TE position due to poor (extremely poor) recruiting by the coaching staff. I haven’t seen him on the field yet this year. MLB seems to be a weakness this year with 2 undersized players trying to fill the middle (took that from Major Majors). Why not Kyi?

      Wonder what answers we will receive from Duzz today after he watched the tape. I would love to be Chris Peak asking him questions today.


    2. Pitt does nothing to make each home game a great fan experience. It’s same old same old in a horrible college venue. Why would more fans show up……and stay!


  26. hu·bris
    Learn to pronounce
    excessive pride or self-confidence.
    “the self-assured hubris among economists was shaken in the late 1980s”
    feeling of superiority

    I have been saying for years that Pitt is not good enough to ever overlook anyone. Pitt must come out expecting a dogfight with intentions of playing their best game for 60 minutes.

    This is where the coaches really let them down. Maybe just a feeling I had that Pitt never took WMU seriously and felt they could flip the switch and get enough defensive stops. Bringing KP in on fourth down after he was injured in the middle of the field was the essence of hubris and disrespect for WMU. Of course the sloppy play the three turnovers, the bad snaps were examples of lack of focus.

    How many times can Lucy take the ball away from Charlie Brown? Every time it looks like something good is happening Pitt falls flat on its face.

    I am totally sick of our coaching staffs arrogance. In the perfect game to work on the running game Pitt comes out throwing bombs, great when they work, three and out leaving the defense with a short field when they don’t. Twelve carries and 51 yards against a MAC Team.

    While the offense is predictable, the defense was dumbfounding. We knew our d-backs were average at best what happened to the front seven? Not to take anything away from WMU’s offense that played flawlessly, but how does their O-line dominate our front seven for sixty minutes. Absolutely the poorest game plan ever devised, exacerbated by the poorest of tackling, with no discernable halftime adjustments. Not one three and out all day.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sadly Pitt administration does not care enough to change course at the end of this year and Narduzzi can’t fire Whipple now because his own performance was even worse.

    Unless there is a complete and utter tailspin with say seven losses no action will be taken. But odds are another 5 loss season unless we get a couple of upsets and don’t crap the bed again. I don’t think even Ike is expecting that.

    I was disappointed in Pitt fans for not showing up on Saturday after a quality win the week before, but too many years of the same old story(Pitt) has rightfully conditioned them to expect the worst. I have attended more heartbreaking events than I can count and am somewhat hardened to it, but it still stings.

    I won’t be attending homecoming. While I enjoy being with Fran, Wolfe and the gang and love our players, maybe an empty stadium will get Administrations attention like it did at the Pete. This may be under the radar
    but the local channel not picking up the Pitt feed says a lot as much if not more than comcast. I feel bad for all the old timers of which I’m rapidly becoming one, who cannot physically attend can no longer watch some of the games. Even the young guys that have family obligations can’t see or record the game without searching the internet. Narduzzi hoping that this will increase attendance….


    1. Tickets are sold in the off season . Heather and Duzz are lazy and Duzz is unlikeable and lazy. It takes work to sell the program and tickets.
      Walk up sales and game day sales are negligible.
      Unless like Cincy for a huge end of season game.


  28. I told my wife that I would begin a period of sobriety to help my health/encourage weight loss. That period began on Thursday, Sept 16. At 1:30 PM at about halftime on Saturday, Sept 18, I told my wife an son today will have to be a momentary blip on the sobriety train. Wife said, “There is no way they are losing to Western Michigan…I never even heard of them.” I took another sip of Mr. Jack.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. And just to put things in their PROPER perspective, is it not time for everyone, down to the last KOOL-AID Drinker… to realize Narduzzi was NEVER a “Guru” of anything… especially Defense!


  30. Let’s re-visit a few things. The Tenn win was not great. It was okay at best. They had very limited scholarship players available and only 2 of which were on their DL. They are in complete re-build mode.

    Yesterday, I typed that Krull had a nice game and still agree with that. I also want to congratulate Habbakuh for putting his body on the line on several occasions. Plus 1 for him.Everyone else, terrible.

    I want to go back to the Hall debate, removing Hall. Look at Flea. Flea has way too many carries where he loses yards from scrimmage. As two examples, versus TN and WMU, his first two carries were for negative yards because he falls over on contact. When it is first and 10 and he loses a yard, we are now at 2nd and 11. We are off schedule. Look at flea’s stats, but concentrate on the number of runs for loss. Too many for D1. But for flea supporters, his next run for 6 yards is awesome, but it is not. He ends up with two carries for 5 yards. Study the details. Same with Hall. 15 carries for 30 yards is awful and puts the offense in a bind 15 times. For one big run a couple times a year, the downside is too much for the offense. Yes, he got the yards, great! It’s like Dave Kingman in baseball. The dude hit 30 homers a year, but struck out more than anybody and had like a .230 batting average, which was awful.

    I loved the other coach from WMU calling out Nardstop and company as predictable and lazy. So true! But our AD is also predictable and lazy.

    For those pining for Luke Fickel, stop. He would not take the step down. What is super comical is that Fickel and our AD have an OSU relationship and he runs away from any contact with her. He understands the politics and treats her respectfully however.

    Does Nardstop look at the tape when Pitt wins? He never seems to mention that after a victory! Arrogant.


  31. Some longer comments are being held by WordPress for some reason. Huff posted his at 8:43 and I just got the email now and approved it.

    I’ll check email more often today…


  32. Defense and coaching lost the game. ToP doesn’t mean anything anymore. I like running the ball, but you don’t have to. 21st century football allows you to win many different ways. When you score 41 points, you should win. When you score 41 points against a MAC team you should win by at least 3 scores. Scoring 41 points in 20 minutes tells you all you need. We punted 3 times. Lol. That’s good. Turning the ball over is bad.

    Regarding the running game, one thing they didn’t do … and maybe they didn’t want to show too much … is any Jets or WR runs. Team rushing is offsets RB rushing.

    But, a team against a MAC team shouldn’t come down to ToP. Yes, it’s nice to grind out some first downs to close a game but there are other ways to do it, now. Innovative coaches know that.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hasn’t been the case for a few years, now. There are a lot of coaches who value ToP but its lost value and the next generation of coaches are looking at saber-metric stats, not ToP. The Chiefs in the NFL only average 10 drives a game. They just take advantage of those 10 drives. When another team controls ToP, they still have to score on those long possessions. If they don’t, they deprive themselves of future drives too. When you score 41 points in 20 minutes, there are not many excuses on why you lost the game … it usually comes down to coaching. I was stubborn in the early years, but a lot of posters were right … it’s just not a great defensive scheme in the ACC. It will always be susceptible to big plays if the DL doesn’t get to the QB. Slants crushed us this weekend. How can you not defend one of the most basic plays in the sport? Oh, because your corners are 1:1 and the ball is out before you can to the the QB.


    1. You have said many times that running the ball and TOP don’t matter. While I agree that the passing game is much more important, I can’t think of one great team that didn’t have a reasonably good running game. Najee Harris was great at Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, even UCF and Okie St. could run the ball when needed.

      While I also agree that it was the defense that failed miserably this week the offense certainly didn’t help it going 2 for 11 on third and fourth downs and turning the ball over three times. Six touchdown passes means very little when you lose.

      When your best running effort is your QB scrambles you have a problem. You certainly won’t beat good teams with a one dimensional offense. Chances of routinely beating good teams with the deep ball are very slim, especially when you can’t pick up a first down on a running play.

      The best offense Pitt has had in the last twenty years had James Conner, the red zone touchdown machine.


      1. I prefer a running game but it’s not needed. Two different things. I’d love a run heavy RPO attack with a mobile QB. I hate the West Coast. But, you can without a running game.


  33. When I have comments held, it’s usually a curse word or I used symbols to hide a curse word … I blame myself haha if something gets held up.


  34. From the Trib:

    Pitt football coach Pat Narduzzi made a point Saturday afternoon aimed at keeping hope alive after the 44-41 loss to Western Michigan.

    “It’s one game. It’s not an ACC game,” he said. “All our goals are still ahead of us.”

    That’s one way to look at it, and that’s probably what coaches and players will do while trying to pick up the pieces in advance of the New Hampshire game next Saturday.

    Or, cynics and critics (and there are plenty of both) might choose to dwell upon the past two games against good teams when the defense allowed a total of 891 yards and 78 points.”


  35. Here is the condensed WUM game on YouTube – about 30 minutes long. You can see the sparse crowd in the beginning of the game in a clip or two – before the fans start leaving the stadium in disgust.


  36. What a horrible weekend of football. My HS team (Baldwin)
    Lost 64-14, Pitt and Steelers were utterly embarrassed on thei home fields and last night I have to listen to Ravens fans screaming out their windows til 2AM!

    For me, it’s not that we lost, it’s HOW we lost. Bumbling incompetence from Mr. “I have to look at the tape”!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. About how important Time of Possession is:

    Here are Pitt’s times of possession for each of Pitt’s six wins last 2020 season – higher than the opponent in every single one – remember 60:00 in a game:

    Austin Peay – 34:25

    SYR – 34:30

    Louisville – 36:16

    FSU – 30:59

    VT – 35:58

    GT – 37:51

    I also looked at 2019’s wins – we held the TOP edge in 6 of 7 wins. So for the last two full season in 12 of 13 of our wins we held the lead in TOP.

    It sure as hell does matter! Again – keeping the other team off the field is a basic tenet of football and always has been.


    1. No doubt it is more important to score points and win games than win time of possession.
      TOP is also more important when you don’t have a crushing defense. Keeping a weak defense off the field helps win games.

      TOP is less important when you can’t punch it in like Whisky last year.

      Our last few years we had too many field goals vs tds. because we couldn’t run.


  38. I saw somebody said after the game that of the times Pitt’s defense has given up over 450 yards of offense, something like 65% came during Narduzzi’s tenure. That’s bad when you’re a supposed defensive guru whose defenses routinely get lit up like that.


  39. I said this in a previous post a couple of articles….Narduzzi could have Mel Blount, Troy Palomalu, Rod Woodson and donnie Shell in the defensive backfield and his D would get shredded…’s the coach and his “system.” He takes full ownership.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Pretty sure Narduzzi is consistent with the phrase, “I’ll look at the tapes and let you know” win or lose. I think it’s just Narduzzi is scrutinized a little more after a loss. Hell, he’s criticized when he’s home making breakfast for his family and donating money to different causes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Give me the money he swindled by getting our AD hired and I will donate to causes all over the place. Is there a reason any of us would want to know who he gave to or is that just self-serving?

      Waiting for Nardstop to say he is checking the tape on wins. Actually, the most troubling piece of the response (win or lose), is that he should know what is happening against his defense, other than the coach and DC? What is he doing all game? What are they communicating about?

      Look at all the adjustments the offense made coming out of halftime the last two weeks. Nardstop makes adjustments at home by switching from pancakes to grilled cheese after conferring with the real head coach.

      Pitt will win this weekend and all will be good with the 400 season ticket holders. I’ll check the tape and get back to you. I am so glad you are feeling better IKE!!


  41. The Pitt administration got rid of Stallings because of perception and financials. Basketball became the laughing stock of the ACC and the Pete was half empty. Pitt was losing millions.

    Football still has a long way to become the laughing stock in the ACC. But Heinz could very well have 50,000 empties this weekend and struggle to pack the stadium for Miami and clemson.

    Pitt never did find booster money for the Stallings buyout or they would have publicly disclosed. I’m not sure what boosters would step forward to help heather with narduzzis contract. And if boosters can be found, they will be asking for more than a name on a coaching title. They will want to pick the next coach and staff.

    I’m afraid Pitt won’t be eating his contract. There will be some forced coaching changes come seasons end like whipple who will be thrown under the bus. But frankly he isn’t the main problem. It’s scheme on D and recruiting and the management of the program. And next season Pitt will be breaking in a new QB with a much tougher schedule. Remember a top 5 team with this years Pitt schedule was projected to lose at least two games. I still see Pitt losing five. Seven wins and maybe bowl makes 8.

    That’s good enough for Pitt. Again, pitt will force some changes to keep some of the disgruntled fans from outright revolt but nothing substantive will be done.

    And by year ten of Narduzzi, pitt will still be searching for its first ranked season since Wanny and will be no closer to solving the yellow seat problem at Heinz.


  42. We all agree that Live Free or Die is correct but that does not mean we will win beat NH (2-0). Also I believe Vegas is one of the best NFL teams. Gruden motivates.


  43. I think putting blame on Picket here saying he’s responsible for their lousy TOP stats and lack of 3rd down conversions is borderline nuts. The running game stinks; a lot of those 3rd downs are of the 3rd & 8 or greater variety because they cannot pickup decent yardage on the first two downs via handoffs, like normal teams do. The offensive line isn’t very good, either, which means he typically doesn’t have all day to throw the ball in those 3rd down situations, adding still another layer of difficulty. And in spite of these limitations, the offense put up 41 points, which ought to be good enough to win 9/10 games. The real problems are on defense and with the hogs in front of him. Maybe he should quit buying them dinner and get them some HGH or something instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I fully agree. Its not Kenny’s fault. Didn’t like the fumble, but thats part of the deal with a running QB.

      If TOP is an issue, its not a single game issue, its a schematic problem IMHO.
      Blame Whipple for that. ANd if Kenny is checking down to a receiver who is behind the front stick, it could be all he was given. Or the receiver ran too shallow of a route. Or Whipple designs those routes, hoping for YAC.

      BTW – I don’t understand the logic of a deep pass on 3rd and short on Pitt’s forst posession. I would have gone for a higher percentage ply to get 1-2 yards, then thrown a deep ball on first or second.

      JoeL who is grateful Kenny is still on the team.

      Liked by 2 people

  44. Pitt scored more than enough to win, the offense surprisingly was not the issue.

    PN is coaching the entire year unless they have a total collapse which is unlikely. They will most likely win at least 7 and go to a crappy bowl. Typical Pitt year.

    Many teams run the same base defensive scheme as Pitt. They then add all the different coverages and packages with extra DBs that are needed for spread offenses. There is only so many ways to line up. Bates game plan was atrocious. This from a guy that practiced against a spread offense for years at Northwestern.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. TOP is one of those lame stats that you can look at AFTER a game and try to connect to success or failure

    exactly similar to teams that get behind early and abandon the run to try to catch up

    similarly to teams that have tons of pass attempts in losses doing the same to catch up

    no team/coach is consistently trying to win TOP, not NEVER but not relevant to Pitt and winning football overall, just NOT

    if it were a high priority then the run part of the game would take higher precedence and quick strike scoring would be avoided,,,, it isn’t

    I guess our poor TOP is what tired out #31, #12, #14, etc. so they needed to take plays off to recover, except they took them off while they needed to cover the quick slant in which no matter how many guys you send, happens quick enough that no one is getting to the QB

    I don’t know the adjustment PN needed to make but is wasn’t the offense that was the problem
    and that said, while KP was good Saturday, his mistakes were costly including especially the botched handoff, the interception, and the fumble diving well after he made 1st down yardage on nice run

    One more thing, Patti looked good on the handful of plays he got in. Not sure we wouldn’t have won with him in there or lost similarly,,,, maybe HE would’ve made up some TOP deficit taking us to victory 😉


  46. Just to be clear, I’d prefer a running game. I would like nothing more than a run heavy RPO offense with a mobile QB. I hate the west coast offense. I hate the pro-style offense. I want a college offense.

    But … running the ball is not what it used to be. ToP has lost relevance to other next-gen stats powered by sabermetrics.

    Pitt scored 41 points in 20 mins. They should have won the game regardless of time of possession.

    Pitt doesn’t play a defense conducive to a time of possession game anyways. It’s always one big play from the offense being right back on the field and playing catch up. A year or two ago, Pitt had the most one possession losses in the decade … that’s the result of playing the time of possession game and running out of possessions.


  47. If all of our 3 and 4 stars we recruit each year, can’t beat a bunch of 1 and 2 stars……there is a problem.

    Actually, i don’t blame Nardstop for the Pitt effort. I blame him and his coaches for keeping those that weren’t ready to play, in the game. Two different concepts.

    Flea fumbled and the refs missed it. I actually think Pitt got great calls from the refs all game. Too bad we had so many other penalties.


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