So Much Depends…

After this season’s Georgia Tech game I hung around Bobby Dodd stadium until it cleared out, and as I was hopping from bleacher to bleacher I ran into a local Pitt Alumni organizer who I’d met a couple of times. He suggested we head to the area where the team comes out of the stadium after the game, under the pretext of saying hello to EJ Borghetti. I hadn’t said hello to EJ in person in 23 years, and so I agreed. (Side note: I wrote a cover Story on Pitt Football for the now-defunct InPittsburgh Newsweekly just prior to the 2000 season. EJ of course was instrumental in getting this young writer access to the team. I remember writing they would show improvement coming off of a 5-6 season. Luckily they went 7-5 and my sports writing credentials were cemented in perpetuity. ) Anyway, as I was standing outside of the main gate at Bobby Dodd watching the players go by, I struck up a conversation with the Dad of one of the Pitt linebackers. I casually commented that the team looked pretty good this year. He grinned a wide, all-knowing grin and said “well…that all depends on which team shows up”. I laughed along with him and I remember thinking to myself, “now here is a guy that knows Pitt football”.

It turns out that the Good Panthers have shown up more often than not since then. Yes there was that one blip against Miami since that blowout down on the Flats, but now Pitt is the verge of taking the next step towards their goal of winning the ACC. Oh and it’s a realistic goal. Win this one, and they’ll punch their ticket to Charlotte to play in a winnable game against Wake Forest or NC State. There is only one team standing in their way…and it ain’t the Virginia Cavaliers.

Yes the Hoos have a dangerous offense (assuming Brennan Armstrong is healthy). But does anybody think that Pitt can’t keep up with them? Heck, if Good Pitt shows up, nobody outside of maybe Georgia, Ohio State or Alabama can stop them. The UVA team that gave up forty points to Georgia Tech and forty-two to Illinois fifty-nine to UNC certainly can’t. But if Pitt can’t get it together, if running backs miss in pass-pro, or Carter Warren gets called for more than his usual one holding call, or a rash of passes get dropped, or we suffer a spate of drive-killing pre-snap penalties, well…

Defense is a similar story, and lets be frank, the defense has been hit and miss this season. Yes, they showed up last week, and their performance likely saved Pitt from a humiliating defeat on National Television. And yes, they were outstanding against Virginia Tech and Clemson – two pressure packed games. On the flip side, they seemed flummoxed during Pitt’s losses to Miami and Western Michigan, and they weren’t great against Duke, giving up 29 points to a team that Virginia held scoreless. (Ugh).

The silver lining to all this of course is that Brennan Armstrong had his worst game against the best defense he’s faced. It was Miami. The ‘Canes held him to 268 yards, 1 TD and 1 Int on 44 attempts. No other team has held him below 300. Can Pitt play to that level? The point I’m trying to make is they have, but it seems like our rag-tag collection of two-and-three star recruits lacks consistency more than anything.

And so the stage is set. The ACC Coastal division title hangs in the balance. The forecast is calling for perfect Pitt Football Weather (cloudy with a high of 51). It’s senior day for a super-senior-laden team. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. It’s a 3:30 kick, so the fan base will be randy. It’s by far the biggest game in a season filled with big games. Win it and the fans will swoon. Lose it and the goodwill that was built during Pitt’s 8-2 run will evaporate. It all just depends on which team shows up…

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

83 thoughts on “So Much Depends…

  1. Following up on a statement I made here last week … I believe the Good Panthers will show up tomorrow — but that will not be the case next week

    Should Pitt beat UVA, the Cuse game will have much less meaning to Pitt than Syracuse which will likely be playing to be bowl eligible, and on Senior Day. Yes, a Pitt win will result in a 10 win season, but I’m not so sure that is as important a factor with the team than it is for us fans

    Just one opinion

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    1. LOL

      For the record the title of the article was inspired by the famous William Carlos Williams poem “The Red Wheelbarrow”

      Of course I realize that as a literary reference this was probably lost on 99% of sports fans, but that’s okay

      so much depends
      upon

      a red wheel
      barrow

      glazed with rain
      water

      beside the white
      chickens

      Like

      1. What was his medical specialty?

        And…

        IT IS DIFFICULT TO FND THE NEWS IN A POEM, YET MEN DIE, MISERABLY, EACH DAY FOR LACK OF WHAT IS FOUND THERE.

        Don’t mess with Pitt grads.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Then again…

        This is Just to Say

        I have eaten
        the plums
        that were in
        the icebox

        and which
        you were probably
        saving
        for breakfast

        Forgive me
        they were delicious
        so sweet
        and so cold

        Let’s eat VA’s plums!

        H2P!!!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. The Act

            There were the roses, in the rain.
            Don’t cut them, I pleaded.
            The won’t last, she said
            But they’re so beautiful
            where they are.
            Agh, we were all beautiful once, she
            said,
            and cut them and gave them to me
            in my hand.
            W.C.W

            Like

            1. With a handle composed of two Aram Saroyan minimal poems, let me chime in as another lit friendly Pitt grad, class of ‘73.

              Nice work MM.

              HTP

              Like

  2. So you don’t hold your QB out vs ND to rest him. He is obviously hurt, the question is how badly and how much do sore (broken?) ribs heal in two weeks? How effective will he be and how much punishment can he take? He is a strong runner but do you risk him taking more hits. The adrenalin may last for a while but for how long? If his rib is broken, pretty dangerous to let him play at all.

    Woolfolk also looked beat up by ND so how healthy is he going in? How does he fare under the circumstances, a quasi championship game on the road?

    If Pitt gets an early lead will they finally keep the pressure on?

    Hopefully this is the biggest and best Senior day ever. Hopefully the emotions are channeled to a great on the field performance.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes it does but someday there will be another year like this, perhaps even next year. Stranger things have happened. In the meantime, your family needs you more. And your family here is all pulling for you. I may have been Army but we here are Semper Paratus.

      H2P!!!

      Liked by 7 people

  3. MM channeling his best Austin Powers: “Do I make you randy?”

    I’ll put my paranoia on full display. If it turns out that Armstrong can’t play or leaves early, I fear we will make a serious change in game plan. My sense is that when they see their opponent’s offense is neutered, our coaches, like most all coaches, will go into a highly conservative mode. They over think things and out smart themselves.

    They get so enamored with field position strategy that they punt on 4th and 1 at midfield. They reach the red zone, throw a 1st down incompletion, then call two runs up the middle to ensure they at least get the field goal. All in the name of “not beating ourselves”. Of course this usually works. Unless you have a DB fall down or a scoop and score with a backfield fumble. Then suddenly you are in a dog fight.

    Our game is balls to the wall aggressiveness. Hope we see it all day tomorrow.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Reed, there will be plenty of time to catch up after your son gets healthy. Hang in there.

    Also, liked the randy word… brought back Austin Powers for me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just a thought…
    Does Kenny play in our bowl game? If we make it to the ACC championship, I’m sure he’ll play, but I say chances are very low he’d play in a bowl game given what he’s already shown.

    Like

  6. Good writing, MM. This team has shown it’s not afraid to lose at home and nothing hurts the next season’s ticket sales than losses at home. Pitt owes Virginia for 2019 and I hope they’re in a revengeful mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent job, MM. Wish you and Reed and ike and Dan and UPitt and Lone Star and my son in San Antonio and all the POVers could be here tomorrow – just in case the correct Pitt team shows up…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. make them fly halfway to Utah and back before the game?

      😉

      looks like they left behind their defense at the Duke game, hope they don’t find their way to Pittsburgh

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There is no way Brennen is playing tomorrow with the spread being 14.5.

    To review, the point spread is set so that there will be equal $. bet on both sides!

    I met some great friends while working in the printing business on campus during my 4 years at Pitt.
    Their dads were all “well connected” several top mob bosses in Pittsburgh. You could not have any better friends than these guys!
    Got 101 parking tickets fixed for me and bailed me out after a fistfight in a bar. All great athletes, we played baseball and softball together.

    I digress, I got to see them make the lines for local HS Football games and WPA College games. The amount of research and inside info they had was staggering! They were in constant touch w Vegas.

    So at 14 1/2 points, there is no way Brennen is playing QB tomorrow !

    I make it Pitt 54 – UVA 10

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “Balls to the Wall” Must beat the Hoos and ABSOLUTELY no letdown in the dumpy dome in Syracuse.

    We all keep hoping for the great year…this is the year. Pitt 45 UVA 14 /// Pitt 48 Orange 21.

    I am hoping to be physically able next year to visit the Burg/see a game and share some stories in the parking lot…….Hail 2 Pitt!

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Great post, Dan. Makes me wonder aloud, “Does Bronco lock the gates for practices???”

    “Would Nard consider flying a UAV over Charlottesville during this past week??” He certainly been kind to Brennan all week – no bulletin board material this week!!

    At any rate – Randy Bates: no holds barred. Give ’em your best pressure – unrelenting. (Perhaps “Holds” was a bad choice of words!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nate Yarnell is the QB Narduzzi is talking about as a really good QB waiting in the wings.

    To PittDad: The POV is the place to be and everyone here is great. Love em all , jus ordinary guys and gals who love PITT.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Someone please enlighten me on spreads:

    If the spread is 14.5 on Wednesday and I place a bet on UVA and then it is announced Saturday morning that Armstrong is playing and the spread dips to 5, is my bet still at 14.5 or does it dip to whatever it is at game time?

    Thanks.

    Like

  13. I got my answer on the Yarnell comment from Pat Narduzzi. On the Jim Rome show yesterday Narduzzi said he believes we have a special QB on the Scout team today much like he did when Pickett was the scout team QB his freshman year. He didn’t mention Yarnell by name but its been noted in the past that Yarnell was that guy running the scout team. Good to know and lets hope his career path follows Pickett’s at Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I was so excited when I started at Pitt in Fall 68. I was actually going to the school who’s team “I lived and died with”since age thirteen when I was a Boy Scout usher at Pitt Stadium.

    I went to the assembly in 68 when Dave Hart our new coach said those famous words “This is the year the Panther begins to growl!” I was psyched out of my mind.

    Then three 1-9 seasons occurred. I remember talking to my “connected friend “ Don, as by this time I was selling football pools on campus for the “family”.
    Donny and his dad were huge Pitt fans! Every Friday at work i’d ask Don if Pitt had any chance on Saturday (local betting lines were set midnight Fridays) I remember he’d just shake his head “no”. Over and over.

    What most of you from that era don’t know is not only did Pitt go
    1-9 for three years, they never covered the spread! In 3 years! Almost statistically impossible! The “family” did very well with local betting!

    I’m almost as psyched for tomorrow as I was back in the day. A wonderful fanboy feeling that often has had very bad endings!

    Before that happens, I’d like to thank this years team, Kenny and Coach Narduzzi and staff for allowing this “feeling” to occur one more time. I’ll miss all of you but will be there in spirit!

    Hope all of you toss and turn like I will tonight!

    H2P!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Dan, POI, most respectfully: Two of the three 1-9 years occurred before you began attending Pitt in 1968. My Class of ’69 endured all three of those sad years. But, you are certainly an honorary member of the Worst of Times years.

      Like

  15. I know one thing Dan, no way will I look at the game-day thread tomorrow unless PITT goes up 40 pts. This place is a riot, literately and comically. I can hear it now if Pickett throws on PITTs first play from scrimmage. Unless the pass goes for a TD. Virginia will be THUNDERSTRUCK!!

    Like

    1. I picked up my guitar after 40 years and got good enough to play the opening riff. Thanks Ike.

      No disagreements with your statements on the game running blog. Every emotion as it happens. Being able to blog has saved many of us entire bottles of good scotch or bourbon.

      I think this game is over at the half…, ok NEVERMIND (after last week).
      My most respected professional pro gambler who lives in Vegas says take UVA and the points.

      I say Pitt …. Easy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Actually I liked it better when you were predicting Pitt to get killed.
        You are making me even more nervous. Especially Pitt has a tendency to do the unexpected.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree Ike, this thread is unreadable when the game is going on. The ups and downs of almost every play are critiqued to the nth degree. When Pitt wins the game by better than 3 td’s you can return to the POD.

    Like

    1. That is what goes on at the game if you’re fortunate to be able to attend…..you blurt something out, either positive or negative to those that you came with. Or if you’re really bold…..even those that you don’t know….but who just surround your area.

      So some of it is comical, some of it is hogwash, some of it is very critical and some of it is very celebratory.

      But it is all very human. And i for one am pro-human.

      Like

      1. So to connect the dots……chatting(posting) during the game on a blog is somewhat equivalent to blurting something out (good or bad, comical or not) while attending the game in person.

        And for those of us who can’t attend the games in person….it’s a way of trying to feel like we were there in person and connecting with others who basically feel the same way.

        I think they’re kinda fun, as do many others….as the comment numbers indicate during the game.

        Like

      1. As bad as the game might be…..it will still be, more than likely, one of the better things on TV in
        those hours. But it will probably only be available streaming.

        But nobody is forced to watch it.

        Like

  17. I believe way back when….there was a chat box….for the games on Pitt Blather.

    And games really do need chats, rather than threads.

    Reason being there are a number of things said(posted) on the spur of the moment, in the heat of passion, the emotions running high, etc. that need to be….not part of history. I included.

    And if you ever went back long after the game is over and read the game threads, you know exactly
    what I’m saying.

    Chat boxes and everything in them, can disappear, like what we’re all hoping for….for what’s happened
    over the last almost 2 years. Everything just disappear and life go on as normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Love to have you chime in MM, well done.

    I’m feeling both good and bad about this one. Because I (along with many on the POV) feel good about Pitt’s chances, I am awfully scared of a typical bad Pitt heartbreak.

    I get that Vegas is somehow incredibly prescient when it comes to point spreads, but 14 1/2 seems like a joke, and I can’t imagine why money isn’t flowing like a river into UVa?

    If Armstrong plays Bates needs to turn the heat up as he’s likely to be a bit nervous about getting hit, which then means the LBs and DBs need to be ready for quick throws and slant routes. If the backup plays they need to duplicate the lid they put on Howell’s running ability.

    I haven’t seen much of UVa’s defense but ND’s roster of 5*’s only scored 28 so maybe it’s not going to be a day for KP8 to add to his Heisman resume. However, it was clear that ND took their foot off the gas in the 2nd half and played to win with defense.

    I’ll take any kind of win tomorrow (ugly, dominating, OT, squeaker, etc.) just please don’t break my heart.

    I wish I knew how to make a bet, cuz I’d put a few sheckles down on UVa and take the 14 1/2.

    Like

    1. Either Armstrong isn’t playing or Vegas is setting up a ‘suckers’ line.

      Read where Pitt is 7-2 against the spread this year.

      I wouldn’t take much from the Notre Dame offense. It scored about what it averages. 32ppg
      Which is 41st in the Nation.

      Pitt should score at least 40 points tomorrow….barring something. Like ACC refs ! lol

      Like

  19. Ah yes, I did forget to mention the inevitable head scratching penalty call that makes even the announcers wonder . . . .

    Pitt needs to make it so that they aren’t beaten by a call by a ref with a deep southern drawl.

    Like

  20. No. 3 Lady Panthers Volleyball playing at No. 13 Georgia Tech. After two sets, match is tied 1-1. Match is being broadcast on the ACC Network.

    Like

  21. What’s Going To Happen

    The attack might have stalled in the second half against the Tar Heels, but Kenny Pickett still finished with 346 yards with a third straight game with three touchdown passes. The Heisman hopeful now has 32 touchdown passes with four picks, and it’s not going to slow down against this Cavalier D.

    Assuming Armstrong is going, it’ll be a back-and-forth shootout with lots of big plays, lots of fun, and lots of excitement in the pivotal game for the Coastal.

    Virginia vs Pitt Prediction, Lines

    Pitt 34, Virginia 30 with Armstrong playing
    Pitt 38, Virginia 17 without Armstrong

    https://collegefootballnews.com/2021/11/virginia-vs-pitt-prediction-game-preview-lines-how-to-watch

    Like

  22. When Pittsburgh Has the Ball

    The ACC has several high-powered offenses this year. Virginia, Wake Forest, and North Carolina all rank in the top 11 nationally in total offense. But the best of the bunch is Pittsburgh. Even in one of their tamest outings of the season, the Panthers still put up 30 points and 441 yards against North Carolina.

    The margin of victory will be determined by Armstrong’s availability and effectiveness, but Pittsburgh will score in bunches regardless and win the game comfortably.

    Prediction: Pittsburgh 49, Virginia 27

    https://athlonsports.com/college-football/virginia-cavaliers-vs-pittsburgh-panthers-prediction-picks-2021

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hasn’t it felt weird when PITT DOESN’T score this year? Then they had to go ahead and have a second half like last Thursday night. It does make me feel good knowing that Kenny Pickett understands exactly how big this game is for the entire nation of PITT fans and most importantly his team.

    H2P
    We All We Got!
    We All We Need!

    ike/iek

    Like

  24. Thanks for the update Annie! All Of our sports matter, especially volleyball.

    I’m very hopeful for tomorrow. I just have a feeling it’s our time.

    Knock on wood to remove the jinx.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. This is a mature Senior laden team. They know what’s ahead of them and how to go about handling their business. PITT 38-21.

    Like

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