Reliving the ACC Championship

by Eric Wassel

Ed: As we head into the Christmas break, I wanted to put some universal good vibes out there. Eric Wassel (Missing WLAT) was in Charlotte for the championship game, and the experience inspired him to write a piece. He submitted it right after the game, but there was so much news that we weren’t able to immediately publish it. Here it is, in full. For those that went it’s a great chance to relive a memory. For those that couldn’t attend, it’s a great firsthand account of the goings-on. Merry Christmas everybody!

– Michaelangelo

The Tale of a Championship, by Missing WLAT

I had decided before Pitt played Virginia for the Coastal title, that if our Panthers won and advanced to the ACC championship game in Charlotte, I was going to attend. Like many of you. I consider myself a long-suffering Pitt fan. However, when the Panthers won the National Championship in 1976, I was only six years old. As I have mentioned here before, I actually rooted for Penn State as a kid (sorry Erie Express), because my uncle played football there in the late 1960s.

This makes me different than many of you in the sense that I’ve essentially never seen Pitt football win anything. My dedication to Pitt really started in 1988 when I enrolled as a student. 

Think about what Pitt has (not) accomplished since 1988. Mike Gottfried had a couple of good seasons before conflict with administration caused him to leave. Paul Hackett and Johnny Majors II/Back to the Future, were both a disaster. 

Walt Harris resurrected the football program from the ashes, but other than seemingly dominating Virginia Tech, the most he accomplished was getting us to a Fiesta Bowl with a weak 8 and 3 record. We proceeded to get crushed by Urban Meyer, Alex Smith and Utah.

Dave Wannstedt appeared to have the program headed in the right direction. The mystery remains as to whether the program would have achieved greater heights had he been allowed to stay. Regardless, Steve Pedersen wanted him to be gone, and so he was. But not before Mardy Gilyard and Cincinnati crushed our souls in the 2009 Big East Championship Game at Heinz Field.

How about I add the debacle of hiring Mike Haywood, Todd Graham leaving after one year, or Paul Chryst seemingly doing the same. 

Did I mention that they tore Pitt Stadium down?

In less than 400 words, I think I’ve painted the picture of my experience as a Pitt football fan. In one simple word: misery. That all changed, thanks to one beautiful weekend in Charlotte.

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