“If They Don’t Care…”

Editor’s Note: Very busy but this article was sent to me by a reader and I want to share it – because I agree 100%. I’ve stated my case on the subject when QB Kenny Pickett turned his back on his “We not Me” teammates and thus shot down Pitt’s real chance at a 12 win season last year. Which, BTW, would have been the first 12 win season we have had since the 1976 National Championship.

Gee – wonder what would have happened if Tony Dorsett was afraid of injury and sat that game out? I mean really, did we need his 202 rushing yards and his TD?

Following is an article published on Dec 23rd and here is the link to read it at the Gazette website. It was written by the PG’s Paul Zeise who, in my opinion, the the only straight shooting writer covering Pitt football. His views are sometimes controversial but I find him uncannily accurate.

So, let me get this straight…

Pitt is going to El Paso next week to play in the Sun Bowl without its starting quarterback, running back, at least two offensive linemen, three defensive linemen (including one who is an All American), its best linebacker and its best safety?

Does that about sum it up? Do I have this right?

There are nine players who are either transferring or opting out of Pitt’s Sun Bowl game, and I’m told there may even be one or two more. They are all getting ready for the NFL draft or going to play somewhere else, and most of them are the best players on the team — you know, the ones that people most want to see play.

Last week, in some bowl at Fenway Park, neither team had their head coach because both had left for some other job. In fact, the coach of the one team actually left to coach the other team, so that made for some awkward moments I am sure.

Jordan Addison, the former Pitt star turned USC star, was paid $3 million and some change (if you believe reports) to play at USC. Of course, that deal apparently didn’t include playing in the Cotton Bowl because he opted out, as well.

Hey, the good news is James Franklin is boasting his team is mostly intact, and they are! Well, that is if you overlook the fact their best defensive player, Joey Porter Jr., is opting out of the Rose Bowl.

I was reading about one game where it is basically two teams playing their third-string quarterbacks. There are games involving skeleton coaching staffs working for interim head coaches, game involving teams whose best players are already on to their next schools …

Enough is enough.

At some point, I have to ask this very pointed question about all these bowl games:

If these people, coaches and players who are supposedly being rewarded for a good season, don’t care enough about these things to take them seriously and participate in them, why the hell should anyone else?

Why should we care if they don’t care?

Why should we watch them if they are such an afterthought that it has become perfectly acceptable for coaches and players to skip them?

If these games have basically become either glorified exhibitions or early spring games, there is no reason to watch them or care about them.

And I am quite sure the people that run these bowls didn’t sign up to spend millions to host “next year’s” teams. It is absurd, and it is not sustainable.

Spare me the lectures about how all of these players who are opting out are “taking care of themselves” and “protecting their future,” as well. 

For one thing, let’s stop with all of this hyperbole about “career-ending injuries” because it is the ultimate example of a bogeyman. These types of career-ending injuries are so incredibly rare it is laughable that they are used as justification for players sitting out of bowl games.

And even the few times a major injury has happened to draftable players, they haven’t been career-ending. The two most gruesome examples of bowl-game injuries I can think of were to Miami’s Willis McGahee and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith.

McGahee was still a first-round pick. Smith was still a second-round pick. Both ended up earning north of $30 million in their careers. And they had far more complex and dangerous injuries than the overwhelming majority of players.

One could argue both could have earned more without their injuries, but considering both had careers that lasted five years or longer, that is a hard argument to make. And more importantly, if “career-ending” means “can still earn $30 million or more,” sign me up for career-ending.

If a player is a first-round draft choice or projected to be a high second-round draft choice, it makes sense to use some caution and sit out the bowl game. If a player isn’t projected to be a high second or better pick, it is dumb for them to sit out because they should want as much film as possible out there on them.

And the other thing that makes all of this stuff about “players need to protect themselves from major injuries in the bowl games” seem like nonsense is the teams that are in the playoff games don’t have anyone opting out.

So, if it really is about “taking care of myself” and avoiding the incredible danger and risk of playing an extra game, why aren’t the best players from the four playoff teams all opting out?

I mean, are we to believe the playoff games are safer for players than non-playoff games? Is there some sort of magical formula and magical dust that ensures all of those first-round picks from Georgia and Ohio State will be safe?

There isn’t, and yet, those guys are still playing the game.

But let’s not let coaches off the hook, either, a group constantly preaching about loyalty and finishing what you started. They are all asking players to be all in and sacrifice and be committed and all that stuff all season long.

And, then, at the end of the year, they take another job and jump ship before the season is actually over. If that is the case, what the heck is the hurry for these guys to ditch their teams to take their new jobs?

I have no issue with coaches taking another job; that’s part of the profession. This is America. Go get your job and presumably your pay raise. The idea coaches shouldn’t take other jobs is stupid, especially when they can be fired on any day by an administrator who wants a different direction.

I do have an issue, however, with this accepted practice that coaches leave before the bowl game and leave their teams to prepare with a skeleton staff. Coaches could recruit on the phone at night. They could hire some of their new staff from the phone at night, and they could handle their business administratively via this thing called the internet, as well.

There is no reason they should leave before the last game, and the last game, by the way, is the bowl game.

It is all a part of the stupidity that is passed off as “modern-day college athletics,” and the worst part is we are just supposed to accept it all — players opting out, players transferring before the bowl game, coaches leaving before the bowl game, outrageous NIL sums being offered to players by one school even though they are playing for a different school — as standard operating procedure.

It is all so absurd. 

Again, players and coaches have to do what is best for them. This is America, and I will never begrudge them for doing what is best for them.

Just please stop insulting my intelligence by telling me I’m supposed to care about these bowl games and I’m supposed to not view them as a total farce. If the people they are supposed to be a reward for can’t be bothered to care, none of us should, either.

Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or Twitter: @paulzeise

First Published December 23, 2022, 5:30am

140 thoughts on ““If They Don’t Care…”

  1. Many years ago, I was recruited for a new job. Big title. Large pay raise. But they wanted me to start immediately. My work for my old firm was complete but my partners still had four weeks to go on theirs. And they might need my help. Or they might not. Either way, I wasn’t leaving until everyone was finished. I told the new firm they’d have to wait. They did. It’s how I was raised. Unit first. Team first. Family first.


    Liked by 9 people

    1. I’ve always been appreciative of any company that would hire me. I’ve always been a Pitt fan like my dad was but I never went to college, so I showed loyalty and provided hard work to people who hired me and showed up for work on time without fail.

      Great article BTW and I agree 100%.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Re: Sun Tiger Bowl – Zeise is right.
    UCLA has full compliment of starters on a very good team vs Pitt Second Team and a QB who’s played in one game. Looks like a blow out and mismatch from hell. But….. the line opened at Pitt + 7.5 and has dropped to Pitt + 5.5. Makes no sense!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think their all pac 12 QB and RB are quitting like a Pitt Panther. Bruins = Panthers. No I in team. But of course there’s me.


  3. Maybe the depth at Pitt isn’t so bad after all.

    I just have a different take on the bowl games as they are currently set up within a 4 team playoff structure. For the same reason Pitt didn’t slip much after losing last year’s bowl game (as compared to what happened after the TN in-season loss, for example), the voters are capable of evaluating what has happened with player movement and realizing that it is not the same team as during the season. So end of year rankings really don’t mean much.

    If back ups play well, it could actually help with the coming year’s pre-season ranking while actually losing the game. It is best right now to think of the game as more of a pre-season look at next year’s squad. Once the play -offs go to 24 teams, the bowl structure is going to change again to incorporate the stronger bowls into the play-off picture, and some minor bowls will likely disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. College football and basketball are now more like fantasy league teams where your team is picked each year. It’s time to see this as what it is – professional sports on a level below the NBA and NFL. This being the case, the players should be signed to binding contracts, and salary caps should be established. If not, the integrity of these NCAA sports is gone for good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Zeise nailed it! Players quitting on their team before the season is over is the ultimate slap in the face to the fans and alums who had been supporting them. Why would anyone other than the players’ parents pay the expense to travel to see the bowl game?

    I assume my opinion is in the minority but I hope the University never decides to honor any of those who quit, regardless of their accomplishments in the pros. And if they do, I hope I am mature enough by then to sit quietly in the stands and not boo them. I have a hard time seeing them as “Pitt men”.

    “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” —- Vince Lombardi

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Ummm … I’ve been telling you that you shouldn’t care for at least 10 years. Lol. Bowl game lost their relevance with the BCS … lost even more relevance with the 4 team playoff … and will lose any remaining semblance of relevance with the expansion of the playoff to 12 teams.

    Bowls game are strictly for advertising and viewership. ESPN doesn’t care if the bowl game they air sells out … they care about the eyes watching … and as much as I hate bowls, I do like football … so I’ll watch … but, I also won’t care.

    Kenny didn’t turn his back on the team and “we not me”. That’s absurd. It’s an exhibition game. And his replacement ended up actually getting hurt and breaking his collar bone. It’s too dangerous of a sport to play a game with no consequences … and 12 games does not signify consequence.

    Pitt won their post-season game. They beat Wake for the ACC championship. The Peach Bowl selection was the reward … not the physical game. Being selected to the Peach Bowl was the honor … no one cares who won it. No one = national relevance, not fan bases.

    The loss moved Pitt down one spot in the rankings and raised MSU one spot in the rankings. It had zero bearing on the season Pitt had. There was literally no consequence to losing the game.

    Why would Kenny Pickett risk injury, in a game where his backup actually ended up breaking his collar bone, to move up one spot in the polls?

    12 wins meant something at one point in time … but not anymore. You play for your conference championship and a playoff birth. Nothing else matters after that. It’s literally an exhibition game.

    I’m a big fan of Zeise but I don’t get who is telling him that he should care? Some old school fans still care but no one hypes these games as meaning anything other than some bonus football before the playoffs.

    This has been a trend for a decade plus … it blows my mind sometimes how people cling to the past.

    By the way, bowl games were always considered exhibition … stats didn’t even count until like 2002 … and that was really only so BCS game stats would count … because, hey, that game really did count. Lol.

    I still enjoy bowl games. I just don’t put any stalk in them. I’m going to root for Pitt next week but I honestly don’t care if they win or lose. I like getting to see them play one more time. But, I can apply context to the game and understand it’s a glorified 2023 preseason game.

    I find it so absurd that people and fans still try to connect relevance to these games. No one is selling relevance. All they’re selling is “hey, you like football, right? Here is more football”.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. To add, Duzz has always applied safety first in these games too because even he understands the lack of relevance.

      Anyone remember the quick pulls of Peterman and Connor in the Northwestern, Pinstripe game?

      Anyone remember Pitt’s approach to Navy? They literally refused to engage Navy’s chop blocking OL. That was why Navy had 417 yards rushing on 6 yards per rush.

      Pitt didn’t magically forget how to play rush defense. They valued their OL’s legs over winning the game.

      Exhibition game. That’s it. Bowl game just makes it sound sexy.


      1. Although I’m not happy with the Pitt opt outs for the bowl game II have to agree with TT in that these games are so meaningless that the players should not be required to take the risk of injury if they believe they have a a future in FB going forward. I’ll watch the game but not with the same interest and passion I watch a regular season game. Go Pitt!


    2. To the 12 game importance, the reason why this doesn’t matter is because the playoff made the regular season a little less relevant. CFB still has the most important regular season in sports but it’s diminished a little. Total wins don’t mean as much in an era when two loss SEC teams make the playoff year over year. If you’re not in the Final 4, who cares how many wins you have? Soon to be top 12, where I promise you some 3 loss teams will sneak in.

      To win a championship you had to win 12 game at one point. That was the determining factor. Wins. Now it’s strictly being Top 4 or winning your conference championship. Total wins are less relevant.


  7. The 12 team playoff may kill off some bowls but there will always be companies and cities who will keep their bowls. Maybe instead of bowl gifts to the players, they should pay the players in cash. That is what college FB and BB have become now. The college presidents seem to like this situation as the money does not come out of their pockets.


  8. frankmd … meant bowl game relevance. They still draw viewership and advertising. As long as they continue to do that, they will remain in place. But, attendance doesn’t make the networks money. Viewership does.


  9. You play the game because your team is playing and you are a member of the team. Opting out is solely for your benefit. There is no way to spin it as being a “we” move. It is strictly “me”. I know that Morgan tried to say that his opting out was a chance for the younger guys to get playing time. But I doubt his magnanimous gesture was fooling anyone. He was doing it for him.

    I still go back to the fact that a lot of these players think they are role models for younger kids. Rule number one should be that being a member of a team is a commitment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Meh. It’s an exhibition game and not a reflection of the season. Plus, most bowls are played after finals and they’re done with school. If you’re not going back to school, what’s the point?

      It’s a money grab and the players realize it. They don’t play these games because it’s a “good’ experience for the kids. They may sell that but they play because they get paid.

      Give the players NIL money to play in the game and I bet you’ll see more kids opt in.


  10. FWIW Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State wide receiver, has opted out of the playoff game(s). Maybe more common in the future.


  11. Care? Not sure what Zeise means by that. The closest definition I can find is this…

    feel concern or interest; attach importance to something

    Yes I have interest. That hasn’t changed because of NIL, coaches changing jobs or players opting out. I have had no concern for a sporting event nor have I attached importance to a game since I last played in one. It’s just a sporting event.

    I’ll watch to see my college team play, to see some of next years starters get their first shot to shine. Also, because I love college football.

    The only thing that changed for me is that I don’t expect a win. It isn’t the 2022 team, it is more the 2023 team playing. They should freeze the final ranking after the last regular season game except for those teams in the playoffs.


  12. I remember when clinging to the past means team first. It means you have an obligation to play. You have a chance to show you care about fellow teammates, coaches and your school. Shows you aren’t selfish and can lead. But I guess corporations don’t care about loyalty or those traits these days. Right?

    As a captain of your team, you most definitely should not quit and act selfishly. Well four of Pitts captains did just that. Thanks guys for leaving a bad taste in my mouth and going out as selfish entitled jerks.

    These games are very relevant if you believe there is more than just you on the line.

    Safety is just a BS excuse used by the King to help defend his poor bowl record.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. Stop. It’s a money grab by the conferences, schools, and networks. Nothing more. Players see this. Pay the players to play an extra game. More kids will opt in if they get paid.


  13. I don’t care. I haven’t since the New Year’s day bowls became meaningless. Pretty much only watch Pitt.
    NCAA football has been broken for a long time. I think the Portal is a good thing exce[t for the poaching prior to guys entering the portal. NIL is a total joke with no rules that can be enforced so just an excuse to pay the best players.

    Don’t blame the players for opting out, blame the powers that be that run this circus, that has eliminated the value of loyalty, and made everyone a potential mercenary.

    The Sun Bowl giving Pitt some nice publicity, national commercials during the Pro Football games,


  14. College players understand and expect opt outs and transfers. As long as coaches can skip bowl games and break contracts, the players should have the same freedom.

    Also, you have the likes of Pete Carrol and Sean Miller that cheat and move on for more millions and leave their former universities and players to pay the price. It’s about time the players get to move on.

    Yes, it is ruining some aspects of college athletics. Don’t expect stability for many years, if ever.


  15. The spring game is a really, really “meaningless” scrimmage but I look forward to it and go to it. I’ll watch any bowl game Pitt is in, no matter how crappy it is or who is playing for my team. Heck, I’ve stayed to the end of many games when Pitt was getting crushed just to see what the backups looked like…

    But I have a confession to make – I was a quitter as a Pitt athlete. When I was a senior, my final baseball game at Pitt happened to be scheduled on the same day that the EIT (Enginner-In-Training) exam was being administered. It was my best chance to pass that test, so I told Coach Lewis, who was one of the nicest men you could ever find, that I had to miss the last game to take the EIT exam. He was fine with it – there was no post-season for us. As an engineer, you have to pass the EIT, then get some work experience before you can take the PE exam to be a registered professional engineer. Which I eventually did.

    Hoping I can still attend the POV tailgate… 🤔

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 9 people

        1. I’m a proud Pitt Civil Engineering grad! BS in ‘71 and MS in ‘76 (night school).

          How about you?

          Go Pitt.


          1. 72 ME … Good memories of intramural BB and FB plus the start of the “soap box derby” from engineer’s week that opened it up to other schools. AKA get some of the CM push carts to enter.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. Wolfe – I realize that my situation doesn’t compare to the footballers, and I was being borderline facetious, but we might not know the real reason someone does what they do or know what’s going on behind the scenes in someone’s life…

        It always hits me that being a college FB player is virtually a year-round activity. And yes, you’d think the games would be viewed as precious opportunities because these guys spend so much time preparing for so few actual events…

        Go Pitt.


        1. John,
          I think your situation is very similar to the players situations being discussed. You made what you felt was the best decision for your life moving forward, and so are they. It makes me sad when our Panthers make that decision to forego game participation, but I don’t begrudge them that choice any more than you. BTW, did your decision not to play cause any controversy/drama among your teammates John?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, I was a starter in centerfield, so someone else got to play. (Uh-oh, I sound like John Morgan!). Or, being the final game, Coach might have had me on the bench anyway – have one of those youngsters play..

            I can’t remember whether we won or lost. I did pass the EIT though… 😊

            BTW – I recently came across a Pitt baseball team photo from when I was a sophomore. The photo showed 17 players. The current team roster shows over 40 players! How things have changed…

            Go Pitt.


    1. John, the EIT exam was way more important than going 1-4 with an RBI. Your choice to become an engineer from a much above average school was a life choice…you did not quit.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. I doubt any Pitt player is going to miss an exam. They’re more worried about missing their facial than playing a football game. Ungrateful is a word to describe any quitter on this team. Selfish. Me. I can go on. But I’ll spare those players who read this forum the embarrassment and shame. That’s my holiday present.


  17. I’ve always loved Zeise whether it’s his articles or when he’s on TV on the Nightly Sports Call or their Sunday night program. I also find it deliciously ironic that Addison, the 3 million $$$ man is opting out of his bowl game. You can’t buy loyalty these days…

    Fact is, this generation IMO, by and large is selfish and all about ‘me’.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. As an EE grad in 64/65, I admit to skipping classes and tests to see the Pirates and Drysdale and Koufax. Everyone was desperate for engineers then and there were tons of jobs. Wound up at the FCC for 36 years (some in Navy Reserve). Great places to work and serve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frankmd – are you referring to September ‘65 when the Pirates beat both Koufax and Drysdale in a twilight doubleheader at Forbes Field? I was there. Pirates’ catcher Jim Pagliaroni was the hitting hero in one game.

      To beat those two pitchers, who were at the top of their games, on the same day was awesome and unforgettable…

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know it was a Pirate loss to Koufax in May 1964. Seats were $1 in the bleachers. Saw Drysdale in another game. Those were the days.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I must admit that I’ve been rooting for the Steelers to lose because they have so many roster needs. But of course I want KP to do well. And I must say that I was impressed when KP threw that late-game winning TD pass versus the Raiders. What impressed me was throwing a perfect spiral, right on the money, under those brutal weather conditions.

    KP passed the can-he-play-in-brutal-weather test…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can’t judge you for that. I’d rather have Micah Parsons than a first round loss with no realistic shot at a title run … That’s what the commies gave up by winning their division with 7 wins a couple years ago. Haha. The lost Micah Parson by going to the post-season.


    2. I thought of Rod Rutherford when I saw that spiral. He had the tightest spiral and best arm of any Pitt QB I ever saw. He could flick it.


      1. Hey … something we can agree on. Rod Rutherford is my favorite Pitt QB. Probably would have been better in this era.


    3. LOL, me too. The Steelers need draft picks. I hope they lose at least one of their last 2 games. I too didn’t mind seeing that late drive on Franco’s big night though, especially to Pickens. I think it will pay dividends in the future for Pickett to run that drive the way he did.

      Also, I was thinking that him using gloves all season long is a big advantage for him in cold weather games. Carr had on one glove on his non-throwing hand. He looked like a bum out there…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I seriously don’t get the pro-bowl crowd. Haha. I get wanting more football and cheering your team on. I don’t get worrying about the actual results when the results don’t matter anymore.

    They used to.

    The top 25 used to be the “thing” … but it’s not anymore. The CFB poll replaces the two standard polls the last quarter of the season and puts all the emphasis on top 4.

    Top 12 will help. It will give more relevance to 8 more teams, which I think is a good thing. Top 12 will become the new Top 25.

    It will also give some more relevance back to the regular season. All good things. Hopefully, it’s a huge success and they follow the FCS model and expand to 24 teams. Then you basically get your top 25 back.

    All 25 teams will play a meaningful game in the post-season and we can stop talking about exhibition games.


    1. Are you committed to the team or yourself. And as a captain, you should be all in on this game. You are a chosen leader by your teammates. You can’t quit on them. The risk of injury is a bogeyman. It’s a cop out. Disgraceful. Disrespectful. Despicable. Ungrateful you know what’s.


      1. Lol. You make me laugh. As a team captain, he’s showing the intelligent decision and paving the way for others. Smh. Smart move. Protect your future. The season is over. This game is for the suits.


  21. Jackagain, you come off as a very passionate Pitt fan. My apologies for assuming you were an alumnus. Just goes to prove that Pitt has supporters outside the graduating ranks. All are welcome and part of the family if you believe and care.

    Unfortunately, as a graduate, I witnessed the end of the gottfried era and beginning of the Hackett and back to the future majors in football. It was factually the worst stint of Pitt football ever. I’m still scarred by those years. Traumatized and bitter.

    But blue and gold entered my veins as a young six year old in ‘76 only to experience utter Disappointment the following year against Notre Dame. The scars began then and have never completely healed.

    It’s sometimes therapeutic posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tex – I also never attended Pitt. Was admitted but made a poor decision. I too am a long time fan by choice. Good or bad, it’s been worth it. And know getting to talk to all of you, even moreso.


      Liked by 3 people

      1. Pittdad, it’s fans like you I really respect. I’m stuck as a Pitt fan. It’s my alma mater. Yes I chose Pitt but I can’t walk away. You and others chose Pitt and have chosen not to walk away after all this time of disappointment and mediocrity. You truly are a fan, one of the best supporters. I tip my Balcones to you.

        Liked by 3 people

  22. Tossing, I went up to PGH four times during the 2015 season and then spent a day in Annapolis following the team at practice… then about 4-5 hours eating dinner and having drinks with player’s parents and HS coaches the evening before the match.

    Had you suggested in those conversations that our DL would value their legs over winning the game and just allow the Navy OL to have their way and we’d let the RBs just run wild… you would have been called outside the bar for sure.

    You completely bought into the world’s greatest excuse used by the coaching staff and others for getting steamrolled on the ground. Half of the Navy rushing was straight through the DL where chop blocks wouldnt be effective. Navy was 11-2 that season and was #2 in the nation in rushing at 326 ypg.

    Do you think that the 10 other teams were also too scared to try to pursue and tackle the Navy RBs because they might get injured?

    Of course not. BTW if Pitt did as you, and others, have said then they in essence threw the game. Is that what you think happened? That the staff told the defense “Don’t worry about winning this game, just protect your knees at all costs!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pitt’s offense was horrible that day (as I recall our OC had left after the regular season), which gave a big advantage to Navy. Meanwhile Navy had a terrific athlete at QB – maybe their best QB since Roger Staubach…

      Didn’t Q. run the opening kickoff back for a TD and then it was all careening down a very steep hill for Pitt from there…

      Go Pitt.


    2. Reed – Believe it or not the coaches protected the players. Players play. If you play scared you’re more at risk for injury. I was at the game, too. They just followed the game plan. You play to win, but your game plan and strategy may not be the same as if the game counted for something. It was the equivalent of them playing a non-con game against a group of 5 team. They played to win but with some extra precaution. Playing it safe cost them the game. The DL intentionally did not engage the OL, first. They let the OL engage first. That was part of the game plan. Duzz talked all week about being worried he’d suffer an OL injury.

      Some context to the game was Georgia Tech earlier that season. GT had was on a 4 game losing streak coming into the game. Pitt played the way they did against Navy believing the game would be easier than it was. After giving up I think over 300 rushing yards in the first half, Pitt played the way you’re supposed to play against the option in the 2nd half and held GT to around 100 yards. Pitt did not make that adjustment against Navy for a reason.

      I don’t get your “called outside the bar” comment at all. The players competed hard. I can literally say no one has ever asked me to step outside to fight. Lol. That’s absurd. I’ve never questioned the manhood of the players who play. Once you step on the field, it’s game-on with whomever showed up. But, I would not question anyone sitting the game out … and I’ve heard exactly zero criticism from Pitt players regarding kids who have opted out recently. Zero. That’s telling. Even Duzz. Fairly mum on it … and he’s not one to keep his trap shut. He pined for the good ole days once this week but even that was probably in servitude to the bowl sponsors. Can’t have coaches questioning the cash flow.

      When I speak about bowl games being meaningless, I’m not projecting that on the kids who play. If you play, you’ll put forth 110% effort. I have no doubt about that. I’ve never questioned anyone’s manhood. I may question your brain, but not your heart. Sometimes you follow your heart. The brain can get in the way.

      I’m talking about the approach to the game and what it means at a 10k foot view. They’re irrelevant games played to garner extra money for the conferences and schools … the players see this … pay the players to play in the bowl games (you can now with NIL) … and I promise you more players will play. Not all. But more.

      I have a secret for you … They aren’t paying the kids, because the W’s and L’s don’t matter.

      Smaller schools will have more to play for against bigger schools. Some teams will have a vested interest in the game. For sure. There is nuance to the argument. There are exceptions.

      But, the further you get away from the individual games you see a bigger pattern. What’s the risk/reward in these games? Coaches understand this. Players understand this. A lot of fans understand this.

      Cash the paycheck and move on. If you play, you play. I would expect nothing less than full effort.

      If you don’t, you don’t. I get it. It’s a business decision.


  23. I’ve been to very few bowl games. Our local hs band has frequently performed in the Rose Parade. In 1993 I went as a chaperone when tOSU (I held my nose) vs M. Had a behind the scenes tour and saw the band competition (our band won). Nothing compares to that parade. Go if you ever get the chance.


  24. Only one player so far per Sports Illustrate (7 hours ago) opted out for UCLA so far (#19 all purpose back, receiver & return specialist).


  25. Zeise has it kind of right. There is a solution and it involves NIL. What he does not explain is that projected first three round draft picks usually have an option to purchase permanent total disability insurance. Unfortunately, those policies only payout less than 5% of the time. Zeise accurately states that the ND linebacker was drafted in the second round, and that was true. However, that player was slated to be a top 10 draft pick. He bought the insurance, but because he attempted a comeback and subsequently played, he didn’t get a payout. He litigated, he settled for a small amount.That is why they call it TOTAL disability insurance as in unable to play football again.

    For first rounders, the real big money doesn’t come until the second contract and that is where the example went off point. Sure, $30M career earnings is great (almost ike like), but ask someone who made 30M if they are happy losing out on $100M, and you get a different answer. The markets have changed and the economics have changed even more. Insurance markets only offer a handful of elite athletes PTD now. Combining $20 million of PTD insurance with loss of value (LOV) and critical injury coverage and a policy will typically cost you $300k for a one year policy. There are more ins and outs but you all don’t have all day to read.

    Fast forward a little bit and the athletes should use some of their NIL money to take out a comprehensive insurance policy and expense it under their corporate name. If they do that, more will play in the bowls. The athletes and the universities have no idea how to run the traps to get the best coverage in place and how to do it properly. I have helped numerous elite athletes over the last seven years. Fascinating because you get to know everything about the athletes, behaviors, families, and often, their handlers. 3rd-7th rounders sitting out is just ridiculous. they can’t get insurance because they are deemed athletes that won’t work as hard to get back from a career threatening injury.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. The odds of a bowl game resulting in injury that would significantly jeopardize a players future pro earnings are microscopic. I’m not a fool. Any actuary will say the same. The quitters are selfish and all about me. I wouldn’t draft them period.


  27. Some background on the REAL reason Pitt and its newly hired Defensive “GURU” Head Coach gave up nearly 600 yards to Keenan Reynolds and Navy at the 2015 Military Bowl.

    Darryl Render… Star of Pitt’s Defensive front… THREE total tackles… NONE for a loss.

    The one caveat… Render had long before the Military Bowl been labeled by someone here at the PittPOV “Render the Pretender.”

    Think the EMBARRASSING loss at Annapolis might have had to do less with protecting knees and more with just plain bad coaching and bad players.


    1. and leaving Nate Petermsn in the game- NP was awful that day but Duzz was true to form before we knew what his “true to form “would be…..


  28. Regarding the impact of injuries on a player’s future, PSN had a recent article about Phil Jurkovec which puzzled me some. The writer contended that one of the drawbacks of P. J. for Pitt is that he’s not as mobile as he was before his injury.

    This puzzled me because what is he 22 or 23? Shouldn’t he have healed or had surgery to repair whatever was injured?

    I was looking forward to Pitt getting back to having a mobile QB. Perhaps Phil should pay a visit to BigB or Mark…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is still plenty mobile from the film I saw from last year. Maybe he bulked up too much like Big Ben and lost a step, lol.


    1. Paul Hackett was a terrible head coach from what I recall. I remember one of our first games when I was a freshman. I think Pitt lost 72-0 to Oklahoma? My memory could be a little hazy though.

      I think Hackett ended up going on to be a pretty decent OC in the NFL, though, right?


      1. Hackett was a smart guy and I think he did have some success in the NFL. At Pitt he had AVP throw these thirty yard throws to the sidelines that gained three yards. He was Matt Canada before Matt Canada.

        Gottfried had badly beaten tOSU a few years back at Pitt Stadium. The Suckeyes didn’t forget the embarrassment that day.

        Hackett was too involved in the offense and his system and schemes weren’t right. He didn’t have the players for it and most didn’t buy in.

        A HC should leave the offense and defense to his OC and DC. To narduzzis credit he does appear to be hands off there but his picks for OC have been puzzling.


      2. Pitt lost to Ohio State 72-0 in 1996. Hackett was not the coach, Johnny Majors was. Regardless, you are correct that Hackett was a stiff as a head coach.


        1. And for some reason, I remember John Cooper, the OSU coach in that 1996 game, running a fake punt in the 4th quarter, up by 5 or 6 touchdowns. Classless punk.


        2. Funny how memory works. I just looked it up. The game I was thinking of was the 52-10 loss to Oklahoma. I guess my brain combined the two humiliating losses.


    2. You’re tough Texas Panther.

      I mean Hackett’s son was good enough to get an NFL head coaching job. That’s a pretty exclusive club, even if he didn’t stay a member very long…


    1. Like rats off a sinking ship. Jimbos days are numbered. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the next coach at WVU. He’s got Hoopie roots.


  29. Looking at the portal, FL ST picking up a lot of the top guys. Looks like they will be challenging Clemson soon.


    1. I think this pay to play will eventually work itself out. A good example, WVU is sticking with two young QBs after paying for a transfer QB last year. They probably would have had the same result and been further ahead in developing their young QBs if they would have not signed JT Daniels from the portal. They also would have saved someone six figures. Lesson learned.


  30. Not sure how accurate these values are but let’s go for it. Looks like the average tag is around $100k. And this is for the top 40 transfers out there.

    If every year Pitt could pick up 2-3 of these guys and then recruit another 20 high school kids. Your total booster commitment for NIL shouldn’t be more than $2 million. Why is that figure so difficult for Pitt to raise. Now granted this is just to get going. The funds would need replenished each year and you’d need to carry the NIL forward to retain players. That bank could easily reach $6 million.

    But that would make Pitt Uber competitive with the big boys.


  31. The big problem is that competition for these players will drive prices up.

    The NCAA needs to set up a salary schedule like the NFL and create a more level playing field. Also need a way to enforce it to contain the inevitable cheaters.


  32. On that Pitt/Navy Bowl “game?” I was there with my wife. We live 45 minutes away. It was a cold and blustery winter day. Pitt ran the opening kick for a TD and it was all Navy after that. We had a huge Pitt contingent at the game and we were all in one section. At halftime late I went to down to get some hot chocolate and returned early fourth quarter. As I looked up into the stands of the Pitt section, I’ve never seen so many gloomy ashen faces. I’ll never forget the gloomy and doomy looks on Pitt fans faces.

    To me, it was a representation of 40 years of failure and mediocrity for Pitt. I wish I could have taken a picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was there too, it was a great showing for Pitt Fans, unfortunately the game didn’t live up to the hype. The defense was awful and the vaunted offense flopped, I think Canada had left and there were several injuries during the game to key players.

      In any case it was the best Navy team in years and they showed up in every way.

      And yes it was a very deflated Pitt crowd.


      1. That wasn’t Canada. Canada left before the Pinstripe Bowl against NW. Another game I referenced … Connor and Peterman both with quick hooks because of injury that they most likely play through in the regular season.


  33. It appears that many POVers are down on the bowl scene. I think it is a great chance to see the future stars in action. For example, if Hayes comes up with a couple of sacks, guess what we will be discussing all summer?

    Many on the POV have come to really like some of the so called minor sports. These kids are in it for the sport and the competition, not for the money. So when looking at Pitt football, there are about 100 players on the team counting walk ons. Probably 90 of them will never sign an NFL contract, so they are in a way no different than kids on the wrestling, swimming or VB teams. Don’t you think that a fun trip to a warm location for a bowl game is considered a nice reward and memory for these kids?

    The NFL hasn’t yet cancelled the Pro Bowl, I think. The professional players in this game are not afraid to risk injury, although many of the star players with remaining injuries from the season don’t play. This whole business of college players worrying about injury is really overblown, since generally only the 1-3 round players will skip the game. Let the rest play and let’s enjoy the game!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. I don’t think Zeise goes far enough with the coaches. The point this whole thing unravels like the threading in a cheap suit is when people like Zeise excuse a head coach for taking a new job while under contract, citing “This is America”. Head coaches at FBS schools are paid well these days. Hold them to their contracts… when Alabama or A&M come calling, they’ll just have to say, “Can’t do it now, I’m under contract.” Not realistic?… well, there’s the problem with holding kids to a higher standard.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Bowl games are a nice reward for players. But it’s always those ten who think they have a shot at the pros that don’t want to be with their teammates.

    They claim they need time to prepare for some combine that won’t happen for months. Seriously. I bet most aren’t even watching the game. Probably at some beach with Snoop drinking Coronas.

    They claim there’s a risk of injury. Seriously an injury so severe that it will jeopardize your career. I can get injured getting out of my bed each day or running to the bathroom to relieve myself at two in the morning.

    They just quit on their teammates, coaches and school. Meaningless game or not. It’s still a game. The last one with your team. I think that should mean something. I think that shows character and leadership instead they show their true colors being selfish and fake scared.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no problem with kids opting out. While the chance of career ending injury is small, any injury that causes them to lose speed or other abilities in the short run can dramatically affect draft results which means money. These kids are getting a lot of advice from a lot of people. In the grand scheme of things a bowl game means very little.
      Infering that their decision says something negative about their characters says more about those making those accusations than the player making the call.


      1. I do think it’s a character flaw with kids these days. I’m not pointing the blame at parents. But when your justifications for skipping the bowl fail on their merits, what is the true reason. I don’t think there is one other than being lazy. And that’s a character flaw in my book. You just can’t quit when you want to. You’re under scholarship. Poor examples these kids set. And it is a child’s mentality since the justifications they and their handlers give are bogus. I like calling out hypocrites but it’s a free country. Players are free to be selfish jerks.


        1. In a world where a small percentage own more than the 50% at the bottom you want to call these kids who are deciding what is in their best interest selfish jerks because they don’t play in a meaningless game.

          Most of these kid that have grown up with very little and are looking forward to taking care of their families. I think they have their priorities straight.

          Maybe the fans that want them to play have selfish motives.


          1. They owe Pitt. They got free rides. Free education. Free coaching and development. And a bunch of other freebies along the way. What did I get? I freaking bill.


        2. Are they under scholarship? How many opt outs are attending the second semester? And finals happened how many weeks ago?


      2. Good point about the “advice” these guys get from handlers, agents, and Uncle Billy — who feed their dreams of playing in the NFL and likely have them convinced they’re the next Patrick Mahomes of their position…

        Go Pitt.


    2. Of the kids opting out of the bowl for Pitt, it’s likely that only 2 or 3 will be invited to the Combine.

      Some guys definitely got some bad advice.


  36. I heard the Pro Bowl is going to be a modified flag football game.

    I agree that the Bowl games still have value to the players and fans that go. But it is far from a legit game, it is kind of an exhibition between seasons.

    While we were all disappointed in KP not playing last year to get that elusive 11th win, I am very happy to see Patti get one last shot as a Panther and am really glad Wayne will join him in this effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they eliminated the pro-bowl and it will only be skills competition. there may be a flag game included in that but I think I read the game is dead.


  37. It would be interesting to know how many of the 32 1st round picks in the 2022 draft played in their bowl game. But I’m not going to research it. “They say I’m lazy but it takes all my time …… life’s been good to me so far.”

    Liked by 3 people

  38. If you’re always thinking about risks in life and how you could get hurt, it’s not much of a life is it?

    Life is about taking risks. Getting hurt. Not everything turns out as planned. But how one deals with adversity, the hurt, the failure, shows ones true character.

    As a player I wouldn’t be afraid of injury risk. I’d look forward to the reward of playing with my teammates one last time. So yes as GM, I’d factor this into draft consideration. But to each his own.

    Tex – leaders lead and quitters quit.


  39. Five years ago, they probably all did. This skipping bowls thing is a recent occurrence. But Tex may have hit on something. If a healthy player skips the bowl game then they are not fulfilling the scholarship requirement and their final semester should not be paid for. They should not eat at the team table, and any other free stuff should not be available, including working out at team facilities.

    Guys like Ford and Twyman may think twice about their potential pro prospects before walking out on their team. Pickett was treated very well by Narduzzi over the years, never pulled even when he stunk, so he may have burned a few bridges with his team mates by skipping even though he ended up being a 1st round pick. A bowl win over MSU and a ring or prizes would have been nice for the 90 players who won’t get to the NFL.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. If the true leaders of the team, the coaches, can quit before the bowl game, the why shouldn’t the players.


    1. No Pitt coach has quit. But I understand your point. Everyone needs to honor their contracts. But there is no honor among thieves.

      But just because a coach quit, doesn’t make it right for a player. Show some honor and loyalty. Traits few and far between these days.


  41. When a coaches contract includes a buyout figure the college is saying that they can leave whenever they want. It just becomes a financial decision. There is also the argument that if a coach wants to leave then why would you want him to stay? The job is too demanding to force him to stay.


    1. Because he owes it to his players, his fellow coaches, his AD and his boosters and fans. The job isn’t that demanding that you can’t chew bubble gum and walk at the same time.


    2. Doesn’t that go for a player as well, do you really want them there if they don’t want to be there? If they are not 100% into the game…..

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Think of it VOR, you’ve probably had several last days of work from several jobs like me. How difficult really was it? Easy Peezy.


  43. The level of disparagement from so many POVERS is fascinating. I got news for you guys: The genome of those players not playing in the bowl game is the same genome as us POVERS. Whatever the reason for the increasing propensity to choose to not play in the bowl game is cultural and you may think its inferior to your culture but guess what, that’s just your naked opinion. Sorry, the times they are a changing and just because you get to express your culturally derived opinion that the change is bad, does not make it bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Character doesn’t change with times. Nor does it have anything to do with culture. A quitter is a quitter across every freakin continent and every single race.


    1. How many quitters have gone on to do great things? Plenty, How many guys have dropped out of college and become great successes. The key is to know when to quit.

      If opting out was a negative regarding character, it would hurt these players draft positions, obviously it does not. How about High School seniors that come to Pitt early, are they quitters? Does Pitt encourage them to come early or finish their senior years?

      Maybe not exactly the same thing but these kids are usually stars on their basketball, baseball or track teams, shouldn’t they stay because they owe it to their team mates, school community etc?

      Does it reflect on their character?

      Guys get called up from the minor leagues all the time, that’s just the way it is.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Of course character, loyalty and dedication don’t change with the times. But whose to say that a player opting out of a bowl game that he considers a glorified exhibition game is displaying inferior character, loyalty and dedication. You folks casting those stones are doing so from the perspective of your culture. Your opinion. Please don’t fail to see that when you are denigrating another human being.


  45. Tex, I’m not saying it is the right thing to do, but the colleges want it both ways. If a coach isn’t winning he gets the boot. Give him some money and off he goes. It is rare these days that a coach stays at a college for most of his coaching career. Rarely is it black and white that everything that was promised was delivered, whether it is budget, new facilities or something else. Sometimes a coach just gets too old for the job. Look at Frank Beamer at VTech, or Johnny Majors II for that matter.

    6&34, I don’t know what you are talking about culturally, but old fashioned virtues such as loyalty and dedication never go out of style.


    1. Yes but Loyalty and dedication is a two way street, what about loyalty when the coach recruits a portal guy to move in front of you? What about all of the loyal, dedicated guys that were outsourced or laid off for higher profits. How about pensions that disappeared?
      What about all of the manufacturing that was moved overseas for cheap labor? What about the team owners that abandon their loyal and dedicated fan bases to go for a better return?

      Those old fashioned virtues don’t exist. These kids aren’t stupid, they know that they are marketable commodities with a short shelf life and they need to maximize their potential in the market. They are free agents and have to make their own decisions right or wrong.

      To call them selfish jerks or of poor character is laughable. Universities and Media have been making a fortune from their labors. Football coaches make far more than University Presidents.

      Jordan Addison by some accounts got 3+ million, a Bentley, and use of a home on the Pacific and has opted out of the Bowl game. Poor character or great businessman?

      Liked by 5 people

  46. I’ve had thirteen last days in my 52 years in the volatile merger happy printing business. Three of those days I didn’t know were my last days.

    On the other last days I made it a point to work very hard and leave things tidy in every way as a thank you to the organization that had hired and paid me. I was very old school. But……

    Times have changed. I mentor several young folks who are up and coming in their respective business’s. They want to change jobs on the slightest whim. The urge for them is to change jobs every two years whether things are going well or not!

    My opinion of Pitt and other scholie athletes has changed. They should not have any loyalty to the schools who recruited them if they can make big bucks to begin their personal lives. I came from a very poor family and did not have two nickels to rub together for years into my career. Hard hard lessons that left a mark.

    Colleges used them for years making tons of $$ from their images! While they had to save for a week to buy a hot dog at the Big O!

    Colleges are reaping what they sew!
    I like Huffs approach to the athletes protecting them selves with insurance policies. In the meantime, I hope they each make as much money as possible from NIL even if it makes Pitt get beat by 40 vs UCLA !!

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I get what y’all are saying. Different strokes for different folks. But for me, character is from the heart. I always take care of my heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. On my way home from work just now I heard two interesting comments about Pitt –

    Justin Fuentes who was one of the bowl announcers for the Memphis vs Utah State game – as they were reviewing upcoming games and when the Pitt vs UCLA game came up he said “I’m looking forward to the Narduzzi defense vs Chip Kelly’s offense.” The other announcer without missing a beat says, “yeah, as long as Pat Narduzzi has enough players left to field a team”.


    Liked by 2 people

  49. I have a Pitt – UCLA review scheduled for 6am tomorrow morning. A prediction thread early Thursday afternoon. Michaelangelo has a UNC – Pitt game day basketball thread late Friday morning for noon game. I have a Pitt – UCLA game day thread scheduled for 1:45 pm so it will be ready for your comments once BB is over.

    I was planning on opting out of an article, but I regained my enthusiasm by having most of the minor bowl games on in the background as I spent most of last 10 days in the house. (Mainly it was the extra NIL money that Reed rounded up for me.)

    I agree with Tossing on bowls being meaningless, but I do listen and occasionally glance up and watch replays. Beats having reruns of Castle, Bones, Marvel Movies, etc. in the background.

    Liked by 5 people

  50. From a Jerry DiPaola tweet – record setting Pitt FB kicker Sam Scarton (from Erie County) has opted-out of the Sun Bowl as he has graduated from Pitt & is starting a new job in South Carolina in February.


    1. Yeah, it should take him a good 6-8 weeks to learn how to stock all those shelves at the Home Depot down there in S. Carolina. Heaven forbid he should hurt his big toe at the bowl game and not be able to walk the floor….


  51. We will still all tune into the game with our pregame optimism hoping for an unlikely Pitt win. Maybe Frank will come out and spread the field with four WRs and no huddle. 🤣


  52. Nothing is more annoying than PSN articles stating a recruit put Pitt in their top 5 or top 4. That’s like bragging you were fourth in line to date the hot cheerleader. If you aren’t first, you’re last!

    Liked by 2 people

  53. Listened to DC Bates interview last night – he emphasized the need to stop the run. UCLA comes in with an All-American RB who is 6’1” – 220lbs – their QB is a 5th year SR who is lightning fast as a run option and throws a nice ball to his #1 WR target who is 6’4”.

    If we can keep our 2-string D healthy and on the field, we have a chance. Reports are that MLB Brandon George is healthy enough to start which puts two veteran players in Wiltz and Simon next to him. Wiltz will probably be the QB spy.

    On the DL, no word yet on Haba’s status – Danielson and Green can stuff the middle but will need breaks – Bentley and Fitzsimmons or Donald should be ready.

    The secondary will be without it’s best player in S Hill – McIntyre looked good vs Miami – we may see more of Battle and Royal to get a better size match-up with 6’4” WR Bobo.

    This will be an interesting chess match and a peak into what the future might look like.

    We need Nick Patti to find 4 TD’s and Saul to NOT miss any FG’s and we may squeak out a W.



      1. IKR – when you break down the possibility of Pitt winning this bowl game, most arrows point to NO WAY.

        The big question – what can this coaching staff come up with to manufacture a W?

        The next question – can the Duzz D win this game against a top rated P5 offense?


    1. One problem I see for this game – and next season – is that it seems to take our safeties playing full-time for a year to play well and not give up several big plays by getting fooled on pass plays…

      All of a sudden UCLA sounds like a juggernaut! I think we at least stay in it…

      Go Pitt.


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