We have a continuing argument on here about the impact of last year’s 31-26 bowl loss on Pitt’s national reputation after the 2016 season’s dust had settled. More importantly perhaps is what impact all of last season’s games, won and lost, had on the national media’s perception of our program going into this 2017 season.
But wait – let me backtrack a bit here. This isn’t about Pitt’s football program per se – but is about how the national media viewed the Pitt football team at the end of 2016, then again now and how the team might be gauged going into battle in September.
The people on the Southside I had conversations with when attending spring practices three months ago sure felt… no, they sure knew… that the bowl loss cost us dearly in perceptions and in the actual standings. By that I mean not only the final 2016 standings but our 2017 preseason rank (or lack thereof).
Here is the AP Final Top 25 list for last year:
I believe that had we won the bowl game combined with our big PSU rivalry win (which is a match-up of historical importance to the national media) and win over #3 ranked Clemson; both games nationally televised and both teams finishing high in the final rankings with one as champs, we would have been ranked between #13 and #17 at the end of the season.
We had a blast with the call-in show last night and again we proved that no matter who shows up at the Roundtable we are the most knowledgeable Pitt fans in existence. Of course that is facetious as I’ve met many fans through other venues who know a ton about Pitt football also.
The civil tone was lowered just a smidgen from last week with both Ike and the infamous Dr. Tom coming onboard. I’m ordering a cut-off button today for future short-story answers to pretty simple and plain questions.
Some items discussed were:
The role of Pitt’s AD and how we feel Heather Lyke is doing… and what she needs to do.
Did Scott Barnes leave the department in good shape?
How we would feel if we had a third consecutive season with 8-5 including a bowl loss.
Here are Max Browne’s USC stats again, followed by Savage, Peterman and Stull’s also. Take a look at their years as a regular player at Pitt. For comparison in NP’s case that would be 2015 and Bill Stull’s 2009.
(Sorry about the audio – I forgot to use my professional microphone so the audio is recorded through my laptop’s mic…)
Hello all, enjoy the above Podcast and here is some supporting text to mull over while you listen:
Recruiting vs Attracting
USC coach Clay Helton said Wednesday he had not been contacted by any coaches interested in Browne, but would do whatever he could to help him during the process.
Browne graduated from USC prior to this season and is two semesters short of an MBA. He said he plans to finish that program eventually.
Recruit Flipping – Here is an interesting article by Brian Batko of the P-G regarding recruits changing their minds after verbally committing to one school – note that in the class of 2017 we had six players who committed elsewhere sign LOIs with us:
The marquee college program in this town won its share of other schools’ losses. Of Pitt’s 22 committed or already-enrolled players in the 2017 recruiting class entering signing day, eight were originally pledged to another school, including three of its most highly regarded.
Two of those eight picked the Panthers in mid-December, then arrived on campus less than a month later. Defensive end Deslin Alexandre was a true “flip,” announcing that he was decommitting from North Carolina State and committing to Pitt at the same time. It wasn’t something he took lightly but felt it was better late than never to get it right.
Pitt placed 10 players on Athlon Magazine’s All-ACC four (!) deep listing.
Here is the article:
PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football team received 10 selections to the recently released Athlon Sports’ 2017 All-ACC Team as the widely recognized college sports magazine published its predictions for the first team through fourth team performers in the ACC this upcoming season. Returning consensus All-American Quadree Henderson led the way with three total selections. After Henderson joined Tony Dorsett in 2016 as the only players in Pitt football history to top 2,000 all-purpose yards in a season, Athlon touted the junior wide receiver as a preseason first team kick returner, second team offensive all-purpose player and second team punt returner for 2017. After Pitt had its most potent offense in school history in 2016, Athlon expects the Panthers to be talented and explosive again on the offensive side of the ball, naming six Panthers to its preseason All-ACC Team for 2017. Continue reading “POV: Sunday Podcast; July 2nd, 2017”→
4. Pittsburgh Sept. 9 at Penn State, Sept. 16 vs. Oklahoma State, Sept. 23 at Georgia Tech
There won’t be any easing into the 2017 schedule for Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers. In Week 2, they hit the road to face No. 5 Penn State. You think the Nittany Lions will be motivated after losing at Pitt a year ago? Then comes a home game against No. 6 Oklahoma State, which throws the ball all over the park with the returning combo of quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver James Washington, and the Panthers open ACC play a week later by going on the road and having to deal with Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack.
Steel Valley safety Paris Ford will not start classes on Monday with the rest of the incoming freshmen, multiple sources told Panther-Lair.com. Details of the situation are unclear, although it appears Ford could have an opportunity to qualify this summer and enroll closer to training camp.
If he doesn’t qualify this summer, Ford could spend one semester or a full school year at a prep institution like Milford Academy in New Berlin (NY) before enrolling at Pitt.
The NCAA Eligibility Center was created to bring academic and amateurism certifications together under one roof. Its purpose is to ensure that college-bound student-athletes, as well as coaches and administrators, understand the requirements to participate in NCAA Divisions I and II athletics.
All incoming freshman who plan on attending any NCAA Division I or II university MUST register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, meet all academic and amateur requirements and be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
What are the NCAA Eligibility Center standards I must meet?
The standards issued by the NCAA Eligibility Center are slightly different for Division I and Division II but are based on the same four principles:
You must graduate from high school.
You must successfully complete all core courses.
You must have a minimum 2.000 GPA in core courses; and
You must have a minimum qualifying score on the ACT or SAT.
Military Bowl Presented By Northrup Grumman
Thursday, December 28th, 2017
Navy-Marine Corps. Stadium, Annapolis, MD
ESPN, 1:30 pm
Pitt vs. Navy
39. Pitt Panthers
Relative Strengths:Passing Game, Special Teams Relative Concerns:Pass Defense, Linebacker Why Are They Here?Will the Panthers ever stop a passing game? USC transfer Max Browne will keep the offense going, but against so many good ACC QBs, all that matters is the beleaguered secondary. 2016 Final Season Ranking:35 (8-5) 2016 CFN Preseason Ranking:32
This is an article which entails some heavy lifting in the reading department so it may be best taken in chunks rather than sitting down for the whole shebang at one time. But do take a very close look at the Title Photo (Oakland in the 1930s) before you get into the linked articles.
For a weekend’s reading I have included two excellent and well-written Saturday Evening Post articles about the University of Pittsburgh and our football program’s history back in the 1930s and 1940s. Before you click on those let me add a few things about why I did this and why I did it today.
I truly feel like Pitt is on the cusp of having to make some pretty hard and maybe unpopular decisions about just where the Football program fits in with the rest of the Athletic Department and even more importantly where it fits in relation to the rest of the University.
Why now you may ask? Because this is the season where our won/loss record will determine if Pat Narduzzi restructures his contract to be Pitt’s HC for the long run or not. His existing contract is low for a continually winning Power Five school and can easily be bought out by any other program who wants him badly enough.
If he wins big this season, and by that I mean 9 or 10 wins including that elusive bowl win, then the rest of the nation is going to really sit up and take notice of what he and Pitt have done over the last three years.
I’ve written many times that last season’s bowl loss really hurt us in a lot of ways – mainly because it kept us from being listed in 2016’s post-season Top 20. That would have been a real solid achievement for him on the national stage and made him more valuable to others than he actually might be to Pitt.
Instead the bold truth is that even as excited as Pitt fans are about the program and Narduzzi we are one win better that his predecessor’s best season – Paul Chryst’s 2013 year when he beat Notre Dame at home and won his bowl game.
Before you jump up and down in indignation please understand that I wholeheartedly believe Narduzzi’s 2016 season, with the wonderful wins over PSU and Clemson, was way better than 2013. It certainly was for us fans. But with only eight wins per year and no bowl game wins he hasn’t put all that much concrete distance between the program now and then.