Pitt Fans: Put Up, or Shut Up

Today marks a new day in Pitt football.

Pitt hired one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation to become head coach. But that comes at a price if you want Pitt to compete for ACC and National Championships, like Head Coach Narduzzi is proclaiming that is he expects at Pitt.

Pitt football needs money from boosters, revenue sales and so on.

It’s really up to the consumer to make this possible.

Pitt fans, alumni and students are notorious for not showing up to games and leaving the games well before the final snap of the game. And the worst case of this is when students leave right after the rendition of “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Sadly, the above picture sums up the role of the fans at the games the past several years.

The days of 25K or less showing up to games must end if you want Pitt to take that next step as a football program.

Chancellor Gallagher is showing a commitment to Pitt football simply by firing former Athletic Director Steve Pederson and Interim Athletic Director Dr. Juhl stated this today at HC Narduzzi’s Press Conference, “if Pitt can help cure polio and invent CPR, it sure as hell can win 10 football games”.

Dr. Juhl is 100% correct in stating that Pitt can certainly win 10 games a year. The WPIAL and Eastern Ohio is tremendous recruiting grounds. And with proper financial support in recruiting, Pitt should be able to snag a few kids from states like New Jersey, Maryland, Deleware and Florida.

It’s really time for the fans to put their money where their mouth is. The fans want to win and they want the program to provide financial support to the football program, but this money has to come from somewhere.

Yes, winning will beget more fans showing up to games, but if Pitt is 5-5 when Miami comes to town, how many fans will realistically show up?

And that’s ultimately the problem.

Even if Pitt is 5-5 when Miami comes to town, there needs to be at least 55K in the stands.

Because 4 years down the road, let’s say HC Narduzzi is exploring options outside of Pitt, there could potentially be potential income to keep him in town.

But let’s say he leaves, Pitt fans will whine and dine about the potential of Pitt being cheap when it comes to hiring coaches. What do you expect when attendance is poor and there isn’t enough revenue being generated to not be cheap?

I won’t tell people how to spend their money. Spend your money as you please. But don’t say the program is being cheap when it’s at least attempting to produce a strong and viable football program.

The school and athletic department is doing their part in supporting the football program. Now it’s the fans, alumni and boosters to do their part.

Does Chryst Stay or Does He Go?

The second Oregon State announced that they hired former Wisconsin Head Coach Gary Anderson as their new Head Coach the social media and talk shows went ablaze.

Pitt fans have every right to be a little paranoid considering the epic failures of Pitt football since Dave Wannstedt resigned on December 7th 2010, plus Head Coach Paul Chryst is a native of Wisconsin, played football at Wisconsin and he started his coaching career at Wisconsin.

Let’s face it, Paul Chryst is a Wisconsin man, and maybe going home could be the right thing for him, and then again, perhaps he stays. There is one thing to remember, his daughter attends Pitt and he’s made Pittsburgh a second home.

Could that be enough to entice him to stay?

If I’m Paul Chryst I’m using this as an opportunity to force the admin of Pitt to feed more money into his coaching staff, and earn a contract extension. That doesn’t mean that needs to fire DC Matt House, for example, either. Just that there needs to be some upgrades on the staff.

If he is indeed heading home, we’re likely to be finding out the breaking news before Monday, if not sooner. Does he really need to be interviewed? Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin AD) was the Head Coach of Wisconsin when Chryst was starting his coaching career. Alvarez went above and beyond to help get the coaching gig for Chryst at Pitt.

Chryst is building a solid program at Pitt, from the bottom up; however, his overall resume isn’t exactly impressive, going 19-19 in three seasons.

Lets say he takes the Wisconsin job, what is next for Pitt?

A guy like current Pitt OC Joe Rudulph has to make some sense. He’s from Pittsburgh, and he adds some continuity to help keep the current recruiting class together. An outside option could be former Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini.

Personally, I don’t think Paul Chryst is going anywhere. But if he does, asking Athletic Director to lead another coaching search just may be too much to ask.

@JoeNiklas

Ground N’ Pound

Conner

 

What’s that old yinzer saying again? Grawnd n pawnd, and 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Here’s a quick sample of Pitt’s play calling from last Saturday against the Delaware Hens: Run Right, Run Left, Run up the middle! 

The running game amassed a total of 409 yards on 56 carries in the 62-0 drubbing of Delaware, and it was so effective that an injured Tyler Boyd (dislocated pinky) and the passing game wasn’t needed. 

The keynote play of the game wasn’t even a James Conner or Chris James TD run. The play to look at is the sneak by backup QB Trey Anderson. It wasn’t so much what Anderson did, it was how hard the offensive line pushed Delaware’s defensive line off the line of scrimmage. Although that play was ran against an FCS school like Delaware, that’s the time of play other opponents should surely take note of. 

Quite simply, Pitt’s going to punch you in the mouth with the running game and has the offensive line to do so. 

Before we get ahead of ourselves, this was against Delaware and the offensive line won’t be as dominant against ACC opponents. 

At the same time, you have to be amazed what Pitt accomplished. There has been many times in the past where Pitt played down to the competition they face and ended up squeaking out a victory or even losing. 

What was seen this past week was diabolical in nature. Delaware just simply didn’t have an answer on either side of the ball. It Pitt is going to be able to run like this against their Coastal Division rivals, then watch out, Pitt just may have a special season on it’s hands. 

Next up: at Boston College 7:00 PM on ESPN

Twitter: @JoePanther0181

Should the Riverhounds Push Harder for Move to MLS

HoundsPic

There’s a sweeping craze going on across this nation. If you was on Twitter or any other social media site between the hours of 5:00 PM and 8:00PM you’d know about the United States vs Portugal Football match. No I’m not talking about the style of football most of us Americans are accustomed to. *note* I call it football because the majority of the world calls it as such.

Last weekend the United States vs Ghana match drew approximately 11 million TV viewers, one must assume that the US vs Portugal drew an even bigger audience and the Germany match on Thursday may draw even more.

So what does this have to do with Pittsburgh and the Riverhounds (‘Hounds)?

It means that the game of football is growing in the United States, so why shouldn’t Pittsburgh try to capitalize on the growth of the sport and the MLS (Major League Soccer).

For Pittsburgh, it’s another major sports league to come into town, which equals more revenue brought into the town. And on top of a traditional MLS schedule, MLS teams have the opportunity to play in the US Open Cup and the CONCAFCAF Champions League, which would be akin to a North American style Premier League. If the ‘Hounds were to qualify for the CONCAFCAF we could see teams as far away as Central America come into Pittsburgh.

The ‘Hounds built their own stadium in Highmark Stadium, on the Southside, that opened in 2013. It currently seats 3K fans, and can expand to 18K fans. What’s even better is that the “Hounds ownership group were the ones that built the stadium.

How can the people of Pittsburgh not support such an organization?!

Football is definitely growing in the area as more local high schools are adding the sport on a biannual basis, when the PIAA does their realignment. And believe it or not, but as many kids are playing football as baseball these days. Having an MLS team in the local area will spur even more HS teams and increase the popularity of the game even more.

The decision to upgrade the ‘Hounds will ultimately come from the MLS, and the MLS has given Pittsburgh consideration in the past. But I believe that the city of Pittsburgh and the Riverhounds’ organization should press the issue to become the MLS’s 22nd team in the coming years.

Potential Impacts of College Players Unionizing

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In many ways, I cannot blame college players (specifically football) wanting a bigger piece of the pie. They saw conference realignment rake in multi-billion dollar contracts at the back of their efforts on the field/court. Then they see the merchandise sales w/ their names on the backs of these jerseys and on posters. And what do college players get out of this deal, a monthly stipend of X amount of dollars to go for food and other things to spend money on on top of their scholarships. Hell, if I was a college player, I’d want a piece of that billion dollar pie as well. 

Perhaps I’ll be talking out of my backside here; however, I expect to see some massive changes in scholarship distribution, redshirts, over-signing/grayshirts, and other changes if players able to unionize and become employees of their respective colleges. 

Lets face it, colleges will not go down without a fight, and if they lose, they will eliminate the amount of scholarships they distribute on a yearly basis. College football will take the largest hit. Currently at 85, I could certainly see that number drop to 70, perhaps lower. Why would a college pay players that are going to likely sit on the bench for their four years at a college. 

The days of redshirting players would likely come to an end. Why would any college pay a player to be there for 5 years when there is 4 years of eligibility. Perhaps there would be some kind of compromise when it comes to redshirting, but I’d bet money that a player would want to be played his redshirt year. Combine the salary issue with the lower amount of scholarships and there may not be a reason to redshirt players anyways due to depth reasons. 

Over-signing/grayshirts will also come to an end due to the reasons above. Not to mention, signing a Letter of Intent will mean that a player will be obligated to be at a college for 3-4 years and a school won’t be able to boot a player off the team without just cause, it’ll make it harder for schools to sign too many players. 

One other factor that may pop up is that colleges may end up forcing athletes to stay in school for four years. Think about it, if colleges aren’t able to pull a scholarship due to injuries, they respond in this fashion. A binding four year contract is a four year contract, right… right. 

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing and speaking in hyperbole’s, but there I know one thing for sure, if you don’t think colleges don’t have something up their sleeves as well, then you’re fooling yourself. 

Joey Niklas

Twitter- @JoePanther0181