Pitt Hate Week – Day 2: A Summary of Panther Football

In preparation for this upcoming butchering on Saturday between the Shitt Panthers and the esteemed Pennyslvania State University, I wanted to continue my Inaugural Hate Week. After some kind words yesterday towards our friendly neighborhood narc, Coach Pat Narduzzi, I wanted to keep the train going by addressing the Pitt Panthers football program as a whole. It’s probably unfair to pick on Narduzzi alone without discussing Pitt’s RICH football history. So that’s what I’ll be doing today.

The Early Years

First and foremost, I need to get this part out of the way. Talk to any Pitt football fan today about how their football program compares to “that cult” down Route 22, and I guarantee they bring up the following numbers:

9 to 7.

In other words, Pitt’s 9 national football championship to Penn State’s 7. Hey, these are facts, I’m not going to deny it. Nine is in fact greater than seven. It doesn’t take a superior Penn State engineering degree (look it up, hillbillies) to do that math. 9>7. Now that we’ve stated the obvious, let’s actually look at these championships.

So… you’re telling me EIGHT of Pitt’s nine national championships came before the year that the god damn ballpoint pen was invented? That’s right!

Let’s take a look at Penn State’s titles over the years:

So if you don’t count the Nittany Lions’ 1994 season (which was named the 16th best college football team of all time by ESPN) where they were outvoted in favor of an also undefeated Nebraska team, you still have TWO national titles since 1967. You know what else happened in 1967? Super Bowl ONE. I’d say that’s a pretty fair compromise on what can be considered “modern era” college football. When comparing that to Pitt’s standalone “modern” title 1976, you can come up with the following math trail:

Penn State’s 2 titles since 1967 > Pitt’s 1 title since 1967

(carry the 1)

2 > 1

All these claims of winning a number of titles dating back to a time no one actually cares about reminds me of someone else. Hmmm, who could that be… OH, THAT’S RIGHT.

I’m just connecting the dots here.

The 70’s and 80’s: The Golden Years

Yes, Pitt did win a national championship in 1976. Yes, Tony Dorsett was a generational talent at running back. Yes, Dan Marino is 100% one of the all-time greats to play quarterback in college. I can argue with none of this, and I really have no rebuttal for it.

This era is what most Pitt fans fall back on when thinking about their program over the years, and they should. It produced a national championship and incredible talent at many positions. Bill Fralic, Tony Dorsett and Dan Marino were icons of the game. While Penn State still basically dominated the series 13-5 from 1970 to 1989, you can’t argue that there was an era of excellence with its epicenter in Oakland.

However, my favorite thing that happened in this era was the game that took place on November 28, 1981 that robbed Marino of a title and took away Pitt’s chance of getting its second in six years.

THAT’S RIGHT. Todd Blackledge, most commonly known from his staple segment “Taste of the Town” during ESPN Primetime games through the 2000’s, marched into Oakland and took down the so-called “Beast of the East” and #1 ranked Panthers. No natty for Danny-boy. Meanwhile, this blowout propelled Penn State to two national titles in ’82 and ’86.

Pitt can have their title in ’76. We got two in what should have been their best era.

The Rough Patch

Again, I’ll concede ground where I can. Since the year 2000, Pitt has actually produced some incredible NFL talent:

  • WR Larry Fitzgerald
  • DB Darrelle Revis
  • RB LeSean McCoy
  • DT Aaron Donald
  • WR Tyler Boyd
  • RB James Conner

I have no problem admitting that the pedigree of Pitt’s NFL talent is pretty impressive. I’ll even admit that Pitt has had its share of shining moments since 2000:

All very impressive. I’ll give credit where credit is due.

However, you wanna know the combined record of the teams that achieved these impossible upsets? It’s 18-19. These wins didn’t happen with teams of destiny on the way to a top-10 finish, these wins occurred because Pitt decided to play spoiler for a few games over the years. Impressive, but kinda inconsequential.

There was also the 2014 Armed Forces Bowl where they gave up a 31-6 lead in the 4th quarter (while also not recovering TWO consecutive Houston onside kicks):

And the 2014 game against Georgia Tech where they fumbled the ball FIVE times in the FIRST QUARTER:

And the game heralded as the “Worst Bowl Game Ever Played” in a year where they were actually ranked:

Not to mention the THREE consecutive appearances in the revered BBVA Compass Bowl from 2011 to 2013:

I think that last one might sting the most. I mean, how consistently mediocre does your program have to be to make the god damn COMPASS BOWL for three years straight. She is beauty, she is grace, she is modern Pitt Panther football.

I realize that Pitt did win the ACC Coastal division this past year (with a 7-5 record, which I guess still counts). But en route to their coveted division title, this display of Pitt’s hard-nosed and fundamental style of football also took place:

Wow, it’s always great beating Akron.

This article might come off as mean or hateful. I really don’t have anything against the University of Pittsburgh itself. I have many friends that are alumni or students, and I do know that it’s actually an incredible school academically. However, the number of times I’ve heard a (quite literally) random “Fuck Penn State” chant from Pitt students at a tailgate/Oakland bar and the number of times I’ve seen the phrase “Joe Knew” really makes me less empathetic. Penn State students really don’t have anything against Pitt other than when you come out of nowhere and act like scumbags or like you matter to us. Somehow, you’ve convinced yourselves we care about you. We don’t. I have a personal connection to the game itself, but as a whole, you’re not even on our radar. In fact, we’re too busy focusing on finally getting over the hump against Ohio State and Michigan, which is a sad, desperate, and hopeless act in itself. So sit down, crack a beer, and find some enjoyment in your impending defeat this Saturday.

Once again, Happy Hate Week.

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