26 September 2010
Arrests? Check. Embarrassing loss on national television? Check. Dissention in the locker-room?
At least the players are feeling frustrated as the fans. Now it's up to Wannstedt to rally the troops and focus that frustration on winning football games. This is easily the most adversity Wannstedt has faced since taking the reigns of the program. The first few seasons were abysmal, but hey, we blamed it on Harris. After that, there was steady, if slow, progress. But by now, I think most fans expect Pitt to be somewhere in the national consciousness. Maybe not "national championship contender," but "relevant in the discussion of good teams" would be good. The theme of Walt vs. Stache continued through the weekend:
Look, nobody is expecting multiple national titles. It's just that when you see other Big East coaches achieve massive success so quickly, you wonder if Wannstedt will ever get it done.
Bobby Petrino came from little old Conference USA and led Louisville to a 21-4 record overall, 11-3 in the Big East, with a conference title and a BCS bowl win.
Brian Kelly took over a decent program at Cincinnati — though a lesser one than Wannstedt inherited — and ripped off a three-year record of 33-6 overall, 17-4 in-conference. He made a run at the national title last season.
Rich Rodriguez went 32-5 in his final three years at West Virginia, 17-4 in the league.
Of course, what do all three of those coaches have in common? They've won Big East championships for starters. But they've also moved on to greener pastures. It's too soon to judge Cincinnati, but Louisville fell off the map after some great seasons and WVU, while still a good team, is certainly not the WVU of the Rich Rod era. We all know Dave isn't going anywhere. He bleeds blue and gold and probably the one guy who wouldn't leave if the big money programs came calling. That stability is a great thing and is probably a good selling point to recruits, but how heavy should that loyalty/stability weigh when evaluating him as a coach? As Starkey argues well (!), is there really difference from going to the Insight Bowl vs. the Car Care Bowl?
Yes, there's a lot of season left, but I'm not so sure there's a lot of quality season left. Winning one, maybe two, out of the three big non-conference games was probably the realistic expectation going into the season, but with Notre Dame looking as dreadful as they have, that seems like it'll be a big game in name only. Put it this way: if Pitt wins every game on the rest of their schedule from now until the Brawl, what's the biggest win? At a now 1-3 Notre Dame team? At UConn (who lost to Temple)? That they lost against Miami doesn't really strike me as the point - it's the terrible way they lost to Miami. And while most of the season remains, the next chance for respect isn't until Thanksgiving - and only if WVU can manage to roll through the same mediocre teams as Pitt.
But in order to even have a chance at having a quality season, there need to be major changes. Zeise pretty much sums it up:
The offense was a disaster, starting with the offensive line. I don't know what more can be said other than this - I can't believe there aren't younger guys on this team who couldn't do better than the current starters at several of the spots along this line. They can't be worse. It is impossible. Dave Wannstedt talked about looking at some lineup changes -- like at corner - hopefully if nothing else he is considering giving some competition to the starters and trying to light a fire under them. This is the worst offensive line I've seen at Pitt and here is the scariest thing -- three of the players on it are among the highest rated linemen Pitt has ever recruited.
It is completely and wholly unbelievably that there isn't someone better than Karabin or Gaskins. According to the official roster, there are 17 offensive linemen on the roster (excluding suspended Keith Coleman). You can't tell me that one of those 17 either a) couldn't win an interior job outright; or b) couldn't play comparably with more upside. If there really is no one who can play at least comparably to Gaskins/Karabin, then it's going to be a long few seasons for Pitt.
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