No other sports entity in da Burgh disappoints more on a yearly basis than the Pitt Panthers on the gridiron. For yinz illiterate jags, please consider this quote before yinz go and disagree with me: "Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than havin Chuck K come to your house and take the lugnuts off your car at night." I think Chuck Noll said it, but I could be wrong.
Listen, I already know what yinz are thinkin, but you're wrong. The Pirates are never disappointing -- in recent history, anyway -- because any semi-rational asshole doesn't have expectations going into the season for a bunch of overpaid, inept fucks, though Clint Hurdle and his troop of three All-Stars (bout goddamn time) are fast on their way to changin that. On the court, meanwhile, the Panthers are highly disappointing as well, but it ain't time for basketball yet and it's at least suspenseful tryin to guess when Jamie Dixon is going to combust amid one of his sideline rants.
So while college football magazines and analysts throughout the nation will continue to feed you the same friggin shit about Pitt, peggin them somewhere in the bottom part of the Top 25 because they have the on-roster talent but never cease to fuck it up by losing to, like, Middle Tennessee State or some shit by 43 points, Chuck is gonna tell you the real reasons that the Pitt Panthers will and won't (probably won't) have a successful 2011-2012 season.
Why Those Underachieving Fucks Have a Chance
1) Well, they still play in the Big East at least
Simply put, it's nothin short of a freakin miracle -- and quite frankly, a little embarrassing -- that the winner of the Big East is still granted an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game. The NCAA is better off sending somebody from, I don't know, the Sun Belt Conference or anywhere far away from the college football incompetence that radiates from Southwestern Pennsylvania. For Christ's sake, send Gateway or Central Catholic (for yinz non-Pittsburghers, look it up on the internet; I ain't got time to explain all this shit to you) because they couldn't do any worse than the 48-20 ass-pounding that Connecticut got from the Oklahoma Sooners.
I only thank Him in heaven, Art Rooney Sr., for sparing the Panthers of a Big East championship and what would have undoubtedly been a repeat of the 35-7 shitshow that was the 2004-2005 Fiesta Bowl, in which professional wash-up Alex Smith and a bunch of nobodies representing the state that doubles as Mecca for fuckin Mormons put a beat down on Tyler Palko, Darrelle Revis, and Clint Session, and only further proved that Walt Harris smokes pole as a head football coach at the D-1 level.
This painfully long tirade goes to demonstrate, though, just how dreadfully awful the Big East is. So, even though the Panthers probably couldn't beat North Allegheny two times out of three, they have a chance against the feeble collection of 'football teams' making up the conference. If their star players can get off on technicalities for drug possession and aggravated assault, along with the team continuing its yearly trend of pulling out really-shouldn't-be-this-exciting, late-game wins against perennial powerhouses like Maine, then they have a shot at another mildly satisfying but underwhelming 8-5 season.
2) They have a new coach who will at least wait until the middle of the season to get arrested or make some other massive, irreparable blunder
After Athletic Director and free-time rocket scientist Steve Pederson took a quick trial run with Mike Haywood, he brought on board Tulsa coach Todd Graham. Based on Graham's track record, he's kinda like Jaromir Jagr: an offensive whiz, but otherwise a greedy, self-centered knobgobbler. Nevertheless, Graham has impressed me by not committing -- or getting caught, at least -- domestic abuse and sustaining his employment longer than Haywood's intimidating threshold of 17 days.
I think Graham's collected demeanor shows how he will succeed where Haywood would not have. Namely, Graham will at least wait until the Panthers are midway through their season -- at a respectable 5-1, I predict -- before he is found with a dead prostitute in his trunk, robbing a credit union, or having Pat Bostick be his coke mule by running illegal substances across the border in any available orifices. Then, because scandals and bad press somehow make you more valued in college sports (see: Calipari, John), Graham will resign from Pitt only to take the head coaching position at Notre Dame, whose officials are so inspired by his spread offense that they elect him to the Roman Catholic Episcopate as the Bishop of South Bend, Indiana. All of this will later be purchased for a Miramax film starring Robert Downey Jr.
If nothing else, though, Graham will at the very least provide some life to the Pitt football program that was previously headed by nap enthusiast Walt Harris and avid birdwatcher Dave Wannstedt. Now, I will have a source of entertainment to replace the hole left by recently-ended 'Young and the Restless' instead of watching Walt Harris salivate over the endless possibilities of the forward pass and Dave Wannstedt call a punt on third down because he was told that safe play calling would help reduce his health insurance rates. Graham's progressive offensive schemes may actually make use of the versatile personnel that somehow keeps committing to Pitt despite its constant inability to meet team, fan, and national expectations.
3) Uh... did I mention they play in the Big East?
Why None of The Above Matters And They'll Fuck It All Up Again
1) It took two tries to even hire a fuckin coach right
Teams discover they hired the wrong coach all the time. He doesn't have the tact in the locker room, can't adjust his game plan, makes poor personal and financial decisions, texts pictures of his genitals to underage girls -- it just happens.
But that jag Pederson is so bright that he couldn't even keep the goddamn coach long enough to realize he sucked. I guess the whole Haywood ordeal was a blessing in disguise -- like me not bein able to hook up with that chick from Cheerleaders who, you know, later suffered complications related to syphilis -- but how in the hell can we expect anything from this team when it takes them multiple attempts to even get a friggin coach? Mark Nordenberg is doin the best he can to get these jags through rigorous courses like Psych 101, Intro to Massage, and Freshman Seminar, and Pederson just takes his sweet time doin whatever he wants.
When that's a precursor to the season, I go in expecting the worst.
2) The Jabaal Sheard effect
All-American and county jail regular Jabaal Sheard really kicked off the Panthers' season last summer by showing his commitment to excellence. Despite being struck mercilessly with billy clubs by several city police officers, Sheard still managed to hurl a man through the glass door of a South Side art gallery. Not convinced that the job had been completed to what would be coach's satisfaction, he then jumped on top of the man and began beating the life out of him until the police subdued him with pepper spray, which -- I presume -- only worked because it was filled with animal tranquilizer and his coaches used it during drills to tell him, "Good work, kid. Now go hit the showers," when Sheard was unresponsive due to bloodlust.
This off-field dedication marked a wave of similarly proud incidents involving Panther players who chipped in however they could, whether physically assaulting innocent passersby, driving erratically while drunk, or carrying large doses of marijuana in public. In all, the Panthers led the nation in criminal offenses by a D-1 football team, finishing the season with 22 separate cases.
The concern now is two-fold. First, with Pitt being a school rooted in tradition, players will strive to top the legendary feats achieved by Sheard and his teammates. By having non-consensual sex with drunk girls at frat parties, doing lines of cocaine in the bathroom of Peter's Pub, and stabbing random people walking out of "The O," the team can maintain and extend the scope of its off-field success. In the process, however, most of the team will end up in Allegheny County Jail, leaving only the backup kicker, the guy who missed the party but will be sure to show up to the game high on meth, and Pat Bostick, who will still be benched despite repeatedly expressing his willingness to play.
Even worse is this: Pitt was able to overlook that "institution of higher education" nonsense and raise tuition, so that it could provide its criminals with free food, housing, transportation, promiscuous sex, and the answers to their Algebra 1 tests. Yet, even with these accommodations and a roster full of all-pros from the penal leagues, they still couldn't win. Not only is it maddening to watch, it defies the very nature of American college football, i.e., supporting the filthy lifestyle of despicable human beings to make the university piles upon piles of money. If they couldn't win with a roster assembled by Ray Lewis and Satan himself, how are these jags ever gonna win?!
3) This man is the starting quarterback
|Heroin is apparently a growing problem on Pitt's campus|
That said, it's great that Pitt could get one of its own to come in and play for the team. Tino is after all the son of former All-American Pitt LB Sal Sunseri and led Central Catholic to countless high school football championships. Even better, though, would be somebody who wouldn't throw dazzling, tight-spiraled interceptions during the pivotal moments of the football game (for instance, against Utah last year) and who didn't look like he just smoked a pound of goat hair and opiates to get high.
With Graham coming in and opening up the playbook, especially with passing, it's well within the realm of possibility that Sunseri can best last year's stats and rack up 20+ interceptions and complete an astonishingly low 48% of his passes. As I can only assume he has a learning disability, I look for Sunseri to take on the challenge of a new offense and fail miserably, getting easily overwhelmed by his reads and check-downs, and throwing the ball to open pockets of the field that are only occupied by a defensive back of the opposing team because he took a second too long to see if his shoes were tied properly.
4) Gary McGhee attends Pitt
I don't give a shit if he plays basketball; I can't stand this fuckin guy. Listen, the jag's ugly as all sin and his footwork is as quick and smooth as a guy with two peg legs. I saw him at a bar once and tried to walk around him to go to the bathroom -- he got crossed over so bad that he twisted both his ankles. Wherever this guy goes, sports failure will follow.
Well there you have it, jags. Look for the 2011-2012 Panthers football season to be full of excitement, disappointment, and scheduled court hearings. Hell, I'm already depressed.