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Pitt? An Unworthy Opponent, but an Opponent None-The-Less.

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Pitt floated to the top of the ACC Coastal toilet bowl.

Pittsburgh v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Dabo’s rant after our soul crushing defeat/victory over USCe has me refocused. I’ve had some fun this year, but now it’s winning time, and I save my best hate for big occasions. Granted, the ACC Championship game this year is a perfunctory warm up for the College Football Playoffs, but I need to stretch my hate muscles so they’re ready to go when it matters.

No offense, Pitt Football, wrong place, wrong time.

Yes Pitt Fans, I’m Aware of What Happened in 2016

You know what’s happened since? Clemson has picked up 2 ACC Championships and a National Championship. As for Pitt, they’ve picked up a 2nd place ribbon from the Pinstripe Bowl and a bunch of free time in December.

I’ll give the Panthers full credit, they knocked off the Champs at home. They caught us sleeping and pulled the upset in ‘16. They parlayed that potentially program changing victory into absolutely nothing. You see, that’s the difference between programs like Clemson and Pitt. Clemson does it year in and year out, inconsequential programs like Pitt pull an upset every few years and ride those wins for as long as they can, because that’s all they have, it’s pathetic really.

Oh, but Pitt stepped up this year and won the Coastal! How can you discount that? I’m fairly certain Pitt fell into a trap. The only way I can explain the Coastal this year is that every team was intentionally trying to lose enough games to avoid Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Pitt was just bad at math and thought no showing the Miami game would get the job done.

Let’s look at what happened when Pitt played teams not intentionally trying to lose.

Penn State walked into Heinz Field, for what was essentially a home game for the Nittany Lions, and beat the Panthers so thoroughly that people actually thought Penn State was a good football team. In reality, we found out later that both, much like the state Pennsylvania in general, were trash. Penn State was just trash off the top of the dumpster and Pitt was the sludge at the bottom.

Next, they thought they could compete with UCF, and got embarrassed 45-15 by a mid-major. If you guys are tired of hearing about how UCF deserves a spot in the CFP, blame Pitt. They had a chance to shut that talk up, but instead, Pitt came in looking more like a mediocre Sun Belt team than a Power 5 team. What did you expect from Pitt football though? They were coming off a loss to North Carolina, who was so bad this year, they fired their coach and are currently using the plot of The Expendables as their new hiring philosophy.

Oh, and if they thought Miami’s downtrodden, mentally broken defense was tough to score on, wait until the get a good look at pissed off Clemson and Brent Venables. Pitt gave up 6 sacks to Miami, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave up 6 sacks in the first quarter to Clemson. The absolute worst thing that could happen to Pitt happened on Thanksgiving weekend, and it wasn’t getting embarrassed by Miami on the field, it was Clemson’s defense getting embarrassed (by our standards) by SCAR. Brent is angry, and when Brent is angry, opposing teams suffer.

Pitt is the first hurdle in Clemson’s road to another National Championship. Unlike 2016, I’m sure they have our full attention. I’m don’t think they’re going to like that much.

Speaking of the ACC Coastal

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more shocking display of mediocrity and ineptitude in my life outside of Columbia, South Carolina. If you told me that every team in the Coastal was coached by Will Muschamp, I would totally believe it.

Let’s take a look at the tire fire that was the ACC Coastal this year.

Miami

Miami was supposed to be the top dog in this division, but in true Mark Richt fashion, they were mauled by a pack of Chihuahuas while they napped on the porch. Oh, but “THE U IS BACK BABY! WE GOT A TURNOVER CHAIN!” Please. The only thing more inauthentic than Miami Hurricane football is the spray tan on the bros that call themselves Hurricane fans.

Sorry ‘Canes, no one is scared of you anymore, Ray Lewis ain’t walkin’ through that door anytime soon.

Virginia Tech

Remember when Justin Fuente was a “home run hire”? Remember when he took Frank Beamer’s left overs and took them to an ACC Championship game and played straight up with Clemson? That sure didn’t last long.

The Hokies have a desperation make-up game scheduled with Marshall this week to try and keep their bowl streak alive. You know, Kansas State brought Bill Snyder back after Ron Prince took the Wildcat’s directly to the bottom after Snyder retired the first time.

I wonder what Frank Beamer is up to these days?

Duke

I don’t know man, maybe David Cutcliffe is a genius. He gets to comfortably coach a college football team that most people on campus don’t even know exists. If you stopped the average Duke student between classes, would he/she even be able to give you directions to the stadium?

Duke will never be good at football because Duke doesn’t care about football. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than both Miami and Virginia Tech caring and still failing. Is it better to be caring and incompetent, or apathetic and incompetent? I’ll leave that up to you guys.

Georgia Tech

Hey, Georgia Tech did a thing this week. Paul Johnson retired and Tech is firmly committed to dragging Yellow Jacket football at least into the 1990s after spending the last decade firmly entrenched in the 70’s. I wish them the best of luck in this endeavor, but this too will end in futility.

Much like Duke students, I’m going to guess that only half of Georgia Tech students realize that Tech has a football team, and only 10% of those folks realize that their football coach just retired. If apathy is poison to a football program, the Georgia Tech fan base is the equivalent of Ricin.

Virginia

Did anyone really think UVA was going to win something meaningful in football? I laughed every time someone brought up the possibility that they would actually win the Coastal. They made it all the way to 23rd in the rankings before running out of luck and finishing the season losing 3 out of their last 4 (props to beating Liberty though).

No team that loses a non-conference game to the Indiana Hoosiers to start the season should ever be considered a contender for anything other than another losing season. I know Syracuse fans are salty because Dino didn’t win ACC Coach of the Year, but UVA fans have a much better argument for Bronco. Dragging the UVA program to a winning season is one of the truly remarkable achievements in football, and should probably be rewarded as such.

I’m sure UVA football super fans Buckley, Pierce, Brooks, Whitaker and Yates will be getting together with their attorneys to craft a sternly written letters to the ACC home office regarding Bronco being snubbed as soon as lacrosse practice is over.

North Carolina

Can we put the “North Carolina is a sleeping giant” narrative to rest, please? Has anyone considered that UNC football isn’t sleeping, but in fact, is actually dead? Did they actually just hire Mack Brown and Greg Robinson or am I still suffering from mild hallucinations after overdosing on tryptophan last week?

Sure, Larry Fedora was a terrible coach, but at least he was a terrible coach from this decade. During the last 4 years of Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas, where he had unlimited resources, he managed to sneak the Longhorns into the final top 25 once (19th in 2012). I know former Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes is an old dude making it work at Tennessee now, but I’m not sure that “former Texas coaches who got run out of Austin for doing less with more and being old” is a hiring strategy that can work more than once.

North Carolina will continue to be North Carolina. At best, they’re a wine and cheese school with a once a decade football flare up. Bringing in a bunch of old dudes isn’t going to change that.

Back to Pittsburgh

I’m not sure any team in college football other than USCe represents its city better than the Pitt Panthers. Pittsburgh is a mediocre city represented by a mediocre football team, and it’s an absolutely perfect fit.

I want you to think of every metropolitan area in the United States, and keep going down the list until you get to Pittsburgh.

Welcome back, I know three hours is a long break, so let me summarize what I’ve covered so far. The Pitt Panthers are a pathetic excuse of a division winning football team, stuck in a pathetic excuse for a division, living in a pathetic excuse for a city.

Oh, I know, someone will bring up Pittsburgh’s renovated and revitalized downtown. Look, just because you gentrify a few blocks, bring in some hipsters, put up some over priced lofts and open up a few 10-dollar-a-latte coffee shops, doesn’t mean you’re important. If that’s all it takes, people would have to consider downtown Greenville a major metropolitan area.

Pittsburgh is still the same run down, gray skied, soot covered abomination, stuck between two fetid and trash filled rivers it’s always been, and a few new yoga studios and juice bars isn’t going to change that. Pittsburgh died with the steel industry, and what you see know is the rotting corpse. People don’t end up in Pittsburgh on purpose. Wide eyed dreamers from rural Ohio and Indiana , yearning for the big city, simply run out of bus money on the way to east coast and decide that Pittsburgh's as good as place as any to eat fried foods and drink cheap beer until the freeing hand of death releases them from their Midwestern hell-on-earth. You don’t go to Pittsburgh to live, you go to Pittsburgh to die, sometimes it just takes a while, and in the meantime you get to walk around in Roethlisberger jersey, brag about hockey (which I’m told is still a sport), watch depressing baseball, and show up once a year to a pro stadium to watch a college team play.

I can think of nothing more depressing than starting your life with hopes, dreams and aspirations and ending up stuck in Pittsburgh. Folks, if you happen to run into one of the 14 Pitt fans planning on attending the ACC Championship game, please, let them know they can escape that death trap of a city. Let them know that there is life outside of empty warehouses and closed down steel mills. Maybe give them some brochures on other, more attractive cites in North Carolina, but whatever you do, please, please, please, please, don’t mention South Carolina. We’ve got enough pasty, bloated, bad tattooed people from Ohio already, we don’t need any from Pennsylvania.

In Conclusion

Pittsburgh isn’t a worthy opponent for Clemson, but they’re somehow the best the ACC Coastal has to offer. My proposal to replace Pitt with UCF in order to get a little stiffer test before the CFP, and at the same time, stop the perpetual whining coming from the commuter school in Orlando was shot down, so we’re stuck with Pitt.

There is no glory in beating a team like Pitt, but it’s something we have to do in order to play more deserving opponents. We only have three more wins to celebrate this season. It’s important that we savor each one and appreciate all that we have at Clemson.

Remember folks, some people are stuck cheering for teams like Pitt.