Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ranking Dave Wannstedt's Games as a Pitt Coach

1. 12/1/07 at West Virginia W 13-9- Is there any question that this is number one? Of course not. Just a masterful performance in a sign of things to come in 08 by the Wannstache. And don't forget, the Panthers weren't just playing against the Mountaineers, they were playing against all the referees and Mike Tranghese in one of the most crooked and shady games I've ever seen.
2. 11/28/08 vs. West Virginia W 19-15- Beating your rival is never easy, especially when they are at least as talented as you are (I'd argue probably more talented, at least at the skill positions), and it's especially difficult when they are desperate for revenge after the aforementioned 07 monumental upset.
3. 9/20/08 vs. Iowa W 21-20
- This was one of the most underrated and underappreciated games of Wanny's career. It took me most of the season to realize just how good this Iowa team was. While Shonn Greene had a nice day, he was at least somewhat contained, and certainly didn't kill Pitt.
4. 10/2/08 at South Florida W 26-21
- The Bulls were highly rated at the time, but this win gets downgraded because of how badly the Bulls collapsed at the end of the season. Still, it was a hell of a win and got fans legitimately fired up.
5. 10/20/07 vs. Cincinnati W 24-17
- People forget about this game. Cincy came into Pitt as a ranked squad, and after Wanny's career started off about 0-for-10 against ranked teams, the Panthers pulled off a monster win behind terrible quarterback play and just riding Shady until he couldn't do it anymore. This win gave us a preview of how Wanny visualized his program winning games.
6. 11/1/08 at Notre Dame W 36-33
- Few games caused as much celebration, but let's be honest, Notre Dame was a crappy football team this season. Still, without Billy Stull to at least stabilize the offense, this was a surprising win.
7. 9/2/06 vs. Virginia W 38-13- This game gave a lot of us hope at the time. It doesn't matter that a little later on in the season the Panthers absolutely collapsed. A dominating win over an ACC team is a good win.
8. 11/8/08 vs. Louisville W 41-7
- This was one of the most surprising games of the year. Not surprising because Pitt romped over Louisville, but surprising because Pitt romped over Louisville despite Shady being smothered.
9. 10/18/08 at Navy W 42-21
- This wasn't exactly a sexy win, but with every Pitt fan holding their breath after the 07 debacle agains Navy, it was encouraging to see Pitt control the Navy offensive scheme.
10. 9/1/07 vs. Eastern Michigan W 27-3- In Bill Stull's lone start of the 07 season, Pitt dominated Eastern Michigan to get the season off to a great start until...well you know.
11. 12/6/08 at Connecticut W 34-10
- They more than dominated UConn in the second half, but in all honesty, this was a pretty lousy game because of the terrible first half. If UConn didn't trot out a couple of corposes to play quarterback, this might have been a game.
12. 9/8/06 at Cincinnati W 33-15
- With the Panthers looking like they turned a corner, Pitt dominated the Bearcats to keep the River City Trophy or whatever the hell that thing is called. A win over a bowl team was a big one for Pitt, regardless of what bowl they went to.
13. 10/15/05 vs. South Florida W 31-17
- This game was a nice win for Pitt because the type of speed USF always boasts had long been a problem for Pitt teams. It also continued something of a second half comeback for Pitt.
14. 11/16/06 vs. West Virginia L 45-27- The best loss of Wanny's career. It's pretty sad this comes in as high as 14. Sure they lost by 18, but the talent on that field wasn't even comparable. Wanny gets the bonus points for having a halftime lead thanks to the magic of Darrelle Revis. Pitt losing was next to inevitable, but I think this set the tone for Pitt knowing they could hang with WVU in 2007.
15. 11/12/05 vs. Connecticut W 24-0- Granted this was a bad UConn team, but still, a shutout is a shutout is a shutout.
16. 10/22/05 vs. Syracuse W 34-17- This Syracuse team was god awful, but in 05, we'd take a win any way we could get it. Still, it's hard to get too excited over this one.
17. 9/30/06 vs. Toledo W 45-3- A ho-hum, blowout win over a MAC squad. Hard to get too excited.
18. 9/6/08 vs. Buffalo W 27-16
- After the Week 1 debacle against Bowling Green (see below), it was just nice to get any sort of a win. Buffalo turned out to be a half-decent squad, but the problems Pitt had in this game were very concerning.
19. 10/13/06 at UCF W 52-7
- Blowing the doors off of an undermanned UCF squad, even if it is in Orlando, can only get me so excited.
20. 11/22/08 at Cincinnati L 28-21- As frustrating as this game was, Pitt made pretty decent adjustments to Cincy, and Wanny kept the troops focused and they mounted something of a comeback. Not a bad loss considering Cincy's nice season.
21. 12/31/08 Sun Bowl vs. Oregon State L 3-0- Yeah this game furthered my already serious alcoholism problem, but losing by 3 points to Oregon State is no shame. I mean on one hand the D was a work of art out there. Wanny's decision not to overrule Cavanaugh on some of those terrible play calls definitely docks him big time.
22. 10/7/06 vs. Syracuse W 21-11- Another terrible Syracuse team, another game that was closer than it should have been. This seems to be a theme for Wanny against the Orange for some reason.
23. 9/23/06 vs. Citadel W 51-6- As you'll see, romps over lowly I-AA squads don't inspire me too much.
24. 9/24/05 vs. Youngstown State W 41-0- Ditto.
25. 9/8/07 vs. Grambling State W 34-10
- Ditto, except this score was too close for my taste, hence why it goes last. I'm no fan of playing these schools.
26. 11/3/07 vs. Syracuse W 20-17
- Yet another close Cuse game. This Pitt team wasn't very good with Bostick at the helm, but LaRod went off yet again against the Orange.
27. 10/21/06 vs. Rutgers L 20-10
- Hard to fault Wanny too much for this one, as this was a special, team-of-destiny type of Rutgers team. This was the beginning of the end for the 06 Pitt team, as they came in on the cusp of the Top 25, and never recovered from this close loss.
28. 10/8/05 vs. Cincinnati W 38-20- This Bearcat squad was pretty lousy, and Pitt had every reason to beat them. I can't reward Wanny too much for that.
29. 9/15/07 at Michigan State L 17-13
- Not a terrible coaching job because the quarterbacks were unbelievably terrible after the loss of Billy Stull in the EMU game. This will forever go down as the Kevan Smith game.
30. 9/27/08 at Syracuse W 34-24- This talented Pitt team should have blown the doors off of Syracuse, and instead struggled to beat the Orange, needing a 4th quarter comeback to do the job.
31. 11/17/07 at Rutgers L 20-16- Again, with Greg Schiano pulling the strings on a decent, if not spectacular, Rutgers squad against a badly struggling Pitt team, it's hard to be too upset with Wanny.
32. 9/17/05 at Nebraska L 7-6- The game where I became convinced Greg Lee was never going to be an NFL receiver. He caught a pass downfield and was wide open for a score, and all of a sudden started running a 4.9 40-yard dash and was caught from behind before he could score, costing Pitt the game. Not really a huge blemish on Wanny's record, but this was an incredibly frustrating game to watch.
33. 11/24/07 vs. South Florida L 48-37- I was just impressed Pitt put 37 points on the board against the quick USF defense.
34. 11/25/06 vs. Louisville L 48-24
- This was an excellent Louisville squad, so it's hard to fault the coaching, as Bill Cowher couldn't have got the Panthers to a win in this game. However, I remember this game and remember thinking that the Panthers didn't even bother to show up, despite the 24 point output.
35. 9/16/06 vs. Michigan State L 38-23- The Spartans were just too much team for our Panthers in this game. No shame in that, but it was another example of a Panthers squad that had talent but just couldn't really put it together against good squads like MSU.
36. 10/27/07 at Louisville L 24-17- Another frustrating game in a season full of them for the 07 Panthers. With even mediocre QB play, the Panthers take this game.
37. 11/4/06 at South Florida L 22-12- The Panthers were obliterated by the USF D in this game (just 214 yards total). Completely unimaginative playcalling (imagine that) sank the Panthers as they just couldn't match up with the speed the Bulls brought to the table.
38. 9/30/05 at Rutgers L 37-29- A coming-out party for Rutgers. With Pitt's season on life support, the Panthers didn't even bother showing up for the first half, falling behind 27-0 before making a furious, but fruitless comeback. This is something that continues to happen under Wanny even to this day, and is definitely an alarming trend.
39. 9/3/05 vs. Notre Dame L 42-21- Remember all the hype for this ball game? Wanny's first game as coach, College Game Day was in the house, Tyler Palko and the Panthers were coming off a Big East Championship and a Fiesta Bowl bid...and they get just obliterated by Notre Dame. Complete and total buzz kill.
40. 11/3/05 at Louisville L 42-20
- Pitt's defense got debacled in this one, giving up well over 400 yards of total offense in this one. Michael Bush had just 16 carries but went for 115 yards in a game that the Panthers managed to keep it close, trailing just 22-20 at the half, before getting obliterated the rest of the way.
41. 9/22/07 vs. Connecticut L 34-14- Now we're starting to get to the ugly games. This game wasn't nearly as close as the score indicates, an indicator of just how much of a mess the 07 team became immediately after losing Stull.
42. 9/29/07 at Virginia L 44-14- Virginia got up 30-0 on the Panthers in the first half and coasted to an embarassingly easy win over our Panthers. Wanny's crew didn't show up yet again, an alarming trend that sunk the 07 Panthers.
43. 11/24/05 at West Virginia L 45-13
- To not show up at all against your rival is just embarassing and completely inexcusable. Yes, we all knew that WVU was going to win this one 99 times out of 100 given just how toxic the chemistry on this Panthers team was. I think the statisticians from this game are STILL trying to tabulate the rushing yards for Pat White and Steve Slaton.
44. 10/25/08 vs. Rutgers L 54-34
- The 08 Panthers were starting to chug along, things were looking good, we were hoping we could make a run at the Big East, we had a game against a Rutgers team that was falling apart and... BOOM! Mike Teel turns into Peyton Manning and absolutely toasts Aaron Berry and Jovanni Chappel all day long. Just absurd.
45. 8/30/08 vs. Bowling Green L 27-17- There was a fair amount of excitement for the start of the 2008 Pitt season in mid-August. People were fired up for Shady McCoy, fired up to have (we thought) a competent quarterback, and fired up after the 07 Brawl upset. And they lay an egg against a MAC team they should have run circles around. A very disappointing showing for Pitt and for the Wannstache.
46. 10/10/07 vs. Navy L 48-45- We're officially in the dregs now. This game made me want to pull out a rifle and take aim at Paul Rhoads (by the way Iowa State, congrats on your new head coach...no seriously I look forward to Rhoads putting great game plans together for Oklahoma and Texas Tech and keeping things close and then giving up 50 points to Baylor). Anyway, every half decent team eventually slows down the Navy triple option, yet Pitt could just run over. And this is without mentioning that in OT Matt Cavanaugh, with Pitt almost at the goal line, called a Pat Bostick lob into the end zone on fourth and goal when Navy had spent all day running scared from Shady McCoy.
47. 11/11/06 vs. Connecticut L 46-45- Another game that made me want to throw up all over the place. DJ F-Ing Hernandez turned into Tim Tebow in this game. Hernandez threw for 4 touchdowns and ran for 130 of the Huskies 317 rushing yards. You know how many TD's Hernandez would throw for in his career? 6! You know how many rushing yards he has in his career? 306! They turned him into a receiver this season for god's sake! I'm about to black out...(deep breaths)... okay I'm good.
48. 9/9/05 at Ohio L 16-10- The official worst game in the Dave Wannstedt era! This was not a good MAC team, yet they took Pitt to overtime somehow then Tyler Palko, who clearly had wagered heavily on the Bobcats, tossed a lollipop int that was housed for an OU win. And even better, the only TD of the game for Pitt was LaRod's kick return for a TD! I mean how does something like this happen?


Brian said...

Excellent post. I remember each and every one of these games vividly and you are spot-on with both the descriptions and ranking order.

Jonathan Bryant said...

You are a brave kid sifting through the rubble of 3 years of bad Pitt losses. You're a better man than me. Seriously, though good job. I can't remember some of the lesser games on here, but it all seems about right.