2011 is gone and with the New Year here, I cobbled together a list of things I'd like to see from Pitt in 2012. Feel free to tell me what I missed in the comments section:
10. Women's basketball getting back on track: Okay, I'll admit it - I've not exactly watched a women's game since they were in the tournament a few years ago. Still, they were in a few NCAA tournaments and made a Sweet 16 in recent years. I'd really like to see Agnes Berenato get the program back on track.
9. Seeing more from Tino as a senior: Like it or not, I think Tino's going to be back in 2012. In Chryst's offense, he's definitely a better option than Trey Anderson and even though he's a fellow pro style quarterback, the fact that we didn't see Mark Myers this year spoke volumes to me. And as highly as you may think of Chad Voytik, he's still going to be a true freshman. Unless Pitt picks up a JUCO QB or transfer that can play right away, Chryst is likely going to be relying on Sunseri in 2012.
8. Winning the BBVA Compass Bowl: Sure, it's not the Orange Bowl. Heck, it's not even the Champs Sports Bowl. But it is a bowl and I'll take winning over losing any day. Pitt may be playing a lackluster opponent in a lackluster bowl, but I'll be pulling for them to win just as hard as I would be in the Backyard Brawl.
7. Ashton Gibbs getting drafted: Gibbs has been the model Pitt player and will hopefully be rewarded to come back to improve his game. He's really struggled this year and I'd hate to see him not get taken in the NBA Draft this year. Either way, I think he'll get a look by someone, but it'd be neat to hear his name called on Draft night.
6. Steven Adams making an impact: We keep hearing about the caliber of Jamie Dixon's recruits getting better, but we've not seen it producing much on the court. Dante Taylor's turned into a decent player, but the Khem Birch experiment didn't work out. Here's hoping we have better luck with Steven Adams in 2012.
5. An NCAA Tournament bid: I'm always quick to point this out, but expectations do and should change as seasons go on. With what we've seen from the basketball program recently, I think I'd be content with them even reaching the NCAA's this year. If Pitt starts winning Big East games for some odd reason, that could change. But this is a young team and to expect much more at this point is probably a bit unrealistic.
4. Ray Graham coming back: I wouldn't blame Graham if he bolted since he proved in the few games he played this season that he's NFL material. But the fact is that his draft stock would probably be improved if he came back and if he lined up for Pitt in the fall, my opinion would be much higher.
3. Pitt's football recruiting class staying intact: We saw what happened to last year's class after it was announced Dave Wannstedt wasn't coming back. Todd Graham, for as much as he may be hated now, did a great job in putting together a new class last year after a reported six recruits were left. With big name guys like Rushel Shell and Chad Voytik still committed, it'd be nice to see Chryst hold onto a pretty good class.
2. Paul Chryst getting Pitt to the BCS: Don't tell me about first-year coaches, etc. Dana Holgorsen took over at West Virginia and promptly got the Mountaineers to the BCS. If Ray Graham comes back, I've got high expectations for Pitt football. The program will be leaving for the ACC soon and it'd be nice to get to the BCS before they do.
1. Stability: here's to a lack of coaching changes and drama in 2012. One can dream, anyway, right?