Safe to say the bowl game didn't go quite as I expected.
I figured Pitt would handle the bowl pretty much the same they did in last year's win. Yeah, not so much.
There's no sense in a long drawn-out recap of the disaster against SMU. The one thing I'll say is that I have a hard time remembering a game when so many things went wrong. Pitt literally couldn't catch a single break, it seemed.
There was the brilliant short kickoff and recovery, which was taken away due to that ridiculous inadvertent whistle. There was the 'almost' Tino Sunseri incomplete pass, which was ruled (correctly, by the way) a fumble - SMU then went in for a touchdown. There was the drive Pitt put together in the second quarter that ended with a Tino Sunseri tipped interception near the goal line. And there was the fake punt that Pitt converted into a first-down run, which was brought back due to a false start.
Everything really went against Pitt, but the thing that can't be ignored is that they were also thoroughly outplayed. It's not as if Pitt had a few breaks go their way that they might have been in the game. The Panthers had no ground attack and because of that, everything was on Tino Sunseri's shoulders. Unfortunately when that's the case, Pitt usually struggles.
So with the end of the bowl season comes the end of Pitt's football season. All I can say is, 'Thank God.'This was a disaster of a season from start to finish. Things started off bad with the inexplicable Iowa loss that's bound to be discussed for years. There was the Homecoming disaster against Utah. And when the team had a small chance of providing a bright spot to a largely bleak season, they blew yet another lead at West Virginia.
At the beginning of the season, Dana Holgorsen immediately made headlines for some activity in a casino. Most of us were pretty convinced that of the two, Pitt had gotten the better man. But as we found out, that was far from the case.
I mentioned this in my open letter to Todd Graham, but not only did he bail on the team in the middle of the night without even speaking to the players, the dude didn't even have the courtesy to win games. Because of that, Pitt finished this year with its first losing season since 2007 ... and at least in that year, 13-9 happened.
Wannstedt was let go because he didn't win the big game or he didn't win enough games ... depending on who you ask. But Graham was supposed to take the program to the next level. Instead, he regressed it several steps. The good news is that since he was only here a year, new head coach Paul Chryst won't be stuck with a lot of players that don't fit his system. The players that were recruited during the Wannstedt era were brought in for a pro-style offense and that's what Chryst will be running. There are a few oddballs that won't quite fit - quarterback Trey Anderson comes to mind.
Anderson was brought in specifically for Graham's offense even though he had no other major offers. But in Chryst's offense, it's hard for me to see him getting a strong look. After what Chryst saw with Sunseri yesterday, I'm sure he's hoping there will be some strong competition for him in the Spring. But someone like Mark Myers is probably better suited for Chryst's offense than Anderson and there's also freshman Chad Voytik to deal with.
As I mentioned in the comments during the BBVA Compass Bowl gamethread, Anderson could stick around just because he likes being in a D-I program, but I don't expect him to play much. If he really wants to play, I think he'll have to transfer.
Pitt is in bad shape, folks - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The good news is that with a good coaching staff and recruiting class coming in, it hopefully won't be too long before things get turned around.
It's hard for me to envision Pitt not being any better than 6-7 even next season.