First things first - if anyone tells you this isn't all that bad, they're either lying or grossly misinformed. Take the worst Pitt loss you can think of and then multiply it be about ten ... that's where this game ranks.
Yes, it was a non-conference game. Yes, it was Paul Chryst's first game. Yes, the Panthers suspended six players before the contest. All of those points aside, losing by two touchdowns to an FCS team at home is about as bad as it gets.
Youngstown State beat writer Joe Scalzo mentioned in our Q&A that he thought Youngstown State could beat Pitt maybe once in ten games. That's the understatement of the year and if the two squared off ten times, after watching tonight, how could you feel all that confident that Pitt could even beat them five times?
Starting off, you've got to give the Penguins credit. They came out and pretty much dominated the game. They were clearly the better team and they did what few of us thought they could. Hats off to coach Wolford for getting them ready to play and to the players for buying into what he told them.
And what to say about Paul Chryst?Look, there's no sense in killing the guy. As with any coaching change, you've got to give him time.
Pitt was woefully unprepared for the punch in the mouth they received from the Penguins and there's simply no excuse for it. No one is disputing that Youngstown State is a good team, but to be thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball ... at home ... in a season opener - well, that's just bad. Putting it nicely, Chryst and company have a lot of work to do. And here's the thing - if we're going to kill Todd Graham for winning a fairly close game against Buffalo, how can we sit idly by and not criticize Chryst for jobbing to an FCS squad?
I hate trying to find any good in that awful game, but ... screw it, I'm not even going to try.
To me, this isn't like past years where Pitt's dropped a tough non-conference opener. The Panthers were not only beaten, but soundly defeated at the hands of an FCS team. Typically with non-con losses, I like to talk about how the team can still win the conference and get tot he BCS, but as Greg pointed out in his recap in the immediate aftermath, there's nothing to make you think this team will beat the top teams in the Big East.
The bad news for Pitt is that they have virtually no time to prepare for their next contest on the road at Cincinnati on Thursday. Sure, the Panthers could surprise us but what makes you think the team is going to come out of there with a victory at this point?