A 6-6 record is just what we do: Six takeaways from Pitt’s football season


By Alex Wise / Staff Writer

College football’s regular season is over and — for the fourth time in as many years — Pitt finished the season with an even .500 record. On the bright side, the Panthers showed promise and can now rely on a quarterback with a year of experience and an arsenal of weapons at his disposal. On the downside, we lost to Akron — and LeBron didn’t even play.

But calling the 2014 season “average” or “an underachievement” would be an insult to the style with which Pitt reached its level of mediocrity. So, to prove Pitt’s season was anything but ordinary, here are my season takeaways. There’s one for each win – or, for the “glass half empty” people, one for each loss.

Pitt and Duke Have Established an Annual Shootout

Two hundred twelve. That’s the number of points for which Pitt and Duke have combined during their meetings this year and last. Three points decided both games, with last year’s game landing in Pitt’s favor and this year’s in Duke’s. I think this calls for a clever nickname for the matchup, and, since I’m not clever enough to think of one, I’ll leave it to the public to get creative. My only stipulation is that the name must in some way reference the Big 12 Conference, because the Big 12 is the only place where averaging more than 100 combined points is acceptable.

The Chain of Beats Doesn’t Work

Five. That’s the minimum number of times you’ve tried using the “Chain of Beats” to make Pitt seem better than it is. If you’re not familiar with the Chain of Beats, that’s probably because I just made the name up. Here’s an example: Pitt beat Boston College, and then Boston College beat USC, so Pitt must be better than USC. Made-up studies reveal that fans’ hopes increase by 50 percent when the Chain of Beats is implemented, but these hopes are fictitious creations meant to torture the mind.

For a better example, Pitt beat Virginia Tech after Virginia Tech beat Ohio State, so Pitt must be better than Ohio State. There are two reasons this is illogical. First, it just is. Second …

Pitt Just Can’t Handle Ohio

One. That’s the number of times Pitt has beaten a team from Ohio in my four years at Pitt. That’s one win in five opportunities (six, if you count the Chain of Beats matchup with Ohio State as an opportunity). The only win? Bowling Green in the 2013 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Losses came after facing Cincinnati (twice), Youngstown State (come on) and, most recently, Akron. By the grace of God we’ve managed to evade Toledo and Kent State, two opponents bound by the laws of history to beat Pitt. Unless something turns around soon, our only good memories involving Ohio will be figments of our imagination implanted by the Chain of Beats.

Pitt’s Games vs. Georgia Tech Should Be Shortened By Five Minutes

Fifty. That’s the number of times I shook my head in disgust and “gave up watching” Pitt’s game against Georgia Tech, only to be sucked back in by another fumble or Yellow Jacket touchdown or referee getting stiff-armed by a running back. I truly believe that the beginning of the GT game was the worst five minutes of football I’ve ever witnessed in my 21 years, which is saying something, because I’ve watched a lot of Big Ten football.

On the plus side, however, the remaining 55 minutes of that game were competitive and enjoyable. Therefore, my proposal is this: each time Pitt and Georgia Tech play, the game starts at 0-0 with 10 minutes on the clock. The first five minutes of the game, by rule, don’t exist.

Rushel Shell: Gone and Yes Forgotten

Zero. That’s how much fairness opposing defenses possess when trying to stop James Conner. He’s a massive downhill runner with abnormal strength, which led to him accumulating nearly 1,700 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. At one point during his 263-yard performance against Duke, I was completely convinced that Conner morphed into a rhinoceros and stampeded 11 (this is where the African safari analogy breaks down, because I don’t actually know what rhinoceros stampede over) Blue Devils. Thank the heavens Conner has at least one more year in a Pitt uniform, because he’s the glue of this team.

Chad Voytik Will Be Fine

Two thousand eleven. That’s the number of passing yards that first-year quarterback Chad Voytik threw for. While his stats aren’t through the roof, Voytik showed glimpses of brilliance. While there are a number of things that need improvement, such as his Tyler Boyd Tunnel Vision (patent denied), we all have to admit that we didn’t see his running ability coming. After all, he isn’t exactly built like a track star, but he runs with confidence, power and surprising pace. I don’t want to sound too optimistic, but I think we might have something working here!

As a bonus, Pitt is being rewarded for its 6-6 season with a bowl game. So cozy up to the television with a few Busch Lights, grab a few more Busch Lights when you finished the original few, say a prayer that @FauxPelini lives on, and, as always, never stop hailing.

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