When you chronically underachieve and fold under the weight of every expectation placed in front of you, it's always a good idea to publicly lob thinly-veiled attacks at the other programs in your league while also providing an excuse to explain your shortcomings.
Unrelated, Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt had some thoughts today:
"You’d like to think you want to play a strong schedule," Wannstedt said. "I don’t mind playing a strong schedule. My only complaint since day one is like, the entire conference, let’s all play Top 25 teams. That’s fine with me or let’s not. The parity in (non-conference schedules) has always been my stance on this thing. The schedules … you’ve got to play them."
Wannstedt made these comments three days removed from playing FCS team New Hampshire.
Yes, Pitt has nationally-ranked Miami on the slate for Thursday and they opened the season traveling to play a tough Utah squad. After that? Florida International and a mediocre Notre Dame team. Based on the teams they have played and will play, Pitt's cumulative schedule ranking is 88th.
Pitt's OOC schedule is perfectly fine. It's a mix of national powers, BCS programs, solid mid-majors and a cupcake (or two). It is not, however, so good that the Panthers can heap scorn on the rest of the league for scheduling soft. Especially when we spent the entire summer hearing about how good Wannstedt's Panthers were going to be this year and have since watched them lose to a non-BCS opponent and do an okay job beating a FCS one.
If, by chance, Wannstedt is including Syracuse in his thoughts when he asks why other Big East teams schedule soft, he can shove that thought right up his ass. Syracuse has routinely put together one of the toughest OOC schedules in the conference year in and year out. And you know what? We suffered for it. For once, we took an easy road in order to build our program back up. One time, we're allowed that. God knows everyone else has no problem doing it.
Just in case we're keeping track, Syracuse scheduled tougher than Pitt last year (36th vs. 40th), 2008 (32nd vs. 46th) and 2006 (14th vs. 45th).
USF has scheduled soft, but at least the Bulls are going out and scheduling Florida, FSU and teams like that now. UConn just traveled to Michigan and recently played Notre Dame. Cincinnati has been playing West Coast teams and Oklahoma routinely. Louisville just did a stint at Oregon State. West Virginia's going to LSU this weekend.
Pretty much everyone except Rutgers has recently or is about to play a top, national program.
So actually, the more I think about it, the more I think Wannstedt's completely talking out of his ass. Pitt doesn't schedule THAT tough. And most of the Big East teams don't schedule THAT soft. The big problem is that we have five OOC slots to fill. You want to play Ohio State and Alabama every week? Be my guest. Enjoy your stay at the Birmingham Bowl, if you're even that lucky. You and your pride can have a great time there. Sadly, no pizza though.