Each Thursday during the college football season former Pitt head football coach and Panther Rants college football analyst Serafino "Foge" Fazio will give his breakdown of the Panthers and all things happening in the world of college football. Coach Fazio refused to take part until the season really began and Panther Rants could not convince him that Eastern Michigan and Grambling were games that really did count, hence this is the coach's first telepathic installment.
Finally, the season is here and the Panthers will open up with the mighty men of Sparta. It's never easy to open on the road, but at least coach Wannstedt has two scrimmages under his belt. The only time one of my teams opened on the road, we won at Tennessee. That was 1983, the last time Pitt earned a trip to a major bowl game (Fiesta Bowl) on merit rather than the ineptitude of other teams. We lost that Fiesta Bowl by five to Ohio State, a damn site better than being beaten nearly to death by a mid major.
That season probably also marked the beginning of the current era of bed shitting at Pitt. But it was also my second and last good season as Pitt's head coach. I pioneered bed shitting at the school an 8-12-2 record over the next two seasons in spite of having some pretty damn good talent.
But that 83 season was something. We won at Tennessee, at Notre Dame, beat Syracuse and got screwed into a tie with Joe Paterno's team. Our only two losses during the regular season were at Maryland and at West Virginia in consecutive weeks by a collective nine points. For you youngsters out there, I want to give you a breakdown of where our fine tradition of bed shitting started.
West Virginia that season was 9-3 under Jeff Hostetler's father in law. We were the only reputable win the rednecks had that season. The other eight victories were Ohio, Pacific, Maryland, Boston College, Virginia Tech (before they were good), Temple and Rutgers (again, way before they were good). Bobby Ross' Maryland team was the ACC champion that year, but did it with an equally unimpressive collection of 8 wins that season. Plus, c'mon, it's the ACC championship which is kind of akin to winning the special olympics ... how little times have changed.
That season, unquestionably, started Pitt's only true and enduring tradition. Over the years its been kept up and even built upon by the fine coaches who followed me. Wannstedt and this Pitt team can take a step in the direction of undoing this tradition with a win on Saturday, which of course means it won't happen.
This wouldn't be a bed-shitting loss for Pitt. Pitt is the underdog by all counts. But Michigan State isn't so good that it's inconceivable that Pitt could win. Still, a victory here over MSU with an injured and young team would be way too positive so it won't happen: MSU 38, Pitt 17.
* Why all the talk about the greatness of Penn State this season? So far it's beaten Florida International and Notre Dame and should handle Buffalo on Saturday. Can anyone say without a doubt in their mind which one of those teams is the best of the bunch?
* Fatty Weis is getting a pass this year. Why? He won the past two seasons with recruits brought in by Ty Willingham. Why hasn't the genius been able to just reload? He's had outstanding recruiting classes judging by the rankings. Maybe he's being given a pass where Willingham wasn't due to a difference in skin pigmentation?
* Al Groh is by all mean on the hot seat at Virginia. If you want some flavor on what the Hoo faithful think about Groh, check out
* Michigan ... Bo must look like a rotisserie corpse he's been turning so much.
* Why were pollsters more impressed by South Carolina beating Georgia than they were USF beating Auburn?
I'm off to collect my shmuffins ... Foge, out!