Archive

Pitt’s road to recovery starts at A&M | TribLIVE.com
News

Pitt’s road to recovery starts at A&M

Editor’s note: This article was revised 5:55 p.m. Sept. 27, 2003, to remove an inappropriate characterization of the ROTC.

Pitt lost a game last week that knocked the Panthers from the ranks of the undefeated.

The 35-31 upset at Toledo did not torpedo Pitt’s season.

That’s a distinction that has apparently been lost on a great many Pitt fans, the ones who have been whining and crying incessantly ever since Sept. 20.

Get over it, already.

There’s a great deal of football yet to be played, and Pitt is still a team that was talented enough and accomplished enough to be recognized as the No. 9 team in the nation prior to getting ambushed at the other end of the Ohio Turnpike.

The Panthers can and will bounce back, beginning this afternoon at Texas A&M.

Pitt wins today because Texas A&M is a team that’s giving up an average of 197.3 rushing yards per game.

Pitt wins today because Texas A&M has managed to amass one more first down than its opponents while playing host to Arkansas State and Utah and losing at Virginia Tech.

Pitt wins today because Texas A&M’s talented quarterback, Reggie McNeal, will be making just his fifth collegiate start. Yes, McNeal beat Oklahoma as a reliever a year ago, but he’s thrown for two touchdowns and been picked off twice in three starting assignments this season.

And Pitt wins today because invading “Aggieland” isn’t nearly the intimidating and monumental challenge it used to be.

Texas A&M went 55-4-1 at Kyle Field in the 1990s.

It also went 3-4 at home in 2002, losing to Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Nebraska and Missouri in the process.

And while Kyle Field remains a place of great tradition, color and pageantry, none of that should matter once the ball is kicked off.

So, they have a dog (Reveille, actually Reveille VII). Is Pitt supposed to be intimidated by Lassie?

So, they have yell practice and yell leaders and a student body that stands as a symbolic 12th man. Should Pitt come unglued because the local ROTC or whatever is making a lot of noise•

So, John David Crow played at A&M and Bear Bryant coached there. They’ll be about as much of a factor today as Mike Ditka and Jock Sutherland.

The Aggies still have to find a way to tackle Brandon Miree and a way to stop Rod Rutherford to Larry Fitzgerald.

The Panthers must bounce back, as the good teams invariably do, but they’ll have the added motivation of revenge on their side as they endeavor to put Toledo behind them.

Texas A&M won, 14-12, last season at Heinz Field.

Pitt will turn that outcome around to the tune of 30-20 today.

And once that’s accomplished, the Panthers will be right back on track.

As upsetting as the Toledo experience proved to be, it’ll be forgotten quickly if Pitt goes on to win at A&M, if Pitt pummels a Notre Dame team that’s worse than any Irish teams that had been coached by Bob Davie, if Virginia Tech is bested for a third straight season and if the Panthers can finally get over the hump against Miami.

It’s November they remember.

Even for teams that lose at Toledo.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.