John Steigerwald: Same old song for Pitt football since Dan Marino left |
John Steigerwald, Columnist

John Steigerwald: Same old song for Pitt football since Dan Marino left

John Steigerwald
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Taysir Mack consoles Shocky Jacques-Louis as time runs out on the Panthers losing to Miami 16-12 Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 at Heinz Field.

Pitt is still Pitt.

There was an opportunity Saturday for a program that has been struggling since Dan Marino left in 1982 to move beyond mediocrity and actually be considered a good team.

But Pitt, being Pitt, managed to play just well enough to lose a homecoming game to a struggling Miami team missing key players on offense and was as beatable as any Hurricanes team in years.

Coach Pat Narduzzi, playing not to lose, as so many Pitt coaches have done for the past 37 years, kicked two field goals from inside the 5-yard line in a 16-12 loss.

You might think a coach, whose work as a defensive coordinator got him his first head coaching job, might show a little more confidence in what has looked like a good defense and gone for touchdowns.

But this is, after all, Pitt, and Pitt plays not to lose.

So Pitt’s record, instead of being 6-2 and 3-1 in the conference, is a mediocre 5-3, 2-2.

And yeah, Pitt’s record is mediocre when you take out guaranteed wins over Delaware and Ohio. That’s 3-2 against legitimate opponents, and that’s mediocre.

And yeah, one of those losses was a close one on the road to undefeated Penn State. But Narduzzi tried and missed a field goal from the 1-yard line in that one, too, and did a nice job of preventing what would have been one of the program’s biggest wins of the past 20 years.

Because Pitt is Pitt.

Almost beating a legitimate Top 10 team and almost losing to Delaware and losing at home to a struggling Miami on homecoming is just so Pitt.

The last four games of the year are against Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Boston College. North Carolina and Boston College are home games. A 3-1 finish would mean an 8-4 record.

Pretty good if you count the guaranteed wins. If you don’t, you get 6-4 against real opponents and you know what that is?

Mediocre. And so Pitt.

Winning the last four would make up for the bad loss to Miami and might mean Pitt is actually, you know, good.

Don’t bet on it. If you’re looking for a safe bet, try 2-2.

After all, we’re talking about Pitt.

• Women’s sports took another hit this week.

June Eastwood, who runs track at Montana, was named Big Sky Conference Female Athlete of the Week.

June’s name used to be Jonathan. June is a biological man. Neither Montana nor the NCAA mentioned that in the news release announcing the award.

Eastwood took a year off to undergo testosterone reduction therapy, which is required by the NCAA. Recent tests have shown that does little to reduce the advantage men have over women in sports.

This could be the beginning of the end of women’s sports as we know them. The Equality Act was unanimously supported by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and, if it becomes law, it would be illegal to prevent men from competing against women in sports.

I’ve tried multiple times to get a response from local Democrat Reps. Mike Doyle and Conor Lamb on their support for the law and where they stand on men competing against women in sports.

Lamb did not respond to my requests for an interview or a statement. Doyle’s assistant sent a two-word response, “Sorry, no.”

It would seem like an issue that, considering the number of their constituents who have daughters competing in sports, deserves a response of more than two words combined from two people who could play a part in changing women’s sports forever.

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John Steigerwald is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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