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Vukovcan: For So Many Reasons, Pitt Needs to Win



The Panther Pitt. -- MIKE SMETANA

The bottom-line is this: Pitt needs to beat Virginia Tech tomorrow.

It’s a simple statement, but it’s so true in many ways. As we’re now a day away from the matchup at Heinz Field, I feel a real excitement that I haven’t felt for a non Pitt-Penn State game in a very long time.

Following the slow start, Pitt fans seem to be back and excited to support this football program. All week, there’s been a push by many people to #PackHeinz and it seems to be working. There are a little under 1,000 tickets available on StubHub for the game, which is an indication that fans will be showing up.

The question is which Pitt team will show up?

If we get the performance we’ve witnessed the last month, there’s a good chance fans can get their travel plans ready for a trip to the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 1 in Charlotte.

Wins over Virginia Tech and either Wake Forest or Miami will lock up a spot for Pitt to play in the ACC Championship Game.

However, as many fans are aware and expressing on various social media outlets, these are the type of situations that Pitt has historically failed in. Fans are excited, something big is on the line and the team lays an egg.

Here’s a comment from a Pitt fan in the Pitt Panthers Fanatics Facebook Group: “I’m sorry, but we just never win games like this. Am I wrong?”

Unfortunately, that fan isn’t wrong and that’s why tomorrow is so important.

Since taking over, Heather Lyke Has worked very hard to instill a new image, a new confidence within the entire athletic department. Jeff Capel and Lance White have the basketball fans excited again, Dan Fisher has taken the volleyball program to new heights, Keith Gavin and the wrestling program have received some excellent commitments and appear to be headed for big things and there’s enthusiasm for the future of the baseball and softball programs.

The football fanbase wants to be excited but whether right or wrong, wants to see results before they fully invest themselves in Pat Narduzzi’s team again.

A win Saturday on Senior Day will go a long way towards the Pitt fans believing in their football program again.

Here’s why beating the Hokies is so important:

• It would get Pitt bowl eligible.

• Pitt would one one win away from winning the Coastal Division and playing in the ACC Championship Game for the first time.

• If they play in the championship game, they will likely be ranked.

• All of the above would help solidify recruiting, which will begin in earnest in December.

• All of that can be used in the off-season to help Pitt sell tickets for 2019, where the Panthers do not have a marquee home game and will need to fill the stands at Heinz Field with their own

• Fans would finally have an off-season to be excited and talk positively about the program instead of being negative, which doesn’t do anyone any good.

The atmosphere should be incredible with first place on the line. A big crowd is anticipated, James Conner will serve as Pitt’s honorary captain, Tony Dorsett will be there, they’re wearing their retro uniforms, it’s Senior Day.

The only thing that’s needed is for Pitt to win a big game in front of their home fans.

It’s just one game but it’s a game that means so much for Pitt football.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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