Pitt received some recruiting support from an unlikely booster during a meeting of Northeastern athletes this week.
Syracuse head coach Dino Babers, when speaking to 2,000 players at Lauren’s First & Goal Football Camp at Lafayette College in eastern Pennsylvania, stressed his belief the top athletes from the Northeast should stay home, and that there’s more than enough talent in the region to win a championship instead of playing for schools that recruit nationally.
“I’m not going to turn this into a Syracuse thing. I’m going to turn this into a Northeast thing,” Babers said, according to Syracuse.com. “Why do we have to go down there and give them all the trophies, when we can stay up here and win our own?”
In fact, Babers wants that to happen even if it means attending one of Syracuse’s rivals.
“Go to Pitt,” Babers said. “Did he just say that? Yeah. Go to Pitt. I’d rather see one of those schools do it with people at home than to [see players] run down to Clemson, Alabama or Florida State. You can play your ball right here.”
Pitt and Syracuse are both coming off successful 2018 seasons. The orange won 10 games for the first time since 2001, while Pitt won its first ACC Coastal Division championship.
But the success of the Clemson Tigers, back-to-back national champions, looms over both programs.
A four-point loss to the Tigers in Death Valley on September 29 is the only thing that kept Syracuse out of the ACC Championship Game.
Instead it was Clemson, which dropped Pitt 42-10 in Charlotte to earn a College Football Playoff berth.
While the Orange and Panthers are traditional rivals dating back to their time in the Big East, and even before as independents, Babers sees them as fighting the same fight against their more-successful southern conference-mates.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said. “Whether it’s Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, you name it, you guys get together, stay together and make the Northeast what it’s always been: the beast.”