Pitt football's had a tough couple years. They've had injuries, transfers, coaching turnover, and almost every other possible misfortune that could befall a college football program. On the heels of Rushel Shell's decision to transfer, we decided to power rank the Panthers' recent episodes of misery.
If I've left anything out that you feel should be included, feel free to add it in the comments. There's a lot to dig through, here.
8. Bane made a mess of their stadium
7. Recruit commits to Pitt lol nope April fools
Four-star offensive lineman Alex Bookser committed to the Panthers via Twitter on April 1. It was an April fools joke. Many failed to find the humor in the situation.
6. The prolonged reign of Tino Sunseri
Tino Sunseri started 39 straight games for the Panthers from 2010 to 2012. On his better days, he was a decent quarterback, but in between, he was anywhere from maddeningly inconsistent to downright awful. There were games in which it looked like he forgot how to throw a ball, and his decision making was questionable, to be kind. What's even worse is that no one on the roster was good enough to unseat him as the starter.
5. They lost to an FCS team
Pitt lost by two touchdowns to Youngstown State at the beginning of the 2012 season. They're not the first FBS team to lose to an FCS team, but that doesn't make it any less embarrassing.
4. Groundhog Day in Birmingham
The Panthers have had the honor of playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl for three straight years. I've never been to Birmingham, and I'm sure it's a perfectly fine city, but three straight trips to Legion Field is cruel, unusual, and a reasonable excuse to check if you've contracted tetanus.
Pitt RB Ray Graham yesterday: "Any bowl, except Birmingham. Three times in a row. I think they may not even allow us in there." Oh they are.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 2, 2012
3. AIRBHG sets up camp in Pittsburgh
It may not be nearly as bad as Iowa's string of luck with running backs, but Pitt has had problems in recent years with keeping running backs both healthy and on the team.
Dion Lewis left the team after his sophomore season in 2010 to enter the NFL Draft, where he was picked in the fifth round. His career in the NFL has failed to live up to the promise he showed with the Panthers.
After Lewis left, it appeared that the team would be all set with Ray Graham, but he wrecked his knee against UConn, ending his 2011 season.
Graham managed to return healthy for 2012, but hopes for the future of the offense rested on the shoulders of much hyped recruit and Western Pennsylvania native Rushel Shell. Shell showed flashes of his potential during his freshman season in 2012, but has decided to transfer before the 2013 season. That is a bitter pill to swallow to begin with, but making matters worse is the rumor that he's leaving Pitt for Arizona State.
Speaking of which:
2. Todd Graham has family all over, man
After Mike Haywood was fired shortly after Dave Wannstedt was fired, Pitt turned to Todd Graham as its new head coach. Graham was coming off a successful stint at Tulsa, and came to town with a lot of talk about running a "high-octane" offense. Well, as with all things, it didn't last, as Graham skipped town after one season to take the Arizona State job. He informed the team via text message while on his way to Tempe.
Ask a Pitt fan for thoughts on Graham, and strap yourself in for a mind-bending stream of profanity.
1. The brief tenure of Mike Haywood
Before that, Pitt hired Haywood from Miami of Ohio, which seemed at the time to be a perfectly fine hire. However, he was arrested for a domestic disturbance on New Years Eve, and fired on New Years Day, less than three weeks after he took the job. This was a black eye for the university, and an event from which the program is still trying to recover.