Pittsburgh Panthers See Field of Dreams Become a Nightmare

Dominic ErricoCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2011

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Tino Sunseri #12 of the Pittsburgh Panthers drops back to pass in front of teammate Dion Lewis #28 during the game against the Miami Hurricanes on September 23, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Head coach Todd Graham preaches, "Speed, speed, speed," to his offense and to the fans of Pitt football.

I'll admit, I think the team bought into the philosophy because the Panthers seemed to blow a 24-3 lead very quickly against Iowa.  The Hawkeyes scored 21 unanswered points to claim victory at Kinnick Stadium.

So much for the "Field of Dreams" it seemed like for most of the game.  It turned into a "Field of Nightmares" by the end.

Coach Graham is sure to catch a lot of heat for not slowing down the pace of the game, and rightfully so.  You have the NCAA's leading rusher, Ray Graham, and yet you're still throwing the ball up by three scores.  You are putting your team's chances on the arm of Tino Sunseri.  Dumb move.

We've seen Pitt blow leads like this before to hated rivals WVU and Cincinnati, so this should seem like an old hat for Pitt fans.

One thing is clear. Sunseri is an awful college quarterback, and the longer Pitt tries to deny that fact, the longer they will inhibit their chances of getting better.  You cannot tell me Trey Anderson doesn't deserve a chance after watching Sunseri struggle in these early games.

You also cannot tell me the "High-Octane" offense Pitt runs isn't killing the defense.  The secondary can't cover anyone to begin with, and when you throw them back out there after a three-and-out by the offense, you start seeing James Vandenberg look like a Heisman candidate.  399 yards?  Seriously?

This is one week after the defense nearly imploded completely to let FCS darling Maine have a chance to steal a win in Pittsburgh.  Warren Smith averages 200 yards a game at the FCS level and the Pitt secondary made him look like an NFL talent. 

You'd think Coach Graham would have learned how to run out a clock after that one, but apparently he hasn't.  I can understand being stubborn to a fault as it is one of my flaws in life, but there's times you need to put your pride aside and do what's best for the team.

Hopefully Pitt can figure it out this week before Notre Dame comes to town.