Dave Wannstedt Postmortem
One thing you can say about Wannstedt, his players have always loved him. This link shows the beginning of the press conference when his players joined him. Jason Taylor cried openly when he was fired from the Dolphins. But fact is fact, and as much as rooted as hard as possible for this team and this man, it he wasn't getting it done. The excitement was gone after six years and it seemed as if they same thing doomed this team every season.
2005: The way this thing started is the way it ended...dissapointment. I remember when DW came to Pitt and they were ranked, had a sold out stadium, and were hosting Notre Dame. Pitt got steamrolled, 42-21 to start as season they would finish 5-6 and miss out on a bowl game after making the BCS the year before. Winnable games slipped by as always when they lost to a crappy Ohio MAC team 16-10 in OT, 7-6 at Nebraska (ending on a blocked FG), and losing to a beatable Rutgers team 37-29. Win any of those games, and Pitt finished 6-5 and probably sneaks into a bowl game.
2006:Despite starting 6-2, they would lose 4 straight to finish 6-6 and miss a bowl game. This included losing 38-23 to a Michigan State team they had a 2 TD lead on, 20-10 to a good Rutgers team in a game that blown open by a long Ray Rice TD (they never figured out how to stop the run all year, another reason Paul Rhodes was an overated cheerleader), 22-12 to a mediocre South Florida team, and 46-45 in OT to a UCONN team that they had a 2 TD lead in the second half (DW famously tried to run out the clock by giving the ball to small scatback Larrod Stephens-Howling). They easily should have beaten UCONN and USF to finish 8-4 and get into a bowl game.
2007: They finished 5-7 losing 17-13 to Michigan State in a game they would have won if they could have figured out who the starting QB should have been after Bill Stull got hurt, lost 48-45 to Navy in OT after throwing 2 straight fade patterns to the backup tight end despite Navy's inability to stop the LeSean McCoy off tackle behind first round pick Jeff Otah, lost to Louisville 24-17 when a Shady TD was ruled down at the 1 and he fumbled on the next possesion, lost to Rutgers 20-16 when a clear pass inteference call was missed, and lost to South Flordia 45-38 when they couldn't stop what was really an average offense. Even if they only win 2 or 3 of those games they make a bowl because the pulled off the biggest upset in college football history beating WVU 13-9 to knock them out of the national title game. This was the first time it looked like the PITT d-line would be a force to be reckoned with.
2008: Despite finishing 9-4 and making the first bowl game under DW, all the momentum from WVU game was lost in an opening game home loss to 3 td underdog Bowling Green 27-17 in a game that featured Pitt punting twice from inside the BG 40. They would also lose to an 8-5 Rutgers team 54-34, when for some reason, Pitt could not stop Mike Teel, who sucks, from throwing 6 TDs. The would make the Sun Bowl and lose 3-0 to an Oregon State team without its top 2 playmakers. They would never adjust to not getting Bill Stull enough protection. This was a year they should have easily been 11-2.
2009: Despite getting 10 wins for the first time since Dan Marino wore Pitt colors, this season was a dissapoint for all the missed chances. They would lose 38-31 to NC State in a game they lead by double digits because they failed to adjust to their linebackers getting burnt on every passing play. They would also lose 19-16 to a WVU team that wasn't nearly as good as Pitt but played with more fire. And lets not forget the lost chance at a BCS game when they lost to Cincy at home with a 3 TD lead. This team really should have been 12-1 at worst.
2010: Despite being the prohibitive favorite in the Big East, they continued the pattern of dropping close big games (Utah 27-24, UCONN 30-28) and games they should never have lost (ND 23-17 and UCONN). At Utah to start the year with, what we now know was a severly injured Greg Romeus, and a new starting QB. To lose to ND when they kept falling b/c of shitty cleats and dominated the second half and were up 8 on UCONN before giving up a KO return TD (also killed them in 2009 game against Cincy). This team had a 2 game lead in the Big East with 4 games to play and blew it. They enter the bowl game at 7-5 but really should have won 8 or 9 games easy. The WVU game and the Miami game were total shit the bed jobs.
DW will stay on the staff and hopefully this will help with recruiting down the road but its tough to say that his run was anything but a failure with Pitt not only always failing to live up to expectations but always losing at least 2 games a year they shouldn't have.