December 1, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst reacts on the sidelines against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the South Florida Bulls 27-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt football coach Paul Chryst bolting for Wisconsin?

When it was announced on Tuesday that Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema would be bolting the Badgers for Arkansas, it created a ripple effect throughout the college football landscape. That effect could go all the way down to the University of Pittsburgh, as Panthers head coach Paul Chryst is likely to be on the short list of successors for Bielema at Wisconsin.

If so, good for Chryst, but it would be another big blow to a Pitt program begging for some consistency from its head coach.

November 24, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst (front) reacts on the sidelines against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Panthers won 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Chryst said Tuesday night he is committed to the Pitt football program, despite the opening at his alma mater.

While it was great to hear Chryst come out and show his commitment to the Panthers, if college football fans know anything, it is that you can’t take coaches at their word.

That’s especially true at Pitt, who has seen four head coaches in three years, a number that could be bumped to six if you count the two interim coaches during the past two bowl games after Dave Wannstedt was fired in 2010 and Todd Graham left last season.

Could Pitt’s third consecutive trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl will be with a third consecutive interim coach?

Call me crazy, but I believe Chryst is really a committed to Pitt and for the Panthers sake, they need him.

He may have only gone 6-6 in his first season, but Chryst got the Panthers to a bowl game and once he starts to get his type of recruits, I feel the results will only get better. The move to the ACC will only help recruiting and while it may not show in wins next season, as Chryst starts getting the right type of players for his system, it won’t be long before Pitt starts to compete in the ACC.

But they can’t do that without Chryst.

Having a coach that is committed to the program means a great deal in terms of recruiting. Having a coach that recruits know will be there for years is even bigger.

When you have a revolving door at head coach it is awfully hard to compete, as we have seen the past three years.

That makes keeping Chryst in Pittsburgh very important.

It would be hard to fault him for leaving for Wisconsin if he were offered the job. The Badgers are in a much better position as a program than the Panthers are right now. But it would be nice to see a coach stick around Pitt for a change. It would be nice for a coach to turn this program into a legitimate one.

That will never happen as long as Pitt is a stepping stone for better coaching opportunities.

Hopefully that is not the case with Chryst. As far as his statements about not having interest in the Wisconsin job and showing commitment to Pitt, those are merely words.

I will believe it when I see it.

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Tags: Paul Chryst Pittsburgh Panthers Football Wisconsin Badgers Football

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