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October 21, 2011

Obviously there has been plenty written, and by Friday much of it is stale. I’m just trying to catch-up. On many things. I’ve had about 7 hours of sleep over the last couple of days and I’m just trying to make it through today and tonight.

One other note, about my media day. I was stuck in the Philly airport for a good chunk of Wednesday evening waiting for a connecting flight to get me home. My WVU counterpart ended up seated next to Coach Dixon. The universe has quite a sense of humor.

Now one of the big side shows out of Big East Media Day was Rick Pitino — yet again — lashing out at Pitt and Syracuse by choosing the most uncomfortable analogy he could possibly think of using:

“My problem is not them leaving,” he said. “My problem is you did it in 48 hours. Don’t run away with a girl after one date when you’ve been dating someone else for three or four years. You’ve been dating this woman for 30 years, show a little respect.”

That quote didn’t get out the minute he said it — which would seem surprising. But once it was out there, man. My twitter feed exploded with it around 2 or 3 that afternoon. I remember seeing some comment from a media guy who was there when Pitino said it. He said, Pitino was on a roll at the time, and no one really batted an eye at it as being other than a good one-liner — at least until they went back to put things together for the story. Then, well, what else can you say.

Honestly, the bigger piece of his hypocrisy was his rant about the money.

On university priorities and the money grab: “Boston College has one of the premier ADs in the country, in my opinion. I worked with the man at Kentucky. So you can get $2 million more by joining the ACC? Boston College, which probably has an endowment close to a $1 billion, is going to worry about $ 2 million more? How about they only had one championship since joining the ACC in 2005. To me, I would rather win 30-40 championships and be very successful then have $2 million in my pocket. I learned that a long time ago with the Boston Celtics. I had a lot of money in my pocket, but I wasn’t happy.”

This is a coach making somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million dollars to just coach college basketball at Louisville. He took the big money, failed with Boston. Paid to leave on top of it. Got huge money to go to Louisville — and keeps taking those raises — but how can other entities be so greedy?

Pitino has been insanely passionate  to the point of delusional about how he hates to see the Big East break-up. The obvious storyline has been because he is from NY and has a long history with the Big East. He was a Boeheim assistant. A head coach at Providence. Yet, Louisville for at least in the future seems safe. Eventually they will end up in the Big 12. But that is the problem. Rush the Court posted the thing I’ve been thinking, only with, you know, facts and stuff. Pitino doesn’t want to go to the Big 12 when his recruiting ties and base is in the East.

When Louisville leaves the Big East for the Big 12, his recruiting pitch to NYC prospects of playing against all the great northeastern programs (Syracuse, Pitt, Connecticut, Villanova, Georgetown, etc.) and enjoying at least one trip per season back home to play in the mecca, Madison Square Garden, will have to change substantially.  Instead of selling those players on moving south to a basketball-crazy state with the other fringe benefits in mind, he must now convince them that playing Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma (places they’ve likely never visited nor given much thought to) is just as interesting.

When it still seemed that the Big 10 might call on Pitt, Coach Dixon made no secret of his distaste for that possibility. Like Pitino (only less deeply entrenched), Dixon has his recruiting connections almost entirely on the East Coast.

So this does make a lot more sense of Pitino being so excised about the situation. Doesn’t change the fact that he is still a douche.

Now for something uncomfortable. Agreeing with Bob Huggins.

“I think the football guys figured it out when they created the BCS. They generate a lot of money because of that,” he says. “The truth of the matter is we generate more money, it just doesn’t come back to us.”

TV money for regular season college football is huge and a big driver. Don’t, however, shortchange the money that comes to the conferences within the BCS.

The NCAA Tournament gets serious cash. It, however, goes to the NCAA which takes a cut and distributes it much more widely. The BCS system — while flawed and probably likely to take in less cash than a playoff system — controls the money more directly for the conferences and teams. A smaller pie to have to divide and share.

As noted plenty of times, when the questions went to the coaches, it was all about expansiopocolypse. Coach Dixon even had to get his dad to relax about the state of the Big East.

“Even my dad was very upset for a couple of days when I talked to him about this,” said Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, whose father is from the Bronx. “My roots are in the East, so I do know how important the Big East is to a lot of people, especially people who grew up in the East. I understand that. But I’ve settled him down and hopefully I can settle down a few other people. But he’s reflective of a lot of people’s opinions.”

Pitt and Syracuse must pay a $5 million exit fee (now raised to $10 million for any other schools wanting out), and could be forced to remain as Big East members for the next 27 months. As the Big East explores expansion in an effort to rebuild its football conference, the Pitt and Syracuse move could happen sooner.

“We understand the situation we’re in,” Dixon said. “The Big East is trying to add teams. When they get the teams, when they feel comfortable, when it’s in the best interest of the Big East for us to move, that’s when we’ll move … if that’s 27 months, if that’s 12 months, if that’s five months. In no way are we wishing ill will on the Big East. We are prepared to move when the Big East feels it’s the right time. That’s the best way to handle it.”

I continue to go on record as saying, don’t get worked up over the timeframe for Pitt and Syracuse to get out of the Big East. I don’t expect Pitt and Cuse to be playing in the Big East in 2013, but I won’t be surprised if they have to stay for 2012. The 27 month stuff is for negotiations, and even Marinatto knows enough not to tip his hand.

The Big East cannot even consider letting Pitt and Cuse go until they have at least 8 football members playing in a season. Less than 8 members would knock them from BCS AQ status.Given that actual invites haven’t even been issued yet, I find it unlikely that at least two teams that accept will be able to make the move from their old conference to the Big East by next fall. Even an independent like Navy would have difficulty considering the agreements to play football games it has executed.

And if Missouri makes a move to the SEC today or at some point in the next month, then it is likely that WVU and/or Louisville will be in the same boat.

Here’s an actual Media Day story on Pitt — not moving to the ACC stuff — just Pitt basketball.

Up front, senior Nasir Robinson returns as a starter – but he will miss three more weeks with a torn meniscus in his knee. Juniors Talib Zanna and Dante Taylor are expected to take a major step forward this season.

With so many players fighting for spots, practices have been filled with energy and hustle.

“There’s a lot of intensity, like I’ve never experienced before,” Rivers said. “It’s wide open. There are a lot of good players. It’s going to depend on who’s consistent, who listens and who works hard.

“We’re a matchup nightmare. You never know who you’re going to have to play against.”

The key for Pittsburgh could be the arrival of Birch. Originally a class of 2012 recruit, Birch decided to reclassify to 2011 last November and play at Pittsburgh this fall. The 6-foot-9 Canadian was one of the best big men in the high school ranks last season, and will look to make an immediate impact.

“He has a great motor, runs the court really well,” Gibbs said, also mentioning fellow freshman Malcolm Gilbert as an impact player. “We just have to see if he lives up to the hype.”

Pittsburgh will be versatile, deep, talented and hungry this season – a difficult combination for most opponents.

Of course, the Panthers will also be as physical and tough as ever.

“We’re going to play Pitt basketball,” Robinson said.

Nas was at Media Day without any crutches. At this point, I’m betting the only way he misses any games to start the season is if Coach Dixon just decides to let him rest a little longer.

The best quote from Media Day on the future of the Big East — if a little doom and gloomy.

It’ll affect recruiting, too. Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore said he picked the Big East because “I felt like if I went somewhere else I was going to miss out — this is the best league, with the best teams and the best exposure.”

Now, when asked what he would tell high school players facing the same decision, he said, “I might tell them to go to the ACC.”

 





“…I learned that a long time ago with the Boston Celtics. I had a lot of money in my pocket, but I wasn’t happy.”

Coincidentally, they weren’t happy either.

Comment by Cool Hand Nuke 10.21.11 @ 2:50 pm

I can’t believe Pitino said ““Boston College has one of the premier ADs in the country, in my opinion.”

This is the AD that fired his football coach when he interviewed with the NY Jets. Considering how much job jumping Pitino has done in his life, just think how many times he would have been fired.

Chas, one small correction .. Zanna has sophomore eligibility

Comment by wbb 10.21.11 @ 3:49 pm

This is why bad teams should not be on national TV:

link to rumorsandrants.com

Comment by Chuck Morris 10.21.11 @ 4:16 pm

@Chuck

That is exactly why it may not be a bad thing for Pitt to miss out on a bowl with the offense in such bad shape. The WORST thing that could happen is backdoor into a BCS game and get our a$$es handed to us or get 1 first down the entire game.

Comment by Cool Hand Nuke 10.21.11 @ 6:44 pm

A lot of sour grapes. Guys that get caught screwing around should just keep their mouths shut. Didn’t he make some stupid incorrect prediction about UConn after he got crushed in the first round or the tournament last year.

Of course if there were no outrageous opinions blathering would be no fun.

Can’t wait till we just play ball. Too bad we will hear the big east lament during all games this year. The announcers will keep harping on the betrayal.

Why can’t announcers just call the game. Tell us who made the tackle etc. We have to listen to the constant drivel. I counted at least 7 times that it was Ray Graham’s brother that made the tackle. Funny, I don’t remember his name.

Comment by gc 10.21.11 @ 8:08 pm

Chad Voytik on ESPNU now.

Comment by Scott 78 10.21.11 @ 8:32 pm

At least 12 sites say WVU to big 12?

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.21.11 @ 8:56 pm

Ticker on ESPN says Big 12 “will act fast” if Missouri defects.

Comment by Scott 78 10.21.11 @ 9:02 pm

Those cutesy ads with the Big East mascots going to the movies and barbecuing together just seem kinda sad right now. Can’t they find something else to air instead?

Comment by maguro 10.21.11 @ 9:54 pm

I see Voytik should is pretty well used to incompetent receivers .. he’ll fit right in here.

Comment by wbb 10.21.11 @ 10:05 pm

Frank, if true, Syracuse is really giving them a going away a** kicking!!!!

One of the best games I’ve seen a qb play in years, and no, not Geno Smith. Ryan Nassib!!

A real butt whooping of the hoopies.

Comment by Dan 10.21.11 @ 11:18 pm

With Rutgers and WVa both loosing – the BE is now wide open. Hopefully the offense will rally around Sunseri.

Comment by markp 10.22.11 @ 8:06 am

for the 9th sraight season, there will be no undefeated BE team within conference play

Comment by wbb 10.22.11 @ 8:13 am

wbb
Good comment. Voytic will fit in fine. He has no line and poor receivers that run the wrong routes and can’t catch.

Comment by JP 10.22.11 @ 8:17 am

actually Cincy is 1-0 in BE play, and they were ubdefeated in 09 season (by a botched xpoint)

Comment by wbb 10.22.11 @ 8:18 am

A weekend without disappointment—Priceless

Comment by gc 10.22.11 @ 8:49 am

Jp, Voytik shwoed a great arm and good mobility, no doubt, but once again, without good support of the O-line and receivers, you are not scoring much, if at all.

The nation’s 6th ranked QB was shut out last night proving that no QB can do it on his own.

Comment by wbb 10.22.11 @ 9:26 am

After watching a very good Syracuse team take apart WVA, Pitt may have it’s last chance for a win on Wednesday.

Talk about bad karma, so typical for the hoopies to talk about occupying (annoying) Heinz Field while their team is utterly slaughtered on national tv. God love em, they are such great entertainment during our tought times.

Comment by Dan 72 10.22.11 @ 10:41 am

This conference is wide open, lets string a couple of wins together and take this thing.

Comment by alcofan 10.22.11 @ 2:22 pm

Reed, off topic, if there is one, after a rained out golf event I enjoyed the company of Bob Prince, Ray Mansfield and Weeb Ewbank among others. While I was no lightweight when it came to the hard stuff, Prince was in a league by himself. Anyway, it was a battle of heavyweights as Prince and Mansfield tried to outdo each other in story telling. Prince set the record for dropping ef-bombs. A memorable afternoon.

Comment by gc 10.22.11 @ 2:29 pm

Has any watched the Clemson game. Clemson was much like Pitt last year. they ran a pro style offense and had a mediocre reord. They hire Chad Morris (Grahams OC last year at Tulsa) to implement the spread offense. They are up on NC by 59 – 31 and about to go 8 – 0 with wins over Auburn, Va. Tech, Fla.ST., NC today etc. Their qb has 5 td passes. The system works if you have the right qb, good receivers and a decent line. T

Graham need time because Pitt does not have the athletes that they have at Clemson. But thinking that he could win the BE should this year was not a stretch if he was given a pathetic qb and questionable receivers and OL.

Comment by JP 10.22.11 @ 3:16 pm

What was that Ollie said about Syracuse a week or two ago? Muahahahahaha!!!

Comment by Digdug(Formerly Dugdog) 10.22.11 @ 3:43 pm

Well ya this offense(or at least the one Morris & Malzahn run) works. Problem is the pathetic QB is only a junior and this time next year I can already hear TG saying:
“He gives us the best opportunity to win”
I think the pathetic WR’s are only juniors as well.

Yes next year should be real entertaining as well.
NOT !

Comment by EMel 10.22.11 @ 3:50 pm

Is this game even on TV? It isn’t in the South as it would get probably 7 viewers. Losses coming against UCONN, Louisville, Syracuse and WVU. No way no how we go .500 in this terrible conf. ACC will be worse. Ugh.

Comment by upittbaseball 10.22.11 @ 4:15 pm

Transfers:
Myers is an automatic…if what has been said about him is true he MUST leave the Burgh to have a shot at seeing the playing field.
………….and
Sunseri, yep Sunseri. I have the feeling that he is going to be so badly destroyed in the remaining games that he will not want to return. He might be the biggest boo bird target in many years.. Is it fair? No, not entirely because he obviously doesn’t have the ability to play in the offensive system nor does he have an O line that can hold off a pass rush. He will never be a good passer and his feet DON’T FLY!!
Sunseri belongs in a pro type offense on a MAC team or a decent FCS team….he will continue to be crushed at Pitt and could get badly injured.

This leaves a real mess because Pitt has an emergency need to recruit QB’s to put out on the field. To quote Casey Stengel when asked why the first player he drafted for the Mets was “over the hill” Tobie Landrith from the Cubs…”somebody has to catch the ball”.
SOMEBODY HAS TO BE THE QB.

Comment by isnore 10.22.11 @ 5:02 pm

cant wait to be at the stadium wednesday with the 5 other people who show up.

Comment by toga toga toga 10.22.11 @ 5:20 pm

isnore, Sunseri will have to transfer to Duquesne and Myers to John Carroll since they already used up their redshirt years

JP, in addition to Graham’s offesnive coordiantor, they also got Taj Boyd and Sammy Watkins … these guys fit an open style of offense perfectly

Comment by wbb 10.22.11 @ 6:25 pm

Hate to play the “what if” game, but I find myself wondering how much of a difference it would have made had Pitt ponied up the money to get Graham before the Haywood “era”.

How many recruits would have stayed? What different recruits could we have attracted? Etc. I don’t think wins & losses would have changed much this year – unless we got a
Juco qb transfer. Ithik Nova still would have left. Of course, we probably would have had a couple of more transfers out.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 10.22.11 @ 7:29 pm

Comment by wbb 10.22.11 @ 7:47 pm

Did anyone see Todd Graham’s offense on display today? Clemson’s QB is ridiculous. 27-46 for 367 and 5 TDs.

link to scores.espn.go.com

Comment by Cnorwood 10.22.11 @ 10:33 pm

Wow, I’m really started to question how freaking delusional Todd Graham is…must be that George W Texan in him. All of this PR rangling to try and sell people on the end of these season with visualization. When will it stop? Just build it and stop selling…

Todd Graham can talk and visualize all he wants, but the fact of the matter remains:

1) His team is awful
1a) His fanbase has checked out (Same old Pitt)
2) Basketball has started and has our attention (Hail to Pitt)
3) Finishing strong and scarfing a BCS is a joke (Big Least blows and to await an ass whoppin’ from a Wisconsin or Va Tech, no thanks.)

Maybe Todd should take a clue from Steve Jobs. Steve admitted that he was stupid for not fixing his cancer through surgery and treatment; focusing more on ignoring the facts and visualizing that the cancer was not existent and all he needed to do is eat better and believe. On his deathbed, he realized that he was idiot and should have treated it with modern medicine.

Hey Todd, don’t ignore the obvious and stop selling us visualizations about “what it looks like” or simple solutions like “we need to get faster”….

You need a QB, You need LBs, You need discipline, and You need to close out games and actually win big games through preparation and execution. You also need TIME to build it, we get that. Just stop with the selling and the visualiztion crap.

Comment by Pauly P 10.23.11 @ 8:45 am

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