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July 31, 2012

Considering the Big East just got $20 million from West Virginia, another $5 million from TCU and $5 million more from Pitt and Syracuse as part of their initial money pay to depart, you would think the Big East would have no excuse for repeating last year’s inexcusable screw-up of running out of lobsters in the Big East clambake. But no, for a second straight year the lobsters were gone before the players were done trying to set records.

Pitt, however, finished an embarrassingly bad last place in the unofficial rankings. Only 2 lobsters consumed? Can’t tell you how disappointed I am in this performance.

Thanks to Twitter the results of the Big East Media Poll are already known. Pitt is picked to finish 5th in the conference this year.

  1. Louisville
  2. USF
  3. Rutgers
  4. Cinci
  5. Pitt
  6. UConn
  7. Syracuse
  8. Temple

On the plus side, it will be harder to disappoint expectations with that as the preseason spot.

Pitt is finally trying to get in the blog game. Let’s give them a chance.

While  publicly stating that Pitt is not a lame duck in the Big East (they are), AD Steve Pederson didn’t bother to make the trip to Rhode Island for Big East media days. Why? Because Pitt has no voting privileges in the conference meetings. But remember, Pitt is not a lame duck in the Big East.

“We certainly have enjoyed our time in the Big East Conference, it has been an excellent home for us for a lot of years,” Pederson said. “And I think it is important for us to make sure we put all of our energy and all of our focus into this last year and make sure that we do everything we can to make it our absolute best year ever.”

Oh, yes, Pitt can and should do all it can to win. Doesn’t change the fact that this is a lame duck season in the Big East. Just as 2003 was for Virginia Tech and Miami. And 2004 was for Boston College.





And lobster are the cheapest they have been in years…

Comment by Yeti 07.31.12 @ 8:16 am

At last, we can start actually discussing Pitt football again.

The Big East expectations for Pitt has certainly set the bar low for Chryst in his first year of head coaching. It would be a pleasant surprise to go into our Thursday night game vs Cincy and put a game together like we had against USF last year and surprise a lot of doubters while on national TV. Or, of course, we could lay a big fat egg. It’s all about Tino again this year. It would be fantastic to finally see the light come on for him under the coaching of Paul Chryst. I know Chryst has the rep of being a grade A offensive coordinator, but in his first year of head coaching, if he can transform Sunseri into the Div. I QB that Pitt so dearly needs to raise it’s game, he will forever be endeared to the Pitt Faithful.

Let the games begin!

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.12 @ 8:24 am

Chas…sorry, but your headline should have read…Last Supper for Big East and no miracle to turn a few lobster into thousands…or something like that.
The BE does not care about Pitt and Pitt should not care about the BE.I know I don’t care.
I will be watching Pitt and the ACC in 2012. The BE is history and I suspect the money went into the donut fund for ex commish Marinatto.

Comment by sfpitt 07.31.12 @ 9:26 am

Chas, usually the player reps that go to these types of functions/media days are typically Seniors. I noticed that Aaron Donald is one of the Pitt players. Does that mean he’s a Senior? Is this his last year?

Comment by DobieGillis 07.31.12 @ 9:31 am

I re-watched last year’s Rose Bowl between two very good teams – Wisconsin & Oregon. Chryst called a beautiful game. He mixed the run and the play-action pass very well and kept Oregon off balance. He also utilized the Badgers strengths to offset Oregon’s team speed. With that said, Russell Wilson made some tremendous throws. Throws that I simply have not seen Tino make. What does all of this mean? I have no idea. lol I’m just rambling. I hope Tino (or whoever is QB1) performs fantastic. I am very interested to see how our talent level executes HCPC’s gameplan.

As always, HTP!

Comment by JAM 05 Pitt 07.31.12 @ 9:31 am

another diversion from the troubles of colleeg sports for you

link to triblive.com

Comment by wbb 07.31.12 @ 10:02 am

You can doubt me if you want but i know that are
OL is going to be really good this year.

The runing backs will be a strong point and the TE will be very strong.

the WR will be a ? may be some what ok.

But now the real ? what abought tino if he can hand off and throw short to the TE we have a chance but what could be a good offence could go south if he plays like he has in the past.

The DBs are strong and deep .
The DL is strong but no depth.
The LB are ok but no depth.
So the defence should be good unless there to many player hurt not a lot of depth there.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 10:47 am

Here are my preseason projections:

1. Louisville
2. Pitt
3. Rutgers
4. USF
5. Cincy
6. Syracuse
7. Temple
8. UConn

I think the game to watch is that Pitt-Cincy game September 6th. I know it is a short week for Pitt after the opener, but I think Pitt will have a slight edge having already played a game to shake off the rust. If Pitt wins that game, home games against Rutgers and Louisville give Pitt a great shot to leave the Big East with a championship. I really think that given Chryst’s coaching pedigree, the team will improve as the season goes on, and that early game against Cincy is super crucial, because a road win against a contender puts Pitt in the driver’s seat for the BE title, and a loss makes a bowl game (remember, we need 7 wins this year) a challenge.

Comment by TartanPanther 07.31.12 @ 10:55 am

So are we going to get mike hull(cannonMac) from ups? Sounds likely..any updates after his visit this past weekend?

Comment by yup 07.31.12 @ 10:56 am

1. USF
2. Louisville
3. Cincinnati
4. Rutgers
5. Pitt
6. Syracuse
7. UConn
8. Temple

Comment by Tony C 07.31.12 @ 11:05 am

6-6 maybe 7-5 if Tino can pull out a close game upset

Comment by Tony C 07.31.12 @ 11:08 am

while Lville may have been a strong media pick, to me it just looks like just another year where 4 or 5 teams can win the title.

We beat them at their place without Graham last year and return many of our players. Not saying we will win this year, just saying that weshould certainly be in the hunt.

Comment by wbb 07.31.12 @ 11:11 am

Btw, preseason polls are ridiculous. Don’t waste your time even talking about it. Let’s talk in week 5.

Comment by yup 07.31.12 @ 11:17 am

6-6 or 7-5 coming out of the BE and then into the ACC? We have a lot of work ahead of us this next 18 month boys!

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 07.31.12 @ 11:23 am

WBB-agree, any one of top 5 could win it, and Pitt actually dominated at their place, Pitt was in control at Louisville the whole game
yup-yeah, preseason polls are total BS, but at least its something to talk about after a long summer of depressing scandals

I think 8 wins is probably about where this team ends up. Two surefire wins against I-AA schools, two likely losses against Notre Dame and VA Tech, but Pitt has a shot at everything in the middle, and frankly, I think we can put Buffalo and Temple in the surefire win category too. Pitt just needs 3-3 against Cincy, USF, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, and Louisville. I know four of those are road games, but I think 3-3 or 4-2 in that stretch is doable, and 4-2 against that group gives Pitt a shot at the BE crown.

Comment by TartanPanther 07.31.12 @ 11:29 am

They have trouble managing a conference. What would make you think they could manage the logistics for ordering enough lobsters?

Comment by Pitt it IS 07.31.12 @ 12:26 pm

According to ESPN recruiting, there are several Not Rated players left who have Pitt listed as a possibility. Many are not far from Pitt. Getting a few of these to pan out may overcome not getting the big names who do not always work out.

Comment by Frank 07.31.12 @ 1:11 pm

I wonder if they had enough money to tip the staff after dinner?

Comment by WLAT and The Big Beat 07.31.12 @ 1:41 pm

I always seem to remain optomistic early on. So far so good, Pitt is still undefeated at this point in the season. Lets keep this trend going.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.12 @ 2:02 pm

Chas, Your dissapointment over the number of Lobsters consumed is understandable, but look at the bright sideof things. There will be more lobsters availible for others. The fewer lobsters consumed the better the prospects for the continuation of the species.

Comment by Justinian 07.31.12 @ 2:07 pm

You have little fath Pitt will be 10 and 2 this year 9 and 3 at the worst.
And we will win the big east this year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 3:15 pm

FRANKCAN I love your optimism, but is that maybe a little bit of wishful thinking at this point? I tend to agree more with Tony at 7-6 kind of year. Maybe 8 wins but thats about it. Hope I’m wrong though.

Comment by Timmeh 07.31.12 @ 3:28 pm

Much different frame of mind with the predictions so far this year. Last year had many posters proclaiming that anything less than 10 wins would be a disaster.

Maybe with one part realism and one part better coach, we can shoot for 8, 9 or 10 wins.

Week 2 is a big one… A win there and the fair weather fans will be out…A loss there and the doomsayers will write Paul Chryst off already.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 07.31.12 @ 4:27 pm

Pitt played UC very competitive last season and look for a win this year.

Comment by WLAT and the Big Beat 07.31.12 @ 4:35 pm

Gentlemen, that’s why they play the games. Predictions remain to be seen how accurate they turn out to be.

Lots to keep our interest this year however.
Will Graham be back in form?
do the talented youngsters on defense step it up and prove their mettle?
Can Chryst handle the head coaching job?
Will our offensive line be as good as their potential, or will we be bitten by the injury bug badly again like we we’re last year?
Will Voytik be good enough to see action this year?
Can Shell step right in for the heavy lifting at running back?
And of course the BIG one, can Tino play QB well enough this year that I won’t throw anything at my TV when watching Pitt games?

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.12 @ 5:03 pm

I too am optimistic. I think that this team was built to run a certain system. TG’s system was radically different than DW’s. Last year we took two steps back, this year we take four steps forward to 9 or 10 wins because we will be running the system this team is best suited to run. Bye bye to the goofy “play every 15 seconds” crap; hello again smash mouth football!

Comment by HbgFrank 07.31.12 @ 5:40 pm

Look there were 2 games we should have won last year but TG did not no how to protect a lead he was a bad coach iowa being one of them.

our coach this year is a better coach i know he is
and we have as good or better players this year we
will go 10 and 2 or 9 and 3 may be chryst cant recruit but i am sure he can coach.

even with tino we will over come i just know it.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 5:47 pm

ESPN sez Redd is transferring to USC.

May the flood gates open.

Comment by steve1 07.31.12 @ 5:59 pm

I do see Pitt winning the conference this year with Louisville and Rutgers challenging. The Cincy game would be a good win on the road early in the season.

Comment by gdodson 07.31.12 @ 6:02 pm

It has begun. That rally today at Pedo State didn’t help. And to hear its not fair to punish the players is BS. They still have their scholies. They can still get a good education free of charge. They still get treated as first class citizens and are pampered beyond belief. And they can still transfer anywhere without penalty. If my company covered up crimes, I would be laid off and my company would most likely be out of business. Spoiled little cult zombies.

Comment by TX Panther 07.31.12 @ 6:33 pm

Please TX Panther, give it a rest. penn state will continue to be a viable state university and football program. Yes, they have fans that continue to wear jaded glasses and drink the tainted Paterno Kool Aid, (may he rest in peace??), but back to the issue at hand, lets get down to business, Youngstown State and the rest of the rest of PITT’S football season, please remenber that penn state sucks! Don’t expend so much energy on following their doomed fortunes.

Comment by Dr. Tom 07.31.12 @ 7:01 pm

How about this debate, has B.J Daniels career been more disapointing that Tino’s? When did Teddy Bridgewater become a great qb? Pitt rushed for 200 against the ville without ray, crushed USF, and blew big leads to Iowa,Cincy, and WVU, and had a 4th qt lead against ND. Ok new coach, ? about health, picked in the bottom half of the league come on this league is bad and a return to smash mouth football should turn those L’s into W’s, and who the hell is Flood at Rutgers really

Comment by steve h 07.31.12 @ 7:04 pm

steve h, be honest now, are you Frankcan’s brother?

LOL, but you make good points. The only problem I had was becoming an alcoholic along the way.

Comment by steve1 07.31.12 @ 7:57 pm

when he does decide to write, it’s usually worth reading

link to blogs.sites.post-gazette.com

Comment by wbb 07.31.12 @ 8:10 pm

Steve1 come on brother 10 and 2 last year we should have been at least 8 and 4 and we have a better coach now.
steve h is telling you the truth jump on bord steve 1 10 and 2 it is ok to belive.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 8:34 pm

penn state RB silas redd transfer to USC

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 9:21 pm

I’m drinking the boilermakers, Frank.

ttip ot liah

Comment by steve1 07.31.12 @ 9:29 pm

You are a good man steve1 drink up down the hatch

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 9:51 pm

Well Doc I’m afraid Pitt will suck with Tino at quarterback. However, my wish is that Penn State sucks more. As of now, its a coin flip.

Comment by TX Panther 07.31.12 @ 9:52 pm

TX Panther fear not Pitt will be 10 and 2 this year even with tino.
But not becuse of tino but becuse of the coach i dont think are coach can recruit but he can coach
and he will take us to a big east title this year have faith.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.31.12 @ 10:19 pm

I was back in the Burg for the Cincinnati game last year and watched the late meltdown and loss. Clearly there was bad coaching. However it also seemed that Tino may not have been able to manage success to conclusion. Coach C. will take care of the first problem. If Tino can get it coach C. will help him take care of the 2nd. If memory serves there were a few meltdown late losses in DW’s last year(s?). I don’t want to dump too much on a 23 year old kid but our coach seems to have a challenge ahead of him this year.

Comment by opfim 07.31.12 @ 10:40 pm

10-2 at this point is wishful thinking. Sure we lost 4 games by a combined 11 points but they still were losses no matter how you look at it. Better coaching this year? We have a first year coach. More fitting system? We only won 8 games in the pro style two years ago. Three headed rushing attack? One acl injury, one freshmen, and another not a proven runner (I’m not taking into account the spring). Qb better suited for the offense? We have Tino Sunseri. Better o-line? Anything will be better than 69 sacks.

We have our third real head coach in 3 years. Growing pains should be expected. Expect 7/8 wins.

Comment by Timmeh 08.01.12 @ 7:04 am

opfim, if you look at the stats from the last 2 years, you will note that Pitt was much more productive in the 4th quarter than their opponents in 2010, while just the opposite occurred last year. Coaching, Tino, conditioning, … ?

Comment by wbb 08.01.12 @ 7:47 am

my guess is that our power attack might wear down some defenses this coming season, while last year it was our OL that wore down later in games due to the constant running to the ball and snapping the ball quickly

Comment by wbb 08.01.12 @ 7:51 am

UCONN won this league with one running back and a decent O-line THE BIG EAST WHERE CRAPPY TEAMS COME TO MAKE ALL THEIR DREAMS COME TRUE! So why not 9-10 wins for Pitt

Comment by steve h 08.01.12 @ 9:07 am

Im in the 9-3 or 8-4 camp at worst. I really do think we have the talent and potentially have a talented coach as well.

Comment by Pitt it IS 08.01.12 @ 9:14 am

The OL wore down????? Our OL was wiped out by injuries as well last year. Jacobson out for the season, Nix nicked up and out for many weeks,Schlieper broken ankle and Turnley playing with two bad wheels. And just for good measure, all the replacements that were thrown in to fill the gaps lacking experience. And that is not even considering the coaching or blocking schemes.

That’s the bad news, the good news is Jacobson comes back for a sixth year and all those guys that got tested by fire last year are now ready to step into their respective positions and back into the pro style type of offense that they were recruited for in the first place.

What was a weakness, at least on paper, now looks like a forte. The key variable, can everybody stay healthy so the first string unit gets a chance to gel under the new offensive coaching system?

This team could really dictate the tempo of games if that happens, especially if Shell can step in and contribute right out of the gate.

Shell is this years wild card, if he is actually as good as advertised at the college level, I say use him right away.

The main reason for that is if he is the real deal he is going to be gone after his Junior year, irrespective if he gets redshirted this season or not. Remember, he’s got two twin infant daughters to support as soon as he can. And that will be in three years when he splits for the NFL.

I would love to see some smash mouth running game get going for Pitt, utilizing two or even three fresh running backs carrying the rock for us and just grinding it out to the dismay of the opposing defenses who find themselves powerless to stop them.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.01.12 @ 9:15 am

Here is my 9-3 or maybe 8-4

Youngstown State (W)
Cincinnati (W)
Virginia Tech (L)
Gardner-Webb(W)
Syracuse(W)
Louisville (W)(L)
Buffalo(L)
Temple (W)
Notre Dame (L)
Connecticut (W)
Rutgers (W)

I really see us having solid position players except for QB. Tiny will either flourish in short to mid range passes or he will continue his ways. He is completely a 50/50 player. The other question mark I see is Harper. He had a terrible year last season and needs to step it up. Anyone see his video to the right? Maybe if we replace his helmet with a garbage can or let him dress like a hoopie, he would be more accurate.

Comment by Pitt it IS 08.01.12 @ 9:23 am

Forgot USF…(W)

Comment by Pitt it IS 08.01.12 @ 9:24 am

@timmeh–I agree, 10-2 at this point is wishful thinking.

On the upside, it should be easier to go back to the pre-Graham system than it was to go the Graham system simply because it really isn’t something totally new this time around and likely still fits the overall roster makeup better. So, the system adjustment should not be as hard. Also, since overall roster talent should be more or less at the same level (graduation losses and the one true weak recruiting year (2011) offset to a degree by the addition of a handful of quality eligible transfers). Add to that the fact that the schedule is weaker than last year. All these things should translate into more wins than last year’s six (6).

The downside, as you correctly point out, is that we have no idea whether Chryst will turn out to be a good head coach–since he has never been a head coach. Also, Tino Sunseri has yet to prove he can QB at a high enough level in any system. Further, we have no idea how Ray Graham will be upon return from his ACL injury.

All in all, your 7-8 wins prediction seems quite reasonable. I might stretch it to 7-9 wins and wouldn’t totally rule out 10 wins if injuries (particularly to thin position areas), can be avoided, Ray Graham returns 100% and Coach Chryst and staff prove to be at least as basically competent with the x’s and o’s as Dave Wannstadt’s staff had been.

Comment by pitt1972 08.01.12 @ 9:34 am

Having coached for several years, we just never bought into the Fraud Graham scheme. I think our players saw right through him. I would consider last an annomily.
I would like to have seen Tino’s progression if he had another year in the power o. Tino definitely as potential to manage a game he must develop consistency. I think this is the yer he can do that especially with a good QB coach.

Comment by DJS 08.01.12 @ 9:45 am

@Pitt it IS, am I unaware of some secret weapon that Buffalo has going for them this year or is that Pitt loss just the game Pitt loses this year that they are not suppose to lose? Seems like there is one every season.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.01.12 @ 10:57 am

The only way Pitt loses to Buffalo is if they get poisened wings from the Anchor Bar the night before. Rooties or Duffs wings would be the better choice. Buffalo Brew Pub isn’t bad either.

Comment by TX Panther 08.01.12 @ 11:26 am

wbb, thanks for the clarification. I guess memory didn’t serve in this case. Would you go so far as to say this is a reason for optimism regarding Tino this year?

Comment by opfim 08.01.12 @ 9:33 pm

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