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December 23, 2013

Bowling Green Returns

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 9:03 pm

It’s been over five years since Bowling Green upset Pitt to start the 2008 season. Yet some of us still remember that loss vividly. Quite a set of bookends to what otherwise should have been a very positive year. Start with a loss to Bowling Green at home. End with a 3-0 shutout in El Paso. 9-2 in between. Amazing how easy it is to forget that 9-2 part.

For Bowling Green, this is also a return to Ford Field, where they upset Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship — and cost the MAC a lot of cash by knocking NIU from an at-large BCS spot.

So far Bowling Green has sold roughly 7,500 tickets for the bowl game, and the Falcon players said they hope a large crowd of BG fans will have the same effect it had two weeks ago.

“The first drive of the MAC championship game, the D-line couldn’t hear my calls,” Lynch said. “It was a mess that first drive; it’s loud in there.”

Goble confirmed Lynch’s words, adding, “I messed up a call because I couldn’t hear what the linebackers were saying. We didn’t need to bring any ‘juice’ to that game.

“And it was exciting to see all the orange. In fact, that will be one of my favorite football memories: Being able to go up to the stands and [interact] with fans that were leaning over the brick walls.”

Not sure what Pitt’s ticket sales are doing at this point, but I’m guessing Bowling Green might have a slight edge in crowd.

This year, it isn’t Pitt that is in chaos — despite what you might think about recent recruiting misses and the “resignation” of the Strength & Conditioning Coach. Bowling Green is the one who has lost their head coach to Wake Forest.

Dave Clawson is already gone, as are a couple other coaches. Some coaches are staying with the team, but will leave after the Little Caesars Bowl to join him. Others are trying to find new work. How much this matters is debatable. It isn’t like Pitt after Fraud left and most of the staff left with him. And it isn’t like the players are trying to send a message to the school administration because the coach was fired.

They have a new coach who will take over after the bowl game. Certainly some BGSU players will look to impress their future coach.

The interim head coach, Adam Scheier, was the Falcons Tight Ends and Special Teams Coach. What’s that? A position coach actually with the responsibility of preparing special teams as well? Neat.

One of the big themes coming into the game involves Bowling Green players who Pitt may have showed some interest in recruiting, or that players wanted Pitt to recruit them. It starts with their quarterback Matt Johnson.

Johnson’s height (6 feet) scared away many bigger schools, including Pitt. It left him down to Temple and Bowling Green, with the Harrisburg native choosing the Falcons.

It now has the redshirt sophomore set to square off against the state school that passed on him, as Bowling Green will face Pitt in Thursday’s Little Caesars Bowl. Johnson hid little with that matchup on the horizon, tweeting his hopes to play Pitt in the hours before the game became official.

Johnson has no ill will toward the current Pitt staff, which is in its second year there. He counts several Panthers players as friends and high school peers. But this game is a chance for him to deliver another signature performance against a BCS-conference opponent, and it just happens to be in Detroit, where he left a huge impression earlier this month.

He’s not the only player looking to make sure Pitt remembers him now.

The BG player who knows the Panthers best could be freshman tackle Logan Dietz, a Pittsburgh Central Catholic grad.

“My high school is basically on Pitt’s campus, so I know the area well,” he said. “I have a lot of friends — both on the team and who don’t play football — who go to school there.

“It’s really exciting to play a team I grew up watching.”

Junior defensive end Bryan Thomas also knows the Panthers well: He grew up 20 minutes from Pittsburgh in Washington, Pa. He said Pitt recruited him while Dave Wannstedt was the head coach, but after Wannstedt was fired the school’s interest waned.

“I went to a couple of their camps, but when coach Wannstedt left [the interest] died down,” Thomas said. “But I wanted to go away from home, switch things up and try something new.

“I’m going to have some extra ‘juice’ for the game because that’s my hometown team.”

Pitt is the underdog, but hey, at least one preview is willing to call for the upset.

Thanks Chas – as always!

I just started looking forward to Thursday for the first time.

Comment by htp123 12.23.13 @ 9:58 pm

Pitt has only two viable options regarding the final outcome of this bowl game;
1- Victory
2- Not losing

I much prefer the vibe of the 1st option, lots more positive energy! Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.23.13 @ 10:13 pm

BG has some pretty impressive rankings.

Team Offense #23 472 YPG
PITT #102 352 YPG (thought we had the offensive guru)

Rushing Offense BG #26 207YPG
PITT #112 115YPG O-line <

Passing Offense BG #35 265 YPG
PITT # 61 237 YPG

Surprisingly BG has a highly ranked defense as well.

Total Defense BG #8 308 YPG
PITT #42 374 YPG

Rushing Defense BG #35 142 ypg
PITT #59 161 ypg

**Scoring Defense BG #5 15 ppg
PITT # 70 27 ppg

***Redzone Defense BG #2
PITT # 117 ***

Pass Sacks Allowed: BG #101
PITT # 118

On paper looks like a rout, although PITT has apparently played a tougher schedule, by perception at least.

We do have one clear advantage, I suppose. BG's Head Coach won't be coaching at the Pizza Bowl.
Chryst is. Advantage for Pitt ?

Comment by Emel 12.23.13 @ 11:26 pm

Glad that SI writer picked us, however if his picking ability is anything like this, we’re in trouble, lol.

• Did you know: Nine teams played bowl games following head coach departures in 2012, and those squads finished 4-5. (Arkansas State, Cincinnati, San Jose State and Texas Tech won; NC State, Northern Illinois, Purdue, Western Kentucky and Wisconsin lost.) Though Paul Chryst is currently finishing his third year at Pitt, the Panthers are familiar with the upheaval of a coaching change. They won their bowl game in ’10 after Dave Wannstedt resigned, but they lost in ’11 after Todd Graham bolted for Arizona State.

See anything wrong in there ?

Comment by Emel 12.23.13 @ 11:33 pm

The interim HC has quite the education.

Scheier earned a bachelors degree in psychology at Dartmouth and a masters in education at Columbia.

Oy Vey ! A real Ivy Leaguer.

Comment by Emel 12.23.13 @ 11:37 pm

Double Yoy !

Scheier is in his fifth season at Bowling Green, previously serving as special teams coordinator while overseeing tight ends. Scheier’s special teams units have been among the best in the Mid-American Conference — blocking 16 kicks while returning three kicks and four punts for touchdowns — during his tenure.

Read more here: link to

Did they mention ‘Special Teams’. !@#$%?$^%&&**

Comment by Emel 12.23.13 @ 11:42 pm

Maybe we can find a new coach while playing bowling green.

Merry Christmas to all!

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.23.13 @ 11:59 pm

Emel, please, “PITT has apparently played a tougher schedule” (in comparing strength of schedule with BGSU), by perception at least”.

Get real, if this was a BB game and we were comparing RPIs, Bowling Green’s wouldn’t even be in the same solar system as Pitt’s. The only significant win BGSU has this year is their solid victory against NIU for the MAC Championship. But then look closer at NIU’s schedule, that in itself was suspect with only a squeaker win against a mediocre Iowa team in the first game of the season. That’s it for NIU as far as a trophy victory this season. I’m thinking that NIU was probably overrated all season long and simply got exposed by a good Bowling Green team when the MAC Championship was on the line.

I appreciate the stats that BGSU has produced this year, no disrespect intended, but for you to utilize those numbers as a point of reference demonstrating their fortes as they relate to the comparable numbers by the Panthers is ludicrous.

Notre Dame, Miami and FSU are all light years beyond anybody that either BGSU or NIU have played this season. Then if you look deeper into the meat of both teams schedules there is little comparision there either.

Bowling Green’s schedule was loaded with a majority of teams that fall into the same class as our victories over a bad Virginia team and Old Dominion University. It is a whole lot easier to produce those kind of numbers against that level of competition than against the likes of the #1 team in the nation, don’t you think?

No doubt, this Bowling Green team is going to be a challenge for the Panthers, but I think that Pitt should kick their ass, if they come prepared to play. I’m predicting a huge game for AD, it would only be fitting, considering the accolades that he’s received over the last couple of weeks.

However, there is no way to rationalize this contest in an attempt to soften the blow to Pitt in defeat, if it occurs. This is a must win game, there are no other acceptable options for this team, if in fact they are on the upswing, as I personally think that they are.

Hail to Pitt. Beat Bowling Green, it is the only acceptable option.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 12:33 am

Wow our redone defense sucks. I’m about to jump back on the Fire Matt house bandwagon.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.24.13 @ 12:36 am

I hope
(1) Street is healthy because after 3 weeks study, I’m sure BG recognizes what our biggest threat is and will double-team him
(2) Garner gets a lot of action since I thougth he was underused for much of the year
(3) we can get a run game going since this is always important for Pitt to succeed
(4) we get some gift turnovers as I fear the defense is in for a tough nite
(5) see No. 1 above … same goes for Donald, hope the others on defense can rally around him

Comment by wbb 12.24.13 @ 7:55 am

@ Emel, if you’re going to crunch those numbers that you listed above, then include these numbers below into the equation, to qualify them.

Bowling Greens opponent’s records.
Tulsa 3-9
Kent State 4-8
Indiana 5-7
Murray State 6-6
Akron 5-7
U Mass 1-11
Miss. St. 6-6
Toledo 7-5
Miami (Oh) 0-12
E. Mich. 2-10
Buffalo 8-5
NIU 12-1

Only four teams with winning seasons and then at the other end of the spectrum, four teams that couldn’t put together a season with more than 3 wins. All of a sudden Bowling Greens stats don’t look so shiney do they?

If Pitt lets these guys beat them, IMO, we have some major internal issues with this team’s self image and coaching staff. Come on, Pitt is not only representing it’s own university but also the ACC. I think that it is time to ante up and start showing everybody that Pitt is playing big boy football in a major conference and shouldn’t be disrespected like these bowl predictions are inferring for crying out loud. Where the hell is the Panther Pride in this team? One MAC site even predicts a 12 point win by Bowling Green, no respect given to the Panthers!

Hail to fu*king Pitt. Just go out and win a GD football game on Friday will ya?

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 7:55 am

Or better yet, on Thursday

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 8:04 am

@Dr Tom



Comment by pmdH2P 12.24.13 @ 8:11 am

This game is going to be made or broken by the defense-I hope there is plenty of leftover eggnog

Comment by John 12.24.13 @ 8:12 am

At least the season will be over on Friday.

No braggin rights on this one.

Play for Pride.

Let’s go Pitt!

Comment by gc 12.24.13 @ 8:56 am

Ys, Pitt has played a tougher schedule so the offensive and defensive statistical comparison is indeed not valid. On the other hand, Sagarin’s computer which factors in strength of schedule disparities, still predicts we should lose and by about 9 (double what the Vegas odds predict). The Sagarin ratings prediction, of course, is based on each team’s average performance over the entire season and does not reflect whatever effect BG’s head coach moving on may have. But, their coach moving on may be why Vegas thinks it will be closer than Sagarin’s computer predicts since, ordinarily, the Vegas prediction is usually very close to what Sagarin’s computer predicts. They are usually within 1-2 points of each other.

Can Pitt win this game? Of course they can. But, it will mean playing one of their better games of the season. Because, it will re1quire an upset, since BG is, sad to say, an overall better team.

Comment by pitt1972 12.24.13 @ 9:00 am

Where is the SID? I’ve seen the TV news the past couple days and NO mention of the bowl game.

Comment by alcofan 12.24.13 @ 9:00 am

Agree alcofan agree.

Comment by pittbluegold 12.24.13 @ 9:30 am

Great…they’ve sold 7,500 tickets…and we’ll sell like 1,500….who’s the BCS conference representative??????

Comment by Keith 12.24.13 @ 9:34 am

I am imagining Pitt having difficulty stopping BG, and probably giving up a special teams TD, falling behind early and having to pass, resulting in multiple sacks of Savage.

Sound like a familiar scenario? That’s who this team is. It’ll probably be close in the end, because one of the most positive aspects of this team is its resiliency, which I attribute to Savage. Maybe BG’s prep is affected by their coach departing. Crowd advantage to them. I’ll say 35-31 BG.

The top teams in the MAC are equivalent to mid-level teams in the power conferences, i.e. what Pitt is (at best), meaning they are fully capable of playing with any fair to middling team. The best point of reference? BG lost to Toledo by 3; Toledo beat Navy in OT. Navy beat us by 3. We are…on the same tier as Navy, BG, and Toledo. Yes we are.

Comment by Iron Duke 12.24.13 @ 10:01 am

Keith, wouldn’t be surprised if the excitement of the respective fan bases is mirrored by the teams. BG has more reason to be excited about this game than Pitt. They finished on an upswing, we decidedly did not. They want to prove their worth vs. and ACC team, we simply don’t want to embarrass vs. a MAC team.

Or it could just be that BG is an easy hour and change drive from downtown Motor City, and no Pitt fan wants to be in Detroit the day after Christmas. I just got depressed thinking about it.

Comment by Iron Duke 12.24.13 @ 10:08 am

Face it Pitt is better suited for the MAC than they are for the ACC. They couldn’t win the lousy Big East and they will never win the mediocre ACC so the MAC is a better fit.

Comment by Chick 12.24.13 @ 10:38 am

The hire of are new strength coach will tell us a
if it is some asst strength all ready on staff it
will mean it was a cheap hire and they just want
to get bye.
but if it some one new and good then that is a very good thing.
here are some names i have no info but i like to guess brian bott jamil walker ted rath and cory harris.

Comment by Frankcan 12.24.13 @ 10:40 am

Why are all the people negative about this game? Instead of complaining about it being in Detroit (which is an easy drive from Pittsburgh), or it being the day after Christmas (which most people are off) here is a suggestion…stop complaining and start buying tickets.

I have a one month old daughter so it would be easy to make the excuse that oh its the day after her first Christmas so I’m not going but instead I look at it as an opportunity to support MY alma mater and MY football team because its an easy drive and the weather should cooperate.

Instead of being negative about OUR program how bout we support OUR team and root for them to succeed instead of waiting for them to fail.

Merry Christmas and Hail To Pitt!!!

Comment by Mr Pitt 2001 12.24.13 @ 10:47 am

Frankcan you are right the S&C coach is usually overlooked but in this case a very important hire for us to see whether Chryst & Pitt cares about elevating the program above mediocrity.

Comment by BATR 12.24.13 @ 11:10 am

Just want to wish everyone on the Blather a very Merry Christmas!

Comment by Moe Greene 12.24.13 @ 11:19 am

Dr. Tom: I concur your comments. But just think what the feedback will be if Pitt loses to Bowling Green. Ouch!

Comment by MariettaMike 12.24.13 @ 11:21 am

If Bowling Green had beat Mississippi State, would we be playing in the Liberty Bowl against Rice? Something else for motivation?

Better bowl, better city. I would be attending.

Merry Christmas toall.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 12.24.13 @ 11:40 am

First, thank you for trolling Steve Pederson (Mr.Pitt)! I say 35-10 Bowling Green only because they have no head coach. Otherwise 49-10. Pitt will have no answer for their option attack.

Comment by Dan 72 12.24.13 @ 11:43 am

God…I’m a 73 Pitt grad and this will be my first ever bowl game. Detroit…is there something wrong with me??? If I buy the farm on the way home in a snowstorm at least let it be after a Pitt victory.

Comment by The Hagen 12.24.13 @ 12:27 pm

Nice one Dan72…

Mr. Pitt – look, I’m a season ticket holder, go to every home game, attend at least one away game every year, and probably give more money to Pitt than I should. I’m not negative, I’m a realist. I hope for the best, expect the worst.

I give you a lot of credit for going to this game. I hope Pitt throttles BG, no one will be happier than me. I live and die with this program. It’s an affliction we all share on here, and we all deal with it differently. The kool-aid drinkers, the trolls, the chicken littles, the schizophrenics. Frankly, this mix is what separates Pitt fans from Pedo Valley fans who are ALL kook-aid drinkers.

I promise not to judge your optimism and ask you to not judge me for not being excited about Bowling Green in Detroit on 12/26. H2P, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow Blatherites!

Comment by Iron Duke 12.24.13 @ 12:35 pm

@The Hagen

We will watching for the gray-haired guy who is dancing with the hot Pitt cheerleader after we win. Have fun.


Comment by pmdH2P 12.24.13 @ 12:37 pm

I’ll be there in spirit. I hope Pitt finishes strong and makes us all proud. Merry Christmas to all. And to all, a Bud Light.

Comment by TX Panther 12.24.13 @ 12:41 pm

I love how folks are quick to point out the drive distance from Pittsburgh as if every graduate of Pitt still lives in Pittsburgh.

Having gone to 4 bowl games where 2 were blow out losses, 1 typical Pitt letting the game go loss and one win I think I’ll sit this one out. Something about BG in Detroit just doesn’t get me all warm and fuzzy. I’ll save my money to buy lots of drinks before the Pitt/MD hoops game in a couple weeks.

Comment by Yeti 12.24.13 @ 12:46 pm

yea some graduates must live in Cleveland, Birmingham or worse yet, Detroit

Comment by wbb 12.24.13 @ 1:06 pm

Merry Christmas to all!

How many recruits are waiting for the outcome to choose between Pitt and BG?

Comment by CompLit 12.24.13 @ 1:13 pm

complit cant be more then 4 or 5 if that many we allready have 21 and you are only to have 25 unless
we lose players and there are only 17 SR as it is we are over all ready.

Comment by Frankcan 12.24.13 @ 1:27 pm

BATR keep in mind this name Brian Bott he just quit at wisconsin in i think june after many years.
he was the asst strength coach and worked mostley
with the OL men when there.
this is just a guess but you know how chryst likes people from wisconsin he is only 39 but i dont know why he quit but said it was for personal reasons not becuse wisconsin got a new coach.
i have no info but i like to guess at these things.

Comment by Frankcan 12.24.13 @ 1:36 pm

Nobody should be excited for this matchup and the city it is in, but all fans should be excited to see their team play one more game and watch one of the best defensive players in Pitt history. I will also be taking my one year old to this game. Let’s Go Pitt

Comment by H2P4life 12.24.13 @ 2:22 pm

Street did not practice today – neither did ‘spoon…not good for the receiving corps!

Comment by markp 12.24.13 @ 3:26 pm

I appreciate the stats that BGSU has produced this year, no disrespect intended, but for you to utilize those numbers as a point of reference demonstrating their fortes as they relate to the comparable numbers by the Panthers is ludicrous.
Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 12:33 am

Now tell me how you really feel Doc. lol

Thought that might get a rile from someone when I typed it.

At least it generated some comments, 40 comments, 2 days before our Bowl game is ridic.

Comment by Emel 12.24.13 @ 3:37 pm

Although these MAC teams would probably beat PITT based on common opponents & such.

Ball State (destroyed Virginia a week after we were lucky to beat them)

Toledo (beat Navy the week before we lost to Navy)

Northern Illinois (just because)

These 2 teams would give Pitt a game.

Buffalo (had a better team this year, while giving us a game last year)

Ohio (they seem to always play Pitt tough)

While BG’s stats were compiled against a lesser schedule, they still are somewhat impressive.

Which is something you can’t say about most of ours. ( 117th of 123 in Redzone Defense, so much for the bend but don’t break non-sense )

Comment by Emel 12.24.13 @ 3:48 pm

Get real, if this was a BB game and we were comparing RPIs, Bowling Green’s wouldn’t even be in the same solar system as Pitt’s.
Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 12:33 am

SRS: 3.64 (56th of 124) PITT
SRS: 5.92 (42nd of 124) BG

Simple Rating System; a rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule. The rating is denominated in points above/below average, where zero is average, although it should be noted that margin of victory has been assigned a lower bound of 7 points and an upper bound of 24 points. Non-major opponents are included as a single team in the ratings. My colleague Doug Drinen of has written a great explanation of this method.

There you go Doc 🙂

Comment by Emel 12.24.13 @ 4:55 pm

Pitt beat Notre Dame. Pitt can beat Bowling Green.

Had Pitt not let the Navy game get away from them they would be heading to a better bowl game.

6-6 is better than the Paul Hackett years or the Johnny Majors years the second time around.

Comment by Penguins Fan 12.24.13 @ 5:07 pm

Yes we can beat BG Penguins Fan.

The question is, will the team be properly prepared to play and properly motivated to.

Look at what happened to the Pens last nite in Ottawa. Shutout by a below .500 team. Talent doesn’t always win. Got to be motivated to win, against each and every team.

That’s my biggest concern against BG, will PITT be motivated and play with motivation. It’s a unique talent for a coach or a leader of any organization to have. Some do and some don’t.

Comment by Emel 12.24.13 @ 5:18 pm

Pitt just found their new S&G coach….good price too.

link to

Merry Christmas!

Comment by Jackagain 12.24.13 @ 5:38 pm

Now that’s funny Jackagain, but you realize that when you start dissing on Lloyd Bridges, you end up getting your regulator hose cut.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 6:00 pm

Emel, where did you get these SRS ratings from? Read up on the SRS and tried to understand it’s relationship to SOS but it seems weighted towards margin of win/loss point spreads. Only thing I’m sure of is that I got a headache from the statistical analysis.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.24.13 @ 6:09 pm

I remember that Dr. Tom…..but they always cut the wrong side…the one where the air goes out on the left 🙂 They figured no one would notice.

Comment by Jackagain 12.24.13 @ 6:15 pm


It’s more than I can hope for! Hope it’s a current cheerleader and not a 73′ Cheerleader…

Merry Christmas!

Comment by The Hagen 12.25.13 @ 11:03 am

Buddy Morris is on his way back!!!!
BGSU will never, ever block Aaron Donald!
Pitt by 2 TDs!!!
Go Pitt!
Merry Christmas to all!

Comment by Punxy Panther 12.25.13 @ 6:16 pm

On the way out the door fellas and thought I would take a moment to wish you all a belated Merry Christmas and all prosperity and health in 2014.

As far as the game goes, the two measurable are really Indiana and Mississippi St. Both of those are middling big conference teams. Indiana beat the team to the east and BGSU. They have a much better offense than Pitt so if the offense for Pitt is clicking, we should do well.

On the other hand, Miss St. also beat BGSU but only by one. MSU and Pitt are more equals in state of the programs. I do like Pitt in this game. JPHoltz needs to catch the ball this game down the seam. That said, football is a game of emotion and focus. Focused emotion is even better.

Interesting Note – BGSU = 17 players from Fl. 48 from OH. Point being is that the star system for players would indicate Pitt has much better talent. Star system is flawed. Can’t measure heart, desire to win. So I leave with this. Carpe’ diem and carpe’ falcons too.

Let’s Go Pitt!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 12.26.13 @ 10:11 am

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