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December 26, 2013

Going Out of 2013 Above .500

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 10:24 pm

Are there still reasons to angst? Oh, hell yeah.

Do I care for at least a day?

No. No, I do not. Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going positive.

I don’t care if it was “only” a MAC team in Detroit that Pitt just beat. I don’t care if it was “only” a minor bowl game. It was a win.

Pitt was undermanned on its offensive line as it was for most of the second half of the season. Pitt lost its starting QB for the entire second half. Devin Street couldn’t go. Pitt had an officiating crew that did its best not to call penalties  that might have gone Pitt’s way for most of the game (two offensive linemen blatantly tackling Aaron Donald and no call?).

There were the key breakdowns in special teams and defense that we have come to expect. The offensive line couldn’t pass protect — per usual.

Yet, Pitt came away with the win.

James Connor did everything he could to carry Pitt to a victory. Chad Voytik got through the shakes to show why he will be the starting QB. Tyler Boyd is Tyler Boyd.

Pitt was a 7 point underdog by kickoff. Still, the Panthers came away with a win and it didn’t have to happen in Birmingham.

There’s 7 weeks of angst for signing day. Plenty to worry over for the team up to and through spring practices. But, I’m going to enjoy this for a little while.

Open Thread: Pizza Bowl

Filed under: Bowls,Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:32 pm

Man, getting home in time will be tight. That means keeping this brief so I can get crap done to make this work.

6pm on ESPN.

Focus continues to be about ending the season with something resembling positive energy.

A few weeks back, Pitt coach Paul Chryst said he was talking to redshirt senior nose tackle Tyrone Ezell when Ezell recalled the Panthers’ most recent bowl win, a 27-10 victory in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Kentucky to end the 2010 season.

Ezell was a redshirt freshman on that team and told Chryst what it felt like to end the season with a victory, the sense of accomplishment and positive momentum heading into the offseason. It’s something that the freshmen, sophomores and juniors have not experienced, with the past two seasons coming to an end with a 6-7 record and a loss in Birmingham, Ala.

The Panthers have a chance to put a positive cap on the up-and-down 2013 season today when they play Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

“There’s a big difference in our room between going 7-6 and 6-7,” Chryst said. “There’s a lot of reasons. The senior class, they want to finish it out right and I think they want to send the young guys into next year with some momentum. Every team’s the same way. Bowling Green’s probably got the same mantra. We’re looking forward to going up, getting one more chance to play and our goal is to play the best game we’ve played to this point.”

Not that anyone is implying the effort was less than 100% in the past two years in Birmingham. Well, maybe it’s being implied a little.


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