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August 21, 2017

…And We’re Back

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 9:24 am

Sorry about the Johnny Carson-esque hiatus. I don’t know when summer vacation became more hectic, busy and insane then during the school year. Between the camps, activities, drop times, work, trying to do things with the family on weekends. It felt non-stop.

So, what did I miss? I mean, aside from everything.


College football is wrestling with the problem of games running too long. Commence eye-rolling at how everyone dances around the glaring fact that the style of play in college football — increased, passing, spread offenses, and schemes that result in more stoppages of the clock — have created longer games. I love how the Big 12 — the leader in this — won’t cop to anything in particular. The major tweak is shortening halftime back to a hard 20 minutes. That and asking officials to be faster on their decisions to start the clock. Oooh. Big changes. Last time they made real attempts to shorten the games was in 2006  — and it worked to the tune of 14 minutes shorter — and coaches bitched so much it got changed back to the old way.

Doesn’t matter the conference. Doesn’t matter the new foes. Everyone unites in making fun of Rutgers.

To fill space over the summer, there have already been a slew of pieces about the college football season from 10 years ago. 2007 was a bit of true madness. Here’s the one Pitt fans can enjoy — looking back on 13-9.

Reminder, that stadium and arena deals never benefit the municipalities. (The Milwaukee Brewers spring training story is amazing. You know how bad the deal must be for a “study” commissioned to justify the public money, still couldn’t do it? I’m amazed.)

ESPN effectively gutted their non-video college basketball coverage with their big journalistic staff cuts over the summer. College football took a big hit as well, but CBB was painfully trashed.

As for what that means for the inching-ever-closer-we-swear-it-will-be-a-real-channel-not-an-over-the-top-streaming-only-channel-ACC-Network. In this story, Syracuse AD and former ESPN VP, John Wildhack, expresses nothing but unicorns and rainbows.

“It won’t impact our deal with the ACC,” Wildhack said. “Our deal runs through 2036. The ACC Network will launch as scheduled in 2019. I think ESPN will put all their muscle and support toward making sure the launch is a success because they are a partner and they have a vested interest in making sure the ACC Network is a financial success.”

The layoffs have created some skepticism about the future of ESPN, especially since [Sports Business Journal reporter, John] Ourand’s reporting when the network laid off approximately 300 employees less than two years ago.

In his NPR interview, however, Ourand cautioned against doomsdaying.

Live broadcasting rights to sporting events remain highly valuable and Ourand indicated that ESPN remains profitable. He believes both the layoffs and the network’s moves toward streaming serve as adjustments to the network’s future financial reality.

“Don’t cry for ESPN,” Ourand said on NPR. “They are still profitable. And they still bring in a lot of money. The problem is they just don’t bring as much money as they did before and that’s something that’s concerning.”

Wildhack, for the most part, agreed.

“The media business is in a period of disruption and transition,” Wildhack told Axe. “Those who don’t face that and don’t take steps to not only ensure, but enhance, their future, they’re making a mistake.”

Oh, the injuries. Tre Tipton out for the season really sucks. He’s been injured every season, and one of the nicer stories out of spring practice was this one on staying positive in the face of the injury setbacks.

He has 23 touches in 13 career games, accumulating 203 yards and a touchdown while playing four games as a true freshman (he was given a medical redshirt) and nine games in 2016. Both seasons ended in injury.

It was a knee in 2015. This past fall, a collapsed lung was part of what he suffered Nov. 5 at Miami. That resulted in a hospital stay and a loss of more than 20 pounds.

Tipton, though, characteristically approached it with aplomb.

“The only thing that was important to me at the time was to make sure no matter what, stay positive,” he said. “Because I knew if I was positive I was going to help somebody else out that day.

“There were a lot of people within the (intensive care unit), and I was just glad I had the ability to make the nurses smile. I just wanted to make sure my positivity was going to be spread out through the ICU.”

Injuries, there have been a few heading into the season.

Jordan Whitehead is headlines a group that was suspended. Whitehead, painfully, for the first three games. Along with Quintin Wirginis. Alex Bookser, one game. Rori Blair was kicked off the team for “conduct detrimental to the program.” Bookser received his game suspension for an offsesaon “legal situation involving a motor vehicle.” (I love that phrasing.) The other suspensions were for the wide-ranging and nebulous “violation of team policy.”

Finally some good news.

Welcome back Chas! You’re the best. Can’t wait for the season to start.


Comment by MidwestPanther 08.21.17 @ 10:18 am

Chas – welcome back. I feel like I’ve been wandering in the desert for (not quite) 40 years). I agree, it’s been a very hectic summer and fall looks to be the same but maybe the Blather will provide welcome relief.

In the meantime, thanks for coming back.


Comment by Pitt Dad 08.21.17 @ 10:42 am

And the link on 13-9 (as well as the links within the link) is fascinating. Thanks!


Comment by Pitt Dad 08.21.17 @ 11:01 am

Lot of unknowns going into this FB season….Will the new OC work out…Will the new starting QB be a plus or minus…can our beyond bad defense improve? The optimist in me wants say “yes” and we are headed for a nine win season; the realist says “not so sure” and this is feeling like a 6 – 6 season…but oh well, there is always BB! Welcome back Pitt Blather.

Comment by HbgFrank 08.21.17 @ 11:37 am

glad to see you back. There is never enough Pitt blogs IMO … although I only post here and PittPOV.

It is amazing how the billionaire pro team owners can hold a city hostage by getting the taxpayers to fund and maintain stadiums/arenas as they take in the majority of the profits. I admire San Diego for telling the Chargers … see ya!

Comment by wbb 08.21.17 @ 11:50 am

Glad you are back.

Don’t look directly at the sun…ever…even with the approved glasses.

Comment by tvax1 08.21.17 @ 12:49 pm

Hey Chas!

Thanks for coming back and I enjoyed the post.

ESPN had only network competition for a long time and the other major networks have caught up with NBCsn and FS1, etc. Long overdue IMO.

Comment by JoeL 08.21.17 @ 12:51 pm

13-9 game is available on You Tube and I think on ESPN Classic…

Comment by velvil 08.21.17 @ 1:03 pm

Woo hoo. It took an eclipse but welcome back!

Comment by Lastrowofsection4 08.21.17 @ 1:26 pm

Who is our newest recruit? Pat signal went out but no word. I’m thinking it’s Asamoah……

Comment by Trapper 08.21.17 @ 3:05 pm

Welcome back Chas! Looking forward to a wild and unpredictable Pitt Football season. Got our season tickets in the mail last week and we are ready.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 08.21.17 @ 3:45 pm

A welcome surprise to have you back Chas! H2P always!!!

Comment by Jerry S 08.21.17 @ 7:48 pm

Glad to have you back too. More to read.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 08.22.17 @ 1:24 am

Thanks for the Backyard Brawl read. That was a great memory. Good stuff!

Comment by ck 08.22.17 @ 6:48 am

It is time to get ready for that trip to Happy Valley. Watching the repeat of the Clemson game as the #4 best game of the season shows anything is possible.
Barkley is a beast, but we know that a high scoring game will put the ball in McSorley’s hands, which is no sure thing. I live just east of State College and the mood out here is head in the clouds over confident. They are talking CFP, undefeated and National Championship. We don’t know who their wide receivers will be or if their offensive line can block.
Early prediction is the Happy Valley bubble bursts in week two
Pitt 31 PSU 24

Comment by scriptrules 08.22.17 @ 8:07 am

Really glad you are back Chas.

I am going to be out of the country and will miss 5 games starting with PSU. Counting on my friends on Blather and POV to fill in the blanks.

Comment by gc 08.22.17 @ 10:00 am

Oh man, I’ve been busy too and missed “The Return”. Welcome back, Chas. The voice of reason of all things Pitt.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 08.24.17 @ 10:57 am

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