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June 18, 2015

Last week some media noted that it was five years after the dogs of the expansiopocolypse were unleashed. The picking apart of the Big 12 that started it all. That led to the silly winners and losers articles. The standards for “winners” and “losers” depended on the biases of the writers.

But hey, it is the offseason. Content is tough to come by. Why not join in the fun.

I just can’t put it simply in winners or losers. There’s a fair amount of stuff in the middle. How about,  “Win, Lose or Draw?”

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June 12, 2015

First off to assuage the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair by PITT fans regarding our ‘late’ recruiting start we need to revisit this issue just like we do every year at this time of the offseason.  Because of that repetition I am going to be stealing some info from earlier Blather articles.

Here is a bit of info that will help to quell your fears. This table shows how PITT has ‘late’ starts every year since Wannstedt was hired back in 2005:

Year  # Before 6/12     Total Class #  Notes:
 
‘05 1 23 Wannstedt’s first partial class
‘06 5 27 DW’s first full class
‘07 2 24  
‘08 2 19  
‘09 1 20  
‘10 2 24  
‘11 2 21 Graham’s first partial class
‘12 0 16 Chryst’s first partial class
‘13 5 27 Chryst’s first full class (after purge)
‘14 1 23  
‘15 3 15 Narduzzi’s first partial class
‘16 1 (3?) TBD Narduzzi’s first full class

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May 13, 2015

Once more, there is loud talk from coaches, administrator and conferences of eliminating the Graduate Transfer as we know it.

Start with the basics. Graduate Transfer Exception (or Waiver):

The graduate exception is a version of the one-time transfer exception. It is for student-athletes who cannot use the normal one-time transfer exception because they play one of the sports that are not permitted to use the exception.

The student-athlete must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree;
The student-athlete meets the other requirements of the one-time transfer exception;
The student-athlete must have at least one season of competition left; and
The student-athlete’s previous school did not renew his or her athletic scholarship or offer an athletic scholarship for the following academic year.

The requirement that the scholarship be cancelled or not renewed is generally not an issue. The scholarship does not need to be cancelled before the transfer or be the reason for the transfer. Because the one-time transfer exception requires you to get a release, what will happen with your scholarship is generally just an administrative detail.

The Graduate Transfer Waiver is often conflated with the exception because they are so similar. There is one key difference.

The graduate transfer waiver is now typically used by athletes who have previous transferred once before and so cannot use the one-time transfer exception (even as a graduate student).

A letter from the previous school saying it does not object to the student-athlete being eligible;

Documentation that the student-athlete has been accepted into a specific graduate degree program;

Documentation about whether that degree program is offered by the previous school;
A student-athlete statement including the reasons for the transfer; and

A statement from the previous institution about the student-athlete’s status on the team.

[Emphasis added.]

Unlike regular transfers, there is no requirement to sit out a year after transferring. The player is eligible to play right away. That is the big bonus for both the player and the school to where he transfers.

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April 24, 2015

Presser for the New AD

Filed under: Conference — Reed @ 10:02 am

We all saw the breaking news about PITT hiring ex-Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes as the new AD and here are the formalities of introduction.

MEDIA ADVISORY

From: E.J. Borghetti
Executive Associate Athletic Director/Media Relations

Re: Friday Press Conference

The University of Pittsburgh will hold a press conference to address its athletic director position on Friday, April 24, at 3 p.m. The press conference will be held on the first floor of the William Pitt Union (3959 Fifth Avenue) in the Lower Lounge.

Media outlets with marked vehicles only may park in the circle located on the Fifth Avenue side of the William Pitt Union.

 

UPDATE: There will be a livestream of the press conference.

April 21, 2015

New Football Media Info

Filed under: Conference,Football,Media — Reed @ 11:10 am

New Press Release from the ACC & PITT regarding some media info:

Atlantic Coast Conference Spring Football Media Teleconference—Reminder

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22, 10:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m.

The ACC will hold its annual Spring Football Media Teleconference tomorrow,  Wednesday, April 22. The teleconference will begin at 10:20 a.m. with each of the Conference’s 14 head football coaches available as well as Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. Each coach will be available for 10 minutes. This teleconference is for accredited members of the media only. The teleconference will also be streamed live through theacc.com and transcripts and audio files will be available.

The Schedule of Coaches:

10:20 a.m.—Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

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March 28, 2015

Something to Chew On

Filed under: Basketball,Conference,Football,Media — Reed @ 7:48 am

I just saw this article from DiPaola of the Trib and thought it would be good to get your collective blood pressure up before you really start your weekend…

New Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said Friday former Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson never received proper credit for the Panthers’ move from the Big East to the ACC.

“I hope people realize what an unbelievable job Steve Pederson did for Pitt basketball and the university,” Howland said on TribLive Radio. “You would not be in the ACC today were it not for his vision.”

Pederson hired Howland in 1999 and guided the Panthers to two NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons.  Howland left Pitt for UCLA, where he guided the Bruins to three consecutive Final Four appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2005-2006. His lead assistant with the Panthers, Jamie Dixon, succeeded him at Pitt.  UCLA fired Howland after the 2012-13 season. Mississippi State hired Howland on Tuesday.  Pitt fired Pederson in December.

If Pitt was still in Pitt Stadium and playing in (Fitzgerald Field House), you’d be in the AAC in a no-bid league with (non-revenue) football and wondering what we’re going to do next,” Howland said.

Discuss please until we have news from today’s scrimmage to talk about…

Note: the number to call if you feel like you are about to hurt yourself or others is 1-800-STEVEAD

March 26, 2015

QB Thomas MacVittie has committed to Pitt per Jerry DiPaola and others. MacVittie is a 6’4″ dual threat QB who’s set to be a first time starter this upcoming season. This would normally be a negative, but he’s coming from Ohio powerhouse Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) and his physical skills are elite. 6’4 QBs with strong arms and 4.5 speed aren’t common. MacVittie will likely blow up this season, so hopefully this is a commitment that will stick.

The concern regarding MacVittie’s lack of experience isn’t unfounded. However, Pitt is not going to attract proven QBs with elite talent right now. That leaves the coaches the option of taking less talented players or taking talented players who for some reason haven’t had the opportunity to shine. With Voytik here for two more years along with Adam Bertke and Ben DiNucci, the coaches have options if MacVittie doesn’t pan out. Also at 6’4″ with 4.5 speed, another position is certainly an option. But, if MacVittie puts those physical tools to use, Pitt could have a steal.

March 8, 2015

(This is part two of a two part series looking at PITT’s chances of having both a Heisman Trophy and a Biletnikoff Award winner in the 2015 season.  Part I was posted earlier)

THE BILETNIKOFF AWARD

Let’s discuss Tyler Boyd and his chances to win the Biletnikoff award.  As we saw in Part I of this article this award has a more narrow criteria for voters than does the Heisman.  It is dedicated to the ‘outstanding’ college receiver of the current season and is announced at a banquet and ceremony in early December.  As described “The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the nation’s outstanding college football receiver (the award defines receiver as any player who catches a pass) by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc.”  That said, the only winners have been Wide Receivers; Tight Ends, H-Backs and RBs have not truly been considered.  As a matter of fact I can’t find any players other than WRs who finished in the top of the voting for any year.

Why did the Club choose receivers to be honored?

Receiver has become the glamor position and focus in college football, as high-octane passing schemes have become the equalizer and college football team rosters are filled with significant numbers of exceptional athletes who play receiver. The 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, the longest in its history, reflected this talent abundance and the 2013 play of the watch list members merited their designation as the finest receivers in college football.

So that makes more sense in the voting mandates then just having a popularity contest among good players. Here are the actual criteria for the award voting and you can see that the fans’ choice for #1 gets the equivalent of one vote in the final tally.

1. The Biletnikoff Award candidate must be an active collegiate football receiver (any player who receives a thrown pass regardless of position) at an NCAA Division 1 (FBS) institution.
2. The candidate, to remain a candidate, must not have been declared ineligible to participate in Division l (FBS) football by the NCAA at the time of any vote of the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee.
3. The candidate, to remain a candidate, must not have been declared ineligible to participate in Division l (FBS) football by the candidate’s institution at the time of any vote of the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee.
4. An ineligible player cannot be placed on the watch list and cannot remain on the watch list during that ineligibility; he can be added to or reestablished to the watch list based on proper conduct and on-field performance when his eligibility is restored at the discretion of the Foundation.
5. The candidate must display leadership and self-discipline; and he must have a significant, positive impact on his team’s success.
6. The candidate must display a commitment to be the best player he can be.

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February 3, 2015

This is a long post but since there isn’t a PITT basketball game for a few days it’s something for us to read,listen to and discuss.

At first I wasn’t that excited about listening to the interview but once I realized how in-depth Paul Zeise was getting I re-started the interview and took four full pages of notes. I had to paraphrase some of the info below but these are Paul Zeise’s thoughts (not mine). I added some background and italicized some of the more interesting info.

Linked below is a interesting and detailed interview with the P-G’s Paul Zeise conducted by the Wisconsin Football Blog Buckaround.com which is much like The PITT Blather is to PITT football. The interview is Episode 63 titled “Paul Chryst: PITT Head Coach with Paul Zeise The podcast is about 50 minutes long and I urge all of us PITT fans to take the time to listen to it.  Zeise doesn’t pull any punches when discussing the recent history of PITT football and has some very  interesting ‘inside info’ .

It is a pretty hard hitting and very insightful discussion by someone who was right in the middle of everything as a PITT beat writer working with PITT’s football program from 2014 on back. With the recent, welcomed changes in the football program and how the administration is unfolding and the fruits of that happening, it is inevitable that when discussing PITT football we’ll cast back to the last three HCs we had before Narduzzi and their impacts on the program.

Something to remember about Paul Zeise is that just because he was taken off the P-G PITT football beat prior last season he still was very involved and privy to the inner-working of the football program, especially with his family’s’ experience with the recruiting process, but he wasn’t writing about it due to a conflict of interest. (more…)

January 29, 2015

Football Schedule Released

Filed under: ACC,Football,Schedule — Justin @ 10:13 am

The ACC released the 2015 football schedule this morning. While opponents and location have been determined for awhile, the order of ACC games as well as the dates (Thursday vs. Saturday) were not known until today. As I worked through these previews, I realized that several opponents will be better in 2015, notably UNC. The first thing that jumps out to me is that four of the last five games are at home. If Narduzzi and company can get this team playing at a high level, a late season run is possible. (more…)

January 8, 2015

Running through the usual list of PITT sports websites I visit every morning while I have my first cup of Joe I read an opinion piece by Joe Starkey of the Tribune Review titled What PITT Football could be that he posted on Wednesday night. I found that it mostly made sense and was well thought out, hitting on the the root of the matter of PITT football program’s mediocrity over the last 31 years and what Pat Narduzzi has to bring to PITT to change the culture of apathy on the part of the administration, students, local populace and, in my opinion, the local media as well.

Starkey opens his article with a simple declaration “It’s time for a key substitution regarding Pitt football: Excuses out. Expectations in”. That is a pretty simple stance to take and one he expounds upon later in his piece when he says:

Time will tell whether Pat Narduzzi is the guy to change all this, but you have to like the fact he is coming from a place (Michigan State) where Mark Dantonio & Co. looked at all the built-in excuses, kicked them in the face and created an entirely new culture. And did so without batches of five-star recruits. After decades of mediocrity, Michigan State has become a bastion of positivity and big wins.

That is fantastic! PITT will do it right now if only Starkey would let us in on exactly how Dantonio & Co. accomplished it! I do wonder if Starkey and PITT fans forget that sometimes ‘excuses’ can also be seen as ‘reasons’ for an outcome and vice versa. If in the past, as a lot of us believe, the PITT administration tried to create and sustain a successful football program while stinting on the financial resources to make it happen then is it an excuse that it didn’t work out or is it a reason we did what we did?

Perhaps it depends on how one looks at the University’s financial situation as a whole or maybe just the level of honest interest the Chancellor and the BoT had in fielding a successful team, which might have been even less than we saw in public. To me that is a contributing reason for the poor results we have seen over the last two decades, to others it may just be an excuse. Nothing happens in a vacuum, there are always reasons things turn out the way they do.

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December 3, 2014

James Conner: ACC Player of the Year

Filed under: ACC,Football,Honors,Players — Justin @ 1:26 pm

It was just announced that Conner has won the ACC Offensive Player of the Year Award. Conner beat Jameis Winston 16-13. Naturally, he’s also the Offensive Player of the Year as well. Conner had a historic season in 2014 which included breaking Tony Dorsett’s record for rushing touchdowns in a season.

Not bad for a guy who was initially recruited as a DE.

November 6, 2014

The bye week feels like a great time to break out my old column Optimist vs. Pessimist. There’s not a whole lot to be optimistic about the rest of this season, but perhaps a bowl win could inspire a little hope like it did at the end of last season. Naturally, two more wins are needed before Pitt can even think about going to a bowl game. Let’s examine whether or not James Conner and company can win two of the last three games against UNC, the ARCHRIVAL ORANGE, and Miami. (more…)

November 1, 2014

PITT – Duke Predictions

Filed under: Conference,Football,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 6:51 am

As bad as last week was I still don’t think it was an accurate reflection of the talent this Panther team has or its ability to play well and win games. With that I’m expecting a much better showing by PITT this week with a return to a strong running game and the staff getting the other RBs and different WRs the ball more often then in the past.

Conner gets 100+ yards and two TDs, Voytik throws for one and we score another by some other player.  Trey Anderson might be that other guy.

PITT – 31 Duke – 27

What do you think?

October 30, 2014

Projected for Upper-Middle

Filed under: ACC,Basketball,Conference — Chas @ 7:47 am

So the Media Day for the ACC Operation Basketball went off yesterday. Other than the awkwardness with academics and investigations at UNC and Syracuse, it was a typical media day. Coaches and players answered the same questions. The conference commissioner filibustered as long as he could to minimize the time allotted to the media to ask questions.

And, of course, the preseason conference poll was released. The ACC has its voting done by all the local media covering the teams (I’m sure my ballot just got lost in the mail).

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