The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are coming to Heinz Field this Saturday in an attempt to continue the craziness that is the ACC Coastal Division this season. Everyone in the division is 2-1, 2-2, or 1-2. That means each team is still within one game of first place. There are scenarios in which the entire division goes 4-4, a cluster%&#@ that would certainly make things interesting. A win this weekend and next will suddenly put Pitt in the driver’s seat to take the division. (more…)
There’s a scene in Oscar-snubbed film “The Replacements” where Coach McGinty (played by Gene Hackman) asks his NFL replacement players what they’re most afraid of. After some typical responses, QB Shane Falco (played by the enigmatic Keanu Reeves) hits the nail on the head:
Last week, some hack wrote about Pitt’s success in the red zone and the result against FIU was two turnovers in the first two red zone possessions. As recommended by readers, this week something negative shall be written.
Trey Anderson came in for a series in the early fourth quarter in a situation that once against perturbed Pitt fans. If you listen to Paul Chryst’s press conference, it won’t take a mind reader to see why: Chryst was not happy with Voytik’s play and pulled him for a series to calm his nerves. A quick second look at the game and it’s obvious Voytik was not finding open receivers and he would not let plays progress properly as the game wore on. In fact, there was a fine line between good Chad and bad Chad: the touchdown pass to Boyd late in the second quarter. (more…)
Pitt is headed south for a matchup with the Golden Panthers of Florida International and as Chas mentioned earlier, there’s not a lot of important information to discuss. FIU is a team in rough shape; they’re one of the worst teams in FBS and have a true freshman starting at QB. To be blunt, if Pitt isn’t comfortably ahead in the 4th quarter it is cause for concern. The goals for the game are 1) health 2) comfortable win and 3) get backups good in-game experience. Anything beyond that is a bonus. Another statistically great game from James Conner would be a boon to his Heisman whispers.
With that said, it feels a bit prudent to look ahead a little. Pitt’s next two BCS opponents, Iowa and Virginia, have key games this week. Iowa plays in-state rival Iowa State and Virginia faces off against the newest ACC member, Louisville (Louavuhl). Thus far, Iowa appears to be a team that is trending lower than expectations and Virginia is exceeding them. (more…)
A quick stat for yinz that I just tweeted.: last season Pitt averaged 23 points per game on the road. That total INCLUDES the 58 points from the Duke game. If the Duke score is removed, Pitt only scored a total of 57 points on the road last season, a mere 14.25 points per game. Pitt’s offense was not perfect. Voytik had a bad turnover, there were some early pass protection issues, and the defense let Tyler Murphy run wild on the first drive.
The football team opted to do the exact opposite of the fan base: not panic. (more…)
Most will agree that Pitt’s upside this season would be ACC Coastal Division Champion and a good bowl game. If you have delusions of grandeur and think Pitt could beat Florida State in the ACC Championship game, maybe you should stop partying with Wes Welker. But, Pitt was given a nice start Monday night when Miami fell to Louisville, thus giving them one loss in the ACC already.
Why is that game relevant to this week? (more…)
Well, the dates are all set. The ACC television is set. The times for many of the non-con games and any accompanying TV coverage are still unknown.
The ACC released its complete schedule with dates and times yesterday (PDF).
Pitt’s ACC opponents were already known, just not the dates. February is going to be brutal (PDF).
The week before that is a Saturday home game against Louisville on CBS. Pitt’s ACC schedule definitely has a very difficult middle. The start and ends are noticeably weaker. But that middle. Oh, that middle stretch of late-January through the third week of Februrary. It’s very likely that in that 9 game stretch ND and Bryant will be the only unranked teams Pitt faces.
I’m not sure why the ACC starts media day on a Sunday. Other than to make it as clear as possible to BYU that they will never receive an invite. I mean, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal for the media. Prepare the stock “Five things for ACC Media Days” column in advance. Show up on a Saturday to the nice resort hotel. Get one free night to party and have a good time. Nurse the hangover. Put the digital recorder on the podium and let those stock questions flow to the players.
I mean, it is media day. It isn’t really about the media any longer, as we saw from the 4-day long SEC event. It is about marketing the conference to everyone else. It is about getting the fans ready for football season. It is the starting point to coverage for the new season.
The ACC will be supposedly be announcing something “big and breaking” today. Fingers crossed its the announcement of Bojangles coming to Pittsburgh.*
No one has been arrested so far this offseason. And I’m not saying I want any players in trouble with the law. It’s just been real quiet the last couple weeks.
Nothing with recruiting. No police blotter. No conference insanity. Just ridiculously quiet.
So, what are still in my browser tabs that need to go?
Not a surprise, but still good news. The ACC is moving the ACC Basketball Tournament up one day, so that the championship game will be played Saturday night rather than Sunday.
The Atlantic Coast Conference will move its tournament championship game to the Saturday night before Selection Sunday after being a Sunday afternoon staple since 1982.
The ACC announced the scheduling change Tuesday during its spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida.
The ACC tournament will be in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 2015, Washington, D.C., in 2016 and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 2017 and ’18. The 2019 ACC tournament will be held in Charlotte before it goes back to Greensboro in 2020.
Big shock that all the coaches of former Big East teams are happy to get back to normalcy.
“Prime time on Saturday night during the tournament week is another step in the right direction,” Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon told ESPN.com from the meetings.
The ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Atlantic 10 were the highest-profile conferences that have played a Sunday final recently, causing the selection committee to sometimes come up with an alternative bracket depending on who was playing for the title.
The ACC tournament will run a Tuesday-to-Saturday format, meaning the league’s regular season will end on the previous Saturday instead of Sunday. There will be three first-round games on Tuesday of Championship Week, four second-round games on Wednesday, four quarterfinal games on Thursday, the semifinals on Friday and the Saturday championship game.
“I think it’s huge. The Friday night doubleheader resonates around the country, it always has,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “The extra day is good for the two teams with the preparation, and Saturday night you have the whole television audience.
“We’ve talked about this since we came into the league. This will be a great thing to switch to this.”
“I love the move,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told ESPN.com. “I’ve always thought it was powerful when we did it that way in the Big East. The Sunday final is almost an afterthought since the attention is all on the selection show.”
Brey is absolutely right.
No one really gets too worked up over conference logos. It doesn’t carry the emotional weight of a school logo. In the end they all just seem like corporate branding exercises.
Apparently the ACC is updating its logo, where the primary change is with italics.
The ACC has a brand new logo (but don't tell anyone) pic.twitter.com/zcXRT0nKMc
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 13, 2014
This week has the ACC spring meetings. Among the issues to be decided would be the conference schedule for football. Specifically, whether the ACC would go to 9 games.
Brief recap. After the joining of Syracuse and Pitt, the ACC decided to go to a 9 game schedule. This despite the complaints from GT, Clemson and especially FSU. All three have permanent rivalry games with their in-state SEC rival. To go to a 9 game schedule would make it harder for them to annually schedule 7 home games. This decision got rescinded after the Notre Dame maneuver. With Notre Dame rotating onto every ACC team’s schedule at least once every 3 years as a non-con — which is more frequently played than an actual conference opponent from the other division, excluding the protected rivalry game — it was seen as being too unfair to teams that had an out-of-conference rival.
[Just a brief aside, but the fit pitched by both Clemson and FSU over the issue of the 9th game at the time was cited by many as an issue that was driving those teams to look closer at the Big XII. Yet, the Big XII had already gone to a 9-game schedule, which seemed to be conveniently ignored.]
Now, with the coming playoff and emphasis on strength of schedule. The hope for an ACC Network (i.e., more inventory). And that the Big 10 was moving to a 9 game schedule. Well, that meant 3 of the major 5 conferences were already at that point. There was momentum to revisit and possibly return to that idea.
After all the spring practices are in the books. As the long 3 month stretch of nothing but conference and NCAA rules debates, police blotters, recruiting and mindless predictions as the only news in college football stare us in the face, the ACC tosses us one last nugget. A conference call with the coaches to talk about spring practices.
You can listen to the nearly 2 1/2 hours of coaches talking vaguely about spring practices here. Coach Paul Chryst is on at roughly 2 hours into it.
Coach Chryst was asked about Tom Savage’s rise in the draft boards.
“You never know what to expect so if you said you’re surprised or not surprised you’d be wrong,” Chryst said. “He certainly has a lot of the talents and physical attributes. The biggest thing Tom hasn’t done is just play a lot of football.”
Savage transferred twice before ending up at Pitt, which Chryst said limited his visibility to NFL teams. Once they got a chance to look at the tape, they apparently liked what they saw.
“I think a lot of the buzz that comes before he wasn’t as much a part of because he hadn’t played for two years,” Chryst said. “I think what he did in the season, the combine, individual workouts, it’s been great to see. Hopefully everyone is right and his stock is rising.”
In Chryst’s seven-year tenure as Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator, the Badgers had 27 players drafted into the NFL. In two years as Pitt’s coach, he has yet to have a player taken. That will change this year, with Savage, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and wide receiver Devin Street each likely to hear their names called.
“I think for the program, it’s good,” Chryst said. “But most important you’re happy for those individuals. That’s what really makes it special.”
Or, dare we say, “neat.”
The ACC released the match-ups in basketball for the next two seasons yesterday.
Here’s what Pitt looks like in graphic format:
Syracuse and Louisville are Pitt’s permanent “rivalry” games. That works for me. Both very good teams. I like that Big East connection and history. Yes it means Pitt will always have a tough ACC schedule, but that isn’t a bad thing.
The next pair are the home-and-homes for the season. I assume that they are planning on rotating the pairs to some degree. Which means it could well be five years before we see a UNC or Duke home-and-home.
The next group of five are the home ACC games. Then the last five are the road games. The ACC knows Duke and UNC are still the glamor programs that will draw the crowds. Every ACC team has UNC and Duke split as home-away each year.