As Chas mentioned earlierd, the offense was entirely too conservative in the second half of the UVA game. This allowed the Cavaliers to make it a one score game late and add a little drama to Homecoming. Fortunately the defense came through eventually and it was all for naught. Play-calling remains an issue, but self-inflicted wounds were the bigger issue for the offense on Saturday. (more…)
This column will be shorter than usual as I’ve been under the weather all week. I’m also quite busy at work so that’s eating up a lot of my weakened energy. So, please forgive more typos and errors than usual. Long story short, Pitt is a better team than Virginia at almost every facet. Chaney’s offense is still a work in progress without James Conner, but I’m willing to give him a mulligan on last week. This week, however, the offense needs to produce and get things going as this defense is not good enough to win on its own against the likes of Georgia Tech and UNC like it did against VT.
The Cavaliers opened up the season with back to back games against highly ranked out of conference opponents (UCLA and Notre Dame). The Notre Dame game was a respectable loss, with the Fighting Irish needing last second heroics to pull off the win but UCLA was never really a contest. Since then, they struggled to beat FCS foe William & Mary and got whooped by Boise State. I respect UVA for the tough out of conference schedule, but in order to build the program you need actual wins, not moral victories. (more…)
As Adam Bisnowaty pointed out, Pitt has won five of the past six against Virginia Tech (although the last loss to the Hokies was in their house in 2013). With Pitt traveling to Hokieland this Saturday, the time is ripe for Pitt to join the conversation for ACC Coastal division contenders. The Hokies are coming off of another loss to East Carolina, will be missing their best player on defense, and has an offense struggling to run the ball. As I mentioned Tuesday, this is a game Pitt must win if the goal is to be Coastal contenders.
But, even a wounded VT squad is dangerous. There’s too much pride on the line for the Hokies to lie down. Let’s look at what Beamerball’s squad has to offer. (more…)
This weekend may get a little more boring for Pitt fans — assuming you don’t live on the East Coast, especially Virginia.
Hurricane Joaquin continues to strengthen northeast of the Bahamas. As of 8 p.m. Joaquin has sustained winds of 105 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane. It continues to move southwest at 7 mph.
Gov. McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for Virginia Wednesday afternoon, followed by the City of Norfolk also declaring a state of emergency.
Hurricane Joaquin will likely drift west over the next few days before being picked up by a cold front. At the same time, a developing coastal low will try to strengthen over the area this weekend.
The latest track strengthens the storm into a major hurricane, a category 3 storm. The center of the storm in this latest update would make landfall somewhere along the Outer Banks Sunday afternoon.
Joaquin is just one part of a complex weather pattern that is setting up for the end of the week.
If the state of emergency lasts into the weekend the Pit-VT game in Blacksburg is assuredly cancelled.
This creates a real issue for the ACC. Pitt has already had it’s bye week. It is slated to play 8 straight weeks. There is no open date for Pitt.
There have been instances of non-con games not being made up, but I can’t recall an instance in recent years where a conference game has not been played or made up at some point.
The ACC may be forced to schedule the game on a Monday or some other awkward day if the game is postponed this Saturday.
Like every year since Pitt joined the ACC, the Coastal division appears wide open. In 2013, Duke had their best season in most of our lifetimes and won the division with a 10-2 regular season (6-2 in the ACC). In 2014, a 10-2 (6-2 in ACC) Georgia Tech had a season for the ages which culminated in an Orange Bowl victory over a top 10 SEC team (Mississippi State). Each season had a 5-3 team in second place (2013 had three), so there was no wiggle room; they had to win six for the outright title. (more…)
The Narduzzi Era at Pitt began yesterday and Pitt came out with a 45-37 win against the tough and persistent Youngstown State Penguins in front of 49,969 mostly yellow-painted fans. Here are the official game stats in case you are wondering how what happened came about.
There is good news and bad news coming out of this ballgame. Here are the highlights so that you can see some of each type of play we had Saturday:
Oh, ACC. I know the transition has been difficult for the last decade plus. To go from a basketball-centric conference to… well, slightly less of a basketball-centric conference.
Trust me. we get it. After the time spent in the Big East, we Pitt fans understand that there can be a slight incomprehension echoing in the conference offices about staying focused on football season.
Still, to release all the ACC college basketball schedules in the afternoon, the day before college football kicks off the season? Not a week ago or two weeks. Just some 30 hours before a game involving one of the teams from your own conference kicks off the season. That is some Big East level idiocy.
Whether it is the schedule or the learning curve of a first-time head coach or the voluminous questions on the defensive side of the ball, the prognostications that can be found in the numerous preview guides — and the ACC pre-season media poll — have not exactly been raising expectations for Pitt’s upcoming season.
Let’s take a look at the various prognostications.
In the most timely news to hit the street and anger Pitt football fans our young DE Rori Blair made a monumental mistake when he chose to smoke reefer and treat the parkway like he was in the Hot Metal Bridge 500 race qualifying rounds. From The P-G this morning:
State police wrote in a criminal complaint that a trooper working near the Fort Pitt Bridge clocked Blair, 20, of Upper St. Clair, driving at 117 mph in a 55-mph zone March 15. That trooper pulled the car over in a left lane on Fifth Avenue in Oakland and “detected a strong odor of marijuana emitting from his breath and about his person as he spoke along with blood shot glassy eyes,” police wrote.
Police took Blair to UPMC Mercy for a blood test, which came back positive for cannabinoids, police said. They charged Blair via summons Monday with driving under the influence, driving at an unsafe speed and other violations.
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.
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…)
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.
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…)
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).
That’s right. ACC basketball media day is today. Coach Jamie Dixon, James Robinson and Cameron Wright are down in Charlotte for the day.
The ACC is doing interviews and taking fan questions on Twitter with the hashtag #ACCTakeover . I don’t see any problems when UNC Coach Roy Williams gets his turn. What could go wrong?
There will be coverage on ESPNU and on ESPN3.com all day today.