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July 25, 2015

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.

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July 21, 2015

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.

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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.

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…)

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…)

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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October 29, 2014

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.

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October 23, 2014

Georgia Tech Preview

Filed under: ACC,Chryst,Football,Opponent(s),Players — Justin @ 10:51 am

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…)

September 29, 2014

Quicksand

Filed under: ACC,Athletic Department,Chryst,Embarrassing,Football — Justin @ 9:44 am

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:

Quicksand (more…)

September 15, 2014

A Tale of Two Halves: Chad Voytik

Filed under: ACC,Chryst,Football,Players — Justin @ 2:03 pm

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…)

September 11, 2014

Looking Ahead

Filed under: ACC,Chryst,Football,Opponent(s) — Justin @ 10:49 am

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…)

September 5, 2014

Boston Beatdown

Filed under: ACC,Chryst,Football — Justin @ 10:27 pm

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…)

September 3, 2014

Coastal Division

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Football — Justin @ 1:57 pm

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…)

August 28, 2014

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).

Feb2015Brutal

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.

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