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 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 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.


March 15, 2013

I sat down to watch the game around 10 pm last night. It’s been that kind of a week. So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Where to begin.

First, it has to be recognized just how on James Southerland was in this game. Perfect from outside. Yes, the defense — especially in the first half — was a step slow. But he was knocking everything down regardless. He was 6-9 the day before against Seton Hall. It was infectious. Syracuse finished the game shooting 12-19 on 3s. Everywhere else they were 10-28.

The three point shooting made the difference, that could not quite be overcome. The effects of the double-bye were once more readily apparent in the first half. Pitt was just not as ready at the start of the game. Syracuse had more energy. They were getting rebounds and extra chances. They outrebounded Pitt 18-14 in the first half. Something that might be simply explained as having more chances at defensive rebounds since Pitt shot  35% to their 53%. That wasn’t it.


March 14, 2013

This week has sucked. Some poor planning on my part has me working late every day this week. So on one of the best weeks in terms of number of games and quality, I’ve largely missed them.

That also will happen with the 2pm meeting at the Garden between Pitt and Syracuse. I have the DVR set, but that means cutting off from media from that time forward.

Unlike the last meeting James Southerland is playing. Syracuse has a game under their belt. They strarted slowly in the first half before overwhelming Seton Hall yesterday.

Hopefully everyone on the team is feeling healthier and mostly recovered from their ailments.

So far it’s all been chalk. No shocks. Small struggles, but nothing unusual. Which seems unusual.

Unfortunately I am time-crunched. Link time.

Pitt feeling confident coming into the final BET. At least based on the regular season results, they should be.

No one should know what to expect from this team, though.

Syracuse is feeling their own level of confidence for this game after James Southerland snapped out of his slump against Seton Hall.


March 7, 2013

Bye or Double-Bye

Filed under: Basketball,Big East,Conference — Chas @ 8:00 am

The Big East Tournament is next week. For the last time.

Don’t care who has the name. Don’t care if it’s still at MSG. It won’t be the Big East Tournament any longer.

Pitt was picked for 6th in the Big East while Syracuse and ND were picked for 2d and 3d respectively.

Pitt is sitting in a 3-way tie for 4th in the Big East with Notre Dame and Syracuse.

All three teams play on Saturday on the road — and very conveniently arranged for viewing pleasure.

Syracuse at Georgetown at Noon (ESPN)

Pitt at DePaul at 2pm (ESPN Regional/Big East syndication)

Notre Dame at Louisville (CBS)


February 13, 2013

There is still so much for the splintering Big East to resolve. There’s no shortage of rumors and reports of how the Big Priest portion would love to be split in time for the 2013 season. That, however, seems to be an impossibility. From setting up a new conference — hiring people, finding a commissioner, getting NCAA recognition for an auto bid to the NCAA Tournament, and so forth — to the very thorny issue of the money reserves in the Big East — all the exit fees, NCAA Tournament units particularly.

Then there is the issue of poaching programs from other conferences to get to a 10-12 team conference.

[Outgoing Xavier AD Mike] Bobinski said if Xavier receives the expected offer from the departing Big East schools to become one of its new members then it would have to listen. It would be situation where there were like-minded schools with a common purpose. He also said that 2014 would be more realistic for any movement while 2013 could be a bit rushed, although everything is negotiable. He didn’t say Xavier would definitely leave, but it sure sounded like the Musketeers have given this a lot of thought and are likely gone if asked, whenever that occurs. Xavier and Butler are expected to be first up on the docket to join Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, St. John’s, Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence — with the choice for a 10th or possibly 11th or 12th coming from a pool of Creighton (MVC), Dayton, Richmond, VCU and Saint Louis (all A-10).

Sorry, Duquesne.


February 12, 2013

No doubt, you are aware that the Big East web site sell’s gear for all member schools. This still includes Pitt. It’s nice to see that they have embraced the  Pitt’s departure to the ACC.

It’s the description that really drives it home:


December 14, 2012

Overall, I take no joy in seeing the Big East reach the long, inevitable, break that has been predicted for years. I thought it would happen by 2010, so I don’t claim any special foresight (hell, I never expected the expansiopocolypse to go further than 12 teams in each major conference).

The Big East was founded on 3 basic principles: self-preservation, money and basketball. Today you can still argue that the BE is maintaining the principles of self-preservation and money. Basketball is just along for the ride.

I wrote that eight years ago. The self-preservation was against the growing power of football schools, and the diminishing power of basketball-only schools. The Big East basketball schools finally snapped. They were sick of basketball being along for the ride. They wanted their power back. Even if their fiefdom is significantly smaller. Even if they make less money. They wanted to feel like they were in control once more. (I thought about using the Milton quote from Satan of “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven” until I realized that, at best the Big East was more like Purgatory.)


December 13, 2012

So it appears that the Big East may go out in one giant clusterf**k.

The presidents of the Big East’s seven Catholic, non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools are expected to decide on their future in the Big East in the coming days, and it “would be an upset” if they remained in the league, sources told ESPN.

The seven schools — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — are “close to a consensus on what they want to do next,” a source said Wednesday.

Sources said Wednesday it’s becoming “more likely” the basketball schools will break away from the league’s football members.

It’s unknown whether they would attempt to dissolve the league or leave the league as a group. The league can be dissolved in a vote of the league members by a two-thirds majority, according to Big East bylaws. With all of the Big East’s recent defections, there are only 10 members (the seven non-FBS schools, plus Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida) that can vote on the league dissolving.

A source told ESPN on Wednesday that Temple, as a football-only member, has voting rights but can’t vote on dissolution of the league. With Temple unable to vote, that gives the seven basketball schools enough votes to dissolve the league.

Sources said there are multiple legal entanglements that make the voting situation “complex.”

And if they vote to dissolve the lawsuits that follow will be epic. Most likely including ones from Pitt and Syracuse over exit fees already paid and to be paid.


December 11, 2012

Does anyone remember the start of the millennium? When C-USA was really good at basketball? Memphis, Louisville, Cinci, Marquette — heck even DePaul was tough — and some of those battles in the C-USA Tournament? No? Yes? Maybe? This?

Any bells?

There really were some great games. Huge drama.

Now? Not so much. Outside of those in the respective fan bases that remember those days, and some big college basketball wonks. Think Louisville or Cinci gets much respect for claiming C-USA Championships these days? Not when everyone looks at the present — and future — C-USA and see the level of competition.


December 1, 2012

The Long Goodbye

Filed under: Big East,Coaches,Conference,Football,Players — Reed @ 10:29 am

Here it comes.  At approximately 10:30 pm EST we PITT fans will experience the long awaited end of  PITT’s  membership in the Big East Conference.  Has it been good for us and vice versa?  Will we miss it? That depends on how you look at things in a historical perspective.

Undoubtedly PITT’s greatest successes on the football field have happened when the program had no conference affiliation at all.  Eight of our nine national championships took place prior to 1939 when there were no formal football conferences as we know them today.  Those championship years, from 1915 (Pop Warner as head coach) to 1939 (Jock Sutherland), are the bedrock of PITT’s football tradition.  Hard enough to believe now but PITT was the standard of football excellence in the first third of the 20th century.

My father and mother, who were born in 1917 and 1919 respectively, were students at PITT at the end of that championship era.  While I was growing up and attending PITT games I heard countless stories about Sutherland, All-Americans wide receiver Bill Daddio and the great Marshall Goldberg running the ball for scores.  Great for them – they had a reason to brag about PITT football and they did.

It was a golden age for PITT but, as does tend to happen with us, it was also a precursor of hard times for the program.  From 1939 until 1976 PITT had exactly one season with over eight wins.  The hard truth is that most of those years were sub-.500 seasons and from 1966 until 1968 we racked up three 1-9 seasons in a row, and yes, we attended every home game regardless.

Then all of a sudden PITT was thrust back into winning seasons and a national championship year.  Certainly the 1970s and early 1980s built up on that traditional bedrock to return the program back to national rankings.  We all know about how Johnny Majors, Matt Cavanaugh and Tony Dorsett gave us a championship in 1976.  It was a fantastic year and we looked to have a bright football future ahead of us.


November 28, 2012

ACC Takes Louisville

Filed under: ACC,Big East,Conference,Expansiopocolypse — Chas @ 10:05 am

Oh, lord the expansiopocolypse just keeps rolling. Let’s start with the latest and work backwards to Tulane.

There was a sense of inevitability that the ACC was going to take another team after Maryland decided to depart. In theory, the ACC could have stayed at 13 for football and 14 everywhere else with ND. But, that just isn’t how expansiopocolypse works.

It seemed that UConn would be the obvious choice. Actually on the East Coast. With BC’s obstinate AD Gene DiFillipo retired, that barrier was done. Including Hartford, Connecticut actually gives UConn a bigger TV market than Louisville. Better academic ranking. All the things that go into present-day conference realignment.

Plus, when you put UConn in there with Syracuse and BC, there’s a strong argument that the ACC would have some real market penetration in both NYC and Boston — at least insofar as there is interest in college sports in those markets. Cable outlets like SNY might be much more inclined to align with ACC interests with both Cuse and UConn part of the package — especially since they will have to worry about YES becoming aligned with Rutgers and the Big Ten.



November 18, 2012

I am starting to think that expansiopocolypse won’t end until we have a “conference” of 64 teams, divided into 5 divisions and each division bifurcated into two sections.

The latest shots fired come from the Big 10, in what can only be considered to be their biggest “all about the money” move in this never-ending program shifting.

The University of Maryland is in serious negotiations to join the Big Ten Conference, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

If Maryland goes from the ACC to the Big Ten, Rutgers of the Big East is expected to follow suit. The addition of Maryland and Rutgers would give the Big Ten 14 members as the league gears toward negotiations on a new media rights deal when its first-tier rights expire in 2017.

No date has been set for a potential announcement, though it could come as soon as Monday. The Maryland board of regents will meet at 9 a.m. Monday morning to decide on the move, a source with direct knowledge told Sunday morning.

But there is not a consensus among athletic department officials. The source said the school is leaning toward the move but there is still time for the school to decide to stay in the ACC.

Except the biggest homers for Maryland and Rutgers — no one is pretending that this possibility is about anything other than money. Specifically, the Big Ten Network (BTN).


October 17, 2012

Big East Media Day Polling

Filed under: Basketball,Big East,Conference — Chas @ 4:04 pm

This is the final time for actually caring having a vested interest in the results of preseason Big East polls.

The Preseason teams and individual honors and predicted outcome for the season were offered. On the individual honors and All-Big East teams,

Steven Adams was picked as the “Preseason Rookie of the Year.” There are a lot of national expectations and curiosity about the Kiwi Phenom.

On the preseason All-Big East teams, Travon Woodall was named to the “Honorable Mention” (third team) squad. He was the only Pitt player on any of the squad. So start firing up the “no one believes in us,” meme.

The preseason player of the year was Louisville’s Peyton Siva. Probably for much the same reason that Ashton Gibbs was named last year: no clue among the returning players to give it to. I think I might have picked Georgetown’s Otto Porter.


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