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July 3, 2012

I believe there are people in the University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department, and in the school’s administration that read this site regularly. I try not to give too much advice, but…

Next July, when Pitt makes the move into the ACC. No videos. No “cute” gimmicks. Just a simple, understated splash page on the website to say, “Pitt is in the ACC.”

Why? No one is ever as clever as they think they are. Texas A&M drove that point home with this… this… thing.

This surfaced last night, and was immediate subject to such derision, that A&M pulled it around midnight central time. But it was too late. Having learned from the loss of TCU’s “Call Me, Maybe” video, it was quickly copied and survives to the everlasting shame of Texas A&M.

I’m trying to imagine what WVU has done for their move to the Big 12. Presumably it involves burning something.

June 1, 2012

I actually try to be fair to the Big East. Really, I do.

Earlier after Pitt got left out of the SEC/Big East Challenge, I went on record saying that Pitt really shouldn’t have been counting on the game for a couple reasons. The most obvious being the fact that Pitt is leaving the Big East for the ACC coupled with the lawsuit recently filed. It’s not like the Big East is (or even should) be going out of their way to help Pitt.

The other reason being that if Pitt was counting on the SEC game to be a marquee game that was foolish as well. The way the Challenge works, any SEC team that had a home game last year, would go on the road this year. That meant the opponents could have been (in order of desirability): Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi St., South Carolina or Tennessee.

Kentucky was never going to happen. No way the Big East would let the biggest name go to the departing Pitt and have that be talked about during the game. Tennessee has been Pitt’s opponent in this the last two years. Safe to say they would be out.

That means — at best — Pitt could have gotten a 50-50 shot at a good (Alabama) to potentially good (Georgia) opponent or crapped out.



ESPN has announced the match-ups for the SEC/Big East Challenge. Prepare to be awed.

Date Game
Thu, Nov 29 Kentucky at Notre Dame
  Marquette at Florida
  South Carolina at St. John’s
  Seton Hall at LSU
Fri, Nov 30 Syracuse at Arkansas
  Tennessee at Georgetown
  DePaul at Auburn
Georgia at South Florida
Sat, Dec 1 Alabama at Cincinnati
Villanova at Vanderbilt
Mississippi State at Providence
Rutgers at Mississippi



September 7, 2011

Up to this point, it has been maneuvering. It has been rumors, positioning, intent and supposition. Today, the bleep gets real (probably).

School officials spent Tuesday preparing for a news conference at Kyle Field to celebrate the move, pending a favorable vote from SEC presidents to extend an invitation. The SEC presidents met Tuesday night and discussed an invitation to A&M, and sources said one final hurdle must be cleared before the deal is complete.

The SEC made no formal announcement. A&M’s announcement could be delayed until Thursday.

And that vote appears to have gone through, though, Baylor is doing whatever it can to stop everything.To the point where this may actually be delayed longer than merely a day.

When it happens, though, it will set in motion three different tracks in the great expansiopocolypse of 2011, Hmmm. This will definitely bleed into 2012. Think this is what the Mayans really meant about the end of an age? Starts to make some sense now.

Those fear of lawsuits from the Big 12 and member schools against the SEC appeared to be  a thing of the past. Well, except for one school — Baylor.


December 23, 2010

I mean, who didn’t see this coming?

Pitt has distributed between 2,000 and 3,000 tickets, athletics department spokesman E.J. Borghetti said. Borghetti declined to say how many have been sold and how many are allocated for free, such as to staff members, band members, cheerleaders and players’ families.

Kentucky media relations director Tony Neely reported the school’s ticket sales at 4,000. He also did not elaborate on the number sold compared to distributed.

Both teams had disappointing seasons. Kentucky has suspended their senior starting QB for the game. Pitt is in a coaching turnover, and fired/reassigned/resigned Coach Wannstedt still has not decided if he is coaching this team. (Wannstedt is starting to piss me off about this. I get that he is still upset over everything, but he is screwing around with his own players by refusing to make a decision yet.)


December 20, 2010

Trying to get back to focusing on basketball a bit more. You know, because they are actually playing games. Plenty of random things as well.

Pitt had little trouble with Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday night. This surprised no one. Seeing Gilbert Brown go off, though, was something of a sight. It earned him Big East player of the week honors. Coach Dixon knows what is coming, though, in media questions when Brown plays well for a game.

“Every time he doesn’t follow up one (game) with another one, a lot of people jump on him or focus on being negative,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “It’s hard to have big numbers every single game … but I like where he’s coming from, and I like where he’s going.”

Er, maybe because we haven’t seen consecutive good games from Brown since…? It’s not big numbers each game. It’s good shooting percentages. It’s just playing well.

I’d say, offensively with Brown, the most disappointing thing — and I saw it even in this past game — is that he no longer attacks the basket. He is way too eager to take a jumper. He has shown little inclination to drive to the hoop, and he has seemed timid when he actually gets there with any traffic around him. So, I think that has led to even more of his inconsistency with scoring. He will have nights like Saturday, where he was so on with his shot; but then it will streak (or clang) the other way.


April 21, 2010

After a frenzied, rumor-filled weekend that the Big 11 was going to speed up its expansion plans, the brakes have been tapped.

Day one of the Bowl Championship Series meetings concluded Tuesday with no formal discussion about expansion.

“Informally,” Beebe said with a chuckle, “there has been plenty.”

Delany has informed colleagues that, contrary to a Tribune report, the timetable for Big Ten expansion has not been accelerated from the period of 12-to-18 months that was announced in December.

“You know, Jim wouldn’t be one of the top commissioners and one of the top sports people in the country if he didn’t take things into very careful consideration,” Beebe said.

Delany said through a spokesman that he would address the media Wednesday. His comments will be scrutinized and analyzed by commissioners such as Beebe and John Marinatto of the Big East.

This could be yet another smokescreen. Take some of the attention that is suddenly all over expansion away for a while so Delany can do more work with a little less glare.

Or it could be that while meeting with the Big 11 presidents over the weekend, Delany found insufficient consensus over the candidates at this point. All sorts of speculation can be found at this point.

Now the speculation for why the Big 11 might want to accelerate discussions centered on — of course — TV money.

The Big Ten wants to give other conferences time to respond. But more to the point, it could take a while to integrate schools such as Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Connecticut.

The Big East “loyalty clause,” created after the ACC raid, calls for departing schools to pay $5 million and, more significantly, give a 27-month notice.

So barring a renegotiation, the parties would have to move quickly to get the jumbo Big Ten in place for the 2012-13 academic/athletic season.

For the record, the Big 12 has similar penalties and notice requirements.

The Big 11’s TV deal with ESPN/ABC comes up for renewal around that time, so the theory was that the Big 11 would want the teams in place to negotiate a new contract. The reason this is kind of silly, is that it has little to do with the TV contract. If it is already known that the expansion will happen and who will come, the contract negotiations won’t be effected by whether the teams are already there or coming in 2014 or even 15.

Meanwhile, programs like Louisville just sweat and hope to make themselves look attractive to someone in the near future.

Good piece on whether the SEC should act now with expansion plans rather than wait to see what the Big 11 does.

And here is the really delicate part: Obviously if the SEC wanted to expand, the first phone call would be to Texas. Texas brings that kind of value and more.  But if Texas says no, what are the SEC’s real options?

Do they go to the ACC and take teams from a conference that just expanded? The ACC is currently in negotiations for its new television deals and the proposed numbers from the TV boys are not great. To be perfectly candid, the ACC as a football conference is a little vulnerable right now.

The ACC got hammered in the court of public opinion when it took three teams from the Big East a few years ago. Does the SEC want that kind of PR headache? Of course not. But it may have no choice. Hurting another conference would be bad. Doing nothing could be worse.

Oh, the possible irony.

April 3, 2010

Have to admit that this has been a weird Saturday. No basketball games or football games all day.  I basically have either been watching or attending games for every Saturday since September.

Today, I’ve been spending time with my family. Beginning work on the ridiculous number of projects around the house.  God, it sucked.

Coach Jamie Dixon did not win the AP Coach of the Year. As expected that went to Jim Boeheim. He did, however, collect the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year.

Named after legendary Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jim Phelan, who won over 800 games and coached in more contests than any in college basketball history, the award is presented annually to the top coach in America by The honor is voted upon by a distinguished group of coaches, media members and athletic administrators.

Dixon, who has been listed as a finalist for virtually every national coach of the year honor, was also named the Big East Coach of the Year. Other finalists for the Jim Phelan Award were Steve Alford (New Mexico), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), John Calipari (Kentucky), Steve Donohue (Cornell), Fran Dunphy (Temple), Ben Jacobson (Northern Iowa), mid-season honoree Frank Martin (Kansas State), Chris Mooney (Richmond), Matt Painter (Purdue), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin), Bill Self (Kansas), Brad Stevens (Butler), Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) and Jay Wright (Villanova).

Previous Jim Phelan Award winners include John Calipari (Memphis, 2009), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2008), Tony Bennett (Washington State, 2007), Ben Howland (UCLA, 2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005) Phil Martelli (St. Joseph’s, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003).

So, that’s nice.

Marshall is looking for a new head coach. They have been very busy interviewing many. Including Assitant Coach Tom Herrion.

A head coach at the College of Charleston from 2002-06, Herrion was 80-35. He just concluded his second season as Coach Jamie Dixon’s top assistant at Pitt and previously was an assistant to Pete Gillen at Virginia and Providence.

Herrion, 42, was the Pitt coach who was hit in the face by a quarter thrown during a game this season at the WVU Coliseum. A brother, Bill Herrion, is the head coach at New Hampshire – and was the head coach at East Carolina while [Marshall AD Mike] Hamrick was the AD there, before he moved to UNLV.

What makes me nervous is how much sense this could make for Marshall.

Worth noting that Marshall lost their head coach to Central Florida, and the rumor mill down there is that UCF made the move to fire a head coach of 17 years because they are getting serious. Why? Because the belief is the Big East is going to beckon soon.

UCF Athletic Director Keith Tribble and UCF President John Hitt said they never mentioned a move to the Big East during interviews with candidates.

“No, those rumors were incorrect,” Tribble said. “It was never discussed.”

However, new UCF basketball coach Donnie Jones has not been shy talking about the Knights’ Big East potential.

“We have a chance down the road to maybe go to the Big East,” Jones said this week. “… This school has the ability with the students and obviously the commitment and facilities to put ourselves in a situation to make that next step.”

Football and basketball recruits have noted UCF’s Big East potential during interviews discussing their decision to either commit or sign letters of intent to play for the Knights.

Tribble has made it clear he wants UCF to be part of a conference with an automatic qualifying BCS bid, generating more revenue for UCF through shares of BCS game revenue and bigger conference television agreements.

So, maybe the Big East is finally reacting a little.

This year will be the final year for the SEC/Big East skirmish. Pitt is assuredly one of the teams from the Big East that will play. In a format that guarantees obscurity and low attendance, there are only 4 games each year played on two sites that are semi-neutral.

Well, the SEC is in favor of extending, improving and expanding the thing.

The ACC/Big Ten Chal­lenge, created in 1999, has been the biggest success among series of this kind, pairing those leagues for 11 games annually on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The games usually occur at home arenas rather than neutral sites.

“We know about the ACC/Big Ten format (for the SEC and Big East). Whether that’s the right format, I don’t know,” Slive said. “We may not change it. Those are sort of the extremes, and we’re talking with ESPN to see if we can do something to create more.”

Slive said discussions for an opposing conference “right now” are only with the Big East. All 12 SEC teams have played in the invitational; Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Se­ton Hall have yet to play for the 16-team Big East.

The Pac-10 and Big 12 have their own exchange, but it is spread out over a month, so it is largely ignored. The SEC-Big East is on back-to-back days, but it is so small a group it is also fairly irrelevant.

Let’s face it. The ideal approach is the ACC/Big 11. All the games are on campus courts. It is all over just a few days, so it gets a lot of attention and is easy to follow. Hopefully the 800 pound gorilla that is ESPN (who owns this invitational) will press the Big East to accept an expanded set-up.

Finally a piece on Gil Brown.

“I bided my time and earned my role with the team. It has been a great experience and everything played out for me.”

The potential is there for the Panthers to become a dangerous team next season, and Dixon knows exactly what he wants from Brown.

“He has focused on becoming more physical on drives to the basket,” Dixon said. “He is a better defender, but he can be a great defender. I hope this offseason will be a good one for him.”

Brown realizes what he needs to do in order to take that next step in becoming the all-around player the coaching staff envisions. The ball, sort of speak, is in his court.

“I felt I provided some leadership this season and I felt comfortable with that role,” Brown said. “I have to be more assertive [on the court] and be a better leader to become an elite player.”

And consistent. Definitely would like to see consistent.

September 10, 2007

Looks like Pitt will be in a position to find another prominent person for their athletic department. First it was the coaches; Dixon, then Wannstedt. Now, it’s the guy who hired/kept those two.

Pittsburgh athletic director Jeff Long will replace Frank Broyles in the same position at Arkansas, a person with knowledge of Long’s decision said Monday.

Broyles is retiring as the Razorbacks’ athletic director at the end of this year, and a person familiar with Long’s decision said he will leave Pitt to take over at Arkansas. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made.

Arkansas would not confirm Long’s hiring, but spokesman Tysen Kendig said a news conference was set for Tuesday afternoon regarding the athletic program.

Arkansas’ search had been a secretive one until last week, when Stanley Reed, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, confirmed that Long was “a strong candidate.” (The WWL)

It was looking more and more apparent that this was going to happen, but the press conference that Arkansas will hold tomorrow will probably confirm it. ESPN doesn’t usually put up items that turn out to be untrue (except saying Mike Vick wouldn’t plead guilty) so to me, this is a done deal. The AP story mentions that Long has few ties to Arkansas, a point echoed by a writer in that area. The question that matters — who’s the next Pitt AD?

Update: Two more stories from the local TV stations down there.

September 6, 2007

I didn’t do this last week, but I’m hoping to make this a weekly thing.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Middle Tenn. St. vs. (8) Louisville, 7:00 pm EDT
MTSU gave up over 400 yards in last week’s loss to Florida Atlantic, while Louisville’s offense picked up 655 over Murray State. Brian Brohm will tear this defense apart.
Pick: Louisville

Oregon St. vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 pm EDT
Oregon State’s running back Yvenson Bernard looks good this year, and although Cincy beat up on Directional Missouri, I’m not completely sold on them.
Pick: Oregon State

Friday, September 7, 2007

Navy vs. (18) Rutgers, 7:00 pm EDT
ESPN’s Friday night game is an interesting one for Pitt fans since we play both teams. Rutgers beat up on Buffalo while Navy beat Temple 30-19. I have Rutgers for the win because of their evolving, multi-demensional offense.

While Ray Rice rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns, the Scarlet Knights showed there is more to the team than just their senior running back – who’s rushed for 2,914 yards in his previous two seasons. Junior quarterback Mike Teel was 16-for-23 for a career-best 328 yards and two touchdowns, and junior receiver Tiquan Underwood caught 10 passes for a school-record 248 yards and two TDs.

Pick: Rutgers

Saturday, September 8, 2007

(3) West Virginia vs. Marshall, 11:10 am EDT
Five words: Pat White and Steve Slaton.
Pick: West Virginia

Grambling State vs. Pitt, Noon EDT
Watching Michigan lose to a I-AA (or whatever they call it now) team puts the smallest slice of doubt in my mind. In reality, I expect us to win by at least 3 touchdowns — even with Smith or Bostick starting under center.
Pick: Pitt

Maine vs. Connecticut, 7:00 pm EDT
UConn quarterback Tyler Lorenzen (any relation to Jared?) threw for 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Duke. In my book, Duke and Maine are comparable.
Pick: UConn

Syracuse vs. Iowa, 8:05 pm EDT
The ‘Cuse managed to make people feel embarrassed for them last week. Iowa, while not amazing, managed to receive one vote (one whole vote!) in the AP poll. If the Orange manage to keep the loss to 16 points or less, we’ll call it a moral victory.
Pick: Iowa

South Florida vs. (16) Auburn, 9:00 pm EDT
Everyone’s Big East sleeper team will have a tough test playing War Eagle on the road. One guy who can make a difference for USF is freshman RB Mike Ford, a former Alabama recruit. Meanwhile, Auburn’s ground game was nonexistent (62 yards) against Kansas State. Matt Grothe and his great passing accuracy helps the Bulls knock off the ranked Tigers for the upset.
Pick: South Florida

Track the scores here.

(Rankings used are from the BlogPoll.)

March 22, 2007

Wow! News

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Conference,SEC — Chas @ 4:15 pm

I know, everyone’s trying to get ready for the game.

This has nothing to do with Pitt.
Still this is a stunner.

Former Kentucky HC Tubby Smith has jumped to Minnesota.

That’s going to actually overshadow some of the game stuff tonight on TV.

UPDATE: I don’t think Dixon will even be a serious candidate for this job. This is one of the top-4 basketball schools in the country in terms of prestige, expectations, history, money and tradition.

Dixon lacks any ties to the school and the area.

August 5, 2006

Far be it from me to mock another school for having a decrepit football program, but…

Here’s how bad it is for Kentucky? Jim Beam, a personal favorite choice of mine, doesn’t even bother providing a “football” screen saver for the state in which the bourbon lives. Even more insulting, they provide one for Tennessee (no, they don’t have one for Pitt, but then they don’t have any for PSU, ND, and a host of others). Limited choices really — Florida, Texas, Ohio (St.), Michigan, and Georgia.
Just seems sad. Very sad.

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