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November 1, 2014

Open Thread: Duke-Pitt in the Slog

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 5:50 am

It seems I may be a sadist as well as a masochist. Not only am I heading out the door to attend the game today — highs today in the mid 40s, some wind and rain in the mix — I’m dragging my daughter with me. I know, get those “I’m reporting you to CFS,” jokes in before they get too stale.

To be fair, she wanted to go. Despite the weather. Despite the way Pitt has played. She enjoys going to the game and doing all the other activities. And disturbingly enough, hanging out with her dad and his friends. Strange kid.

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October 31, 2014

So, Yeah. Duke Tomorrow

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:48 am

No, really. I wasn’t trying to forget about football with a couple basketball posts. Just had to get that stuff out there. Hey, an exhibition tonight. With a 30 second shot clock. Wait. Stay on topic. Sorry, thinking about the Duke Blue Devils tends to be an exercise in basketball considerations. Not football.

Nonetheless, Pitt plays Duke in bas- football tomorrow. It’s a nooner on ESPNU. So, national coverage (yay?), but a noon home game (boo!). ESPN set this game time was set after the VT win, but before the GT loss. Duke was coming off a win as well and it could have been considered a battle for the ACC Coastal, yet still got a noon slot.

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October 28, 2014

Picking Up the Pieces

Filed under: Chryst,Coaches,Football — Chas @ 6:01 am

With about 10 minutes left in 4th quarter, I slammed down the laptop. Shoved it into my bag. Got myself composed, and started out of the press box. Stopping briefly, I bitterly asked someone — who I knew would stay for all of it, and go to the post-game — “Do me a favor, keep a running tally of how many times Paul Chryst utters the phrase ‘correctable mistakes.'”

I stalked out of the stadium. Trying not to think about the first 50 minutes of that mess. All I wanted to do was go meet back with my friends.

It was homecoming. For all the grief Pitt football can inflict, the ties that bind me to this school are about my friends. I went to Pitt at the end of the Gottfiried and the Hackett era. Football success was not exactly a part of my student experience. There has never been a lot of reveling in past football success when looking back on my college years.

We have kids. We have lives. We live in various other states. We came into Pittsburgh this weekend ostensibly for a football game, but that was just the cover we needed to tell our wives so we could just be around each other for a day. A date set out well in advance that we could all make sure to have the schedule cleared.

So that’s what we did that evening. Without any verbal consensus, we avoided all talk of the GT-Pitt game. We had a great night. Talking, drinking, a good meal, indulging in cigars. The times you can immediately appreciate, because the opportunities to all be together at the same time get harder each year. And we would be damned if a debacle on the field was going to take that from us.

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October 27, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

We met the enemy and they are us.  After some games this season it has been kind of hard to find three positives to list in this series’ articles.  Today it is virtually impossible.

POSITIVES

1. The holder on our PATs. At least he didn’t fumble the ball.  Seriously.

2.  Our Running Backs. A while ago I mentioned ‘every RB not named James Conner’ in an article. I’ll do that again here. Ibrahim, Bennett and James all had good plays to try to keep us in the game.  Ibrahim (3 carries for 66 yards)  took a handoff down the left sideline for 50 yards to set up a Conner TD; Bennett, although he was one of the now-record breaking PITT fumbling crew, took a beautifully thrown wheel route from Anderson down the right side for a 35 yard TD and Chris James contributed a nice show of yards after the catch on a short dump pass from Voytik that James turned into a 23 yard gain.

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October 26, 2014

Matt House’s Defense

Filed under: Chryst,Embarrassing,Football — Justin @ 1:00 pm

It was painfully obvious to anyone watching yesterday that the defense was woefully unprepared for Georgia Tech’s offense.  Even disregarding points and blaming it on turnovers, 612 yards of total offense is so high no amount of expletives can come close to calming the justifiable anger. I’ve defended Matt House a lot this season and the narrative right now is that Pitt’s defense had high ratings due to inferior competition. Let’s explore the stats there to see how close Pitt came to holding opposing offenses to their season average. (more…)

October 25, 2014

Open Thread: Homecoming 2014

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:00 am

Pushing this out early, because with the 3:30 start time that means some actual time to tailgate. That means pushing this post out and hitting the road to Pittsburgh almost as early as a 1pm start.

Thankfully they don’t administer sobriety tests on the way to the pressbox. I’m not saying I’ll be intoxicated, but this game does offer that possibility.

Fast links:

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Georgia Tech Predicitions

Filed under: Conference,Football,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 5:53 am

Another hard one for me to fathom, but they all are it seems because I have a 50/50 record at best predicting winners.

I think the weather is nice, crowds will be bigger and the defense will be focused and hold GT down below their average offensive output.  Big ACC game to win if we can….

PITT – 27 GT – 24

October 24, 2014

The Homecoming Script

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 12:48 pm

Brace yourselves…

and

Have at it on a Friday afternoon, everyone.

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…)

October 22, 2014

At least, they are the narrative at this time.

The consistency theme is for Pitt’s performance from game to game.

Dave Durham is ready to get off the treadmill.

Pittsburgh wins a big game and loses the next. The Panthers falter one week only to come roaring back seven days later. It’s a pattern that’s plagued the program for years as the seasons hovering around .500 have piled up.

The senior defensive end hopes part of his legacy is being part of a group that stops the trend. Time is running out, though Durham is optimistic Pitt has finally started to figure it out after last week’s rousing 21-16 win over Virginia Tech.

“What truly great teams do, they come back and win the next week and get better the next week and they’re hungry and they’re never satisfied,” Durham said.

The way Durham looks at it, the victory over the Hokies didn’t snap a three-game losing streak for Pitt, it marks the start of a second-half surge. He hopes, anyway.

It has been oh, so predictable… afterwards. Yet every damn time it happens it surprises me.

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October 20, 2014

Recapping the VT Win, Semi-Media Edition

Filed under: Football,Media — Chas @ 6:24 am

Basic rule. In a game won by under 7 points. The opposing fans and media covering that other team will tend to focus more on their team’s mistakes, missed opportunities and how they lost the game. It’s no different for Pitt fans when the Panthers lose. So, when it comes time for the VT perspective, don’t act like they aren’t acknowledging Pitt won.

Oh, what the hell. Let’s start with the VT perspective.

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October 18, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

We met the Virginia Tech Hokies on the turf at Heinz Field on a rare nationally televised Thursday night game and came away with a very satisfying 21-16 win.  It was a close game and one that even to most optimistic of PITT fans had to doubts about as the 4th quarter unfolded.  The win puts us at 4-3 on the season with a 2-1 ACC conference record that is just about what we figured we’d have at this point of the season.  It is safe to say that we needed to start the second half of the season with a conference win if we want to have any chance at a Coastal Division championship.

POSITIVES

1.  Our defense, again. When you hold a team, any team, to 26 yards rushing on 21 carries (1.2 ypc) and 2 of 14 on 3rd and 4th down conversion tries you are playing excellent defense.  That is the kind of stout play that results in low scores for the other team (16 points with three FGs) and a win.

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October 16, 2014

Open Thread: VT-Pitt on a Thursday

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 3:11 pm

Love Thursday night home games… in theory.

The reality of them sticks me at home, as I am perpetually unable to make the trip to the game — the need to take off early on Thursday and likely Friday. Or trying to drive the 2+ hours sometime after midnight. That no longer seems like fun.

Justin will have the birds eye view from the press box in my stead.

I’ll be on my couch with a fresh growler of beer watching and tweeting all game.

Pitt needs this game.

Final Run Through For The Hokies

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 11:17 am

Okay, do yourself a favor and read these two posts from over at The Key Play. Further confirming my view that neither side is going to do anything too out of character for this game. Both teams have coaches that have their game plans. Know what the identity of their respective teams should be, and will not deviate far off the script. I will note, that if there is any way to sneak Walt Harris onto the sidelines for the game, do it. I think it would give the Hokie collective severe heart palpitations. Anything to further mess with their heads.

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October 15, 2014

What To Expect With VT

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s),Tactics — Chas @ 7:38 am

It will be kept simple.

After the Q&A with The Key Play was released, VT let it be known that running back Marshawn “Juice” Williams was also out for the the game. Three backs down in their depth chart. That means Caleb Johnson will be their primary back.

A couple other key injuries for the Hokies are on the defense. Starting DT Luther Maddy and CB Brandon Fascyson will not play. If you are looking for reasons why the line on the game has swung a bit. The injury list is a good place to start.

This means a bit more passing. Not deep throws, but much more of the short stuff. Slants. Quick outs. Controlled throws to create a little space. As for deep throws, they will take about as many as Iowa took. See if they can take advantage of the corners going one-on-one while the safeties play up to defend the shorter passes. Whether VT QB Michael Brewer will be accurate enough is the random roll of the die. (more…)

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