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January 19, 2017

Several Pat Signals

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:44 am

Pitt got three more verbals in a roughly 24 hour period. Only two are known, though.

The first, was Jason Pinnock. A cornerback from Connecticut. Pinnock was a Boston College commit, but after a senior year that saw interest in him rise he decommitted. Pitt offered him and both Syracuse and Notre Dame were showing interest. Pinnock was supposed to to take a visit to South Bend, next week but has since cancelled his remaining visits.

His star rating is not high. Rivals.com has him updated to a 3-star, but the other recruiting sites say 2-star. At 6-0, 180 pounds, he is along the physical lines of what Coach Pat Narduzzi wants in his corners. Obviously, he is not going to see the field right away.

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December 28, 2016

Open Thread: Pinstripe Bowl 2016

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 11:16 am

2pm, ESPN

The less said about the announcing crew, the better.

Hello, all. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Nice and peaceful with my family. Stayed off the computer for most of it, though, I did watch plenty of football and basketball. Sometimes it is just nice to watch games without the running commentary on twitter and elsewhere.

I have been and will be rushing about to finish work early to get home to watch this game, and probably roll right into the Marshall-Pitt basketball game tonight (there will be a separate thread for those who are also double-dipping). 2pm on a weekday sounds great when you are off from work, but when you still need to put in the time, it becomes a bit of an annoyance.

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December 15, 2016

Recruiting Drought Ends With Two

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 5:21 pm

Hey, maybe Pitt should lose an OC more often.

/remembers that this will be OC #4 in 4 years

Oh, yeah. Pitt already has that down pat.

Despite the departure of the offensive coordinator, Pitt picked up two recruits on the offensive side of the ball. It’s been a while since there has been a Pat Signal.

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I know the premise might piss some off as too flippant, but I can’t disagree that Pitt coaching searches are a bit of a pip. A groundhog day thing full of crazy rumors, angst and a bit of self-loathing.

So, yeah. Matt Canada took the OC position at LSU. More money and a higher profile job. Calling it a “lateral move” is either ignorant or an attempt to cheap shot Pitt. I favor ignorance in this case.

To expand on some of what I said the other day. If Canada had stayed at Pitt and had similar success for just one more season he would be in the mix for head coaching jobs in the MAC, C-USA and Sun Belt. Have success at LSU for a year or two as OC. Especially in light of all their underachieving in the past 7 or 8 years and he is in being interviewed for AAC, low Power 5 conference jobs and OC spots in the NFL.

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December 13, 2016

Canada to LSU?

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:10 am

It seems that the dominoes that would have to fall for Matt Canada were no longer in place last week. Lane Kiffin did not get the Houston head coaching job. Kiffin was the favorite choice — by all reports — to be the OC under non-interim HC Ed Orgeron. Kiffin was ready to leave Alabama and they were ready for him to go.

Instead, Kiffin took a pay cut and will be the new head coach at Florida Atlantic.

Kiffin’s salary at FAU will average in the $1 million range annually, according to sources. He was making $1.4 million per year as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

Brief digression. Recruiting in Florida is realistically tougher than ever. Forget the top tier schools there — FSU, Florida, Miami — and all the top-tier SEC schools that recruit the area. Competition for the underrated, diamonds-in-the-rough, athletic 3-star kids now has Charlie Strong (USF), Butch Davis (FIU) and Kiffin working to keep them in state. Pitt and a lot of other programs are going to have a lot more work to do if they want to pry kids out of Florida.

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December 12, 2016

Thank You James Conner

Filed under: Football,Honors,Players — Justin @ 10:08 am
Atlanta, GA - December 8, 2016 - College Football Hall of Fame: Portrait of College Football Awards winner of the Disney Spirit Award, James Conner of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

Atlanta, GA – December 8, 2016 – College Football Hall of Fame: Portrait of College Football Awards winner of the Disney Spirit Award, James Conner of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers
(Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

The news hit me twice in about thirty seconds. When James Conner announced to the world a little over a year ago that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had the unfortunate pleasure of learning twice. Pitt put up a feed online for fans to watch but there was a lag. So while I scrolled on twitter waiting for the press conference to begin, I saw it.

“James Conner announces he has been diagnosed with cancer.”

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December 7, 2016

(For Immediate Release)

CLARIFICATION ON TV CREW FOR NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL

(Bristol, CT) Due to the number of questions, ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, wishes to address the surprising number of questions that were directed to the ESPN Media Zone with regards to the announcing crew of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Following the press release of the announcing crews for all of the 2016-17 college football bowl season, there was much reaction to Mike Golic and Mike Golic, Jr. serving as co-analysts in the booth with game caller Ryan Ruocco and sideline reporter Paul Caracaterra.

The combination of the co-host of ESPN’s morning radio show Mike & Mike in the Morning with his son is in no way a stunt or nepotism. Mike Golic is a well-respected voice in sports and we feel that Mike Golic, Jr. is a rising star in the broadcast of college football.

This decision was made with the full support of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl organizers and sponsors.

“When ESPN approached us with the idea of Mike Golic and his son working the game from the broadcast booth, we were very excited,” said Pinstripe Bowl Executive Director Mark Hozman. “The idea of two Notre Dame alum and partisans talking about Northwestern and Pitt seemed ideal.”

“Northwestern is located in a suburb of Chicago,” Hozman continued, “The epicenter of Notre Dame subway fans. The idea of not being able to escape Notre Dame references and discussions of Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly for even one game has to be a tremendous incentive to attend the actual event to avoid hearing such sparkling conversations.”

“For Pitt fans, Mike Golic only reads quick summaries of teams in the AP top-10 to effect a knowledge of college football. This year, that includes Penn State, who we fully expect him to confuse with Pitt during the game.”

“You don’t want to hear these morons? Buy a damn ticket,” added New York Yankees Chairman Hal Steinbrenner.

December 5, 2016

Pinstripe Bound

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 8:38 am

I have no big complaints about Pitt going to the Pinstripe Bowl. Well, other than 2pm on a Wednesday.

The Sun Bowl would have had the amusing storyline of the epic 2008 game against Oregon State, and a “name” opponent from the Pac-12. But it is not a bowl game for travel (for any ACC team), and the whole “Pitt doesn’t travel to bowl games” gets reinforced.

The Russell Athletic Bowl would have been a solid destination game in Orlando. Plus the storyline of the Backyard Brawl would make it extra compelling nationally. The downside, though, would be Pitt’s pass defense against Holgorsen’s offense. That allegedly came into play in the bowl officials calculations. Which I would love to take offense to, but… I just can’t.

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November 29, 2016

On the heels of breaking into the AP Top 25 at #24, Pitt players and a coach picked up some nice accolades.

In something that has become a regular occurrence, Quadree Henderson picked up his 5th ACC Specialist of the Week honor (yes, it is really called “specialist”).

He earned his latest award by compiling a career-high 257 all-purpose yards against the Orange, averaging an incredible 21.4 yards per touch.

Henderson averaged 18.7 yards on three punt returns (56 yards), 24.5 on four kickoffs (98 yards) and an incredible 20.6 on five rushes (103 yards). He had a 66-yard touchdown burst off a jet sweep to give Pitt a 49-21 lead in the third quarter.

Henderson’s (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. du Pont) performance helped the Panthers achieve their highest single-game point total since 1977. His five Specialist of the Week awards are the most by an ACC player this season. He was previously honored for his performances in the Penn State, Virginia, Miami and Duke contests.

A highly viable All-America candidate, Henderson has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a nation-leading three on kickoffs. He ranks second in the country in combined kick return yards (1,121), fifth in kickoff return average (31.1) and 11th in all-purpose yards per game (159.75).

I’m assuming the ACC has a Specialist of the Year honor, which Henderson is a shoe-in to get. Along with 1st Team All-ACC recognition.

Speaking of which

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November 27, 2016

Vomiting Points, Hemorrhaging Coverage

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 4:20 pm

… Or…

I took my son to Pitt and a Big 12 game happened.

Thanks again, to Wally for the tickets. My boy had a great time. Good to see you again and to talk.

Where to begin — or end — with that game?

Tons of points. Even more yards. Volume, volume, volume of explosive plays. Too many mistakes by the defenses to count. And at times, it felt like the game was never going to end.

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November 26, 2016

12:30 pm. ACC Nework syndication.

Thanks to everyone who offered tickets so that my son and I can attend the game (as fans) today. Much bigger response than I expected. He’s excited about going, even if it is going to be cold and had to get up very early.

Pitt is the heavy favorite. The Syracuse offense does not look to be in good shape with QB Eric Dungey doubtful for the game. That leaves Zack Mahoney as the starter. Additionally, players not listed on the injury report are question marks.

Junior wide receiver Steve Ishmael, redshirt freshman center Colin Byrne and redshirt senior guard Omari Palmer are not included. It’s unclear if and how much each will play against the Panthers.

The Syracuse defense is not exactly its strong suit. It averages giving up 35+ points a game.

Time to send the seniors off with one more home win, and finish with an 8-4 record.

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and Senior Notes

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 12:47 pm

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope you are enjoying it with friends, family and those who make you happy. I have been doing little things in preparation for the full-blown day of cooking (and maybe a bit to drink). The way things work out this time of year, we can’t travel to be with the entire family, so it is just the wife and kids. Which is much more peaceful, but we do miss out on the fun (usually) chaos of a house full of family.

There’s a game on Saturday, and I’m taking my son to it. He went with me to the spring game and had a great time. It just hasn’t worked out most of the season, but I promised him his first game this year so it is do or die time. On that note, does anyone have a couple extra tickets they aren’t using? Dragging him to the pressbox doesn’t seem like a good idea. I don’t think I can sell him as my intern. That means I have to pick a couple up. I know it won’t be hard to get a couple, but I might as well ask here first.

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November 22, 2016

The line on this game started at Pit -23.5. It has since risen to -24.5. I wonder how much of it is confidence in Pitt versus a lack of confidence in Syracuse.

Normally the Syracuse-Pitt “rivalry” game is a time for us to make fun of the ACC for declaring this the rivalry game. Point out how neither side really views the other with deep hate in football. That the series tends to shift one-sidedly for quite a while — and right now it is on Pitt’s side.

That’s still all true. But, at least the ACC went and moved it to the end of the season when there is a chance the game could means something in terms of wins and losses.

With that in mind, it isn’t a game that should produce the usual apathy and “meh” commentary. This is a game that could get Pitt to 8 regular season wins. Another nice step in year two under Pat Narduzzi, considering the strength of schedule took a noticeable jump compared to last year (and, yes, the frustrating closeness of some losses (and wins)).

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November 21, 2016

The Steady Drumbeat of a Blowout

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 8:39 am

The points didn’t come in one wild quarter or half. There wasn’t a defense that completely overwhelmed and demoralized Duke. Instead, they were steady consistent blows on both sides of the ball. It didn’t even feel like a blowout until you looked up at the score in 4th quarter.

Duke never quite seemed out of it in the first half. In part, because, Pitt fans have been conditioned this year to understand that no lead is truly safe. But primarily because while Pitt was dominating, they weren’t destroying.

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November 19, 2016

Open Thread: Duke-Pitt Get Messy

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 10:58 am

Ah, the joys of a 60-hour work week, and family commitments. I still have the Marquette-Pitt basketball game on the DVR to watch on Sunday. No spoilers, please.

For those of you not going to the game:

3pm, Root Sports Pittsburgh and various other RSNs and ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

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