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May 22, 2016

I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up on a rainy Sunday afternoon (at least rainy here in MD) and saw a great Sports Illustrated article written in Oct 1962 by a previous Pitt Chancellor, Dr. Edward Litchfield, about the national debate if Grant-In Aids (athletic scholarships) were a good thing to have on college campuses.

This intro below is a personal bit about why this article strikes my fancy.  The article itself is the other audio bar.

Here is the body of the article – excuse the small mistakes if you will, I’m not a professional at this.  I especially like the contrasts between Litchfield’s descriptions of Pitt athletics then and today’s state of college football.  There are some great points made here – especially some timeless ones that hold true today.

Hope you enjoy it!

“Camel Driver” – try putting that on a kid today!  I also love that we stole almost a whole opposing team –

Far back in 1903, for example, out-university felt mortified to have been defeated two straight years by the football team of little Geneva College. Football in those days seldom made much money at the box office but many colleges recruited passionately, simply because they found defeat unbearable. In the wake of our losses to Geneva, corrective action was deemed imperative and there seemed only one surefire way of seeing to it that we beat Geneva the next year. We took it.

We lured to our campus most of the Geneva players and the following season, 1904, defeated Geneva 30-0. During the balance of the decade Pitt football teams lost only 13 of 71 games. Now what sort of boys were they, do you suppose, that could be proselyted so frivolously? Because many of them have passed on, we were able to trace only 17. Of that number, four were physicians, five dentists, two attorneys and one a Ph.D.

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May 4, 2016

The Cardiac Hill blog is running a “Bracket of Pitt” series that has  ‘all things Pitt” subjects listed much like we see during the college basketball NCAA tournaments.  Here is how they describe what they are going to do:

“The Cardiac Hill Podcast has a new segment; the Bracket of Pitt. It’s a 64-item bracket of everything Pitt. People, places, things, etc., basically if it has anything to do with the University of Pittsburgh, it’s in. I’ll be hosting the tournament primarily with Jim Hammett of Cardiac Hill. We’ll post the first episode here (and on SoundCloud) tomorrow with me & Jim discussing the bracket and you can vote for the matchups @CoreyECohen on Twitter; one vote per person. Each week we’ll put out a new episode discussing your results and advance the bracket accordingly! Let’s make some May Madness here at Cardiac Hill, we can’t wait to debut the #BracketOfPitt!”

This sounds like an original and fun idea and will fill up some of the Pitt sports dead time from now until the football Fall Camp opens up in early August.  Here is what the bracket looks like as a snapshot but click on this link to see the details.

Cardiac resized

Guess The Pitt Blather didn’t make the cut.

May 29, 2015

Breaking Six

Filed under: Football,Gambling — Chas @ 7:05 am

I guess when you’ve been this consistently .500, even the gamblers will expect more of the same.

On Tuesday, 5Dimes, an offshore sportsbook, released its regular-season win totals for a large number of FBS teams. The group bestowed win totals upon all 14 ACC teams.

Below are the 5Dimes numbers with a short take on each school’s win total, and following is a quick over/under prediction. It’s worth noting 5Dimes’ win totals and money lines are designed to induce bets for both the over and under.

….

Pittsburgh: 6 (over -120, under -120)

Can the Panthers finally get past the six-win plateau? They have a new coach in Pat Narduzzi, which should pay immediate dividends on defense. The offense is poised to have a big season with playmakers Tyler Boyd and James Conner.

Jared Shanker: Push

Not sure anyone is going to believe Pitt gets more than 6 wins (or less than 6 losses, depending on how you see the water in the cup) in the regular season until it actually happens. And maybe not even then.

 

May 1, 2013

Early lines out include the season/ACC/home opener for Pitt-FSU.

The betting lines for seven opening week games were released Tuesday by RJ Bell of Pregame.com. Florida State’s Sept. 2 Labor Day opener at Pittsburgh was one of them. According to a consensus of oddsmakers that include 5 Dimes, Bovada, Sportsbook.com and Bookmaker, the Seminoles will be an 8.5-point favorite when they face the Panthers at Heinz Field.

The season opener will serve as Pitt’s official welcome to the ACC. The Panthers are starting play in the conference after leaving the Big East later this summer. Pitt will be joined by fellow former Big East school Syracuse. FSU hosts Syracuse Nov. 16.

In addition to serving as Pitt’s first game in the ACC, the opener will mark the first time in two seasons a quarterback other than EJ Manuel or Clint Trickett have started a game for the Seminoles. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is the favorite to make his first career start against the Panthers.

8.5 points in May. Plenty of time for that line to move above 10.

Frustratingly, if this is the worst thing about Pitt today, it’s a good day.

April 3, 2012

Congratulations to OrlandoPittAlum for taking the PittBlather Tournament Challenge. Obviously, OPA nailed the championship game. He had 3 of the 4 Final Four teams. Only his West Bracket — like just about everyone else — was wrecked in the course of the tournament. Otherwise, he had a very good performance. Wracking up 1560 points. My pathetic entry garnered a meager 700 points.

Even though, he placed in the 99.5 percentile of all entries, he was still 34,511 places below the winning total of 1780 points.

So OrlandoPittAlum, shoot me an e-mail so I can get your prize pack set to go.

August 3, 2010

There will be player interviews, puff pieces and the assorted stuff coming out of today’s actual Big East Media Day. Then there is the stuff surrounding the day that is already out there. Stories that came out just before or today. Or the tweeted breaking stories of some interest.

If you have followed some of the media, you know that those going to Big East Media Days were really looking forward to golf and the lobsters last night. The media inevitably talk it up, and well, the waistlines reflect it.

So I have a hard time believing that the Big East would actually move the Media Day to NYC (hattip to On the Banks).

The Pac-10’s savvy decision to bring all 10 coaches and four of its star quarterbacks to New York last week struck a nerve with Big East coaches and athletic directors.

“This is our market, and we have to make sure we protect it,” one AD told The Post.

Could that mean moving the league’s media day from Newport to New York? That idea could be gathering steam.

The media would bitch and moan to no end, so don’t buy it. Besides, they finally got the Cinci newspaper to spring for sending one of their guys to media day.

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July 15, 2010

Odds and Predictions

Filed under: Big East,Conference,Football,Gambling — Chas @ 11:21 am

Briefly, because I have been out all morning and then lots of other things to do the rest of the day and evening.

Pitt has the most talent in the Big East. There can be quibbles at certain spots as to which player is better, but in terms of overall talent and depth there isn’t much disagreement.

Will that translate into winning the Big East and a BCS bowl? That’s the big question.

DawgSports believes it, and has Pitt as one of the teams he thinks will actually exceed expectations.

As for gamblers, well that is different. BetUS.com actually makes the odds of winning the Big East a 3-way tie with WVU and UConn at +250.

Pitt welcomes back the most explosive offensive player in this league in running back Dion Lewis. As a freshman last year, Lewis burst onto the scene with 1799 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is joined on this offense by Jonathan Baldwin, a naturally gifted receiver who hauled in a team high 57 catches last year, and Mike Shanahan, who like Baldwin is a matchup nightmare at 6’5. The defense is anchored by Greg Romeus, a defensive end who is all but a certainty to lock up All-Big East, if not All-American honors.

The one concern with Pitt is the uncertainty at quarterback, where sophomore quarterback Tino Sunseri takes over for graduated senior Bill Stull.

If Sunseri can somehow shake off his inexperience there’s reason to like the Pitt Panthers. They are no doubt the favorite in the football expert picks.

As for winning the entire BCS? Well, then Pitt is one of their darkhorse picks at +5000. Alabama is the big favorite at +450 followed by Ohio State at +600. Boise is actually close at +1000.

July 14, 2010

The AC in our house went last night. It’s a balmy 84 in the house at the moment. I’d be doing this in just my boxers but the kids have been traumatized enough by my parenting to this point.

In case you have ever forgotten that as much as the Big East is a basketball conference, the ACC is still a basketball first conference. The ACC Sports Journal has been bothered by the overall mediocrity (or worse) of the ACC since they expanded. Yes, the conference can claim 3 national titles (2 for UNC, 1 for Duke) since expansion but the overall depth of the conference has been rather meh.

Even with back-to-back national champions, the ACC’s NCAA tournament winning percentage has fallen to 59.67 percent; the Big East is now essentially even with the ACC in that category, with a 59.34 winning percentage during that time span. The ACC’s average seed has dropped to 5.21, while the Big East’s has risen to 4.6. And the two leagues have gotten teams into the tournament at an identical 46-percent rate.

Furthermore, just three ACC teams have advanced to the Final Four over the last five years, while four Big East teams have turned the trick. True, the ACC holds a 2-0 edge in national championships. But consider this: Only seven ACC teams – and only one (2006 Boston College) not named North Carolina or Duke – have made it as far as the Sweet 16 over the last four seasons. A whopping 16 Big East teams have advanced that far.

In fact, if you take UNC and Duke out of the mix, the ACC’s post-expansion tournament record is an unsightly 12-18. That’s Atlantic 10 or Mountain West territory.

Interestingly, they do not put the blame on the newcomers.

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March 18, 2009

Okay, late I know.

Here is the Pitt Blather Tournament group. I’m using ESPN.com Tournament set-up.

The Group Name: Pitt Blather

This is a private group, so to join you need the Group Password: FieldsGroin

December 15, 2006

Oddsmakers aren’t stupid. They haven’t released the line on the Pitt-Wisconsin game with Gray’s availability even slightly in question. We all know this should be a close game, the teams are evenly matched. It’s also the college basketball game of the weekend.

Game worth flying to see in person: Nothing like an early Saturday game between a pair of top 10 teams to get the weekend started, and that’s exactly what we’ve got when No. 2 Pittsburgh visits No. 7 Wisconsin for a contest scheduled to tip at noon ET. The matchup will feature two of the best coaches in the business (Jamie Dixon and Bo Ryan) and two of the best seniors in the nation (Aaron Gray, who might not play, and Alando Tucker). Hard to say which way it’ll go, but it’s worth noting Wisconsin has won 11 straight games at the Kohl Center and is 80-5 at home under Ryan. Just take that for what it’s worth.

That homecourt edge is what makes a difference for Seth Davis as well.

If this is a toss-up, I have to say the coin comes up Wisconsin primarily because the game is being played in Madison, where the Badgers have lost just five times under Bo Ryan and are 42-3 against non-conference opponents.

I can’t say this has me too worked up. For a big game like this on the road, I’d rather be the underdog. What does annoy me is superficial intros to breaking down the match-ups like this.

But there is one glaring difference. Only one has proven worthy of its high ranking.

The Badgers beat in-state rival and No. 17-ranked Marquette 70-66 last week.

The Panthers haven’t played a ranked team yet. They had to come from behind to escape with a 70-67 win over a 6-4 Buffalo team in their last game.

See, I thought this was the game to prove which team was “worthy” of its ranking. It’s 10-11 games into the year. It’s not like Pitt won’t be playing Marquette later this year. Both teams have beaten Delaware St., FSU, and Auburn as well. That said, read the article for some of the match-up discussion.

Mike DeCourcy is also looking forward to it.

Must-see hoop TV: Pitt at Wisconsin, noon Saturday, ESPN. Panthers star center Aaron Gray missed practice Thursday because he was ill, and the team isn’t certain he’ll play against the Badgers. His absence would remove some of this game’s impact, because it’s hard enough to win at Wisconsin even with all of your best.

Whether or not Gray plays, it’ll be interesting to see how Pitt defends small forward Alando Tucker, who shredded Marquette in a big Badgers victory last weekend. Levon Kendall might be the best man-to-man defender in college hoops, but can a 6-10 guy keep up?

This will be my first TiVO test. I have to do something that will likely run into the early afternoon tomorrow (moving a lot of crap I was supposed to do last week, but the rental truck fell through and it absolutely has to be done at this point). So, I’ll be on a little time lag, before I can sit down and watch it.

October 27, 2006

Lee’s Week 9 Picks

Filed under: Football,Gambling — Lee in Altoona @ 11:06 pm

[Editior’s note: Lee’s been in conferences and lots of other things going on this week (or so he claims), so while he was able to pump out some picks, he only had time for a few.]
Screw all the zoning notices that I’m supposed to be working on right now. First things first…

* MINNESOTA (+27) AT OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes’ record against the spread over the past few years has been incredible. Nobody should call for OSU not to cover unless they’re pretty sure. But I think I am here. Twenty-seven is a lot to lay against a Minnesota team that can run the ball (remember OSU’s problems against the run?), and that gave Penn State everything it wanted and then some (pass interference?). I’ll (gulp) go against conventional wisdom here, taking the Gophers and the points.

* PENN STATE (-3) AT PURDUE: Purdue has no defense. Thus, this is a great place for the Nittany Lion offense to get healthy. Morelli still has plenty of fast receivers and, oh yeah, Tony Hunt. The Nits can definitely put up some points against this pitiful D. On the flip side, Purdue also has a hell of an offense. But, unlike the Boilermakers, the Lions have a hell of a defense. This oughta slow down Purdue’s offense long enough for Penn State to get ahead by more than a mere field goal.

And the “Stone Cold, Lead-Pipe Cinch, Guaranteed Pick of the Week”

* SYRACUSE (+6.5) AT CINCINNATI: You know, the Bearcats haven’t let me down all year long. Every time I’ve picked them, they’ve covered the spread. You gotta love former dormats that are rising from their ashes… but Vegas thinks are still doormats. Cincinnati’s tough schedule and physical play will carry them past a depleted Syracuse squad, especially in the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium. Heck, even Pitt could run on Syracuse. The Bearcats will win by at least seven.

Also, I’ll take Pitt’s defense to give up at least 150 rushing yards to the bye week.

Bye week jokes are always fresh.

October 19, 2006

Picking the Weekend

Filed under: Football,Gambling — Lee in Altoona @ 3:06 pm

[Editor Note: Back in the very early days of this blog’s existence, like the first year when it was still PSB, Lee regularly offered a weekly look at the games with the betting lines. I’m not saying it’s returned as a regular feature, but we’ll post when he offers.]

Once again, my picks will not be backed up with an actual cash bet, because I am deathly afraid of my wife. Hey, nobody wants to get stomped by a pregnant woman.

West Virginia (-20) at UConn: You don’t just go into Rentschler Field and expect to come out with a win… unless you’re West Virginia, ticked off at Auburn’s passing you in the BCS, and need to impress some pollsters. The Huskies haven’t done anything since Calhoun got bounced out of the tourney last spring. I’ll take the Mountaineers and give the 20.

Louisville (-17) at Syracuse: OK, same thing as above, but substitute the Carrier Dome. Now that Miami is finally back down where they belong (I almost took Duke and the 17.5 as my pick of the week), Louisville’s most impressive win isn’t impressing many anymore. They gotta start impressing pollsters too, and they know it. Plus, Syracuse has no defense.

Rutgers (+7) at Pitt: The Scarlet Knights will be able to run on Pitt with their tough o-line, Ray Rice (RB), and Brian Leonard (FB). Session, Campbell, and Blades will certainly stop the running game in the backfield, but not until Rice has gained a few yards. But LaRod Stephens-Howling will be able to run on Rutgers’ undersized defense line too. The tiebreaker? We have Tyler Palko and a solid receiving corps. Rutgers has the inconsistent-at-best Mike Teel. Pitt wins this one by at least seven with the more balanced offense – with me, for once, actually in my Heinz Field seat…

I’ll have one more B’East pick below.

Now for the other conferences…

UCLA (+13.5) at Notre Dame: The Irish offense is at least two touchdowns better than this inconsistent UCLA squad, especially at home.

Iowa (+14) at Michigan: Do I even have to explain why Michigan can cover at least two touchdowns on the mediocre-all-season-and-just-lost-to-freakin’-Indiana Hawkeyes? Forget about it. Take it from Buckeye. Neither Iowa’s defense or its offense is as good as Penn State’s, even with Ciociolo-or-whoever at QB. A blowout at the Big House.

And finally, the Stone Cold Lead Pipe Cinch Guaranteed Picks of the Week

Yeah, I got two this week.

USF (+1) at Cincinnati: Once again, you don’t just go into Nippert Stadium and expect to come out with a win… well, unless you’re Pitt anyways… and even then, Bob won’t remember it. But seriously, this is where the Bearcats’ tough out-of-conference schedule, and Mark Dantonio’s defense, finally begin to pay off. I’ll easily take the Bearcats for the second week in a row… this time giving a measly point.

Indiana (+31.5) at Ohio State: (1) This is the same Hoosier squad who just upset Iowa the hard way, and (2) the Shoe isn’t that tough of a place to play. Four and a half touchdowns is a lot to lay. No, Indiana won’t win, but I’ll take the Hoosiers and the points easy.

Games I ain’t even touchin’

Illinois (+17.5) at Penn State: Gawd knows how the Penn State offense will work with Ciancolo. It worked OK in spurts against Michigan last week, and you know that Tony Hunt will roll up a ton o’yards against the Illini. But still, you’d have to know something I don’t to take either side of this line.

North Carolina (+6) at Virginia: I guess speaking logically, somebody has to win this game tonight. But Lord knows who. I still can’t believe that Virginia is favored over anyone at this point. But then again, I wouldn’t favor UNC over many people either…

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