October 6, 2016

In a few years when Florida State fans, boosters and probably their board of trustees complain that the TV money from the ACC Network isn’t enough/keeping up with the SEC (because we all, damn well know they will be first in line to complain), we can all remind them that they were the ones leading the charge to leave the money on the table to keep their extra non-con game.

Not that they will care or even accept any blame.


August 27, 2016

I can’t even bother to work up some requisite outrage over a dumb name, a likely dumb trophy and corporate sponsorship.

The Pitt vs. Penn State football series will be tagged as the Keystone Classic presented by Peoples Gas as announced Friday by both institutions. The first meeting in the newly dubbed series will occur Saturday, Sept. 10 in front of a capacity crowd at Heinz Field 12 p.m. – ABC or ESPN). The Panthers are also scheduled to play at Penn State Sept. 9, 2017 in the second meeting of the four-game series that will continue in 2018 and 2019.

“We are extremely excited about renewing this great series and grateful to have Peoples Gas on board as a presenting sponsor,” said Pitt Athletic Director Scott Barnes. “The Pitt-Penn State matchup will serve as a marquee game of the early football season and I know our fan base will be out in full force for the matchup. This has been a great collaboration by the two institutions both in scheduling the game and securing a corporate partner.”

Pitt media rights holder IMG worked closely with Penn State media rights holder Learfield to secure Peoples Gas as the presenting sponsor of the series. The partnership includes Peoples Gas’ corporate mark embedded in the series logo as well as various branding, social media, activation and community assets. In addition, both schools are working with their licensing partner CLC on creating a line of merchandise featuring the Keystone Classic logo.



August 25, 2016

ACC Network and Scheduling

Filed under: ACC,Conference,Media,Money,Schedule — Chas @ 11:07 am

Have to start somewhere…

Most of the offseason around the ACC has been about the speculation that the ACC Network was never going to happen. That the losses in the last year at ESPN over cord-cutters and a shrinking subscriber base meant that the Mouse Monopoly was not going to add another channel devoted solely to a conference. ACC schools would have to just accept the extra $3 million/year each on the present deal.

Never should we count out Ninja Swofford. Last month came the surprise announcement by ESPN and the ACC of the long-discussed, but seemingly doomed to never happen ACC Network.

ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference will launch the ACC Network – a comprehensive linear and digital network, it was announced today by ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper at the conference’s annual Football Kickoff media event in Charlotte, N.C. The 20-year partnership will provide ACC fans unprecedented access to live events via a comprehensive, multi-platform network. It also provides for the extension of the conference’s existing rights agreement with ESPN to 2036. ESPN is the ACC’s exclusive worldwide rights holder.

Beginning in August 2016, fans can access more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via a digital live-events channel ‘ACC Network Extra’, immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with that number growing each year.  More than 1,300 ACC events will be distributed across the platforms in 2019 when the linear network launches.

Sure the cable channel won’t roll out in 2017… or 2018. But, it is coming.


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.


May 21, 2016

Here is the Peak’s PantherLair podcast on the Trib’s website – he talks about the uniform roll-out and other things.  But specifically about what a ringing success the whole day was for Pitt athletics – from social media to returning players to the event itself in the evening.  He also talks about how the Pirates don’t give a crap about Pitt at all… as we read in Chas’ piece earlier.

He also addresses the current facilities improvements and what was done by previous FB HCs.  I like the fact that this administration is dedicated to long range upgrades and it’s starting to come to fruition.

(By the way – remember what Peak says here about Narduzzi’s using comparisons to other football programs when asking fans and boosters for $$$ to renovate the facility’s meeting rooms, weight rooms, etc… Pitt football does not exist in a vacuum and we have to play catch up to keep up with programs that have forged ahead of where we are now when you read the last part of this article.)

Chris Logue of Pitt Nation Sports always has interesting articles and is a damn good wordsmith. Here he writes about the QBs, or not, of the future for Pitt.

“Despite the success from a Pittsburgh standout and the myriad of congratulations the star (Phil Jurkovec) received after his commitment, it seemed like a dumpster-fire moment on Twitter from “Pitt-faithful.” Oddly enough, mostly aimed at Pat Narduzzi’s immediate “inability to recruit” after an incredible wrap to his 2016 class and the praises that sealed that envelope. Phil Jurkovec

The story that remains in the middle of the announcement, for myself at least, is everyone seems to have forgotten about Thomas MacVittie, a prized steal for Narduzzi last season.

To state that MacVittie did not produce the same attention through his senior season as Jurkovec had through just his sophomore season is excruciatingly obvious. But, the two may be more similar on the field than you may think.

Its a good read and should bring some of us back from the brink.


May 9, 2016

Even if nothing comes of it, the late-spring/summer brings talk of conference realignment/expansion/chaos. These days, most of that is emanating from the Big XII.

Conference meetings have been happening. The ACC has theirs this week. The Big XII had a preliminary meeting last week, but don’t have their real meetings until after Memorial Day.

It always boils down to money, but the Big XII is wrapping this one up primarily in the matter of the College Football Playoff. How a more members and an unbalanced schedule is actually a plus for getting teams into the CFB playoff.


April 29, 2016

No, nothing about Laremy Tunsil’s moment of honesty — before a PR (or assistant agent) hurriedly hustled him out of his press conference. Good times coming to Ole Miss.

The satellite camps are still allowed. This has been one of the sillier controversies of the spring.

The SEC and ACC pushed for a complete ban — and got one — on the camps because of paranoia and wanting to protect their natural recruiting areas. They can dress it up however they want, but it was only about protecting their own self-interests. And yes, Coach Pat Narduzzi was fully in support of such a ban, but  I still don’t get it.


December 10, 2015

Narduzzi Early Extension

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Money,Narduzzi — Chas @ 8:33 am

That didn’t take long. On the heels of being the only new coach in a major conference to improve upon the previous season’s work, football Head Coach Pat Narduzzi has received a contract extension.

Two years will be added to Narduzzi’s original five-year agreement, ensuring he will remain the Panthers’ head coach through at least the 2021 season. Financial terms and other contractual details were not disclosed.

“Pat Narduzzi has adrenalized Pitt football on and off the field,” Barnes said. “We are proud of what our program has accomplished this season. Moreover, we’re excited about what our student-athletes can continue to achieve–on the field, in the classroom and in the community–under Pat’s long-term leadership.”

“I’m greatly appreciative and humbled by the support and faith that Scott Barnes and Chancellor Patrick Gallagher have shown me,” Narduzzi said. “The University of Pittsburgh is an incredible place with incredible people. My family and I plan to make Pittsburgh our home for a very long time and we’re glad the leadership at Pitt feels the same way. It is an honor to serve as Pitt’s head football coach and I’m continuously energized by what we can, and will, accomplish here.”

Yes, yes, we all know. These contracts mean nothing as far as really keeping a coach if a bigger school wants to unload the dump truck of cash. Yada, yada.


May 19, 2015

Don’t get me wrong, last night was great and this is a good cause if you have some extra Jack to spread around. One thing I feel is that if we donate the money will be well used.  As said before, he’s working it and has been since his hire.  The links are nice also.  A piece about our own Center Alex Officer and the Rimington list is at the end of this article.

Dear Reed,Thank you for joining us at the “On the Prowl” Tour. It was an incredible experience for me to meet so many people who love Pitt. Check out the photos from last night. Since becoming head football coach in December, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous passion, energy, and dedication of the Pitt family.  With the enthusiastic support of fans like you, I am confident that our outstanding momentum will continue. During the event, we mentioned a few ways that you can directly support Pitt and our football program:

  • GET INVOLVED – Pitt Alumni Clubs, which are active throughout the country, give Panther fans many great opportunities to network with one another. LEARN MORE
  • COME HOME – Come back to Pittsburgh, visit campus, and help us fill Heinz Field. BUY GAME TICKETS
  • CELEBRATE HOMECOMING – We are offering a $10 discount for the Homecoming game against ACC rival Virginia on Saturday, October 10, 2015.GET DISCOUNT
  • MAKE PITT STRONGER – We are currently upgrading our locker room, team rooms, and constructing a new student-athlete lounge in the Duratz Athletic Complex so that we can provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes and ensure we are able to attract top recruits. Please consider supporting this project. GIVE NOW

We appreciate your continued support, and we hope to see you this fall at Heinz Field. Together, we will show the entire country why PITT IS IT!

Hail to Pitt!

Pat Narduzzi
Head Football Coach


May 23, 2014

All About the Money

Filed under: Athletic Department,Bowls,Football,Money — Chas @ 7:43 am

Year one in the ACC was a mixed bag for football and basketball. The teams finished about where they were expected before the season began. How they ended up there, made it feel like it could have been better.

What isn’t in dispute is that the money was a lot better right from the start.

Pitt’s annual share is about $17 million.

After almost a full year in the new conference, where has that money gone? Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said he decided to put it in the hands of the people who knew best what various sports needed to be successful.

“Basically, what we did at this point with additional revenue is we’ve let the coaches put that into their recruiting budgets and their travel and competition budgets,” Pederson said in a meeting with reporters earlier this month.

“We tried to make sure that our coaches had enough money to recruit the way they felt they needed to recruit, and so they got significant increases in their recruiting budgets — some cases more than others — then also in their travel and competition budgets so that they could go to meets and games that they needed to play or bring teams in here that they wanted to play.”

The money also has, at least partially, allowed Pitt to make capital improvements to facilities for its flagship sports. This summer, the men’s and women’s basketball team areas in Petersen Events Center are undergoing a renovation. The football weight room at Pitt’s South Side facility also is getting a significant expansion.

And I’m sure some is being set aside for the eventual increase in the total cost of scholarships if the stipend or other methods are passed for the major conferences.


May 20, 2014

The watch lists for college sports awards are more than a little waste of time. They either are too big to be useful or they simply take the best returning players at the position from last year and slap them on the list. For the most part, I don’t even waste time posting on a preseason watchlist any longer.

The Rimington Trophy belongs in the former category. The award goes to the best center in college football. Artie Rowell made the list. Which he should, given that it has 64 names on it. That’s more than half the teams playing 1-A football. Frankly, I’m a little concerned about the quality of centers in the ACC when only 8 of the 14 starting centers could make a watchlist this big.

I have no idea if the deal to expand the seating in Heinz Field by 3000 seats — in the South Plaza — will result in yet more reshuffling and reduction in parking around the stadium. At this point, though, I just assume that will happen since every other “improvement” to the fan experience at Heinz Field has been to reduce surface lots and tailgating.

Oh, hey, a new HD scoreboard as well. Swell.

One of Pitt football’s associate team physicians (he’s also an assistant professor at Pitt’s Center for Sports Medicine, but I’m focusing on the important thing) gets quoted about breathe-right nasal strips in relation to a story on horse racing.

Yes, I am scraping the bottom of the barrel for news.

Good luck with those Wing Stops, Shawntae Spencer. At least it isn’t a BW3. I guess.


May 16, 2014

Other Basketball Things

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,Money — Chas @ 7:42 am

So, the ACC is going to experiment with a 30 second shot clock in exhibition games this year.

“Our coaches and ADs both felt it would be an enhancement to the game in today’s world,” Swofford said. “It adds more possessions and potentially would speed up the game.”

NCAA men’s teams have used a 35-second shot clock since the 1993-94 season.

Swofford said league coaches submitted the proposal to the athletic directors during the spring meetings, and the athletic directors embraced the idea. The ACC would give its feedback on the use of the 30-second shot clock to the men’s basketball rules committee.

“That’s where the game is headed,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon told ESPN’s Andy Katz at the NBA draft combine in Chicago. “We want to be ahead of the game. We want to provide data and see what it’s like.”

Presumably, Coach Dixon is at the NBA draft combine to support Lamar Patterson.


August 16, 2013

Hounding Autographs

Filed under: Fans,Football,Money — Chas @ 8:12 am

After the age of 13, I can’t say I’ve cared too much for autographed items. I have a few things tucked away that I have been given or came into. Waiting in line for an autograph, however, let alone the idea of paying money for it. No. It’s just never been a thing for me. To this day the whole concept of the market for signed memorabilia and pictures of players, is a bit odd. Autograph shows blow my mind. I guess like comic books and baseball cards, it is some part of our childhood that some people just do not let go. Just when you get older and have your own money you can spend it on those things.

With that, the whole Johnny Manziel autograph scandal-story (and the issue of his eligibility)  has spooked colleges as the season approaches.

Louisville has forbidden players from signing autographs, replacing its annual event with an open practice. Texas A&M will not allow players to sign anything but specially designed autograph cards.

At West Virginia, officials took no chances last Sunday when players and coaches signed autographs for two hours. The school provided autograph sheets, posters and NCAA compliance handouts outlining regulations prohibiting the sale of items bearing the name of the athletes.

That presumes, though, that the WVU fan is capable of reading.


July 28, 2013

Nary a Bubble in Rights Fees

Filed under: Media,Money,TV — Chas @ 9:30 am

If it wasn’t for live sports, I’d probably be a cord cutter. It isn’t that I dislike stuff on TV. Far from it. I watch plenty. It’s just that it is all time-shifted and when I get around to it. I’m not overly concerned about being at the water-cooler discussing last night’s Archer.There’s stuff over 2 years old on my DVR that I still haven’t gotten around to watching (no spoilers for the season/series finale of Awake, please). So between on-demand subscription services and the ever-dropping prices of series on DVDs, the wife and I could easily save money and drop DirecTV. But for sports.

People like me are the reason those rights fees keep rising. It is mostly immune to time-shifting which means sitting through ads, promos and everything else. In light of the recent spate of new rights deals for college sports programming. Along with the new FoxSports1 and their negotiations for carriage. Well it means cable/satellite TV rates keep going up.


July 27, 2013

Random Link Clearance

Filed under: Conference,Money — Chas @ 9:36 am

Okay, time for links I just found interesting. Some related to Pitt. Some just about college football generally. Some of it stuff to put in the back of your mind for later:

Mike Morgan, a former Panther O-lineman is now the headcoach at Plum High School. He had been on Terry Smith’s staff at Gateway. He’s got work to do.

Morgan faces a major rebuilding job. Plum, which plays in the WPIAL’s ultra-competitive Class AAAA Southeastern Conference, has not won a game in nearly two years. The Mustangs will enter the season on a 16-game losing streak. Their previous win came against Kittanning in the second game of the 2011 season. A season ago, the Mustangs scored only 69 points and lost all but one of their games by at least 28 points.

Yeesh. Good luck, dude.


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