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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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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 4, 2014

Very underrated part of this season — at least from my perspective –no games landing right on a high holy day. I am reasonably certain that one home game every year landed on one of those three days. Got past Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur ends at sundown — 30 minutes before the game today. Granted that means I will start drinking after no food or drink for 24 hours, but what could go wrong?

Hate to say it is a must win for Pitt, but it may well be. The idea of riding a 3-game losing streak into a bye week and then facing VT on Thursday night to try and snap out of it. That should give Coach Paul Chryst night terrors.

Pitt somehow needs the O-line to step up huge tonight for the offense to have a chance. James Conner can’t run if there’s no room, and Chad Voytik won’t even have a chance to upset fans if he is constantly blitzed and pressured.

Then there is a defense that has faded so badly in the second half of two straight games. I don’t expect a wild crowd from Virginia. Even in the best of times, the folks in Charlottesville aren’t exactly the rowdiest.

 

September 27, 2014

Open Thread: Akron-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 5:56 am

Have to throw this up early. Beyond the usual need to hit the road before sunrise, I am abandoning the press box for regular seats so my daughter and I can attend the game. That means some actual time to tailgate with friends, walk around the family-friendly activities and no laptop. I’ll still be tweeting in-game, but it will be nice to wear Pitt gear to the game and cheer out loud today.

Akron has struggled to stop the run. That happens to be what Pitt does really well on offense. James Conner should have a good day, and hopefully the rest of the running backs get some work. I know he has been a workhorse, but with seven conference games to play there is still the concern of wearing down.

Defensively, Akron does play a spread-style offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some early struggles by the Pitt defense — just like with FIU — before really clamping down on the Zips. Not to mention their running backs battling injuries. Their offense hasn’t done much since their opening game against Howard.

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September 20, 2014

Open Thread: Iowa-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:00 am

Got to get moving. It is not quite dark, but the morning gloom is only beginning. The drive to the Burgh awaits.

No idea how this game breaks. Pitt should be able to win this game, but this has something of a must win for Iowa.

To start the season 1-2 is not the hole expected for a team that before the season, was believed to have a chance to win their conference division. Lose this game and beyond the record, the fanbase will essentially be checking out of the season in September. Kirk Ferentz may not be going anywhere because of his contract, but that doesn’t mean the fans have to stay.

For Pitt it is about one more step in trying to change the narrative of a flailing, fumbling around program that has been the embodiment of mediocrity and bad bowl destinations. A win doesn’t mean Pitt will win the ACC Coastal division. Nor does it mean they will land in the top-25 rankings. What it represents would be one more step out of the doldrums.

September 13, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-FIU

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:45 am

A lot of running around this morning. Wife and daughter off on their own thing. Morning soccer for the boy falls to me. Hitting the grocery store (thank goodness Ohio allows growler service in them). Grabbing a quick lunch to take home and settle in for the expected massacre.

The game is on FoxSports1. If you have DirecTV it is channel 219. Not sure on the other services. This means no ESPN3.com coverage, so start digging around for this channel.

If you don’t flick away by the end, you will get to see former coach/player Dave Wannstedt on the FS1 college football show afterwards. Wonder if he’ll have anything to say? I caught a bit of him last week in anticipation of the Michigan State-Oregon game. Eh.

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September 5, 2014

Open Thread: Friday Fun, Pitt-BC

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:05 pm

Your basic info.

7p, ESPN

Announcers: Dave Flemming and Danny Kanell. (Boy, I’m going to miss the Friday freakery of the Tessitore effect.)

A lot of pixels used this week — thanks Reed and Justin — on recapping Delaware and looking to this game.

Cautious optimism, tempered by past disappointments. A breeding ground for my specialty, dark cynicism.

Here are the twitter feeds for myself and Justin if you want to follow that way.

I want the win. I want to see some insanely unbridled optimism that would come with it.

 

August 30, 2014

Open Thread: Blue Hens-Panthers

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 10:20 am

I’m trying not to read too much into my bag strap snapping as I approached the press gate — but if Pitt blows this I’m totally using it as an omen of doom in the recap later.

It’s a beautiful, humid day. I swear I won’t be reading anything into Pitt’s conditioning today.

Have to believe Pitt will win this game. In fact, I will shave my goatee/van dyke if they lose. Considering I haven’t shaved it off for over 10 years, this has me putting some, um, skin on the game.

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March 22, 2014

I can’t be home for this one. I mean I could, but I am a little too tense to be home watching the game while the kids are bouncing about the room. Better to be in a bar with strangers who will not see me again.

I don’t know who the Florida homer they gave a press pass to, but you have to believe the same guy who went around asking Pitt players if they were intimidated at the prospect of playing Florida was at it again on Friday.

A reporter asked Cam Wright if there was a “gosh, wow thing, where you go [Florida] just looks incredible and there’s no way we can compete with them.” Wright, baffled by the question, answered “Next question, please.”

Wait. What? It wasn’t a Florida homer. Dejan, Dejan, Dejan

I asked Wright if, in watching video of the Gators, he had any gosh-wow, no-way-we-compete-with- those-guys sense, and he hesitated awhile before answering beautifully.

“Um, next question?”

Man, I don’t even know anymore. Spin the column and the question anyway you like, but that was some first-class troll bait.

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March 20, 2014

No games in front of Pitt, so barring a power outage the game should start on time.

1:40 pm on TBS.

I’m either DVR delayed or secretly watching the game at a bar while technically at work. Either way, that means you won’t be hearing much from me.

I do expect a close one. I wish the Buffs was more hateable. I like Colorado and their coach, Tad Boyle. He’s done an amazing job at a place where there has been even less historical success than at Pitt. This is the first time they have ever made the NCAA Tournament three straight years. It was 50 years ago from the last time they went in consecutive years.

Both teams will be emphasizing defense and rebounds. Similar philosophies and all.

The issue for Colorado is offensive efficiency. They turn the ball over a good deal. For Pitt, it usually comes down to the shooting. Not just from outside but are the shots going when they get close to the basket.

March 16, 2014

Brackets get announced at roughly 6pm on CBS. ESPN gets to take control of the conversation at 7pm.

It seems like there are two deserving #1 seeds (Florida and Wichita State) and then flawed #2 (and #3) seeds that will see  two of them in 1 seed spot to be prime targets for derision (Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Villanova, Wisconsin, Louisville, Iowa State and Syracuse).

Still don’t see the ACC getting more than 5 bids. T.J. Warren is the best player in the conference, and I look forward to him going pro. But I don’t see his NC State squad making the field when they took that long to realize they needed to let Warren score while the rest of the team does everything else.

Pitt will be a 9 or 10 seed by just about any projection. But then again, we know how those things have worked for Pitt before.

I’m kind of hoping Pitt is a 10 seed rather than a 9. I just think this group will respond a lot better with more of a sense of disrespect.

March 8, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-Clemson

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 2:47 pm

Guess who has two thumbs, but has been without power in their house since 6am?

Yeah, it’s been a day. A bit overly optimistic that things were settling down last week. Now, I’m being pessimistic and saying it might not be until the end of next week.

Anyways, precious power on my phone is being used so it’s time to keep it simple. A Pitt win and they clinch 5th in the ACC and are relatively safe into the NCAA Tournament. A loss can drop them as low as 7th and puts them legitimately in bubble talk.

Hopefully power comes back soon so I can watch some of this. It’s on the ACC network syndication along with ESPN3.com and ESPN Full Court package.

March 3, 2014

Open Thread: NC State-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 7:21 pm

Final game at the Pete for the season. Aaron Donald will be there.

Game is on ESPNU at 9pm. Mike Patrick and LaPhonso Ellis calling the game.

Not sure what kind of effort will be coming from the Wolfpack. Obviously not the effort they gave versus UNC last week. Or Syracuse the week before. They likely won’t be as pathetic as they were in the games immediately after those losses.

N.C. State (17-12, 7-9 ACC) will play at Pittsburgh on Monday after a sobering letdown in an 85-70 home loss to Miami on Saturday.

The Wolfpack poured everything into Wednesday’s game against North Carolina, an 85-84 overtime loss, but couldn’t duplicate the effort against the struggling Hurricanes.

Gottfried understood those challenges before the season. He had talked to his team about the danger of Saturday’s game with Miami.

He saw the same pattern after a difficult loss to Syracuse on Feb. 15. The Wolfpack couldn’t avoid some of the same issues that cost it a 73-56 loss at Clemson after the Syracuse game.

At this point, the goal for NC State is to finish at .500 in conference play. They end the season at home against BC, so this should be a big deal for them.

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March 1, 2014

Open Thread: Pitt-ND at Joyce

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:49 am

2 pm on ESPN2. Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke on the call.

Even if Pitt wasn’t struggling and a bit beat up, I’d be worried about this game. Losing five straight to a team will do that to you.

It just seems that much in the same way Pitt matches up well and knows what to do against Syracuse, Notre Dame does the same to Pitt.

“Whenever we play against Pittsburgh, it’s one of our biggest games of the season,” said Atkins, who leads Notre Dame in assists and steals. “I don’t think it’s going to be any different, another tough game on Saturday.”

Asked about Notre Dame’s success against the Panthers — Pitt hasn’t beaten Notre Dame since January 2009 and hasn’t won in South Bend since March 2005 — Atkins credits coach Mike Brey’s game plan.

Last season, Notre Dame limited the Panthers to 34 percent shooting and won the rebounding battle, 40-25. No Pitt player scored more than 11 points.

“We do a good job of scouting them and trying to take away their easy looks for their better players,” said Atkins, who contributed 10 points and seven assists in last year’s victory. “Also, limiting them on the backboards because they usually beat up teams offensive rebounding.”

Their defense has been solid, but the problem has been dealing with their offense. The Irish aren’t too far from Pitt’s adjusted tempo, but when they play Pitt they take it to the next level down.

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