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September 24, 2016

3:30 pm, ESPNU.

Lose a close one on the road to a top-25 quality team. Beat a sub-par Big 10 team. A win against a FCS opponent. No. Not Pitt, UNC.

UNC has a 2-1 record and you can make the superficial case that the two teams are looking much the same. An offense that uses the running game. A defense with a particular aspect that is abysmal. You get the idea.

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September 17, 2016

Open Thread: Pitt-Oklahoma St.

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:01 am

3:30 pm

ESPN

Morning. Going to put this up early because I have a lot to do before gametime. Heck, I still don’t know what beer I’ll be enjoying with the game. Just a lack of preparation on my part.

Here’s some alt-history to consider. After Pitt fired Foge Fazio as coach in 1985, the first place they looked was to Oklahoma St. head coach Pat Jones.

“I don’t know what would have happened,” [present OSU head coach Mike] Gundy said. “I liked Pat Jones. He was the reason why I came to Oklahoma State. If he takes the Pittsburgh job, he probably would have taken me up there with him.”

Rewind to November 1985, a few days after Gundy led Midwest City to the Class 5A state title:

Jones was OSU’s second-year head coach. Pittsburgh fired coach Foge Fazio. As OSU prepared for the Bedlam game (the infamous Ice Bowl), Jones was contacted by a Pitt representative about the Panthers’ job. At the time, the Cowboys were 8-2 and ranked 17th. Jones’ two-season record as the OSU head man was 18-4.

“I told the Pittsburgh people, ‘I don’t want to even think about it until after this OU ballgame,’ ” Jones recalls. “I did let them know that I would be interested and I did want to talk, but I didn’t want to talk yet. I told them to call Myron Roderick (then the OSU athletic director) because I didn’t want any under-the-table stuff going on.”

Jones admits to having been “intrigued” by the Pittsburgh possibility. Before moving to OSU with Jimmy Johnson in 1979, Jones had been a Jackie Sherrill assistant at Pittsburgh for one season.

After the Ice Bowl (a 13-0 Cowboy defeat), Jones met with the Pittsburgh athletic director in Dallas.

“My head was spinning,” Jones says. “ We were getting ready to play Florida State in Gator Bowl, we were recruiting and now we had this Pittsburgh thing. I was worn down. I was thinking, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ ”

OSU was having a run of coaching instability. Jimmy Johnson had came and went, and Jones was only in his 2d season. That prompted the OSU President to step in with a new contract for Jones and keep him in Stillwater.

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September 10, 2016

Open Thread: Penn State Sucks-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 7:20 am

Going to keep this brief because I typed this right before I crashed, so I could get up at 4:30am to drive in to Pittsburgh.

Nooner. Ugh. ESPN for those of you who can’t get to the game. If so, be sure to tune into ESPN College GameDay around 11 am. Feature on James Conner will run around 11:15. Tom Rinaldi  is doing it, so wherever you are it could get a little dusty.

Extra tickets came free late because it seems the opponent returned tickets. Imagine that.

Beat the Nits.

Hail to Pitt.

September 3, 2016

When this posts, I expect to be a couple drinks into the opening tailgate of the season.

I will have left the house before the rest of my family even stirred and started driving straight into that new sunrise. The drive can be a pain, but that first one — before a game has been played. When the season is completely open to any possibility. That’s the favorite. I can imagine the best case scenarios — and the worst — without reservations.

That first drive in for the season. When the nostalgia hits hardest and happiest. Especially as I get closer to the city. It’s been well over 20 years since I moved away from Pittsburgh, but as I start hitting the city streets, it feels like I’ve only been gone a few days.

It’s good to be back.

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May 23, 2016

This is… interesting.

When teams are matched up in the B1G/ACC Challenge, there is almost without exception, an attempt to pair up teams of similar expectations.

For different reasons, a Pitt-Maryland match-up suggests pairing off two teams that could be very good or very mediocre.

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March 18, 2016

Once more. 6:50 PM on TNT.

I’m actually watching this game in a public place. I’ll either be completely reserved or a bit of a lunatic. There is no middle ground.

This should be a close game played. Tempo will be slow, but I expect the score to be in the 60s. Not a defensive struggle so much as efficient offenses willing to let the clock go to get their shots.  Whether it is Wisconsin with a swing style offense or Pitt with motion. Both teams depend on ball and player movement to find the best look.

I expect both teams to have a short bench tonight.

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Note, I will be tossing up a second open thread specific for Pitt Wisconsin later in the afternoon. Reed also has some spring football notes. Busy day.

If you are a Cleveland area resident, hopefully I will see you at the watch party tonight. I keep promising to make one of these, this time for sure.

Good first day. Not a complete bracket destroyer unless you somehow had faith in Arizona, Baylor or Purdue making a run. Seriously. You were putting your faith in Baylor or Purdue to make it out of the weekend? You deserve what you get for that.

Arizona got manhandled by Wichita State in the opening round. Seems vaguely familiar. Did anyone make sure Sean Miller got an IV of fluids or something? I’ve never seen a coach sweat like that so quickly before. I was worried he was going to collapse on the floor from dehydration. Nope. Only Tony Bennett did that yesterday.

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March 17, 2016

It’s here. It’s here. Crap, I haven’t filled out a single bracket. Well, it’s not like carefully studying and thinking about the brackets for hours on end has ever worked out for me.

St. Patrick’s Day and the start of the NCAA Tournament. Stay away from the bars.

UNC-Wilm. vs Duke     12:15 PM    CBS
Butler vs Texas Tech     12:40 PM   truTV
UConn vs Colorado       1:30 PM      TNT
Iona vs Iowa St.             2:00 PM     TBS
Yale vs Baylor                  2:45 PM     CBS

That doesn’t look like a half-bad way to start things off today.

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March 10, 2016

Noon on ESPN.

Yeah, not going to be able to get free from work for a second nooner. An extended lunch? Possibly.

The Tar Heels are up today. Never really great chances when you are hoping for the sleepwalking version to show up. A little slow to start after having to wait to play until today.

There’s nothing wrong in acknowledging that UNC is a very good team. One of the best in the country. A likely #2 or #1 seed by Sunday for the NCAA Tournament. They are also prone to forgetting that for large portions of a game.

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March 9, 2016

Noon on ESPN.

Think I manipulated my work schedule just so. Should get home in time or right after the opening tip. Hopslam in the fridge. Knob Creek Rye on the dining room table if it comes to that.

I’ve hit on Jamel Artis and his shooting being a big deal. We know he’s had big success against Cuse to lead the team to wins against them. Here’s the final thing courtesy of Chris Peak from PantherLair. When Artis shoots 40% or better, Pitt is 18-2. Sub-40%, 2-8. He and Mike Young are Pitt’s best players. If they don’t have — at a minimum — decent games, Pitt doesn’t win too often.

It really is that simple for most games. If your best players aren’t performing you are going to struggle. Maybe you have just that much talent to get by. Or the other team is really bad. But Pitt isn’t the former, and Syracuse isn’t the latter.

March 5, 2016

Open Thread: Pitt-GT

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:55 pm

2pm, with the syndicated ACC Network or ESPN3 (hooray, Cleveland coverage for me).

Sorry for the extreme last minute, but I just got home from some family related activities.

It’s not a must win (yet), but it takes the pressure off the ACC Tournament for Pitt to get the win now. In certain years, Pitt would be in trouble for the NCAA Tournament. This year, there are so many teams with worse situations than Pitt; that it isn’t nearly as bad as it can feel when you have watched just this team this year.

Mailing the open thread in at this point.

March 2, 2016

Open Thread: Pitt-VT

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:06 pm

7pm and the game is on ESPN3 only. Intellectually, I know that this is sort of coverage is more about ESPN taking full advantage of its contract with the ACC (for which, Pitt is well compensated)to keep pushing the digital content side of things. I mean, when you scroll through the volume of games on ESPN3, you realize that this hits all conferences. Still. Frickin’ ESPN3?

Okay, about this game.

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February 28, 2016

2pm CBS.

I’m on DVR delay. Ironically enough for “Blue and Gold Day.” No, not a Pitt thing. Cub Scouts. I’m looking forward to it. Really. Why would anyone think otherwise? Just because I’ve spent the better part of the last week begging trying to talk my wife into going without me? Nah. Just wanted her to spend some quality time with the boy without me getting in the way. Totally altruistic.

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February 24, 2016

Open Thread: ‘Ville-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 4:51 pm

8 pm on the accursed syndicated ACC network or ESPN3. I mean, who knew that the ACC’s syndication deals were actually worse — and by worse I mean poor ass distribution — than the former Big East?

Sorry, if I seem exceptionally bitter, but I was going to go out and watch this game with a fellow Pitt fan in the area until we realized that it wasn’t going to be aired in the Cleveland area. Then realizing family stuff will block the remaining chances to get together. Annoying as hell.

Moving on. Pitt is a home dog. They have not had a lot of success against Louisville over the years. I mean if you go with the “Pitt/Dixon has Syracuse’s number,” and then dismiss/diminish any wins from such; then surely you do the same with the losses to Louisville. Right?

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February 20, 2016

Open Thread: Pitt-Syracuse

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 1:35 pm

2pm (roughly) on ESPN2.

Syracuse has been playing better lately — at least until they ran into Louisville.

Hard to believe, but over the years Pitt is 6-2 at the Carrier Dome under Jamie Dixon, the same record as at the Pete.

This is not a make or break game for either team as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned. For either team it would be a solid win but not a killer loss — well, a little worse for Syracuse since it would be at home, but not by much.

But both teams need this game to try and get a little more confidence — and get a little more room to breathe in their chances of making the NCAA Tournament. Cuse finishes with 2 of their last 3 on the road. Syracuse ends their season at NCSt, at UNC and then FSU. Pitt gets — yes I left them out, Louisville, then  Duke, then at VT and at GT.

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