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November 13, 2014

Hello fellow disappointing ACC Coastal team. You seem so familiar.

In ranking the most disappointing teams in college football this year, arguably Pitt can’t even win in its own division. That honor goes to UNC followed by VT. Pitt only manages a 3d place finish in the Coastal Chaos Mess. Is there any doubt that Pitt is in the right conference?

Heck, in the weekly ACC power polls ESPN.com does, Pitt moved up two spots over the last two weeks — with an OT loss and a bye. If that isn’t a #goacc moment, than I don’t know what is.

I’m even more excited than before for the Pitt-UNC game on Saturday.

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November 6, 2014

The bye week feels like a great time to break out my old column Optimist vs. Pessimist. There’s not a whole lot to be optimistic about the rest of this season, but perhaps a bowl win could inspire a little hope like it did at the end of last season. Naturally, two more wins are needed before Pitt can even think about going to a bowl game. Let’s examine whether or not James Conner and company can win two of the last three games against UNC, the ARCHRIVAL ORANGE, and Miami. (more…)

November 3, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

I have to start off by saying that because of external family issues; a death of a good friend, my having to set up his Memorial Service ,  having the wake at our home and then having house guests all weekend I didn’t watch the game and I didn’t record it either.

I took a look at the box scores and watched a few video highlights and that’s it – you guys can do the MMQB’ing this week…

POSITIVES

1.  Chad Voytik. That is his second consecutive game that he’s shown improvement in his actual passing production.  From watching a couple videos of his passes it looks like his passing skills are getting better also. 16 of  24 for 236 yards (66.8%) with a ypa of 9.8, which is excellent! And two TDs is a good day at the office for any QB.  Good for him.  He lead the team to 31  regular game points.

On our second TD drive we had to go 32 yards and he did that with only two plays, a 16 yard pass and a 13 yard run.

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November 1, 2014

PITT – Duke Predictions

Filed under: Conference,Football,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 6:51 am

As bad as last week was I still don’t think it was an accurate reflection of the talent this Panther team has or its ability to play well and win games. With that I’m expecting a much better showing by PITT this week with a return to a strong running game and the staff getting the other RBs and different WRs the ball more often then in the past.

Conner gets 100+ yards and two TDs, Voytik throws for one and we score another by some other player.  Trey Anderson might be that other guy.

PITT – 31 Duke – 27

What do you think?

Open Thread: Duke-Pitt in the Slog

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 5:50 am

It seems I may be a sadist as well as a masochist. Not only am I heading out the door to attend the game today — highs today in the mid 40s, some wind and rain in the mix — I’m dragging my daughter with me. I know, get those “I’m reporting you to CFS,” jokes in before they get too stale.

To be fair, she wanted to go. Despite the weather. Despite the way Pitt has played. She enjoys going to the game and doing all the other activities. And disturbingly enough, hanging out with her dad and his friends. Strange kid.

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October 31, 2014

So, Yeah. Duke Tomorrow

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:48 am

No, really. I wasn’t trying to forget about football with a couple basketball posts. Just had to get that stuff out there. Hey, an exhibition tonight. With a 30 second shot clock. Wait. Stay on topic. Sorry, thinking about the Duke Blue Devils tends to be an exercise in basketball considerations. Not football.

Nonetheless, Pitt plays Duke in bas- football tomorrow. It’s a nooner on ESPNU. So, national coverage (yay?), but a noon home game (boo!). ESPN set this game time was set after the VT win, but before the GT loss. Duke was coming off a win as well and it could have been considered a battle for the ACC Coastal, yet still got a noon slot.

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October 27, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

We met the enemy and they are us.  After some games this season it has been kind of hard to find three positives to list in this series’ articles.  Today it is virtually impossible.

POSITIVES

1. The holder on our PATs. At least he didn’t fumble the ball.  Seriously.

2.  Our Running Backs. A while ago I mentioned ‘every RB not named James Conner’ in an article. I’ll do that again here. Ibrahim, Bennett and James all had good plays to try to keep us in the game.  Ibrahim (3 carries for 66 yards)  took a handoff down the left sideline for 50 yards to set up a Conner TD; Bennett, although he was one of the now-record breaking PITT fumbling crew, took a beautifully thrown wheel route from Anderson down the right side for a 35 yard TD and Chris James contributed a nice show of yards after the catch on a short dump pass from Voytik that James turned into a 23 yard gain.

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October 25, 2014

Georgia Tech Predicitions

Filed under: Conference,Football,Opponent(s) — Reed @ 5:53 am

Another hard one for me to fathom, but they all are it seems because I have a 50/50 record at best predicting winners.

I think the weather is nice, crowds will be bigger and the defense will be focused and hold GT down below their average offensive output.  Big ACC game to win if we can….

PITT – 27 GT – 24

October 23, 2014

Georgia Tech Preview

Filed under: ACC,Chryst,Football,Opponent(s),Players — Justin @ 10:51 am

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are coming to Heinz Field this Saturday in an attempt to continue the craziness that is the ACC Coastal Division this season. Everyone in the division is 2-1, 2-2, or 1-2. That means each team is still within one game of first place. There are scenarios in which the entire division goes 4-4, a cluster%&#@ that would certainly make things interesting. A win this weekend and next will suddenly put Pitt in the driver’s seat to take the division. (more…)

October 22, 2014

At least, they are the narrative at this time.

The consistency theme is for Pitt’s performance from game to game.

Dave Durham is ready to get off the treadmill.

Pittsburgh wins a big game and loses the next. The Panthers falter one week only to come roaring back seven days later. It’s a pattern that’s plagued the program for years as the seasons hovering around .500 have piled up.

The senior defensive end hopes part of his legacy is being part of a group that stops the trend. Time is running out, though Durham is optimistic Pitt has finally started to figure it out after last week’s rousing 21-16 win over Virginia Tech.

“What truly great teams do, they come back and win the next week and get better the next week and they’re hungry and they’re never satisfied,” Durham said.

The way Durham looks at it, the victory over the Hokies didn’t snap a three-game losing streak for Pitt, it marks the start of a second-half surge. He hopes, anyway.

It has been oh, so predictable… afterwards. Yet every damn time it happens it surprises me.

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October 18, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

We met the Virginia Tech Hokies on the turf at Heinz Field on a rare nationally televised Thursday night game and came away with a very satisfying 21-16 win.  It was a close game and one that even to most optimistic of PITT fans had to doubts about as the 4th quarter unfolded.  The win puts us at 4-3 on the season with a 2-1 ACC conference record that is just about what we figured we’d have at this point of the season.  It is safe to say that we needed to start the second half of the season with a conference win if we want to have any chance at a Coastal Division championship.

POSITIVES

1.  Our defense, again. When you hold a team, any team, to 26 yards rushing on 21 carries (1.2 ypc) and 2 of 14 on 3rd and 4th down conversion tries you are playing excellent defense.  That is the kind of stout play that results in low scores for the other team (16 points with three FGs) and a win.

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October 15, 2014

What To Expect With VT

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s),Tactics — Chas @ 7:38 am

It will be kept simple.

After the Q&A with The Key Play was released, VT let it be known that running back Marshawn “Juice” Williams was also out for the the game. Three backs down in their depth chart. That means Caleb Johnson will be their primary back.

A couple other key injuries for the Hokies are on the defense. Starting DT Luther Maddy and CB Brandon Fascyson will not play. If you are looking for reasons why the line on the game has swung a bit. The injury list is a good place to start.

This means a bit more passing. Not deep throws, but much more of the short stuff. Slants. Quick outs. Controlled throws to create a little space. As for deep throws, they will take about as many as Iowa took. See if they can take advantage of the corners going one-on-one while the safeties play up to defend the shorter passes. Whether VT QB Michael Brewer will be accurate enough is the random roll of the die. (more…)

October 14, 2014

Even before the season started, this was a game many Pitt fans circled. Not simply because of it being a prime time Thursday night home game. Before the season started, it wasn’t hard to project Pitt at 5-1 or perhaps 6-0 heading into a showdown with a VT team that might have a similar record. I imagine many VT fans also circled this game considering their expectations and the history of Pitt screwing up their plans.

Now, this game is big for both teams, but not in the way envisioned. It’s more about surviving and salvaging at this point.

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October 12, 2014

Monday Morning QB

(This is a weekly series of articles entitled “Monday Morning Quarterback”.   I will try to post them two days after the football games are played so as to have our wilder emotions under control by then.  It will be my take on the positives and the negatives we saw happen and a chance for commenters to agree or disagree and to add their own thoughts.)

Now that we are in the middle of the 2014 schedule let’s take a moment to look at what we fans have liked or disliked about the staff, team and players after six games have been played.  We stand at 3-3 with a 1-1 record in ACC conference play.  Last week we lost a close one to Virginia Cavaliers on their home field and this coming Thursday evening we play the Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field.  It is safe to say that we need to start the second half of the season with a conference win if we want to have any chance at a Coastal Division championship.

POSITIVES

1.  Our defense. Yes, we have given up some big plays and yes, we have allowed the other team to score more points than us in three games but there were a lot of factors that went into that.  One factor that stood out and pretty much crippled us in our recent three games losing streak was our crap offense (see “Negatives #1″ below).

But we are holding our own on defense this season and while it doesn’t seem like it at times it’s true.  Granted we stumbled a bit against Akron when we let a team not know for its run game tear up the field but that was mainly due to a couple of long runs through pretty poor arm tackle and angle taking attempts.

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October 9, 2014

Historical PITT QB Ratings

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s),Players — Reed @ 7:52 pm

(Before any statisticians or math majors get excited and start ripping this apart please realize this is done for fun and researched as well as I could with the internet resources available.)

Last week we put up an article titled Past PITT QBs’ Ground Games exploring how well PITT’s recent quarterback’s could run when they actually tucked in the ball and tried to get positive yardage.  We did that because at present we are having a lively discussion of PITT’s current QB, Chad Voytik, and his strengths and weakness in the position.  I think it’s safe to say that we all recognize that running the ball is perhaps the greatest strength he has at this point.

In writing that article and looking back over the numerous and lengthy debates we have had on here about how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a QB was for us I wondered that because  it is so subjective an issue there must be a way to at least compare QBs in a somewhat standard way.

To start I chose to go back to Alex Van Pelt, because he was so good for us, then to Rod Rutherford and all our major starters since then; Tyler Palko, Bill Stull, Tino Sunseri and now Chad Voytik.  I  included Tom Savage in the initial comparisons even though he had a short one season stint with us.

The first thing I had to address was exactly how to show the QB’s side by side measurements.  We have all seen the “QB Rating” numbers at the end of a player’s box score after the game but do we really know what that means? I didn’t realize there was more than one way of numerically rating a QB’s performance, but there is.

Background of the Ratings
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