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December 17, 2016

Open Thread: Rice-Pitt

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 9:24 am

7 pm, ACC Digital Network/WatchESPN

Big game for Pitt. A must win.

At least as far as I’m concerned. My sister and brother-in-law both got post-graduate degrees at Rice. Have settled in Houston and are big Rice supporters overall. Needless to say, family bragging rights are on the line.

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December 15, 2016

Recruiting Drought Ends With Two

Filed under: Football,Recruiting — Chas @ 5:21 pm

Hey, maybe Pitt should lose an OC more often.

/remembers that this will be OC #4 in 4 years

Oh, yeah. Pitt already has that down pat.

Despite the departure of the offensive coordinator, Pitt picked up two recruits on the offensive side of the ball. It’s been a while since there has been a Pat Signal.

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I know the premise might piss some off as too flippant, but I can’t disagree that Pitt coaching searches are a bit of a pip. A groundhog day thing full of crazy rumors, angst and a bit of self-loathing.

So, yeah. Matt Canada took the OC position at LSU. More money and a higher profile job. Calling it a “lateral move” is either ignorant or an attempt to cheap shot Pitt. I favor ignorance in this case.

To expand on some of what I said the other day. If Canada had stayed at Pitt and had similar success for just one more season he would be in the mix for head coaching jobs in the MAC, C-USA and Sun Belt. Have success at LSU for a year or two as OC. Especially in light of all their underachieving in the past 7 or 8 years and he is in being interviewed for AAC, low Power 5 conference jobs and OC spots in the NFL.

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December 13, 2016

Canada to LSU?

Filed under: Assistants,Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 8:10 am

It seems that the dominoes that would have to fall for Matt Canada were no longer in place last week. Lane Kiffin did not get the Houston head coaching job. Kiffin was the favorite choice — by all reports — to be the OC under non-interim HC Ed Orgeron. Kiffin was ready to leave Alabama and they were ready for him to go.

Instead, Kiffin took a pay cut and will be the new head coach at Florida Atlantic.

Kiffin’s salary at FAU will average in the $1 million range annually, according to sources. He was making $1.4 million per year as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

Brief digression. Recruiting in Florida is realistically tougher than ever. Forget the top tier schools there — FSU, Florida, Miami — and all the top-tier SEC schools that recruit the area. Competition for the underrated, diamonds-in-the-rough, athletic 3-star kids now has Charlie Strong (USF), Butch Davis (FIU) and Kiffin working to keep them in state. Pitt and a lot of other programs are going to have a lot more work to do if they want to pry kids out of Florida.

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December 12, 2016

Thank You James Conner

Filed under: Football,Honors,Players — Justin @ 10:08 am
Atlanta, GA - December 8, 2016 - College Football Hall of Fame: Portrait of College Football Awards winner of the Disney Spirit Award, James Conner of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

Atlanta, GA – December 8, 2016 – College Football Hall of Fame: Portrait of College Football Awards winner of the Disney Spirit Award, James Conner of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers
(Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

The news hit me twice in about thirty seconds. When James Conner announced to the world a little over a year ago that he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had the unfortunate pleasure of learning twice. Pitt put up a feed online for fans to watch but there was a lag. So while I scrolled on twitter waiting for the press conference to begin, I saw it.

“James Conner announces he has been diagnosed with cancer.”

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December 10, 2016

2:30 PM on CBS Sports Network (hope you can find it).

Jamie Dixon looms over this game more than I want.

I’ve been doing my best to stay off that topic for a few reasons. I’d rather just focus on the season when there are actual games taking place. It’s not fair to the team and Kevin Stallings. I’m trying to give Kevin Stallings a chance to do things his way and not let too many biases influence how I see it. Constantly harping on what I think Dixon would have done. Or projecting comparisons is just not going to do any good. It’s a very polarizing topic, especially when it comes down to the players on the Pitt roster and talent. It very much has a Walt Harris-Dave Wannstedt vibe to it. Only without the hometown bias Wannstedt enjoyed.

But today. For this game. The topic is rearing its head.

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December 8, 2016

Averting The Epic Collapse

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:33 am

I just don’t know.

It’s not that beating Buffalo is worse than losing to Duquesne. (Clearly, it isn’t.) It is just the way this game went down was oddly more disheartening. The loss to Duquesne was frustrating and created anger.

But this game. This game was disheartening.

To be up 26 points with under 4:30 left in the first half and end up with only a one point lead at 6:30 left in the entire game. That was some epic frittering.

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December 7, 2016

Take It Out on Buffalo

Filed under: Basketball,Open Thread — Chas @ 6:23 pm

7pm, ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN

After the Maryland win last week, I wrote that this was still going to be an up-and-down season with frustrating losses. I just didn’t think Pitt was going to prove my point the very next game.

You can put an asterisk by this game if you want because Jamel Artis was suspended for the game, but there is no excuse to lose that game. Pitt, as a team, played a really lousy game and never seemed to care that they were. Up until the end when they realized they were going to lose and it was too late.

As a fan, there is nothing more frustrating to watch then when your rooting interest is visibly disengaged.

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(For Immediate Release)

CLARIFICATION ON TV CREW FOR NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL

(Bristol, CT) Due to the number of questions, ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, wishes to address the surprising number of questions that were directed to the ESPN Media Zone with regards to the announcing crew of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Following the press release of the announcing crews for all of the 2016-17 college football bowl season, there was much reaction to Mike Golic and Mike Golic, Jr. serving as co-analysts in the booth with game caller Ryan Ruocco and sideline reporter Paul Caracaterra.

The combination of the co-host of ESPN’s morning radio show Mike & Mike in the Morning with his son is in no way a stunt or nepotism. Mike Golic is a well-respected voice in sports and we feel that Mike Golic, Jr. is a rising star in the broadcast of college football.

This decision was made with the full support of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl organizers and sponsors.

“When ESPN approached us with the idea of Mike Golic and his son working the game from the broadcast booth, we were very excited,” said Pinstripe Bowl Executive Director Mark Hozman. “The idea of two Notre Dame alum and partisans talking about Northwestern and Pitt seemed ideal.”

“Northwestern is located in a suburb of Chicago,” Hozman continued, “The epicenter of Notre Dame subway fans. The idea of not being able to escape Notre Dame references and discussions of Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly for even one game has to be a tremendous incentive to attend the actual event to avoid hearing such sparkling conversations.”

“For Pitt fans, Mike Golic only reads quick summaries of teams in the AP top-10 to effect a knowledge of college football. This year, that includes Penn State, who we fully expect him to confuse with Pitt during the game.”

“You don’t want to hear these morons? Buy a damn ticket,” added New York Yankees Chairman Hal Steinbrenner.

December 5, 2016

Pinstripe Bound

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 8:38 am

I have no big complaints about Pitt going to the Pinstripe Bowl. Well, other than 2pm on a Wednesday.

The Sun Bowl would have had the amusing storyline of the epic 2008 game against Oregon State, and a “name” opponent from the Pac-12. But it is not a bowl game for travel (for any ACC team), and the whole “Pitt doesn’t travel to bowl games” gets reinforced.

The Russell Athletic Bowl would have been a solid destination game in Orlando. Plus the storyline of the Backyard Brawl would make it extra compelling nationally. The downside, though, would be Pitt’s pass defense against Holgorsen’s offense. That allegedly came into play in the bowl officials calculations. Which I would love to take offense to, but… I just can’t.

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December 2, 2016

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. I’ve wanted to care about the City Game as more than just another non-con. I’ve made fun of their rebranding efforts and derisively referred to them as the Stage Magicians. I’ve written a few posts about their ineptitude over the years

Moving it to the Con Paint Store, was a good effort to try and make it special. But other than the humiliation of losing to a bad team and ending a 15-game winning streak against the Dukes, it’s hard to feel any animosity or hate towards Duquesne that should go with a rivalry game.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe as a non-native I just don’t get the same impact of friends and families torn apart by their loyalties and the importance of this game within the area. The trash talking that must go on between the two sides.

/thinking

/pondering

/contemplating

Nah.

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November 30, 2016

Feeling A Bit Better About Pitt Basketball

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 8:31 am

Don’t get me wrong. This is going to be a bit of an up-and-down season (and that’s not a tempo joke, I swear). There are going to be some frustrating losses. And probably a blowout loss or two. But that shouldn’t take away from a very good and satisfying win last night.

Pitt went on the road to a top-25 team in a power conference and won. They didn’t just scrape by. They blew the Terrapins off the court late in the first half and could get away with coasting most of the second half. For god’s sake, Ryan Luther and Sheldon Jeter were playing at the same time in the second half. That’s how big the lead was.

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November 29, 2016

7pm ESPN2.

Small sample size and all, but after six games, Pitt’s tempo is ranked 256th nationally per, KenPom. Maybe — and I’m just spitballing ideas here — the players have as much to do with the pace as the coaching style. The players always say they want to get up-and-down the court. But they also want to score and win.

Pitt can score. The offense is still one of the most efficient nationally. The defense, though, is something else.

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On the heels of breaking into the AP Top 25 at #24, Pitt players and a coach picked up some nice accolades.

In something that has become a regular occurrence, Quadree Henderson picked up his 5th ACC Specialist of the Week honor (yes, it is really called “specialist”).

He earned his latest award by compiling a career-high 257 all-purpose yards against the Orange, averaging an incredible 21.4 yards per touch.

Henderson averaged 18.7 yards on three punt returns (56 yards), 24.5 on four kickoffs (98 yards) and an incredible 20.6 on five rushes (103 yards). He had a 66-yard touchdown burst off a jet sweep to give Pitt a 49-21 lead in the third quarter.

Henderson’s (Wilmington, Del./Alexis I. du Pont) performance helped the Panthers achieve their highest single-game point total since 1977. His five Specialist of the Week awards are the most by an ACC player this season. He was previously honored for his performances in the Penn State, Virginia, Miami and Duke contests.

A highly viable All-America candidate, Henderson has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a nation-leading three on kickoffs. He ranks second in the country in combined kick return yards (1,121), fifth in kickoff return average (31.1) and 11th in all-purpose yards per game (159.75).

I’m assuming the ACC has a Specialist of the Year honor, which Henderson is a shoe-in to get. Along with 1st Team All-ACC recognition.

Speaking of which

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November 27, 2016

Vomiting Points, Hemorrhaging Coverage

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 4:20 pm

… Or…

I took my son to Pitt and a Big 12 game happened.

Thanks again, to Wally for the tickets. My boy had a great time. Good to see you again and to talk.

Where to begin — or end — with that game?

Tons of points. Even more yards. Volume, volume, volume of explosive plays. Too many mistakes by the defenses to count. And at times, it felt like the game was never going to end.

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