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September 9, 2016

Making The Hate Easy

Filed under: Football,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 7:37 am

I am on the record as saying this is not a “Rivalry Game,” simply because it has been on hiatus for so long that the mood is a little different. These aren’t fanbases that have affection for each other. There is all the stuff in-state, especially with recruiting. But it is hard to call it a rivalry game.

But damn if the Nits don’t do their part to make me want it so, just for the hate.

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September 8, 2016

Musings and Notes

Filed under: Football,Non-con,Opponent(s),Schedule — Chas @ 7:35 am

I look at Penn State’s attempts at “unrivaled” to market their lack of a rival team the same way I view friends that try to pretend how happy they are not to be in a relationship. Constantly spinning the positives when you can see the desperation in them to be with someone. Anyone.

In that vein, I can’t bring myself to call this game a rivalry game. A resumption of on the field hostilities, perhaps, but not a real rivalry game. I wish it wasn’t so. But it isn’t. It should be, but I don’t know that even Pitt is feeling like it can or should happen annually. Despite what AD Scott Barnes is saying.

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September 7, 2016

Penn State Can Never Move On

Filed under: Police Blotter,Scandal — Chas @ 7:06 am

Last week, as the new college football season was getting close to truly starting, the usual stories of renewal and looking forward to the coming season were coming being published. This AP story on Penn State trying to go forward, for instance.

“I think that is the ultimate challenge here,” Penn State coach James Franklin told The Associated Press. “How do you balance the history, the traditions, all the wonderful things that are deep rooted here and have been here forever, (while) also making moves that you need to be progressive and to be moving towards a healthy present and a healthy future.”

Oh, how Franklin wants to move on. So many do at Penn State.

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September 5, 2016

Reminder, this is a noon game because the Pirates are assholes who somehow think not even considering moving their game time will generate more fans to support them.

“We have not asked MLB to consider rescheduling our [Sept.] 10 game,” Pirates vice president of communications and broadcasting Brian Warecki said in a statement. “We are instead very excited about what should be a full and fun weekend on the North Shore. In addition to the baseball and football games on Saturday, we will have dueling Pitt and Penn State University Days on Friday night [Sept.] 9 in order to give the great Pitt and Penn State Pirates fans the opportunity to show their school pride on Friday night as well.

“Working together with Pitt, the SEA and ALCO Parking, we will ensure that Pirates fans have access to the North Shore and reserved parking well in advance of our 7:05 start.”

Be sure not to give the Pirates any money this weekend.

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September 3, 2016

Nova Thoughts

Filed under: ACC,Football,Narduzzi — Justin @ 8:18 pm

Before I go into anything about the actual game, remember something: it’s just a game.

This is real life.

No matter what happens this season, it is truly an honor to be a fan of James Conner. I had a chance to talk to him after practice and a few games during my wannabe journalist time and it’ll be one of those things I talk about for the rest of my life. I’ve been choked up following his battle numerous times and his first touchdown was a special moment and vintage James Conner. His stiff arm started at the 6 and continued several yards into the end zone. It was a beautiful symbolism to see him attack a defender with such intensity.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post. (more…)

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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September 2, 2016

Less than 24 hours until I hit the road to Pittsburgh. The familiar giddiness is building. A smile creeps over my face as I think about it. I’ve missed this.

Think the Pitt coaches are hammering home to the players about what nearly happened to Tennessee against Appalachian  State last night? The risk of taking a team likely, simply because they are FCS? Without any doubt.

So what’s news?

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September 1, 2016

At some point I will have to do a post on Big XII expansion, simply because it has not failed to amuse me this entire spring and summer. It is just so perfect, though, that a conference named for 12 with only 10 members would announce “6 to 8 finalists.” Yet, the list actually goes to 10, 12 or even 13.

Anyways…

The year was 1998. My first year as a season ticket holder. I wasn’t unrealistic. I knew it was going to be a struggle that year. 1997 was loaded with seniors and 1998. Well, 1998 was bad. We got an idea in that first game as Pitt struggled to beat Villanova 48-41. One of two wins that year and 0-7 in the Big East.

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August 31, 2016

The two topics covered in the news regarding Pitt.

This has to be one of the best parts of being a head coach. Getting to reward walk-ons with scholarships. These are kids that either took a chance on themselves or needed to be at the school because of family or some deep desire for that particular school. They earned the scholarship for the work they have done since coming into the program.

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Stupidity and Non-Apologies

Filed under: Media — Chas @ 6:16 am

There was a little twitter kerfuffle yesterday. I’ll do a little recap and then get to my point.

It started with an article on Clairton High School Senior, 5-star recruit, possibly the top national recruit and the holy grail of the recruiting battles in PA for 2017: Lamont Wade.

Wade is a defensive back and is being recruited as such. He also plays running back on the other side of the ball. Not surprising when you are the best athlete on a team. You will get maximum exposure.

Wade is moving to outside linebacker for the season. Not because he wants to play that position later, but because that is where the need is for his team.

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August 30, 2016

Special Season

Filed under: ACC,Football,Narduzzi,Schedule — Justin @ 12:00 pm

I noted this on twitter a few days ago, but I wanted to expand on it a bit further. 2016 could potentially be a special season for Pitt. All of the elements are there: experience, leadership, talent, depth, coaching, and opportunity. The national spotlight will be on Heinz this Saturday with the return of James Conner and it won’t leave with Penn State visiting the following weekend. Back to back road trips against ranked teams, Oklahoma State and UNC, pose big challenges.

Hypothetically, what if Pitt starts 4-0? A win over a rival and two ranked teams on the road plus the emotional angle of Conner would make the national media nuts. That would lead to a top 15 ranking with the easiest stretch of the schedule ahead.

Why is this not crazy? (more…)

Opening Depth Chart: Actual Depth Included

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 7:21 am

Game Notes (PDF) came out yesterday with the first real depth chart for the 2016 season (pg. 3).

I wouldn’t say there are a lot of surprises. Maybe a couple eyebrow raises, but not any, “Wait, what?” moments in the depth chart.

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August 29, 2016

Basketball Bits, 8/29

Filed under: Basketball — Chas @ 7:28 am

A few basketball related things.

Last week I noted the ACC schedule for basketball will go to 20. Really didn’t dig deep into that side of it, and I still don’t think I am right now. One thing to consider is how that lessens the impact of the non-con schedule in terms of RPI, BPI, KenPom, etc.

On the one hand you now have a portion of the schedule shrunk by over 15%. That same side of the schedule that we and the punditry will harp on for bubble teams come March. With the increase to the conference schedule, the value of the non-con should reasonable shrink as it is only 33% of the schedule.

The decrease in the non-con schedule will also flatten the difference — at least among ACC teams — in their non-con strength of schedule.

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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.

/shrugs

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August 26, 2016

Receivers Still Needed

Filed under: Football,Practice — Chas @ 6:03 am

Here’s a fun statistical anomaly:

We all knew that Tyler Boyd was the receiving corps last season. So, I guess it shouldn’t be a shock that he was over a quarter of Pitt’s yardage — with Qadree Ollison getting nearly the other quarter.

As deep as Pitt’s running back situation is. As much as we will all cheer every time James Conner touches the ball. Pitt will need to throw the ball.

The No. 1 receiver position is set in Dontez Ford. Who is not the biggest or fastest receiver, but is the most consistent, toughest and reliable receiver on the roster. The lost spiritual successor to Derek Kinder.*

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