Wednesday Bits & Pieces

Podcasts everywhere this morning – here is the one I listened to first.

justin-rose-and-chris-peak
So you’re saying Pitt over Navy by 14 Chris?

Rivals.com’s Chris Peak does this weekly and it is always informative.   First he touts his company’s message boards.

I’ll say something about those now – they are an acquired taste.  When I first moved back to the east coast years ago and had a chance to really follow Pitt football again I was a regular on all four of them between Rivals and Scout.  Rivals has two – one subscription… and Scouts.com has two with the same set-up.  The 24-7 website has one also.

Anyway that’s where I really started voicing my opinions on our football team.  There are places where you can throw up your own topics (lead issue) and have people discuss it.  It is mostly sound-bite size conversations and the topics aren’t as in-depth as we find on the sports blogs but it was a lot of fun and truth be told I made some friends from then that I still see at games today.

Now, I don’t go on the boards so much anymore and it isn’t just because I’ve been writing in a different venue.  During the season they are OK because there are specific things to talk about but way too often the threads breakdown in verbal cat fights and pissing contests.

I posted a topic on one (about this new blog) a month ago and when I started reading some other threads on the site it was like I was transported back 10 years.

Here is what one looks like from Rivals Free Board.. A message boards

If you haven’t tried them here are some links.  Some fans can’t get enough about Pitt football and these are a great way to talk about it with others.

RIVALS FREE BOARD

BETWEEN FIFTH AND FORBES – RIVALS PAY BOARD

INSIDE THE HUDDLE – SCOUT’S FREE BOARD

THE IRONHEAD LOUNGE – SCOUT’S PAY BOARD

247’S PAY BOARD

Peak also discusses the ‘best” Pitt football team in the modern (post-WWII) era.  Debating the 1976 football team versus the 1981 team?  OK – call me in two years when the arguments calm down.

The P-G’s Paul Zeise has first-person editorial on his impressions of our RB James Conner… what he thought when Conner was trash-talking during a games against his son’s HS and what his thought are about Conner know that we have all gotten to know him.

He references that longer first-person piece Conner wrote about his time so far at Pitt and what he went through (behind the media scenes) with his diagnoses and the ensuing medical and emotional issues Conner has been dealing with in his recovery.

I don’t get something about the P-G article though.  In it Zeise references to wrong first impressions given for Conner on Social Media…here are the two instances where he says that.

Conner seemed like just another guy who talks too much, and in my experience covering college athletics, those guys always seem to flame out. That was my first impression. That goes to show how wrong first impressions are and how the view from afar of someone based off social media is far too often skewed.

Through this whole experience, I’ve learned the hard way that first impressions kind of stink — especially through social media.

Now correct me if I am wrong because I really don’t imbibe in Social Media that much – I post these articles up on Facebook and comment on others’ stuff a few times a week… I check Facebook maybe three times in a week.  Also I started a Twitter account but other than posting these articles there also I don’t look at that at all really.

So what is this social media running Conner’s rep into the ground years ago coming from?  I guess I don’t ‘get’ how that can influence Zeise unless he reaches out and reads all the stuff, and believes it, back when Conner was in HS.  Maybe he is alluding to message board chatter but is that Social Media?

I’m not criticizing Zeise – that was a fantastic and very honest piece he wrote this morning – but since I don’t look at player’s Facebook pages (and I certainly don’t “friend” any of them, nor the staff) and I don’t read Twitter so I must have missed that stuff Paul was talking about.  But doesn’t everybody take that stuff with a grain of salt anyway?

I’m kind of a dinosaur.

Again from the P-G; Narduzzi thinks we have a great schedule lined up for the 2016 season.  See, here is the thing about “great schedules” … they are that only until you play the games and win them.  Other than that when the dust settles at the end of the year we point back and say – “Yeah, we lost five games – but look at that schedule, it sucked.

2016 schedule

I like it though – give the fans their money’s worth I say even if we lose those tougher games.  I guess here I have to admit something, when we have these “big” games I go to watch the other teams play as much as to watch Pitt… and I clap for an opposing player if he turns in a really exceptional play.  Sorry… bad fan again.

These are the key games for me – forget about Clemson.  That will stand-alone in its underdoggedness for Pitt. (That’s almost a real word.)

But PSU, OK State (in Stillwater, OK) NC (in Chapel Hill) and then Marshall at home are going to be tough for us to come out of with a .500 record in those matches.  I especially am concerned about Marshall.

4 games

That is a damned good football program and I truly believe the Pitt fans are underestimating them as an opponent.  They are a D1 FCS team that has  puts up some recent winning seasons. Take a look at their last three years, from 2013 through 2105 they are 33-8 under a very determined and good coach Doc Holliday.  He started off slowly there but as happens in college ball once he got his own recruits on the roster he started hitting an all cylinders.  33-8 and three bowls wins in a row.

In those three years Marshall has beaten Maryland 31-21, Purdue 41-31 and UCONN 16-10 and just barely lost to VT by a 29-21 score so they can certainly hang with anyone.  If i was to pick an upset game that would be the one.

I just hope we don’t pull a “Navy shouldn’t even be in the same stadium with us.” that I heard fans say before last season’s bowl drubbing we received.  Big mistake to overlook this squad.

marshall

Here is a point from that same article on an issue that I have been talking about for years.  Rivalry games are all in the fan’s heads… here a bit about the PSU game;

Quarterback Nate Peterman said that’s the game everyone wants to talk to him about this offseason, from his dad, who grew up in Meadville, Pa., to a state trooper at the U.S. Open at Oakmont.  “It’s hard not to learn about it,” Peterman said.

Defensive end Ejuan Price, a Woodland Hills High School graduate, said he has heard people outside the program talking about the rivalry a lot, but it doesn’t dominate the locker room conversation as much as fans might think.

“Even though we have a game before that we’re not overlooking, we’re definitely amped up and pumped for that game and ready to show up,” Price said.  Narduzzi, too, didn’t stoke the flames when asked about the relationship between the two schools, simply noting that it’s important for every player to be educated on the rivalry.

Look, these kids were even in long pants the last time we played PSU and coaches like Graham, Chryst, etc… they don’t really care more than just getting that win.

Narduzzi may be different with his being from Youngstown… but even then I think it isn’t nearly as emotional for anyone inside the program itself than it is for us fans with long memories.

Now with that said, if that game comes back on the schedule on a regular basis (don’t hold your breath) then these players who stick around for four-five years will get the rivalry bug… but right now not so much… regardless of what Narduzzi and staff are telling them.

And as I wrote earlier and some commenters agreed on – in the grand scheme of things I’d trade PSU win for a conference win any day since our goal is to win the ACC Coastal.  But I want us to beat PSU also.  That will be a good thing.

The Trib-Review has an article; one of hundreds to come you can be sure, on the preseason predictions for the ACC standings.  To no one’s real surprise (unless you read internet predictions from someone who has never set foot in Heinz field) Pitt was chosen to be a 3rd place finisher.

But this was done by ACC media members so it may carry more weight…

Pitt was picked to finish third in the ACC Coastal Division in a poll of 191 media members taken at ACC media days in Charlotte last week.

Defending division champion North Carolina was projected to finish first with 121 first-place votes, followed by Miami with 50. Pitt garnered 14 first-place votes.

Jerry DiPaola is a guest on the Trib’s podcast and he talks about the ACC meetings that wrapped up last Friday.

Here is a great idea for the cliffs overlooking downtown Pittsburgh.  How about a Mount Rushmore of PGH icons?

c0f767e071ba94ba

The rock on the side of Mount Washington is getting blasted away, but that would be the perfect place to put a Pittsburgh Mount Rushmore. My nominees for all-time contributions would be Fred Rogers, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson and Andrew Carnegie. Because of those four, we can go to free libraries in an environmentally safe, friendly neighborhood with no polio. Take that every other city. 

Our contribution to sports is almost as great. For instance, an all-Penguin Mount Rushmore is easy: Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Yvgeni Malkin. Since sports are so ingrained in this town, here are my other Mount Rushmores for Pittsburgh sports. For parity’s sake, these players are from the last 50 years, the length of time the Penguins have been around. 

Here is an older piece from Chris Logue over at Pitt Nation Sports  and I’m including it because it is good news about recruits and since that will be heating up again soon this might get fan’s juices flowing…

28 thoughts on “Wednesday Bits & Pieces

  1. Just read the James Conner piece in The Players Tribune. Great story and really well written.

    Best point guard…Krauser gets my vote.

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  2. Typical Pitt football analysis. In the past, Pitt beats the MAC Champion Bowling Green (10-3, 2013 record) in our Pizza Bowl game in 2013 & most down play this solid come from behind win by the Panthers because of the inferior competition.

    We look at this season’s schedule and are concerned that Marshall’s appearance on it is a tough game for us. OK, I see that, potential trap game.

    But I’ll GUARANTEE that if we beat the Herd, THEN the game will immediately be placed into the “we should have beat them anyhow” column since they are a FCS program.

    Make no mistake about it, psu, OK St., UNC & Marshall is a gauntlet stretch for Pitt this season. But get serious, if we expect to be competing for the ACC Coastal Crown then Pitt should be spanking these boys at Heinz Field come the 1st weekend in October.

    And sorry Reed, the ACC is one subject, kicking the $hit out of those cult members from creepy valley is another mutually exclusive subject. Pitt needs to be taking care of business on both of these fronts for the following reason.

    First order of business, expose Franklin’s inability to coach on game day with a great early season win. this launches the Panthers forward on a tidal wave of momentum going into a very winnable game against OK St.. Win there and UNC starts looking like a very winnable game as well. Beat the Tarheels and well, the self confidence for the Panthers continues to swell, etc., etc.

    So beat penn state, beat the hell out of penn state, then hold on tightly to that win because it is a building block for a very good season going forward.

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  3. Reed, you’re perfectly fine. Excellent in fact. Dog days of summer brother. Vacations. etc. etc. Swampy as hell, ac at work not so great. Couple more weeks, comments will skyrocket.

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  4. @Reed. You mentioned the other day. I said nothing back because I think your info is top of the line and the site looks good. If you told me “no, Dan, you have to say something”, I might say maybe a thicker line to differentiate each persons comments. What made me think this was, I just looked at the Blather, to see if possibly Chas had made any comments or goodbyes. (no). He had each comment in it’s own separate box as opposed to running into each other. That’s why I suggest a thicker line of separation, or hell, if he’s not blogging anymore, steal that idea??

    This is more minor than minor. I’m sure we can all deal with it just fine the way it is. Just looked over there at the Blather and it made think of a comment the other day.

    I think it looks good now, info superb, looking forward to the fall.

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  5. Also, if that entails getting involved with more of your own personal money, eff it, it’s fine. I used to be ahead of the curve on computers, now I’m way behind. And I’m ok with that.

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  6. ^^^^ “So beat penn state, beat the hell out of penn state, then hold on tightly to that win because it is a building block for a very good season going forward.”

    heck yeah @ “Dr. Tom”.

    I was excited to read that Matt Canada is using two and three running back sets trying to get out all he can from Pitt’s stable of running backs. That’ll be fun — lot’s of carries for Conner, Ollison, and Rachid Ibrahim (he’s back too let’s not forget!) with some Darren Hall sprinkled in as well. Not to mention tons of screen game opportunities for Peterman to wrack-up his passing stats, while our stud running backs and o-line do all the work 😉 lol.

    But talking about Paul Zeise — anyone else excited to see how good Zeise-Jr. Can be as an outside linebacker??

    Elijah Zeise : 6’2″ , 230 lb ex wide receiver flying around making plays on defense, and coming off the edge to sack the QB!

    He’s obviously athletic and will be able to cover a ton of ground moving from WR . I would love to see Elijah Zeise get into the lineup at OLB as well as Quintin Wirginis getting much, much more snaps.

    We have some guys who could be real stud, NFL linebackers in our roster –> but Seniors Matt Galambos and Mike Caprara are not going to give up their spots easily too lol. It’s both those scrappers’ last hurrah at Pitt so I wouldn’t be shocked if they both play Ball$-out this season :).

    Penn State is breaking in their new QB Todd Mcsorley. Watched him in their bowl game against Georgia and unfortunately the kid is a straight up gutsy winner. Have to be honest. Todd Mcsolrely is a true “Franklin Guy” and is the athletic dual-threat type Franlkin actually wants for “His” offense. Medium at best arm with a bit of a goofy motion, maybe 6′ 205 – ish, but just a scrapper. Georgia was gonna just annihilate PSU with Zero Charisma, all-hype built, Pouter-Extraordinaire Chrsitian Hackenberg at QB. Then Georgia knocked him out of the game. Todd Mcsorley — just an all “heart” and “grit” type , inspired PSU and started lighting up Gerogia. In fact if PSU played the entire game like they did when Mcsorley got broken-in, PSU would probably have won that bowl game.

    Mcsorley at PSU reminds me of a lot of tough-out college QB’s who aren’t “NFL material” , but they just lead their team to wins.

    I wish Pitt could play Chris Hackenberg instead I think we would’ve literally almost shut-out Penn State at Heinz with that $crub as their QB.

    Not to mention PSU has Saquan Barkley at RB, who is a demon. He is literally the combination of LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis in one running back. Our D-ends better be getting After-It and our D-tackles better clog that inside. Because Barkley will make our poor Linebackers and D backs look silly and like JV players if our d-line lets him scurry unabated to the second-level 😦 😦

    Hey, nothing worth it is gonna be easy so Let’s start off the Shiny New Pitt-Age (complete with our new Elite facilities and the SCRIPT!) by ripping PSU off their culty, self-anointed PA-pedestal!!

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    1. It’s easy to come off the bench when no one prepared for you. Dual-threat QBs are tough for Pitt to defend since the defense usually lacks speed.

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      1. * Yeesh * sorry btw I was just riffin’ earlier and didn’t pay attention —- Penn State’s 6′, 200lb. Quarterback we’ll face is TRACE McSorley lol not ‘Todd’.

        —> But ‘Frankly Franklin’ (I’m cute huh?) was actually no Bull- hamstrung by the sanctions and absolutely being forced to start “Golden Boy” Christian Hackenberg (no wheels, no Charisma / Leadership, only above average arm……honestly a lesser Tom Savage no joke).

        TRACE McSorley is quick, has tons of Moxy and Heart, has wheels, and can make *Enough* throws from the pocket — but worse, if you watch him in the second half of the bowl game against Georgia his is going to constantly escape pressure and create offense.

        I hope Ejuan Price, Dewayne Hendrix, *Hopefully Allen Edwards* (was a 6’4”, 220 pounder coming in from Juco but redshirted and lifted all last year) will all be forces on the edge this year to terrorize opposing QB’s.

        It would make me so happy to see Ejuan Price come on fierce this final season, and get himself drafted in the 3rd or 4th round of this upcoming draft :).

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        1. Edwards has had ankle injuries since coming to Pitt and hurt it one at the very end of spring ball. I hope Blair and Folston are ready to go of course if the ability to redshirt Blair is available then go for it but I doubt it happens.

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  7. I almost always agree with Reed’s analysis and opinions, as we share similar philosophies on the football program and our fine university. However, I cannot disagree more with the suggestion that we, as fans, should be willing to trade a win over the Nitters for a conference win. The only possible way I would make that trade is if we could look into the crystal ball and know that that it would allow us to finish 11-1. Say, for example, we win all of our other conference games, and it came down to the question of whether we would prefer a PSU win or a Clemson win. Somewhat unrealistic, but in that circumstance, I’d take the Clemson win. Otherwise, if the extra conference win means that we finish second, rather than third, in the Coastal Division, I say kick the crap out of the Nitters. The games in the 80s, when I was a kid, always seemed to mean something to one of the teams. I sorely miss that type of rivalry. My most vivid memories of Pitt football revolve around 13-9 (no explanation needed), 31-31 (comeback in 4th quarter at WVU in 1988 or 89), and PENN STATE games. I have had September 10 circled on my calendar for a long, long time. Can’t wait for it to get here. I suspect most Pitt fans share my feelings on this. What do you all think?

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  8. And to be clear, I’m not in the camp that I’d be happy with 1-11 if the “1” was PSU, but I know that there are fans out there who feel that way. The dislike of PSU is palpable as we approach September 10!!!

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  9. For the record Marshall, while not power 5, is an FBS team, not FCS. I personally liked it better when it was DI and DI-A. Thanks NCAA.

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  10. “I’m kind of a dinosaur.”

    Of course you are. But what kind, Reed?

    I’d say Triceratops for the power and fearlessness, but the resemblance isn’t there….

    Plesiosaur, maybe…???

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  11. Pitt gets “slighted” on the ACC pre-season All-conference FB picks

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2016/7/27/12305268/ejuan-price-dorian-johnson-all-acc-preseason-team-pitt-football-pittsburgh-panthers-james-conner

    Congrats to E.Price and D.Johnson – both 1st teamers- BUT that’s it. No J.Whitehead, no A.Biz and not one vote for J.Conner. Not one Pitt player made the 2nd team.

    Also, the team was picked by the ACC media to finish 3rd in the Coastal division behind UNC and Miami.

    For me, if I’m the HC, this would make for some good locker room material. You have three non-conference games to prep for ACC play. Take one at a time – blow out nova – use all five RB’s and pile on 500+ rushing yards and make no question about who the best team on the field is that day.

    In game #2 against the pedos – win the game with your D stopping the run. Keep Barkley under 100 yards and show the state (and Pittsburgh) which team is going to dominate PA.

    Then go to OK State and run the ball all over their weak D and keep their high octane (sorry for the reference) offense off the field.

    Now we get to game # 4 with a ton of confidence and momentum. Go pay a nasty visit to Charlotte and knock off the supposed top dog of the Coastal division in UNC.

    For the UNC game, I’d make A.Biz, J.Conner and J.Whitehead the team captains – let the UNC captains shake hands with three bad a$$ players that just bulldozed there way through the preseason and are ready to make a statement in the ACC.

    BAM!

    Now we deal with Reed’s trap game – Marshall. Our DE’s and LB’s make life miserable for their tall and skinny SO QB (6’6″ 180lbs). Pitt sacks this guy six times and he’s hurried on almost every throw. At the end of the game, his linemen are picking him up off the turf like the VTech QB in the 2015 game.

    It’s America, and we are allowed to dream and be optimistic about our future.

    Let’s make Pitt great again!

    HTP!

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  12. Reed and all others, Fellow ACC member Louisville’s president is being forced to step down. Here is an excerpt from an online article I just read:

    Ramsey was credited with raising academic standards and boosting the school from a commuter campus to a distinguished research institution. But he came under increasing fire for embezzlement scandals and a string of other embarrassments, including an FBI investigation of top university officials for alleged misuse of federal money and an NCAA investigation into whether a university employee paid women to strip and have sex with basketball players.
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    Note that nobody from the athletic department was sanctioned.

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  13. Folks,i love the optimism but if im taking a realistic look at the season that 4 game stretch of psu, okst, unc, marshall is brutal. If pitt gets through that at 4-1 then i will be thrilled.

    There will no doubt be a lot of very young guys playing on this team, particularly in the secondary and wr core so that villanova game is important. Getting out to a big lead early so these young guys get experience, albeit minimal experience, before that gauntlet would be beneficial imo.

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    1. Hell, i will even include georgia tech (immediately following marshall) in the gauntlet. Last year was a fluke for them. Im only exaggerating slightly when i say that all 22 of their starters were injured (if my memory isnt failing). If they are healthy then thats a very very tough game for pitt

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  14. It’s wrong to provide strippers for the player’s enjoyment? Who knew.

    But seriously – isn’t it great that we never read stuff like this about the Pitt administration. Say what we will about pederson and Nordy but they ran clean programs. I believe we haven’t had any dealings with the NCAA infractions Committee since we self-reported back in 1993. Correct?

    https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2519&dat=19930522&id=5X9iAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RXcNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1565,2344975&hl=en

    I’ve told you guys this before but had the opportunity to have conversations with Dr. Nordenberg in the past years and I can say without a doubt that he was very concerned about the University’s reputation in all areas – not just athletics. I hope Dr. Gallagher is the same – I would think so and with AD Scott Barnes also.

    There is a right and wrong way and it is possible to not do crap like some other schools do… and beside, UL wasn’t even that good AFTER the strippers landed. I really look forward to the next few years with Narduzzi and as I wrote the other day – and not just to see how many wins we can rack up.

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  15. 1) Reed is T Rex
    2) PSU – The game, gone for so long means much more to us than present players – one game though and they will learn to despise the Nitter players and fans. There will be no future to the game – they only put Pitt back on the schedule to deal with the no bowl game sanctions, now that that’s gone I don’t expect we will play them again in my lifetime, I’m 61. While those arrogant folks were over the barrel we should have locked them into a 20 year commitment. Our politicians are in their pocket and wont force it like Florida and FSU. I see Frankinliar and the Barber (intentional misspelling) are crying about people using Sandusky against them. First, you guys covered up these heinous crimes for years – boo hoo,hulabaloo. Second, they had to backpedal when all the Big coaches denied their lies. Boo hoo you pedophiles you. Trace McSorley did play very well in limited action and they have two very good RBs.
    3) Marshall to me is a scary game given our trouble with the MAC and Doc Holliday is a very good coach. They are from W. VA and thus hate us.

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    1. Russ, Marshall is in CUSA, not MAC anymore, although you can probably call them comparable FBS conferences (not FCS as someone said earlier). As far as how they feel about Pitt, let me tell you (from living around Huntington for a couple years back in the 80’s), that almost anyone who is a real fan of Marshall’s detests WVU, not Pitt, they are on the same page as Pitt fans with their attitude toward the hoopies.

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  16. @MissingWlat, agreed totally. Was going to mention that the other day, but had a meeting.

    In regards to the PSU game, you would really have to get into the nuts and bolts of where Pitt sits nationally to let me answer the PSU game properly. i.e. PSU or game that could send Pitt to ACC Championship game.

    Minutiae certainly, but I’m having coffee at work, enjoying my morning, so here it is.

    No delusions of going to the ACC championship game meaning we get into the final 4, I don’t think any of us are there at this point. Maybe someday? Who knows, I digress.

    Anyhow, is it a Pitt team that is 9-2, and a win not only gets Pitt into the ACC championship game, but also gets them say, ranked #9 or #8?? Get’s them some national spotlight, and sets them up for an exciting game against Florida State, Clemson etc. etc. in the championship game??

    Then, maybe I say I trade the PSU game. Still….maybe, but worth a thought I guess.

    Or, is it a 6-5, 7-4 Pitt team, that happened to win Coastal games, and would slip in the back door to the championship game by virtue of good Coastal record. Not ranked anywhere, fans not excited at all about season, certainly not looking forward to seeing a Pitt team get thumped in a championship game, just to say, we went to the championship game.

    So, a lot of variables. I will still go with my initial thoughts. Penn State is of utmost importance in my mind, and would not trade that win for any other game, unless Pitt was having a fantastic season, and a big game in the ACC championship would really put Pitt in the national spotlight a bit, and really put a shine on the program.

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