Catfight!! Pitt vs Villanova

We are on the cusp of another year of Pitt football, the beast we both love and fear.  This season has an aura of excitement around it that I don’t believe I have witnessed since back in 2008 when we were coming off an injury riddled 2007 that saw us rally to beat rival school WVU and crush their championship hopes.

Going into 2008 we were sky high because we had an injury delayed starting QB return in Bill Stull and we had the return of the star RB LeSean McCoy… lots of similarities to this season.

But the big difference is that we aren’t going to start the 2016 season with a loss to a lesser out of conference opponent like we did against Bowling Green back then.  That just isn’t going to happen.

I rarely make concrete predictions like I just did – maybe never actually when writing about Pitt football.  But I am that sure we will not come out of the starting gate looking like wilted lettuce like we did against both YSU in 2008 and then again against Akron in 2012.

So – who is this team that I am so sure we’ll win win against on Saturday?  The Villanova Wildcats.vn quick facts

They have a hybrid type existence going on.  They are in the Big East for all sports except football because the Big East doesn’t have a football conference.  So they are members of the Colonial Athletic Association for FBS division football.

This is a great article to read to familiarize yourselves on Villanova football.  It talks about their (rather extensive) history and some of the players who have gone through the school’s football program.  They actually used to be in D-1 football until 1981.

In the 1940s and 50s, as college football was getting bigger and more important across the country, Villanova began moving games from campus to larger stadiums in Philadelphia. These included games at the Shibe Park baseball stadium as well as the notorious “grocery bowls” that former Nova AD Bud Dudley arranged at Municipal Stadium, against the likes of Georgia and Mississippi. Those games attracted big crowds, thanks to creative promotion.

Villanova also had a heated and long-running rivalry with Boston College that started in 1922. Though that series ended after 1980 (and was revived in 2013 as a one-off), the Eagles remained Villanova’s most often played opponent until the University of Delaware overtook them a few years ago.

The ‘Cats appeared in five bowl games, winning the 1948 Harbor Bowl and 1961 Sun Bowl, and have finished as high as 6th overall in the AP College Football poll during their I-A era. Wildcat graduates regularly ended up in the NFL draft, including first round picks Ralph Pasquariello (Rams), Rich Moore (Packers) and Mike Siani (Raiders), and one alum (we’ll get to that later) made it to the NFL’s Hall of Fame.

Tragedy struck in 1981 when the school cancelled the program. Football was reinstated as a Division 1-AA program in 1984 and was taken over by Andy Talley, who is still the head coach today.

And just as we have James Conner’s great off the field works for medical charities, Villanova’s legendary HC Andy Talley does the same with his long-standing 25 year association with the National Bone Marrow Foundation.

As to the football game on Saturday.  This is  the complete Villanova Game notes they send out to the media in preparation for their game against Pitt. Also, here are some stats and some player info on the Wildcats:

VN Stats.png

Here is the latest news out if Philly regarding this game.

Villanova released their depth chart for their season opening game against Pittsburgh Panthers today, and there are a few surprises. Andy Talley revealed on Monday that he’ll likely be without three starters against the Panthers with SR LB Corey Majors and JR RB Matt Gudzak definitely out, and JR DB Malik Reaves questionable to contribute major minutes.

Those missing players will hurt the Wildcats especially on defense as Majors is a good LB and Reaves was a 2nd team All-CAA player last season.

Gudzak played in 10 games and had 41 carries for 289 yards (7.0 avg!!) and three touchdowns, five catches for 29 yards and a touchdown, and 10 kickoff returns for 195 yards and was counted upon as being a key offensive player this season.

Consider that we Panthers are countering with zero starters injuries and coming off a FBS eight win season things look pretty heavily in our favor. But here is the wildcard for the Wildcats… their long time and beloved HC is retiring after this season and I am sure his players want nothing more than to get a big win right away to give him as a send off.

Games have been lost on lesser issues.

But not this one.  We’ll do a predictions thread on Thursday but for now I’m saying use a fountain pen to put a “W” in the books for this game.  It has to be a fountain or the magic doesn’t work.

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48 thoughts on “Catfight!! Pitt vs Villanova

  1. This is the beginning of a great season for Pitt There is nothing better than college football. It is the greatest game in sports. Pitt will be prepared and will not take this game lightly. The hc and staff will play hard and a lot of players will get into the game. This will make practice next week both enjoyable and crisp getting ready for the “old nemesis ” Penn State. I am so excited to watch this season unfold I hope all of you can make it to the game Saturday to root the panthers on to victory #1 HAIL TO PITT

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  2. Ahhhhhh Reed, it’s almost here. Nice article, nice info. I like info like this on the other team.

    Definitely cannot look past, but I don’t think they will. I mean the coaches have already said they’re all over this, everyday, every minute, so…..

    Even a fluke play, int ret for td, ko return for td to give Villanova a 7-0 lead and momentum, just don’t see how they’ll stop Pitt from grinding them down.

    I think Pitt wins going away easily, but never look past anyone. Ever.

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  3. ESPN 3 listing shows Pitt-Villanova on ACC Extra channel, not ESPN 3. I don’t get the ACC Extra channel. The ACC channel I do get has VA tech game on. I do get ESPN 3 but no go this week end. I may have to listen only on SIRIUS audio on channel 106 or internet on 956. I live in Ohio 35 miles east of Cleveland. Son of a gun….

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  4. If memory serves …. the Big east was considering Villanova as a possible FB entrant back in circa 08, 09, etc, they were the D2 or 1A (whatever) champions. But Pitt and others balked saying that an 18k stadium just won’t cut it … they wanted a commitment of an expansion to a 30K plus

    This will motivate the Wildcats to an upset victory .. (and the Fort Pitt Bridge has just gone on sale)

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  5. Counting down the minutes to kickoff. Thinking this will be quite a production- a bit of a test run for week 2.

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  6. Justin, the ACC channel in Cleveland is WUAB as you probably know. However, I was also able occasionally to watch a Pitt game on STO (AT&T 1734) and 1724 … providing there were no local games that took precedent. Definitely a long shot … but worth checking.

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  7. I added ESPN to my cable package yesterday so that I could watch the game online while I’m stuck down here in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma.. It cost $50 a month to add (but as the guy on the phone said, I will have access to such wonderful broadcasting like the Disney channel and qvc as well. Oh joy!)
    I logged into espn3.com, and even though it lists the Pitt game, once logged in, there are no events currently scheduled for the ACC Network Extra channel. I am hoping that changes come Saturday, as, even the PittsburghPanthers.com official site lists the game being broadcast on that channel.

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  8. PetePitt73, I don’t think you can get ESPN3 via the internet unless you have a subscription for ESPN with either your cable or a direct TV service provider. Absent a TV, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to get that internet feed.

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  9. I live in Hershey and have season tix. I don’t feel like making the drive two weeks in a row so I plan on watching it through ESPN 3 on my Amazon Fire Stick. I watched the Akron game on it last year and it was great. On ESPN3.com, it says Pitt vs. Villanova on ACC Network. I would assume then if you get ESPN 3, you get the game. If not, I will be off to the Burgh.

    The way to see if it works will be tomorrow. Louisville and Wake Forest play on the same ESPN 3 ACC Network thing at 7. If it works for those games on ESPN 3, it will work for us. If it doesn’t we are screwed.

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  10. Justin, I just did some research. If you have access to the Watch ESPN app or ESPN 3, you access the ACC Network Extra through there. We will be fine to watch the game. Just check tomorrow as I said before and try to access Louisville or Wake to figure out how to do it.

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  11. Checked a bunch of sites and there doesn’t appear to be a line yet. I suspect UPitt needs to place a bet first so that a line can be created.

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  12. @NRS – I like your thought on the running game Saturday. But I’m wondering if HCPN won’t throw quite a bit, just to show upcoming coaches that they can’t pack the box. Anyway, should be fun to watch “JC and the Sunshine Boys” run to daylight! (Opps, showing my age)

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  13. Joel, I’m feeling you. I’m flying up for the home opener for that very reason alone. The James Conner Story is far from having it’s final chapter written. There is an entire season to go (who knows maybe two) with the Panthers and then he still has a future in the NFL, IMO. Then just because he is who he is, I can see him contributing to a few benevolent organizations or creating his own for cancer research or patient support, etc. It just may make for some inspirational motivation for this entire team, who knows?

    One thing is for sure though, I agree with Reed that this team will be ready to rock come 1:30 on Saturday, Conner will allow nothing less than 100% effort out there and the team will respond in kind. BTW, no apology necessary Reed, you are allowed to drink the Pitt Koolaid, from time to time, just as long as you don’t get too much of a sugar rush on and start going balls out Dark Knight manic on us. LOL!

    Don’t take these Wildcats lightly however, since we are their “bowl game” this year, being their only FBS opponent this season. I’m not seeing the pushover lopsided margin of victory that some are predicting but Pitt will dominate hopefully.

    Can’t wait for two things on Saturday. Conner’s first run into the endzone and Jester Weah’s first college career catch. Hopefully it will be a multiple of both come Saturday.

    Hail to Pitt!

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  14. –Hoping Villanova doesn’t have another Westbrook on their roster…

    –Seems like it’s been a while since Pitt has come out and dominated in an opener – would be nice to see.

    –In the guess-the-first-offensive-play-call-of-the-season contest, I’m going with faking a handoff to JC and throwing a fly pattern to Jester W.

    Go Pitt.

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  15. UPitt – the line for the pedo state game is down to 7.

    AJ – you should drive the 3.5 hours to Heinz this weekend and support the next great Pitt RB and world class individual in James “the beast” Conner. Don’t let you yellow seat pee on this parade.

    I heard on XM 84 this morning, during a review of the Missouri vs wvcc game, the commentator mentioned13-9 and how Pitt ruined the mountaineers chance at a NC. The details were memorable – the commentator seemed like an “eers” fan in great pain.

    Then later in the afternoon, on the same channel, two different commentators were talking about how awful the UNC defense was last year & is this year against the run and that Nick Chubbs from Georgia should run all day to a Bulldawg’s victory. I wanted to call in to mention the other Chubbs, Jim Chaney, OC of Georgia and how he will find a way to throw with his true FR QB, but I was driving in pouring rain.

    Funny stuff that only a Pitt fan could appreciate.

    Wallop the wildcats!

    HTP!

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  16. Driving up with my kids for the game Friday after work. We cannot wait! Turning around and coming back next Thursday for the PSU game.
    College football season is great!

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  17. The line opened at 9 and has gone down as far as 5. I always thought the line was too high, but Vegas is seldom wrong. I think it had to do with the pedos breaking in a new QB and us having a senior.

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  18. The spread for last year’s OC was a personal pan pizza, a couple hot dogs, pie, cake, ice cream and a coke. A spread of 7 or less hinges on a turnover. My sense is that number ends at 3.5 maybe even 3. Let’s handle business on Saturday. I am excited for this weekend. Unfortunately, I will not make the game, but I will be on the sidelines for a Big10 game. Schedule looks like I will make trip for the Dairy College experience. Looking forward to it and possibly seeing some of you guys!

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  19. imo, The James Conner factor outweighs the Villanova head coach retiring factor by 28 pts. Then there is the actual game. ???

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  20. The Pa$$ion here 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (#Astounded: @ Reed, the a$$ertiveness in your prediction of resounding Pitt-Victory!!)

    —- James Conner, back!!

    Hail to Pitt!!! Pitt Is It!!!

    —–“The Return of JAMES CONNER“!!! —> This is my personal track for the RETURN of the 2014 ACC Player of the Year in 3 days!!!!!

    And Pitt fans, as an ADDITIONAL ATTRACTION —- welcome the arrival of…Jester Weeeee-Ahhhhhhh 🙂 🙂 lol.

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  21. Burger: I’m in Tulsa. Working full time doing air emissions testing at refineries. . But applying for jobs in Charlotte where some of my family is located. Unless I turn in my 3 weeks I will be in stillwater.

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  22. Hahaha 🙂 🙂 “Dominate The State” — James Franklin, a “PA-Boy” by-birth and he played at East Stroudsburg University (D-2) —- Pat Narduzzi is going to dominate you, just like he did at MSU since the day you were hired.

    Pitt’s Symbol vs. PS “Who’ is going to be 4-fingers Hoisted-Up in the Air, to signify Pitt winning ALL FOUR-OUTTA-FOUR vs. poor, Delusions-of-Grandeur-Riddled PS-Who.

    Let’s get that ready — the Four-Fingers-up before Pitt gets ready to get some anger-out against the Hated WVU Mountaineers —— after BANGING-ON poor Nittany Lions 🙂 :).

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  23. PittFan: Are you planning on going to the Pitt Alumni event they set up for away games? I am considering doing it but have never been to one so I do not know what to expect haha

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  24. Thanks, guys, for your input regarding Pitt game on or not on ESPN 3. I will keep trying and hope that my local WUAB ACC channel every week might switch to Pitt-Villanova. STO is available to me but not on ATT since I have Time Warner Cable. I will try STO as well. Thanks again, wwb, PittFan28, jrnpitt, AJ, ajs32.

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  25. Been to the ones at the bowl games. Always a good time.
    Not an alum (Univ. of S.Carolina grad), but born and raised in Pittsburgh. My Dad brainwashed me at a young age and I have done the same to my kids!

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  26. Timmeh – thanks for the link. Good article on how ACC (& PITT) can improve their national reputation fith first three weeks victories.

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  27. Burger: I was in the Pitt tent before the Navy game. They had sandwiches and chips and soda or water. Alcohol was available for purchase. The cheerleaders walked around. The chancellor and the ad spoke, followed by Patrick Bostik. It was a fun environment. Not sure if I will do the tent yet if I go to stillwater.

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  28. @ Jack
    After watching that trailer, we better not pull a boner (was going to say not pull a Pitt).

    @PittFan28
    That had to be the best part of the whole Military Bowl thing.

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  29. In the trailer I like the Gold jersey’s with the white pants look. Believe that was a road game at Syracuse.
    Anything is better than those Good Humorman Icecream all white things.

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  30. Emel: it sure was. In all honesty, even though Navy won, I really enjoyed the experience. If my time machine wasn’t in the shop getting fixed, I’d be able to say if we should all get tickets to the acc championship soon, before the prices go up. 🙂

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