POV: Know the Enemy – Northwestern

Quick note:  The Pitt POV just received the best Christmas Gift ever – a full 3′ x 5′ Pitt Script flag to go along with the generous POV flag that Bernie (BigB) had made up just last month.  Now home tailgates are certain and it will be my pleasure to treat – the POV flag will fly directly over the Script flag and will be lowered to half-mast when my liver finally goes out.

I waited a bit to post this article because everyone does these holidays differently and I didn’t to miss any of the many celebrations that go on this time of the year. We had more out-of-town visitors than we thought we would thus the radio silence from my end…

A while back I posted the article “A Pitt Fan’s Holiday Wish List” where I laid out what I wanted for the University of Pittsburgh and then you all chimed in with your wishes.

In what was a very timely comment as to his wish list Jackagain wrote this:

  • I would like Narduzzi to stay here for 10 years.
  • I would like Barnes to learn how to hire a coach without having to hire a consulting firm to make his decision for him.
  • I would like to beat the pedos again next year in front of 100K cultists and the great Pitt fans who make the trip.

Well Jack, two out of three ain’t all that bad. 

We have just been through a two-week period that seems to happen with regularity as Pitt lost two key members of the Athletic Department.  First Matt Canada is taking his Offensive Coordinator skills – and they were legion as far as the Pitt record books – to the Southeastern Conference and the higher salaries they pay across the board down there.

Then AD Scott Barnes announced he is pulling up stakes and hopping the red-eye flight back to the West Coast where apparently his little heart resides.  Guess the coffee just isn’t as good in PGH as it is in the great Northwest. 

One of those two  I care about; that would be Canada, the other I don’t much at all.  But change is the order of business at Pitt and so goes the long story of the recent decades of Pitt football.  Don’t like what you see?  Wait a year and not like what you see then either… if you are a pessimist.  If you are an optimist then we are about to hire better guys.

I think these changes, and we may not be done yet, are as Pete Seeger wrote years ago… “Turn, turn, turn” and that is what makes following the football program at Pitt so interesting.  There truly are a lot of changes and things to get used to anew every time you turn around.

So – we’ll have both of the soon-to-be-richer dearly departed in New York with us on Wednesday for our shot at the Pinstripe Bowl Trophy.  Let’s take a look and figure out just who we are up against in this match.

Obviously Northwestern team is a Big Ten team. One that sits toward the bottom of the Western division.  Right there is something that our AD could have tried twisting a few arms to get us a better opponent – but then again he was on the phone with Oregon State the whole time.


You can see with your magnifying glass that the Wildcats had a losing record against their conference foes and broke even at 6-6 overall.  Here is how they stacked up against the 127 other D1 schools in different categories.

Northwestern Team Stats – Through games 12/24/2016
Stat Rank Value
Scoring Defense 24 22.1
Rushing Defense 31 136.7
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 33 120.84
Passing Offense 52 247.7
Total Defense 59 401.6
Total Offense 77 392.9
Team Passing Efficiency 79 125.72
Scoring Offense 91 25.6
Rushing Offense 102 145.3
Passing Yards Allowed 108 264.9

 In any other year I’d worry about facing a team that had such a good scoring defense as does Northwestern in giving up only 22.1 ppg, but after that Clemson game my fears are allayed somewhat.  Clemson allowed around 18 ppg and we put a ton of points up on them.

Offensively the Wildcats don’t look too imposing but as we have seen in every game so far all an offense has to do is throw the ball in the air to score points.

The oddsmakers must have tired out by this end part of the college season because in all games up to this one they delved into every small details of Pitt and our opponents before churning out numerous charts and voluminous info – now we have this:


So we are giving away five points and the over/under is 66.5.  That’s actually kind of tough to figure especially given the length of time both teams have had to prepare for the game. Last year at this time we saw Navy run over us in every way possible and Narduzzi and Conklin had a long period to prepare for them also.

Who knows? I don’t formally bet but I’d take Pitt giving five points and stay away from the O/O if I was.  Who knows how the kids are going to react about Canada leaving?  I’ve been around college football long enough to know that the old “Win one For Matt!!” is a romanticized version of what the NCAA wants us to believe.

But that doesn’t mean the kids are pissed about him leaving either – I’ll say that the players are mature enough to know how the business of college ball works and they probably want to get a win both for Canada and for themselves.  So we’ll probably score a lot of points on Wednesday.

When I was part of the call-in press conference with the four Pitt guys last week I asked Josh Conklin a short and basic question.  Given our poor pass defense how are we going to handle Senior Austin Carr, Northwestern’s great WR?

At 6’1″ Carr works out of the slot position and Conklin admitted that we’ve had tough times stopping slot receivers who have played against us (see Ryan Switzer below).  I think they will ‘spy’ on him – dedicating a defensive back man on man  to shadow him.

If we look at Carr’s season total; 84 receptions for 1,196 yards (14.2 ypc) and 12 TDs it is scary to think what he may do against us.  We thought that North Carolina receiver,  Ryan Switzer was pretty good until he went against our defensive backfield and elevated himself to a god-like status with 16 catches for 208 yards and a TD.

This is what our defense does for kids – it allows them to become King For a Day.  Carr will probably get over 150 yards and two TDs.  our job is to contain the other receivers if we can.

OK – final travel notes before taking of for New York in the early am tomorrow.

If anyone is in Manhattan on Tuesday evening and wants a free drink or three then meet me at the “Pitt HQ Hotel” at 7:00 pm. That would be The Sheraton New York, 811 7th Avenue  New York, N.Y. 10019.  

I’ll be in the bar or if that is too crowded I’ll be in the lobby.  As always I’m 6’6″ tall with a mustache and will be wearing a Coast Guard ball-cap.

I’ll also be around Yankee stadium around 12:00 on Wednesday until I go up to the press box around 1:30. Then after we win probably down by the Sheraton again on Wednesday evening unless someone comes up with a better idea.

Really looking forward to seeing some of you all….


89 thoughts on “POV: Know the Enemy – Northwestern

  1. That’s more like it Reed, with the, “after we win” comment at the end of your article. That’s called being an Unbridled Optimist.

    As Narduzzi testifies, ” we will win”!


  2. With Pitt, you can never take anything for granted, but I bet that Narduzzi and company used the Navy experience to keep the team focused on the prize. This will be the last time our vaunted offense plays together, I think they will prove once again how good they are. Hopefully they double and triple team Carr.


  3. A lot of times bowl games are meaningless, just a reward for the players. This game however, is immensely important to Pitt. Following an epic fail to Houston and an extremely poor performance and drubbing by Navy. Pitt must prove it can win a Bowl game. For the third year in a row we have a lame duck or stand-in O-Coordinator. Hopefully we get better results. I think we do with the leadership of Conner and the seniors, many who have played together for four years. Many who have a good shot at the pros.

    If they win, this team could be the one that turns the corner for Pitt.


  4. Pitt has not beat a P5 school in a bowl game since 2011 (Kentucky – ho hum). It is an important game for that reason alone I am not too worried about the offense – the players will want to send Conner and other seniors out with a win. The offense has talented players who are rightfully proud of what they have done this year.


  5. ^^^ 😦 okay, on on-campus stadium stuff again —>

    —– 🙂 I’ve said before that Pitt gives everything they got to become an ACC Power, and when that day does come — Pitt takes over Heinz and totally customizes it and makes it Pitt’s own. —- 🙂 That sounds pretty good to me.

    This on campus stuff is people totally living in “Theoretical Dreams” and not analyzing that Pitt is unique, one-and-only type of ‘City School’ that is also quite large with Top Level Power 5 sports.

    Miami plays like 45 minutes away from their home. Pitt plays maybe 10 minutes away with traffic.

    There are so, so few Power 5 teams right inside cities that people not comprehending that Pitt is in a ridiculously unique situation for football unlike 99% of the other Power 5 teams……life ain’t fair, sorry, for those who seem to dream of South Oakland getting torn-down or something for Pitt Football Stadium.

    P.S. — Half the new recruits say they LOVE playing in an NFL stadium in Power 5 football, because they dream of being NFL players in the end.


  6. I also wished for a good AD & a great OC hire…. 😉

    Well, the ACC is 2-0 so far with NC St wooping up on the SEC. Wake plays a tough Temple team tomorrow, so we got to win and hope Miami beats the hoopies after our game….especially since Miami wooped up on us. We don’t need the hoopies using a win over Miami against us in recruiting. But mostly as I’ve been saying here for weeks, we need to win this to stay ranked like the pedos & hoopies.

    Yeah rkb, we need to start showing up for these bowl games. I seldom see a Pitt win sadly…

    Contain Carr somewhat and we’ll win this one and send Conner out on a high note.


  7. Reed – I will look for you at the Sheraton.

    I’d like to also give thanks to BigB for the great looking flag. I’ll see if I can hang it up in Yankee Stadium.


  8. Darkie you cannot hide behind “anonymous” – your style is too unique. The Sport and Exhibition Authority technically owns the stadium and has “picked” the Rooneys to run it in return for good box seats for SEA members. Corruption baby – I have a real job as a 30 year prosecutor where I have prosecuted political corruption – I am not making fun of your job as a barista. Pitt could win the NC and things wont change – I hear your mommy calling. Come back when you learn more of how the world works in reality. 🙂 Seriously we may have to rent a stadium but your thoughts about Pitt taking over the stadium because it becomes an ACC power are delusional. AS UPitt would say – back on your meds Darkie. 🙂


  9. I sense a photo op…POV flag being raised at Yankee Stadium ala Iwo Jima. Soon to be an iconic symbol of the death of SOP. Have fun at the game guys.


  10. Pitt is going to shadow Carr just like they shadowed Swiitzer. Good luck on that strategy IMO. If i were NW I’d be throwing to him 60% of their passes. With the Pitt defense you really don’t have to mix it up that much. Just look back at some of the games our DB’s were playing against NFL 6’3″ potential receivers. There was very little reason to go away from throwing to those players because there would be either a long completion or an interference call on our DB’s. Until the opposition starts going 3 and out there is really no reason to deviate from the pass often experience of previous Pitt opponents. NW knows Pitt can score and their best bet is to score as often as us.


  11. Leaving for the train station now – will be at the Sheraton around 6:30 – 7:00 or so. Let’s plan on dinner and drinks. It will be my first ‘entertainment expenses’ on my new expense account!… more on that later!

    Also – I’ll get a Game Thread going from Yankee Stadium.


  12. @ jrnpitt, I could not agree more with your analysis. Carr is the key. If I was Pitt’s DC, I’d let the Wildcat run game try to beat us and hell with “shadowing” Carr! I’d outright dedicate a safety, right up in his face along with the CB on that side all game long. I’d double team stunt him consistently at the LOS with both guys to upset his route timing and let the chips fall where they may elsewhere in our defensive backfield.

    NW’s gameplan will be built around their best weapon (Carr) against the obvious weakness of Pitt’s secondary coverage. Take away that weapon by a double team mugging of him at the LOS on every play and we wouldn’t have to worry about poor pass coverage. Eliminate the threat!

    I hope all of you Pitt fans going to NYC enjoy the game and have great experiences in the Big Apple. Keep your wallet in a front pocket & bring home a victory, Hail to Pitt!


  13. jrnpitt and Dr Tom,
    Ditto, ditto, ditto!
    Stop Carr period!!!!
    Win the game.
    To guys in NY, be safe and be smart!
    Bring us all home a big W!!!!! God bless.


  14. Hopefully E Price our D-line our healthy and put pressure on their QB. Some well timed sacks will help a great deal.

    Wish I could be there with yunz guys. Should be a great time. Bring home a winner.

    No more Bowl Flops.


  15. Echoing GC. Reed, if you are not warned about cheering in the press box remember it is easier to plead ignorance and ask for forgiveness after than to seek permission before hand.
    HAIL TO PITT Bring home a victory


  16. PSN’s writeup today of the NW QB(espn rated as a top 9 QB for 2017draft), RB(1300 plus yards this year) and wide receiver Switzer is enough to scare any defense. And with the Pitt defense there should be no POV Pitt fan posters resting easy when the Pitt D takes the field.


  17. Have had a chance to look at some NW games and players. They remain a team no one wants to play. They will give us as much as we can handle. Look for another Rolaids game.


  18. Pitts OL is superior to anything the Cats have seen. People mover and balance of power and speed will control the game. Pitt’s D will be as healthy as the second game and can substitute and keep guys fresh and play faster.


  19. Redshirts would be burned if they play & transfers can only play if they transferred in season last year, ala Dontez Ford a few years back. Anyone who transferred in the spring or summer are still ineligible.


  20. Looking forward to positive momentum heading into 2017… kick the cat’s tail…
    Have fun a POV brothers attending… Get loud- Make some Noise.!!! Let’s Go PITT


  21. Sitting in Gallagher’s pub drinking Harp and lusting right and left.

    Looks like a nap is in order before the big doings tonight.

    Watched some of the Last Kingdom on Netflix on the train up to NYC. Excellent historical drama of the Vikings and England,etc.


  22. We don’t seemed to be concerned with creating an ‘identity’ at all. What we wore this combo maybe once the whole season. Pitt always wears Gold/Yellow Helmets. Although we did wear the Blue Ug’s for the Pedo beatdown.


  23. Mrs. Jones Carrick 4th Graders designed Jersey Numbers.

    Emel – Perfect example to use the throwbacks.

    Now we look like BYU and Navy had a baby and you have our uniform, with no stripe pants.


  24. ~ Upitt……we only wore those ug uni’s once the whole season, in that horrific loss to the Tarholes.

    You would have thought the Nard Dog would have burned them. I would of 🙂


  25. @Pit it IS Indeed, the fan experience could have been enhanced if Barnes could have at least secured Heinz looking like a home field by marking it up. It was very difficult for me to discern any thing remarkable difference in the fan experience this year other than beer sales.


  26. Wake is clowning the pedo’s perennial doormat Temple 31-10 at the half. The ACC could be 3-0 by the end of the day. The 2 games tomorrow are the big ones though….as long as we win it will be great.


  27. Reed – If you see Herman Munster tell him we appeciate him hiring Pappy Stallings before he was fired and beer. That is all he did in 17 months. Oh and call us noise.

    Whoever brings up Soccer Coach needs to see if he has balls. No good Western PA loving American gives 2 shits about soccer.


  28. The pedo’s best non-conference win (Temple) lost to a 6-6 ACC team in their bowl game today.

    Beat NW and another B1G Joke win for Pitt…


  29. Upitt, totally agree with you about soccer. I want an AD that will focus on major sports revival. Just my opinion…I could be wrong. Lets kick some Big Joke ass tomorrow.


  30. Bernie / Last Row – I agree! Pussification of American Male. 2-13 and Barnes and his followers brag about the hire. Can’t make this shit up. Baseball under .500 again and Jordano gets an extension.


  31. BigB 720 LMAO – soccer has indeed done that. Ike love the comment on Barnes head bigger than midfield logo :). Last row i agree on focus on 3 major sports – win and the money comes in for the others – drags em up. Reed – write off that $15 internet fee as an expense! Hell keep all your receipts as expenses.
    I am not a big fan of this uni scheme. Go get em guys!!!! POV Takes Manhattan!!!!!.


  32. No matter what tomorrow will be a great day for pitt football.

    Last game of Webb’s eligibility – how could it not be a great day for pitt football


  33. Predictions?

    OK. I guess all you east coasters are either asleep or blind drink. Here sipping my healthful smoothie (Whistlepig Rye IS smooth!) wishing I were in the Big Apple.

    Only half slashed, I’ll go with about the season averages against D1 which will give us a win of about 45-38. HTP!

    BTW, the payout for the Pinstripe Bowl makes it a big improvement over other recent bowls, I believe….


  34. ^^ @ rkb, ouch!! haha relax with that or next time you visit Starbucks you might get something in your coffee order you never asked for 😉 jk jk .

    And I MEANT that the Rooney’s may move-on from Heinz and build a new Stadium altogether — not that the Rooney’s and Stadium Authority just “hand off” Heinz to Pitt and go play in Highmark Stadium.

    —- Totally Cool with people thinking i’m irritating and not-worth listening too —- lol but I am not THAT Stoopid lol.



  35. Wish I was with you dudes in NY. Not in an awkward way, but we are so trying to all pull in the same direction. Gallagher needs to take note of that. Did anyone on here not attend during Pitt Stadium days? Pitt will be 1-0 on games played on 12-28-16.


  36. UPittBB!? Stricken with optimism! 49-48? Hope not, but possible.

    And Huff, I was at Pitt Stadium to see Wayne Adams at quarterback…


  37. I’ll lay my prediction down right here –

    Pitt wins 36 – 20

    The Pitt D bends all over the place, but manages to only give up a score per qtr. One TD each in the first 2 qtrs. Halftime adjustments slow the scoring to FG’s in the 3rd and 4th qtrs.
    J.Price with 3 sacks and numerous QB hurries.

    Conner scores 2 TD’s, runs for 150 yards and garners 1 sack on D (a safety mind you).
    The Jester takes a 20 yard NP pass to the house for a 65 yard TD – only catch of the game.
    QH returns a KO 98 yards for a TD.
    C.Blewitt makes both FG attempts and ends his Pitt career on a good note.

    Wack the Wildcats in NYC!


  38. I cannot tell you how much I respect Pat Fitz as a coach. Given the time to prepare he will show so many new wrinkles. They will probably look a lot like Syracuse going very, very fast. I know I would based on what I have seen.
    I am shocked and somewhat distressed over Upitts prediction. Now I will have to rethink. 42-29 NW. Pass defense gets to new lows giving everyone a chance to bitch in the New Year.


  39. Weather forecast for NYC says sunny, low to mid 40’s and breezy. Sounds like a good day for a running game. Maybe not so much for passing.

    My prediction is that we win easily, 52–24



  40. Northwestern a hard team to figure out. Their best win was vs Iowa, but they played hard and didn’t get blown out by anyone. Should be a tough game, unless our offense is on fire and our defense forces turnovers.


  41. Pitt finishes off the year right – 49 – 34…and I am having trouble only giving Pitt 49….think maybe the layoff slows them down and I can’t get Navy out of my mind.

    OCMC will not match his scoring with Pitt next year or ever at LSU, so he will want to go out with a bang. I think he will miss his great year at Pitt(the $$$ will soothe him). He deserves a ton of credit, but he had just the right mix of raw and polished material to work with here. Would really like to see the defense have a nice finish, and if it does, the d-line will be key with pressure, if no pressure, NW will score with Carr.

    Beautiful morning here in Maryland, looking forward to an even better afternoon.

    Hey EE, still doing much of that long distance running now?


  42. LA – then we were at the same game with Adams. Best defensive performance ever given how many fumbles in our zone I think 5. ND didnt score on the first 4, Hugh’s first game and he hurdled an OL on a rush – amazing. If Jackie had a backup ready they would have been as good or better than NC team.
    Huff I started going in mid-60s – youth end zones for i think $3 – my neighbor bought youth seasons for me, my 2 brothers and his son who went on to play at MSU and is a NFL cameraman. Stadium needed renovated but the cheap route of Ketchup has come home to roost.
    Pitt 42 NW 38,


  43. RKB – Wasn’t there another kid in your neighborhood they called “moochie”? Heard he was a phenominal athlete, a baseball player maybe? You may have coached him at one point with your neighbor’s dad!! No, he wasn’t upitt either. Look at the moniker and think….across the street growing up as a kid in usc. A kid that would hold his own against neighborhood boys 6 years older than he and never step down from competition.

    So great to finally figure this out. The Harewicz clue gave it away! Hello old friend and neighbor! You have done Hays Road proud RKB!!!


  44. You nailed me with that – you are psychic. Moochie was a hard playing excellent baseball player (and all around athlete and great guy as was his family – the Freddie Patek of Hays Road. Hey Mooch. Mr Harewicz and I did coach at St, Louise. You have done Hays proud too Huff!
    ps Hope all the family is well. Scott lives in our old house and my wife and i moved into one of the small farmhouses that was across from the Beach about 8 yrs ago. Small world.


  45. rkb: Yes, I remember the Adams game as the best defensive performance I’ve ever witnessed. The image in my head is one of Pitt’s D attacking ND like a pack of angry bears, throwing bodies to the side, lifting them in the air.


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