POV: Tuesday Bits & Pieces & More

Regarding strength of schedule – here’s how I view it and comparing teams.  Getting into the weeds is fine if you feel good about that.  My take is this – you line up and play who is on your schedule and I’m a lot more concerned about teams who we have to play that win their games… as opposed to those who may lose but play harder teams.

This Pitt team is no better than their schedule says it is.  Plain and simple.  Last two years’ teams were good ones at 8-5. This team is pretty crappy so far at 3-5.  Parse it all you want but what matters, and I have heard this 1,000 times from readers on here, is winning games.

Now and with that said if we continue to win games I’ll think this team is better than then it is right now.  But as it stands for this week and for this season I really don’t care if past opponent OK State is higher ranked than us because – so were PSU and Clemson last season and we beat them.

Again – play the foe in front of you and if you win the day than you are a better team than they are, if you lose you are a lesser team… on that day. Pretty simple formula there I think.

So – when the NCAA lists that the teams we still have to face have won more than they lose I think those are the tough teams to beat – if they lose more than they win I think we have a better shot.  Honestly, all this comparing teams from this season to that season to the other season and saying we played easier teams then or harder ones now is pretty much excuse making for the present play of the team.

Here are some bits from Pitt’s Media Dept:

For saturday’s game against Virginia – remember these game notes are great reading for backgrond on each program and to have on hand while actually watching the game being played out

Game Notes (PDF): Pitt vs. Virginia

PITT (3-5, 1-3 ACC) vs. VIRGINIA (5-2, 2-1 ACC)
October 28, 2017 • 12:30 p.m., ET 
Heinz Field (68,400/Natural Grass) • Pittsburgh, Pa.
RSN (AT&T SportsNet) • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network

October 23, 2017

Pat Narduzzi Press Conference 

Virginia Week

 PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Narduzzi Virginia Preview

 PAT NARDUZZI: Had a good weekend, obviously. A nice Saturday and a Sunday and it’s nice to have one of those. Happy for our kids, you need to have success. Can’t have it every week, we know it’s not easy. But it’s even harder to go on the road and get an ACC win against a good football team.

Duke fought their tails off, and I gave them a lot of credit, but our kids came out on top. We get to come home to Heinz Field. We have a great Virginia team coming in here, 5-2 team with notable wins against North Carolina and Duke.

You know, Bronco’s got a tough football team. He’s in his second season. What I see on tape is a tough football team that’s physical like we like to be. Plays through the whistle. You’ve got a lot of respect for the way their kids play hard.

They had a tough one up at B.C. this weekend against a good football team, a team that’s on the rise as well with BC, we don’t get to watch them much. So we’re just ready for that next one. So we’ll just move on to the next.

LINK: Pitt ACC Honors

 For IMMEDIATE Release

Pitt’s Hall and Whitehead Earn ACC Weekly Awards

 PITTSBURGH—Pitt junior running back Darrin Hall and junior safety Jordan Whitehead were honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference today for their performances in the Panthers’ 24-17 victory over Duke.

Hall, who enjoyed a career rushing game, was named the ACC’s Offensive Back of the Week, while Whitehead, the leader of Pitt’s strong defensive effort, was named Co-Defensive Back of the Week.

Here are some POVers photos I have been late on posting…

Reed in DCHere are the reasons we weren’t at the game…  UPitt is somewhere killing things and Reed was hosting his cousins in DC.

FullSizeRDuke Mascot

Ms. BigB with the Duke mascot.

The POV contingent did well on Saturday and collectively willed the Duke to overthrow his TE directly in front of the Pitt Fans’ seats to create the Whitehead interception which sealed the game for us.  Good job guys…

BigB and Roc

BigB gets around – here he is with this year’s version of ROC the Pitt mascot.  Remember that the young BigB used to make extra money as Disney characters in Orlando, FL

51a0lshtlyl-_ux385_
Li’l B

on his summer vacations.  His favorite one was Peter Pan!!  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(This was before he found out about beer obviously). That is why when he asked about how great Pitt is going to be under Pat Narduzzi he says “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust…”  I knew I had heard that somewhere before…

Here is another that photo I have to link to. It is a painting by Norman Rockwell (one of my favorite artists) which was believed to have been lost but has been newly found  entitled “Cat Who Saved House Fire”.  And we think it hurts when Pitt loses a ball game..

Here is a POVer who will remain nameless but lives on a golf course and has oral fixations.  That really isn’t true but the player with the liederhosen on looks like that guy a bit… a poster sent this to me but I forgot who it was (not really safe for work because of swearing in the dialogue).

More later this week and Roundtable Call-in tomorrow evening…

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76 thoughts on “POV: Tuesday Bits & Pieces & More

  1. Fascinating article in the NYTimes this morning about The Athletic, the national on-line sports “section,” and what it portends (or not) for print journalism. It is mentioned that The Athletic recently hired two sportswriters from DK Pittsburgh Sports.

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  2. Dr frank, I think the Va. losing streak ends this Saturday, I can’t see multiple long runs by Hall or any other Pitt back bailing out this Pitt offense two weeks in a row.

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  3. I tend to agree that Pitt is getting better. The young guys are learning to play their positions and not make so many mental mistakes. But there is still a long way to go, and a bowl game still seems doubtful at this point. There are too many players underachieving at this point.

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  4. Reed I sent you Video of the fellow in the lederson pulling the keg at Octoberfest up on the mountain behind UPitts Uniotown Home.

    Panther mascot was last years.. taken at the Clemson game .. Dr Tom should have been in the pic but he was nursing his bourbon..
    BTW… look at the pic of BigB and the mascot.. I am 6’1”… take it from there.

    That is a great antelope buck… looks like it scores in the Boone and Crockett book… congratulations Mark… get back on here… miss your opinions and especially the feistiness… Ike told me to tell you “ Don’t be a Dick sock!” kidding….

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  5. C’mon BigB, you’re not all that kidding. << I did say something like that. Mark needs to be here with his friends or he is one of those socks of sorts.

    At this point in the season I would rather have had PITT play Akron, PITT and Georgia State OOC than YSU, psu and OSU. 5-3 better than 3-5.

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  6. according to Reed, undefeated USF and UCF should both be ranked in the top 7.

    Reed apparently is in total agreement with PSU Coach Franklin …. beating Akron and Georgia State is just like beating Pitt (even if ticket prices were > 40% more.) And of course, PSU’s game this week doesn’t mean a thing.

    According to Reed, Pitt improved 1000% in Game 5 compared to Game 3.

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        1. Reed, all I know is that if last year’s Pitt team played the 2014 schedule, it would have played in the ACC Championship and a New Year’s bowl game. NO DOUBT

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      1. I do tend to see things like Reed.

        You’re the true believer who has a profound need, typically stridently stated, to rationalize Pitt’s record, not me. I’m fine with letting it play out and seeing how it ends just as Reed has stated.

        I do find the cognitive dissonance amusing surrounding your dinging of PSU for not having played anybody but then choosing to use their national ranking as manifest evidence that Pitt has played a difficult schedule. Ok State is largely in the same boat except that they lost to TCU in their lone real challenge thus far. Ok State also played 3-4 Texas to OT in Austin for a 3 point win. Texas beaten by 3-4 Maryland in Austin by 10 earlier in the season. Maryland trounced by Wisconsin last weekend. Therefore Wisconsin must be much better than Ok State on that basis. Isn’t SoS fun?

        PSU at Ohio State and Ok State at WVU this weekend. Both should be fun to watch.

        Just keep an eye on those defensive rankings. 4 games left. Only Miami of those 4 is currently in the Top 25 of total offense. On that basis Pitt’s defense should be able to pull out of triple digits on the rankings.

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  7. New poster Art…linked a Trib article following last year’s bowl disaster. In it Nard Dog is quoted:

    Narduzzi was quick to point to freshman defensive backs who were either redshirted or used sparingly this season, but could be key contributors in 2017.

    “Damar Hamlin, (Therran) Coleman. (Jay) Stocker is going to continue to get better,” he said. “Bricen Garner is a good football player already. Henry Miller, across the board.”

    He also threw out the names of three other freshmen: linebacker Chase Pine, defensive tackle Keyshon Camp and wide receiver Ruben Flowers. Then, he added, “Wait until you get a glimpse of (quarterback) Thomas MacVittie.”

    Yeppers….Nard…we’re still waiting to get a glimpse of MacVittie….and Flowers.

    None of these guys have made any impact as of yet.

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    1. Well that would mean Brightwell (who is 2nd on the team with 48 total tackles) would have to be moved back to the Outside. And Zeise sits, which is fine with me ike.

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    1. Zeise should have received credit for a half tackle on the Whitehead interception last weekend. Without that the Duke TE is probably able to put two hands on the ball.;-)

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  8. BACKS OF THE WEEK

    Darrin Hall was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week, and safety Jordan Whitehead shared defensive back honors with Virginia Tech’s Reggie Floyd.

    Hall ran for 254 yards, and Whitehead recorded a team-high 10 tackles, an interception that ended Duke’s final possession and a pass breakup.

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  9. Wirginis, Reynolds, Idowu and Brightwell with good depth PITT hasn’t seen for a few year at linebacker. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    How bout it Emel?

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  10. Doc must be a real man to wear liederhosen, tip o the funny hat..
    Upitt get back here don’t lose out to a 3rd string walkon who used to be Roc the mascot. ha ha In fact Big B might be posing with that 6’6″ loser. OMG Big B you are busted!!! There goes your career as Governor of NC. ha ha. Am I a good investigative prosecutor or what?

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  11. Doc must be a real man to wear liederhosen, tip o the funny hat..
    Upitt get back here don’t lose out to a 3rd string walkon who used to be Roc the mascot. ha ha In fact Big B might be posing with that 6’6″ loser. OMG Big B you are busted!!! It is him or Reed and Reed is not that thin. There goes your career as Governor of NC. ha ha. Am I a good investigative prosecutor or what?

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  12. A suggestion — watch Zeise for a series or two next game. I did against Duke. While he didn’t make splash plays, he did seem to do his assignment.

    On one play he filled a hole and stood up the blocker forcing the RB elsewhere where he was tackled for a gain of one; on another play he dropped into coverage and kept looking around but there wasn’t anyone in his area and the pass went elsewhere; and on a third play he snuck up to the end of the line at the snap and when Duke ran the other way, Zeise caught the RB from behind and held it to a short gain.

    Just my observations…

    Would be interesting to know how the different players grade out…

    Go Pitt.

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  13. Yup MM, but you also saw him get caught up in the wash, wif a couple times, and grab hold of that receiver that thank .God wasn’t called at the end of the game. They actually moved him around abit, not sure if we did that to put him in position to make a play or to hide him.

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  14. OK I just want to put a stake in the ground right now. All this talk of the possibility of wining 3 more and being bowl eligible has me spitting my Kool Aid on the carpet. (where is Upitt when we need him). We will be very lucky to get a 4th win this season. It is possible but unlikely. 3 more wins has the same probability as the Yankees being in this years series.

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  15. This just goes to prove a point. Winning cures everything, Doent matter who you beat, just win baby. People will loose all objectivity realistically there is very little chance this team can win 3 of 4, but win a game and we are way better than most thought a week prior. This is why you schedule cupcakes, win, fans are happy, happy fans come to games. Just win baby! lol

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  16. 9-2, 8-4 – probability much higher with Pitt as history is on our side. Virginia is not very good and unc is really bad. Pitt should find ways to win both.

    VTech and miami are the cream of the Coastal as was clemscum the top cherry last year of the Atlantic.

    History can and will repeat itself.

    The Yankees, well let’s just say “wait till next year”. Not yet my friend for Pitt. Birmingham is a calling.

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    1. EE Just puttin a stake in the ground as I said. I agree with you Virginia and NC are possible but I don’t see Hall repeating last weeks results, we haven’t beat NC yet and Bronco has seen us enough to put together a good game plan. The secondary is getting better each week but not giant steps and ooohh la la that dynamic play calling …..

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  17. “We have a great Virginia team coming in here, 5-2 team with notable wins against North Carolina and Duke.”

    Narduzzi said this. A “great” Virginia team. He must mean by Virginia’s standards because they’re not “great” by anyone else’s standards.

    Uh Pat, beating North Carolina and Duke is not notable.

    Is this to make the victory sound better or if in defeat not as bad?

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    1. saturday – what makes me more nervous about Duzz’s comments about uva are the ones surrounding the quote you pulled. Duzz thinks uva lost at BC. The hoos lost to BC at Virginia’s home field.

      And BC threw often to their TE’s and ran the ball all over uva’s D. I’m concerned that this staff does not scout the opposition well. I’ve got a bad feeling about this game on a Saturday. The game plan should be as simple as run between the tackles and a mix of TE’s over the middle.

      Not much of that is on film – Bronco may be surprised. I sure would be.

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  18. Dr. Tom… if you are out there… played Crosswinds in Savannah last week. Nice track. Bonus was all of the airplanes that felt like they were landing on our heads. Some cool military planes too. Sorry I missed you.

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    1. Never played Crosswinds but heard it was a nice course. Sounds accurate. Yeah, when I said it was close to the airport I wasn’t joking. Glad that you had a good southern VaCa.

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  19. Said after PSU and YSU Pitt 2/10 this year.After seeing what our opponents look like and where we are now feel most likely scenario is a 5/7 season unless we blow the Va. game. Team is getting better but chalk this up to a building year and hope the recruiting goes well and look to next year. Fof those concerned re home attendence Duke’s stadium was more MT than Heinz and it only holds less than 40,000if full. Miami’s home games also look like Pitt’s while played in a large pro stadium. We are not alone here.

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    1. Yeah, I see 5-7 now too. Wouldn’t it be something though if we upset VT again and got a crap bowl…I know Emel would be thrilled…. 😉

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    1. Zero chance Pitt gets a bowl with 5 wins. That’s so ND can get in a bowl in down years. We’re lucky if we get an invite with 6 wins.

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  20. Leaving my late night lucubrations, once again. Been out of it for a bit. Came back to see my 10/4 dream shattered, but 8/5 seems doable. If next year is to be great, this year should end great.

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    1. “8/5 seems doable” ?? Maybe in another world – I think if Narduzzi can get this team back to a poor five wins we’ll be lucky.

      Sorry – but until the QB issue gets settled with some real talent there we’ll be on the outside looking in.

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  21. Rkb… great deduction Sherlock… I also have a picture of a football camp I attended in high school in East Hickory Pa put on by PSU.. there was a young graduate assistant there as one of the instructors .. have a picture of him with the young ball players attending camp…. guess who?

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  22. Just because, I’d decline any bowl invite if I was Narduzzi, if we fail to get to a .500 record.

    As they say on Wayne’s World, “we’re not worthy”! BTW, our chances of getting six wins is somewhere between slim and none. On the off chance we do get there, & I’ll be wagering we will NOT, I’ll challenge Upitt’s new bride in a best of three pins in a mud wrestling contest at a venue of his choice if those Panthers somehow end up at 6-6.

    Concerning that task, this weekend would be simply fantastic if both Pitt and Ohio State are victorious. That’s my early prediction.

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  23. Dr T – Pitt will accept any bowl invite it can get. Turning down a bowl does noone any good especially recruiting. Take the bowl against another bad team win it and get to 6-7 looks better than nothing over 5-7.

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    1. Agree Reed….if you accept 3 bowl invites to an old rusting out dilapidated stadium in the vacation spot of Birmingham, Alabama and then one to play a MAC team in charming Detroit, you will accept a Bowl bid anywhere. Even if it was played in Anchorage, Alaska against the Seawolves.

      Yea Pitt would be stupid enough to play the U of Alaska on their home field. 🙂

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  24. I think it is easy for us arm chair coaches and ADs to say that we should not accept a bowl bid. But if (a very big if) the team manages to become eligible (however ugly) and the team wants to go, I say go and enjoy the experience and swag. The reality is there are only a handful of bowls that have any panache and only one that truly counts, the rest are for ESPN and the teams to get more practice (which can only help for next year).

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  25. First off, Narduzzi building up his opponent is good coach speak. JoePA was the best at it. No reason not to.

    If by some miracle we get a bowl, take it to keep the streak alive and reward the players for not giving up. Plus the additional practices are always valuable.

    Hopefully we are getting better. We need Ben or Ken to complete those third down plays and keep drives going, this comes from experience. Also, the O-line maybe starting to gel against lesser competition.

    Same with the defensive line, they are making more plays and gaining confidence. The defensive backs are already making many more plays than last year, and will only get better.

    We need wins vs VA and UNC. Then maybe get lucky against Miami or VA Tech.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. So Conklin states they didn’t use a nickle package against OSU because a couple guys were hurt. That is idiotic. What about the two freshman playing? You had all camp to teach one of them to play nickle. I think it was more like the stubborness to get away from the base defense. Bad coaching. Poor excuse.

    So it took them getting tourched once again to put in another defensive package that they obviously worked on in camp. Took three years to figure out you need more DBs on the field in the ACC. UGH

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      1. Looks like it on the field as well. That’s hysterical they we didn’t have a ‘nickle’ package. Almost as funny as putting Pickett in, when he never practiced the Hurry-Up offense nor knew the plays.

        Keystone Cop Coaching Staff.

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    1. He wasn’t sure he was going to have to burn red shirts that early in the season. Can’t waste a season though worrying about red shirts IMO.

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  27. Anon..Jerry is the correct answer…served as a coach at football camp..so I have 2 ipics with infamous characters…when you run around with guys like the Good doctor-OB-GYN in the lederhosen inthe Octoberfest video…$h#t happens….

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  28. I am going to disagree with Reed here. And I’m going to use some data to do it. First off, if you look at our schedule on a sports betting website called teamrankings.com, all our losses (except a close syracuse loss) were to top 25 teams. Please forgive the poorly formatted tables, i can’t post these as images.

    Opponents Rank is the teamrankings.com power ranking which comes from some kind of algorithm.

    Pitt
    Opponent Opp Rank
    Youngs St — W
    at Penn State 3 L
    Oklahoma St 6 L
    at GA Tech 23 L
    Rice 126 W
    at Syracuse 48 L
    NC State 22 L
    at Duke 49 W

    Now here is something interesting. Lets take a look at Duke. Other than a “good” win against Northwestern they haven’t beaten anyone good. And we, of course, beat them.

    NC Central — W
    Northwestern 34 W
    Baylor 83 W
    N Carolina 87 W
    Miami 16 L
    Virginia 77 L
    Florida St 17 L
    Pitt 65 L

    Alright, same exercise with Virginia . First off, they also haven’t played anybody that is “good”. And yet, they have punched above their weight. (They are rated as the 77th best team in this model). With that being said, losses to the #50 and #54 team means that they are vulnerable against an average team that has a good day and/or matches up well.

    Wm & Mary — W
    Indiana 50 L
    Connecticut 112 W
    at Boise State 47 W
    Duke 49 W
    at N Carolina 87 W
    Boston Col 54 L

    The rest of our schedule:

    UNC (87) – Honestly if the team is still improving and Narduzzi still has them then there is no reason we should lose this game. (famous last words…)
    Va Tech (15) – No chance
    Miami (16) – No chance

    So with all that being said. I don’t think anyone on this site would be surprised to see me predict a 5-7 finish at this stage with wins against VA and UNC. If it all comes together I would also agree with the assessment (was it Reed or Dokish, I can’t remember.) that if OK State had been Bethaune-Cookman we’d be going to a Bowl.

    Last nugget here, if we do finish 5-7 and there is a shortage of bowl teams. Do we accept the Bid to the Toilet Bowl? I think we do…

    Here is the link to the teamrankings site. Lot of interesting stuff on here: https://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/team/pittsburgh-panthers/game-log

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  29. If we can win the next 2 – and that’s a big IF – then pulling an upset isn’t out of the question. Syracuse was a game we could have won and they hung right with Miami. And we typically play VT tough.
    One game at a time though.

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  30. More on scheduling. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/wisconsins-schedule-clears-its-path-but-clouds-its-college-football-playoff-hopes/2017/10/24/697b3f76-b8dc-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.4f374ddea0a9

    Not that Pitt has to worry about playoffs…. but Wisconsin does. Here is an excerpt

    The Badgers have not played a ranked team nor do they have one on the schedule at this point. Michigan dropped out of the Top 25 after losing to Penn State on Saturday.
    The recent history of the College Football Playoff says that resume matters, and Wisconsin has one of the weakest ones, if not the weakest, among the top contenders.
    Probably the only way Wisconsin makes it is to go 13-0 and win the Big Ten vs. either Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan State.

    In fairness … much of this is not Wisconsin’s fault, they are doing their job, their opponents aren’t

    However, you can’t tell me that schedule is a non-factor.

    Reed claims that the bowl loss was damaging because it knocked Pitt from the rankings …last year, WVU played 3 teams that finished ranked last year and lost by double digits to all 3. Yet, they finished ranked because of their 10 wins … including a host of patsies from the B12 and the OOC

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  31. Pitt will not beat a good team averaging around 24 points per game. I don’t see DiNucci improving enough to give them a shot against a good team.

    Virginia is going to make Pitt pass the ball to win. If DiNucci continues to throw the short ball to his check down and run out of the pocket early before giving his receivers time to compete the routes it will be a long day.

    I hope he improves greatly!

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  32. As of games played through 10/21/17, 28 teams are bowl eligible (6 or more wins). Excluding the FBS title game, there are 39 bowls (down from last years 40 bowls) or 78 of a total of 130 FBS teams.

    Can PITT win 3 more games? More likely to win 5 in my opinion (head not heart). At 5 wins, we would only make if APR is high enough. Below is a link for APR rankings for 2017.

    http://collegefootballnews.com/2017/05/2017-ncaa-academic-progress-rate-football-apr-rankings

    Note: this site lists PITT with an APR of 976. SBNation site has PITT with a 975.

    With a 976 PITT is tied with 4 other teams, so anywhere #36-40, At 975 #40 – 43.

    Being conservative, lets say PITT is #43 in APR. Of the total of 28 bowl eligible teams, only 9 are ahead of PITT in APR.

    No team have 8 losses or more through 10/21/17.

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  33. You have to play the team that is in front of you and the teams that are on your schedule. Also, you are what your record says you are.

    ^^ No truer words were ever spoken…… but to say how a team is viewed and reflected upon considering schedule difficulty is plain wrong by fact. It’s part of the criteria used for ranking teams.

    Now I’m not saying PITT is a good or even a middling football team this year but it seems to me that PITT cruised right into the perfect storm this season or imperfect storm if you will. Some injuries, suspensions, loss of senior starters and a more difficult schedule than first thought.

    The good news is……. Lots of young players are getting their feet drenched in experience. Again, it’s never good when a fine young man such as Max gets hurt and goes down but then again.. Getting a QB ready for the future will help this budding PITT football next year.

    The defense will play ok through the remainder of this season and improvement will be evident imo. This weeks game with Virginia will determine the PITT season as good, bad or just plain ugly…. . .ike

    H2P!

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  34. If we are 5 – 7 and get a toilet bowl invite, what is BAD? Only that we could lose and nobody but us would care nationally. Comparably, if PSU loses to OSU, that is a very BAD loss for PSU nationally.

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  35. Couple thoughts:

    —Watson is due to come up with a good game plan AND call a good game. (Okay, that’s wishful thinking…)

    —DiNooch might be hangin’ with Martavis too much. Quote in the PG article today: “In those last few series, Jester made some big plays FOR ME.” I know what he means, but not the best way to express it…

    —Before this season, we’ve had a long string of years where our starting QB played just about every game…

    Go Pitt.

    Like

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