Monday, January 20th: Literally nothing happened. Grade: Incomplete
Tuesday, January 21st: Former Pitt Football Coach Todd Graham was named head coach at Hawaii. Predictably this brought many a “I guess Penny has family in Honolulu” jokes forth from the Pitt faithful. And those jokes were not unjustified. It also brought forth this, which I personally happen to prefer:
Grade: C. This has absolutely no bearing on Pitt sports whatsoever, but it’s always fun to make a joke at Fraud Graham’s expense.
Wednesday, January 22nd: Pitt’s 2020 football schedule was unveiled today. Those of you who are still onboard with the ‘Duz (which should be most of you based on the survey results…) should print this out and put it by your bedside table:
Grade: Scheduling is an art and not a science. For years Pitt fans have decried Pitt’s schedule as too difficult, and yet the minute you see three cupcakes on the slate fans will bemoan the fact that there are no interesting games. This schedule does in fact feature three cupcakes (well three winnables at least…Marshall is always a bit of a wildcard), and also feature a rivalry game at Heinz, not to mention a winnable crossover game against a rebuilding Florida State. Swap the Domers out for the Hoopies or the Nits and I’d give this one and A. But as it sits, I’ll settle for a B, and I’ll hope we can finish strong. Grade: B.
Boosters Jeff and Sandra Martcheck gave $1.25M to the Victory Heights Initiative. In return the Strength and Conditioning center will bear their name, and rightfully so. Well done Martcheks! Grade: Seven figure donations to Pitt athletics will always grade out as A+.
Pitt managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Boston College on Tuesday night, pulling out an agonizingly sloppy 74-72 win. Grade: D+. A loss would have been an F, but this win was about as ugly as they come. Pitt earned a passing grade…just barely.
Thursday, January 23rd: Pitt Freshman WR Jared Wayne earned the “True Freshman Spotlight” from NCAAF Nation’s Twitter account. Grade: B. Would have been an A but 5 games burned his redshirt. Also I’d like to see young Jared prove himself over a full season. Nonetheless, put him on the preseason list of potential breakout candidates.
Reports of Dane Jackson started to surface from Senior Bowl practice, and they were all good. Grade: A. Alumni improves draft stock. Tough to say anything bad about that.
Jim Medure was honored as The National Football Foundation’s Scholar Athlete of the Day. Grade: A. (Unless his GPA was less than an A, in which case the grade will be taken down to match)
Pittsburgh Sports Now leaked the S&C Hire prior to the official announcement.
Grade: C. PSN taking a lot of heat for leaks lately, and all that aside, the jury is definitely out on Stacchiotti. Pros: He’s young, he’s been a fast riser (1 year at every stop), he worked in the pro’s and he is local. Cons: He’s young, he’s been a fast riser (will he stay more than a year?), he’s never run his own S&C program.
James Conner announced the release of his autobiography. I personally love reading football books during the offseason, and I encourage all Pitt fans to read this one and support one of our most respected alumni. It goes on sale 6/6/2020
Grade: A. Dude wrote a book.
Pitt inked a speedy local PWO. Grade: B. Congrats to him. While PWO’s have a slim chance of seeing the field, you never know who is the next George Astin (or in Lewis’ case Hunter Renfrow)
Kenny Pickett got himself onto a list. Grade C. It’s a preseason list from an account with 11,000 followers. (That’s not very much as far as influencers go… for those who aren’t up on their social media). I want to see Kenny succeed as much as the next guy, but he’s going to have to prove it on the field.
Pitt Women’s BB got blown out by NC State. Grade D. It’s rebuild and we all know that. I don’t have the heart to go any lower.
On the bright side, Aysia Bugg cracked a three-point milestone. I give her and A for her accomplishment.
And if Thursday wasn’t busy enough… Jaylen Twyman was named to ESPN’s Way-Too-Early-All-America team. If he stays as hungry as he did last off season he just might make it to the real one. Grade: A. It does without saying that this kind of press is good for the program.
Friday, January 24th: Pitt’s S&C Coach was “officially” announced. See above for commentary and grade.
Athlon released their early 2020 football predictions. Pitt was ranked 4th in the Coastal. Grade: C. Seems like Pitt is always ranked in the middle of the pack in these things, and frankly, I’m glad we are. There is nothing worse than Pitt football falling flat in the face of high expectations.
Saturday, January 25th: Pitt wresting shut out Duke for its first ACC Win. Grade: A. Who cares if Duke is a basketball school. This was an old school A$$ WUPping.
Pitt Swimming and Diving dominated the Western Pennsylvania Invitational. The words “Pitt” and “Dominating” belong in the same sentence more often. Grade: A.
Pitt Men’s Basketball lost to Syracuse 61-69. Slow start, but they battled. Moral victories don’t exist, do they? When you’re in year two of a complete rebuild I guess they do. Grade: C-. (Yes I’m aware that I graded this higher than the win against BC…)
A cadre of Virginians made their way to The Southside to check out the football program. Coach Beatty is clearly making his presence felt. Grade: B. No commits but always good to see positive momentum.
Sunday, January 26th: Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash today. The news was sudden and jarring. This had no bearing on Pitt sports, but here is Larry Fitzgerald’s reaction. Sums it up better than I ever could. I’m withholding my grade for the week in light of this tragic event. May his family find peace after their mourning.
Hail to Pitt