POV: Pre-NC Game Bits & Pieces

Here are some pieces of info and links to prep you all for the game on Thursday night… one thing to remember, I think, is that NC’s record of 1-8 is valid, but that doesn’t matter when the whistle blows.  At this point Pitt is giving away 9.5 points to the Tarheels.

PITT (4-5, 2-3 ACC) vs. NORTH CAROLINA (1-8, 0-6 ACC)

November 9, 2017 • 7:30 p.m., ET

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. North Carolina)

GAME STORYLINES
• Pitt looks to continue its recent momentum when it hosts Coastal Division foe North Carolina for a Thursday night ESPN national telecast. This will be the Panthers’ 23rd all-time appearance on ESPN’s Thursday package.

• The Panthers are coming off a pair of impressive wins, 24-17 at Duke and 31-14 against Virginia. A victory over North Carolina would extend Pitt’s winning streak to three games and even its record at 5-5 on the season.  

• Narrow margins have been the rule during recent Pitt-UNC series history. The past six meetings have been decided by a combined 25 points, an average of 4.2 points per game. The Tar Heels slipped past the Panthers in Chapel Hill last year, 37-36.

• Since 2013, North Carolina is the only team in the Coastal that Pitt has not beaten. The Panthers are 0-4 against the Tar Heels in ACC play. North Carolina also leads the overall series, 8-3.|

• Pitt’s last victory in the series occurred in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Coach Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers edged the Tar Heels (coached by Butch Davis), 19-17, on a field goal with 52 seconds left. 

• Junior tailback Darrin Hall has reignited the Panthers’ rushing attack by averaging 182.5 yards over his past two contests. Hall had 254 yards at Duke, followed by a 111-yard effort against Virginia. 

• Junior all-purpose player Quadree Henderson had a 75-yard punt return touchdown in Pitt’s last game against Virginia. Henderson has seven career kick return TDs, two shy of the national record. 

• Quadree Henderson leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally in punt returns with a robust 16.1-yard average. North Carolina, in contrast, is 112th in punt return defense, surrendering 12.4 yards per return.

(MORE INFO AND VIDEOS AFTER THE PAGE BREAK)

 

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POV: Sunday Podcast; July 2nd, 2017

POV: Sunday Podcast; July 2nd, 2017

(Sorry about the audio – I forgot to use my professional microphone so the audio is recorded through my laptop’s mic…)

Hello all, enjoy the above Podcast and here is some supporting text to mull over while you listen:

Recruiting vs Attracting

USC coach Clay Helton said Wednesday he had not been contacted by any coaches interested in Browne, but would do whatever he could to help him during the process.

Browne graduated from USC prior to this season and is two semesters short of an MBA. He said he plans to finish that program eventually.

Recruit Flipping – Here is an interesting article by Brian Batko of the P-G regarding recruits changing their minds after verbally committing to one school – note that in the class of 2017 we had six players who committed elsewhere sign LOIs with us:

The marquee college program in this town won its share of other schools’ losses. Of Pitt’s 22 committed or already-enrolled players in the 2017 recruiting class entering signing day, eight were originally pledged to another school, including three of its most highly regarded.

Two of those eight picked the Panthers in mid-December, then arrived on campus less than a month later. Defensive end Deslin Alexandre was a true “flip,” announcing that he was decommitting from North Carolina State and committing to Pitt at the same time. It wasn’t something he took lightly but felt it was better late than never to get it right.

Pitt placed 10 players on Athlon Magazine’s All-ACC four (!) deep listing. 

Here is the article:

PITTSBURGH—The Pitt football team received 10 selections to the recently released Athlon Sports’ 2017 All-ACC Team as the widely recognized college sports magazine published its predictions for the first team through fourth team performers in the ACC this upcoming season.
 
Returning consensus All-American Quadree Henderson led the way with three total selections. After Henderson joined Tony Dorsett in 2016 as the only players in Pitt football history to top 2,000 all-purpose yards in a season, Athlon touted the junior wide receiver as a preseason first team kick returner, second team offensive all-purpose player and second team punt returner for 2017.
 
After Pitt had its most potent offense in school history in 2016, Athlon expects the Panthers to be talented and explosive again on the offensive side of the ball, naming six Panthers to its preseason All-ACC Team for 2017.
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Time of Possession Effect; Myth or Truth?

The two teams battling in a football match always try to control the play clock.

They do that for a variety of reasons but the main ones are that if you have the ball the other team can’t score and the longer you hold onto possession of the ball the better chance you get to score. Pretty basic stuff.

Another is the more tired the opponent’s defense gets by being on the field for so long makes the odds for catching them in a mental or physical mistake thus taking advantage of that for quick scores and points on the board.

That is the theory anyway. I suppose it works that way but I’m just not sure that helps get a “W” in the win column any more than striking into the end zone quickly and often to garner more points than the other guy does.

Time of Possession, or TOP,  is easily the most misunderstood statistic in football I think.  Since our 2016 season ended I have read many Pitt fans say that our defense was on the field too much and got too tired to be effective. Thus the imbalance in TOP was responsible for the large amount of points per game our defense gave up.  Hmmm…

I wondered if that is true so I did some digging.  My findings are this – I really can’t tell if TOP is all that much of an indicator in the outcome of a game.  I know that sounds very wishy-washy but hold on. Here are some facts to think about first.

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POV Sunday Podcast; Saturday Edition

As promised we rolled out the POV Round Table series last evening with a two-man show – myself and our long time commenter PittFan28 (Brian Ashcom).  The result was great and we had a good time talking about ourselves, our opinions of and our relationships with Pitt football.

Take a listen above – we came in just a bit over 35 minutes but truth be told we could have gone on for an hour at least.  I think the technical work is OK, I used Skype for the communications bit (I’ll reprint Skype instructions below) and then used a program called Audacity for the actual recording. 

You’ll hear that it came through pretty clearly but with some scratchy bits from Brian’s end, but nothing that really detracts from the content.

As we do this more often, and it was fun, we’ll smooth out any rough spots and with more callers I’ll do a lot less talking. 

Here is how I envision the POV regular season to shake out:

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POV: We’re Empire City Bound !

First off I’m definitely going to the Pinstripe bowl game at the new Yankee stadium. lafayette_lehigh_yankee_stadium1280_1yff3v9i_oke37x0t

New York City around the Christmas and New Year holidays is a truly great place to visit and kick out any holiday stress… just to replace it with Pitt football stress I suppose but you can’t have everything.

Big City lights, strange people, booze, cheap peep shows… what else does a dedicated Pitt fan need?

Combine all that with the fact that we are facing a Big Ten Northwestern team that is 6-6 on the regular season and is only a middling passing team and that’s icing on the cake.  We may actually be able to win this bowl game – something we haven’t been all that good at of late.

We are 1-4 in our last five bowl games, the singular 30-27 win being against Bowling Green in the world-renown Little Caesar’s Bowl.  To counter that depressing fact a bit we also have been in bowl games the last eight years running which for Pitt, and other teams also, is an accomplishment.  In those games we combined three wins vs five losses and that leaves one wondering just what will happen in three weeks.

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Know the Enemy: Miami Rain Showers

Saturday we’ll get back to our regular Saturday afternoon schedule of ACC matches when we travel down to Hard Rock stadium to face the Miami Hurricanes.  At present they are doing this (charts).  Note how well they jumped up into the Top-10 in the first half of the season:

miami-sk

You can see their season has been one with two faces – they started off with four straight wins and then changed court sides and went 0-4 in their last four games. Beating the likes of Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and Appalachian State is no great shakes… although Appalachian State did beat Michigan some years ago.

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Know the Enemy & Predictions: VT

VT is one of those teams we fans talk about when we say that Pitt has to start winning ‘big’ games.  But the fact is that all our remaining games are ‘big’ as long as we keep winning them – it is what will keep us in the hunt for the ACC Coastal championship.

So what are the things we need to know about and then see our team do to win this game? Here are my thoughts…

We need to knock the Hokie QB Jerod Evans out of the game. Seriously.

This kid has thrown for 19 TDs against only two INTs in seven games and this is his first season to boot. That scares me and it better scare both HC Pat Narduzzi and DC What’s-his-name.

That was the first thing that popped out of my mind.  Sorry it was negative but when a QB has this stat line:

evans

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