Time of Possession Effect; Myth or Truth?

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.

Continue reading “Time of Possession Effect; Myth or Truth?”

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Keep That Wallet Closed!! New AD.

Keep That Wallet Closed!! New AD.

The University of Pittsburgh has a new Athletic Director – Heather Lyke.

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Won’t do this with our new live Panther mascot “Stevie”

I’m not too surprised the new AD’s a woman and have zero heartburn with it.  She seems qualified in short – and I say ‘in short’ because we really don’t know her yet.  Her list of achievements at Eastern Michigan is OK I suppose.

But it is blatantly obvious we went the most inexpensive route we could with this hire…

In 2015, she received a contract extension through July 21, 2020, that included her original annual salary of $245,000, The Ann Arbor (Mich.) News reported. She also was eligible for $103,000 in possible bonuses.

Before Barnes came to Pitt he was making $572K

Gallagher refused to reveal Barnes’ contract in terms of salary and length but said, “We tried to be fair and competitive. We want this to be a career move for him.”

At Utah State, Barnes made $572,169 in fiscal year 2014, according to the Utah Department of Finance.

Continue reading “Keep That Wallet Closed!! New AD.”

Most Succinct Pitt BB Headline Ever….

Most Succinct  Pitt BB Headline Ever….

“Jamie Dixon leads TCU past Kansas, kicks Pitt in groin

I’ve stayed away from BB talk on here because I historically haven’t been that interested in it.  But halfway through this season, and after reading the complaints about Kevin Stallings on here, I started paying more attention.

And what a waste of time that was.  Again, I didn’t watch much Pitt BB under Dixon – just tourney games but it seems his teams were 100% better than what I saw out of Pitt this season… and I don’t think Dixon had that much better talent every year either.

I had a phone conversation the other day with some interesting third-party info being passed – which means it is 50/50 at best – but supposedly Stallings wouldn’t mind moving on if the financial side of things didn’t hurt him.  Again, that may well be just water cooler talk but still… I wouldn’t be surprised on bit – would you?

We’ll wait and see on that. What is evident, and I’ll disagree with one of our commenters here, is that Stallings had zero control over that squad from the day he was hired.  My take on that?

These student/athletes aren’t stupid and whatever happens in the Pitt administration as far as coaching departures, hires, press conferences, etc…, affect them way more than that stuff affects Pitt fans.  After all, this is not only their educational opportunity on the line but in some cases it maybe their life’s work and huge financial opportunities in the balance also.

Continue reading “Most Succinct Pitt BB Headline Ever….”

Pitt Football’s Glory Days; Part 3

Pitt Football’s Glory Days; Part 3

(This is Part 3 of a three-part series looking back at Pitt’s best decades of football)

Yesterday we discussed that last set of Glory Days from 1974 to 1983. Now let us skip another 33 years from 1984 to the nearer history of Pitt football in 2007. Remember that number because from 1938 to 1974 was a 36 year stretch.  It seems to me that we take around  35 years to ramp up to have another good run of Pitt football. Way too long but it is what it is – at least so far.

Now are talking about this last decade, from 2007 until last season’s end. I think it’s interesting that we look at these last 10 years and think the program has been rather average or even mediocre at times, especially the four years under Todd Graham and Paul Chryst. But if you put these ten years up against our whole history of play you’ll find that we really been above and beyond what the vast majority of other years’ stretches had done.

Here are the years in discussion:

07-16

Continue reading “Pitt Football’s Glory Days; Part 3”

Call Out the Damage Control Team!

Call Out the Damage Control Team!
Editor Note: Our great friend and long time commenter Eric Wassel (MissingWlat) send me this piece for you guys to discuss.  Even though I don’t really follow Pitt BB that much I watched part of the UL game to see if Pitt was as bad as UPitt thinks… well, we know the answer to that now don’t we?
Last week Reed sought out volunteers to pen a basketball article. At the time, in the midst of a four game losing streak, I thought that it would be a good time to assess where the primary blame lies. There are a couple of viable theories. Did Jamie Dixon leave the cupboard bare? hqdefaultIs Kevin Stallings just a poor basketball coach? Do the players lack heart or senior leadership?

Let me state for the record, that a week ago I was in the camp that Coach Dixon was primarily to blame for his lack of recruiting and for leaving the program without a center, a competent point guard, or any quality depth. However, after tonight’s embarrassing loss to the Louisville Cardinals (just for emphasis: Final Score: Louisville 106, Pitt 51. Second worst loss in school history),  I am reevaluating my position.

Continue reading “Call Out the Damage Control Team!”

Monday Morning QB: Northwestern

Monday Morning QB: Northwestern

Well, we’ve had over 775 comments during the bowl game and describing our feelings regarding the loss afterward so I’m not sure there is a whole lot more to say about the specifics of the game itself, that is how the game was actually played out on the field.

Suffice to say two main things happened, at least to my eyes.  Everybody associated with Pitt from the Chancellor through the AD and coaching staff, through the players and into the fan base, were way too overconfident about facing Northwestern.  They just didn’t see a loss coming and I didn’t either.

I felt that we’d use our experienced and bigger OL to establish the ground game.  We’d use Narduzzi’s “take away the run or else” philosophy to hinder their running game then by default let them throw all over the field until we outscored them at the end.

Number two was a funny thing happened on the way to Yankee Stadium.

No one told the Northwestern people that was how it was supposed to be.  Instead they thumbed their collective noses at our vaunted #9 rushing defense, shut down our vaunted #26 rushing game and finished with more points on the board than we did. Whaaaa? Continue reading “Monday Morning QB: Northwestern”

POV: What Could Have Been

POV: What Could Have Been

Here is a quick hitter from a reader and commenter,”PittinClearwater” who submitted a piece to get some conversational juices flowing.

 What would have happened if Pitt had joined Penn State in the late 80’s to form the Eastern Eight? It is a good question to ponder in the down-time prior to the Pitt-Northwestern bowl game.

Here is a bit from a older article in the Allentown Morning Call paper that lays out some background to this question:

Thirty years are but a blink to the landmass we live on, but in the timeline of college football they encompass ages and epochs.

Consider this: In 1981, Penn State coach Joe Paterno very nearly brokered a deal with several East Coast universities to create an all-sports conference. It was his dream to live and play in a world of newly negotiable television contracts and traditional, regional rivalries.

But then the details got in the way, and the disagreements became spats. Today, the negotiators differ on the terms of their parted ways, though they agree on one theme: College football’s road to today began partly with Paterno, the Big East and the never-was, but still lamented, Eastern Conference.

The obituary of Paterno’s proposal was dredged this past weekend, when the Atlantic Coast Conference welcomed the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse as its 13th and 14th members. Fed up with the Big East’s increasing football irrelevancy, proactive Pitt and Syracuse found an equally proactive partner in the ACC, which seeks to remain afloat in the relevant waters of college football.

The head-spinning conference makeovers likely won’t end until four superpowers remain. Which begs the question: Would Paterno’s Eastern Conference have been one of them?

Here are the schools which were under consideration for the new Eastern Conference in the early 1980s:

Pitt

Penn State

West Virginia

Syracuse

Boston College

Temple

Rutgers

Virginia Tech  (or would it have been University of Cincinnati or the University of Miami?)

PSU would have been the driving force and with seven required conference games per year it would have allowed PSU to schedule four other games (at that time the NCAA limited football schedules to 11 games in a regular season), so a larger conference would not have worked for them nor, I believe, have made all these ex-independents happy.

Some traditional rivalries would have been kept but the rest of the college football world would have moved on as we know it.  In 1991, the South West Conference started to fall apart and thus a new round of realignment began.

In looking at the final AP standings from the 1985 season to the 1995 season Penn State would have been the big dog among the group.  If Miami had been the 8th member, they most probably would have given Penn State the best competition PSU faced in those days. Remember that was when Miami was “Thug U’ and winning lots of games.

However, I believe the Eastern Eight schools listed above would still have had the same problem the Big East ended up with in having Miami being out there as an non-conference Independent school.  Miami would have  been targeted by the Atlantic Coast Conference to persuade them to join up with them….  and we saw that exact thing happen in 2005.

So fellow Pitt fans, what do you think would happen when the early years of the 21st Century rolled around?  The South Eastern Conference (SEC) would still expand and The Big 12 would become the Big 12 (now with only 10 schools actually).

And we well know what transpired with the Big Ten; they expanded eastward for the money that would be generated by TV and cable viewership in those big-city markets and thus sacrificed athletic and academic quality in their members to do so.

So then, here is what I think would have happened.

Let’s assume Virginia Tech and not Miami is in the new Eastern Eight. All the other moves would remain the same. The Big Ten offers Penn State, Syracuse and BC membership in 2011 to become the 14 member conference they are now.

The ACC accepts Miami and VT and Maryland would have remain a member.  For Pitt’s athletics we would end up with WVU, Louisville and Cincinnati in the new Big 12 and TCU then is the odd man out and is the big loser.

How do you guys see things panning out had that proposed conference become a reality…?

Note: Here is a NY Times article that helps explain how the Big East came to be back in the day…

Edit by Reed: Here is how one media outlet envisioned a future B12 (14) as recently as 2012:

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