A New Scheduling Model in the ACC?

Long time commentor and prior guest writer JoeL (aka Joe Lawrence) sent this article to be published. I thought it was timely. Thanks, JoeL.

The ACC annual meetings are taking place in Amelia Island, Florida at this time and one of the topics being discussed is the divisional setup and conference schedule. Reports indicate we should get ready for some potentially big changes.

One change involves elimination of the two-division setup. If so, the Championship game would be played by the 1st and 2nd place teams in the conference. While I am sure Clemson does not care either way, both Florida State and NC State are sure to hope that happens. I am not so wild about it… seems like a champion is already determined when all are lumped into one pool. Heck, one should have to win SOMETHING to get in a Championship game – even if that something is the lowly Coastal Division title.

Another change involves potentially going from 8 to 9 conference games/yr. As long as this comes with a ban on playing FCS schools in the out of conference slate, I am all for it. Helps improve the value of the ACC Network and makes for more meaningful games on the Pitt schedule.

The third possible change – and most fascinating – involves the establishment of three fixed    annual opponents on each teams’ schedules, leaving 6 (or 5) other games to be scheduled among all the other schools. What this means is a more attractive rotating schedule than we have seen since joining the ACC. I forget the math (Richard, where are you?!), but I believe this means Pitt would face every team in the ACC within a 2 to 3 year period…correct me if I have that wrong, but the point is we will see all of the other teams more frequently than we have in the past.

If passed, it will be interesting to see how each school’s three fixed opponents are set.

Let us start with an easy one – UVA. We know they will play the Hokies each year. It is almost a law in Virginia. They will also probably play UNC – the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” – as it has been so since 1892. And the third school…. Gosh, I have no idea to be honest.

Let us try another – the Hokies should be easy. We already know about the annual Cavalier game. A matchup with Miami would harken back to the grand old days of Big East football, although VPI fans would prefer UNC because everyone likes to beat the Tarheels. But Miami is the one…its best for TV. And I am stuck on a third one.

Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, UNC faithful will insist on Duke first and foremost. Then the old game with UVA will run second and once again, I am struggling with the third.

Miami for its part, will want Florida State for state bragging rights and Clemson because unlike many other ACC teams, Clemson is nationally relevant. They might want BC because Donna Shalala said way back when that keeping those two schools together was important….at least that was her argument for enticing BC to leave the Big East.

NC State will rigorously argue for Clemson and the Hokies, because all three programs resemble SEC members. Stuck again with a third.

Clemson does not care much really. Actually, upon waking up from a nap during all this this, they yawn and said they would volunteer to take Duke, GT and BC… to do their part for the conference after all.  

Meanwhile, Pitt and Syracuse are getting shuffled around like Pinto and Flounder at a Omega Rush Party.

Louisville is on the sofa in the back room when Neidermeyer introduces Pitt and Syracuse, and the Cardinals now realize they are in the nerd room and rationalize that they were a bigger deal back at their high school: “Folks here just don’t appreciate that yet.”

“Bless their Cardinal hearts” say the folks in Greensboro.

But this is a Pitt blog and so I suppose some sort of thoughts on its three fixed opponents is necessary. Well, of course, its pre-ordained that its Flounder…the Orangemen are already our “rivalry game” (cough-cough). And the second school is BC…because BC would like Pitt as one of its three schools – and it is nice to be wanted. As for its third school… this is where the Hokies learn that in a way they are still on the outside of the ACC looking in when the powers that be decide that annual matchups with Pitt is good for Big East the large TV markets in the Northeast.

In the end, the fixed pairings look something like this:

Pitt – Syracuse, BC, VT

Miami – FSU, VT, and BC

VT – UVA, Miami, and Pitt

Syracuse – Pitt, BC, and Louisville

BC – Miami, Pitt, and Syracuse

Louisville – Syracuse, Clemson, FSU

(Gee, that looks like a revival of the Big East…who woulda thought that could happen?)

UVA – VT, UNC, Duke

UNC – Duke, UVA, NC State

Duke – UNC, UVA, Wake

NC State – Clemson, Wake, UNC

Wake – NC State, Duke, GT

Clemson – NC State, Louisville, GT

GT – Clemson, UNC, FSU

FSU – Miami, Louisville, GT

What are your thoughts on logical fixed schools for Pitt if this goes through? What would you want and what would you expect to actually happen? Time for Heather Lyke to show she is not in over her head this time…. folks are watching

(JoeL is correct on the two- or three-year time frame.)

Mark (PittPT) David Alderson, Sr., Sally Wiggin, David Alderson, Jr., and Wolfe (Farmer High School)
BigB, Big Al, Tom Mathews, JoeL and Emil Boures
Fran Lokar (Lastrow), Greg McDonald, Gerry Dulac, Steve Franz, Kevin Lynch (Kman)

Mike Reinmund, John Fredland (MajorMajors), Richard Tencza (Richman), Pete Scieka, Dan Pratt

Know The Enemy – Penn State

Byline: Chris Logue and it is a good one…

It’s go time for another week, another opponent and worst of all, a whole new slew of athletic receivers, running backs, most of which I am sure can run the wheel-route, and a quarterback that can beat you in a myriad of ways. This could just as easily be time-stamped in 2016 heading into Death Valley and Clemson, but this year’s edition of that is in Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions.

While I would love to be the sole interpreter of Penn State this week, I also felt that it would be doing our readers an injustice. This edition of “Know Your Enemy” comes with a guest, Centre Daily Times Penn State beat writer, John McGonigal. John pulls no punches and lets it all fly which is why he fits the bill to be our guest this week.

John provided incredible feedback and you’ll notice it throughout our inside look at what our Panthers face this week in Centre County.

Last week, Penn State drubbed Akron 52-0 and did it in a multitude of ways. Whether it was breaking a long, very strong, streak of not having a return for a touchdown, intercepting Akron quarterback, Thomas Woodson or if it was quarterback Trace McSorley and his trusted back, Saquon Barkley, Penn State looked good. Very, very good at that. It’s no mystery that McSorley and Barkley will be the key drivers for PSU on offense, it goes back to the basics, deep in the trenches who kick-starts this offense.

“Outside of Barkley and McSorley, I think an underrated guy on this offense is center Connor McGovern. I could’ve gone with flashier picks like breakout wide receiver Juwan Johnson or tight end Mike Gesicki — who I think will lead the Nittany Lions in all receiving categories this year — but McGovern is a guy who guides the offense,” says McGonigal.

Like Pitt who has shifted and mixed the offensive line over the past two seasons, McGovern is amid transition himself, “The Penn State staff moved him to center in the offseason after the departure of senior Brian Gaia — the Nittany Lions’ lone loss from the o-line — and McGovern has lived up to all expectations so far, being more vocal and impressing against Akron.”

Reed and I exchanged emails and we both had the same feel that a lot of what Penn State wants to do and should succeed in doing is planting roots in the trenches and making it their own, and it seems as though McGovern is sturdy in that task where “[McGovern] had a lot to do with that, and the lineman will play a key role in the Pitt game.”

How big of a task do the Panthers have this week on the defense? Look for yourself at PSU’s last game’s offensive stats:

PSU Game 1

Continue reading “Know The Enemy – Penn State”

How National Media Think About Pitt

We have a continuing argument on here about the impact of last year’s 31-26 bowl loss on Pitt’s national reputation after the 2016 season’s dust had settled.  More importantly perhaps is what impact all of last season’s games, won and lost, had on the national media’s perception of our program going into this 2017 season. 

But wait – let me backtrack a bit here.  This isn’t about Pitt’s football program per se – but is about how the national media viewed the Pitt football team at the end of 2016, then again now and how the team might be gauged going into battle in September.

The people on the Southside I had conversations with when attending spring practices three months ago sure felt… no, they sure knew… that the bowl loss cost us dearly in perceptions and in the actual standings.   By that I mean not only the final 2016 standings but our 2017 preseason rank (or lack thereof).

Here is the AP Final Top 25 list for last year:


I believe that had we won the bowl game combined with our big PSU rivalry win (which is a match-up of historical importance to the national media) and win over #3 ranked Clemson; both games nationally televised and both teams finishing high in the final rankings with one as champs, we would have been ranked between #13 and #17 at the end of the season.

Continue reading “How National Media Think About Pitt”

Hot Off the Press; POV Roundtable for 7/12/17


We had a blast with the call-in show last night and again we proved that no matter who shows up at the Roundtable we are the most knowledgeable Pitt fans in existence.  Of course that is facetious as I’ve met many fans through other venues who know a ton about Pitt football also.

The civil tone was lowered just a smidgen from last week with both Ike and the infamous Dr. Tom coming onboard.  I’m ordering a cut-off button today for future short-story answers to pretty simple and plain questions.

Some items discussed were:

The role of Pitt’s AD and how we feel Heather Lyke is doing… and what she needs to do.

Did Scott Barnes leave the department in good shape?

How we would feel if we had a third consecutive season with 8-5 including a bowl loss.

The D1 Learfield Directors Cup standings; this lists the comparisons of all D1 schools in all sports (not just the 128 in football). 

Cup 2

Pitt finished an abysmal 92nd place over all (above) and next to last in the ACC conference (below).  Thus the questions above of what AD Lykes has ahead of her.

Cup 1

Continue reading “Hot Off the Press; POV Roundtable for 7/12/17”