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A bunch of Pitt fans/alumni writing and ranting about the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and anything sports and entertainment related. Other than being alumni, the writers of this blog have no affiliation or official connection with the University of Pittsburgh, the Pitt Panthers, and related entities. The views expressed on this blog are solely our own. You can e-mail us:
Friday, July 30, 2004
The Top 10 includes all of the usual suspects (in order, USC, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia, Miami of Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Texas, Ohio State, and Florida). Our hugely overrated hoopie friends come in at #11 -- amazingly ahead of both Maryland (#20) and Virginia Tech (#32) -- two teams that each should have kicked the Mountaineers asses by early October. The next Big East, or even soon-to-be Big East, Conference member in the rankings is Louisville at #31 (also ahead of Virginia Tech... say, who suddenly pissed off ESPN down in Blacksburg?).
I guess that I was a little surprised that somebody actually voted for our rebuilding Panthers. We came in at #44 (2nd or 3rd in the Big East, depending on whether you count Louisville or not). But then again, if you look at the whole range of Division I-A teams this year, that might be about where I'd put us. Sure, we're way down from last year. But at least we're still ahead of Boston College (#48).
And just in case any Nittany Lion fans stumble across this site, how does life feel way down at #58 (8th place in the Big Ten)? So how's that Big Ten Conference thing working out for you? And just how the hell did you guys get ESPN to rank JoePa as the 8th best coach of the past 25 years (ahead of Eddie Robinson, Bobby Bowden, and Steve Spurrier)?
Don't worry. I'm sure Anthony Morelli will fix things next year, when Michigan finally rotates back on to your schedule.
Hail to Chas's dropping a post in front of this one before lunchtime.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Both hurt the team. I think Allen's may be the worse of the two. He excelled at returning kicks and punts. He showed great explosiveness and helped keep Pitt in the second half of the Continental Tire Bowl by giving Pitt good field position. Personally, I expected him to push Brockenbrough and Lee for a starting WR job this season.
Abdul's loss is mitigated by JUCO All-American transfer Josh Cummings. Still, despite his horrible kicking last year, Abdul was expected to compete for the job.
Pitt football coach Walt Harris was a no-show for the Big 33 Media Conference on Friday afternoon.
Harris was scheduled to speak at the 30-minute press conference, which also included Penn State coach Joe Paterno, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and former Penn State linebacker and Detroit Lions president Matt Millen.
"We have no word yet," Big 33 media representative Greg Hoffman said. "We've tried everything and we've got nothing right now."
Harris did attend last night's Big 33 Honors Banquet at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.
Like I said, I have no idea why he missed. Whether it was because of a misunderstanding, miscommunication, a recruiting visit that went long, I don't know. I e-mailed the reporter a few days ago, but he never responded.
This is probably a minor thing at most, but it strikes me as embarrassing. That the head coach of Pitt would miss the press conference for the Big 33 game is unbelievable.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Memphis should be a tough opponent for Pitt. They have one of the best incoming recruiting classes in the country, and most of their starters are returning. This is great news. A good, tough non-conference opponent and televised on ESPN.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Of course, you can actually get your hands on the older style Pitt baseball cap at a reduced price. Looks like they are still trying to clear out inventory. Though, if the colors are accurate, it looks more like the hats when they hadn't redesigned the actual baseball hats yet with the new logo, but simply updated the colors after the switch.
Lett with the LA Clippers
Jaron Brown is playing for Memphis
Brandin Knight is playing for Golden State
No word on what Julius Page is doing.
Any excuse to get the old script Pitt logo on the blog.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Due to the closure of at least one, if not two of the former Gold and Red lots (new building construction), parking has become much more limited. Spaces are allotted, as always, by priority points. We were required to rank our top three preferences, and we ended up with preference #2. This isn't bad, especially when you take into account the fact that Pitt is raising the rates on the other lots, requiring additional donations to Team Pittsburgh for many lots (not the Green lots, thankfully).
I, and I suspect my compatriots, will miss Green 22. [Not nearly as much as we miss the Parran Hall lot on O'Hara and DeSoto Streets in Oakland, but that is another matter and another Stadium. ]
Green 22 has been our cars' home before, during and after Pitt football games since the shift to Three Rivers, then Heinz Field. It has a nice strip of lawn between the parking spaces and Route 65, which provides extra tailgating space for those arriving early enough to park on that edge of the lot.
We have grown fond of our neighbors, and I recognized a sociological trend amongst the tailgaters in our lot - most have just about the same seniority as we do with the season tickets (it seems the ticket holders all graduated in the late 1980's or early 1990's, and began buying season tickets within a few years after graduating), as well as generosity (none of us are either able, or willing, to spring $1000 to Team Pittsburgh or the Athletic Fund to get into the Gold lots). I wonder if we will see the same faces over in Green 23? I suspect we will.
Quo vadis, SHAT? Will we meet again, portly and bearded men who nearly light themselves on fire at least two or three times a year (sometimes per game)?
One thing is for certain, the sanitary facilities will improve. Green 23 has TWO port-o-crappers in the lot, and they aren't banished to one far corner of it, either. Green23 is more square shaped, while Green22 is a long, thin rectangle. The placement of the pissers in Green23 are much more convenient for excessive drinking - um, I mean conversation and fellowship, as it takes much less time to walk back and forth from the cars.
The commute will be virtually unchanged. The lot entrances are almost directly across Ridge Avenue from one another.
PS - on the subject of portable sanitary facilities; Chas and I attended the Pitt/Notre Dame game in South Bend three years ago, and were floored by the luxurious port-o-johns they fielded in the parking areas. I never thought I would see better, until Fourth of July Weekend, when I was at the Heinz family estate for a political function. Yes, the same function Dr. Cyril Wecht, JD, MD, JO was NOT invited to! (Had to get that one in there - I dedicate that to John).
I am a fequent volunteer as a motorcade driver when the Democratic presidential & VP candidates make big trips to Pittsburgh (I did several with Gore, one with Clinton, and now two with Kerry - extra local drivers are needed for the staff and press corps). Because "Rosemont" is secured when Kerry is on the property, us lowly drivers can mingle about the grounds, as opposed to staying hidden away with the staff and press vehicles as usual. This got us into the picnic, which was a 4th of July thing complete with plenty of Heinz condiments.
Well, after the picnic/photo op with JK and THK (Edwards wasn't announced until the next morning), we had to wait around while the staff pow-wowed in the main house (there are two guest houses and a carriage house, in case you were wondering). We may have been allowed on the grounds, but not within 30 feet or so of the house itself. Nature eventually called, so I wandered to the three port-o-johns lined up near where the "press area" had been set aside earlier that day. They seemed very clean from the outside, with hardly any signs of wear or tear, or dents, etc. They even had "VIP" placards on them!
I go inside to take care of some business, and I am amazed at the luxury. A rather large mirror; a working sink (with actual fresh water); a toilet with a flush-petal on the lower left side (operated by your foot, so as to not soil one's self with germs); a shelf WITH a cup holder; both toilet paper AND soft paper towels, along with anti-bacterial soap! This must be the kind of service that fans get at Augusta National during the Masters - this was no ordinary football game style port-o-john. The thing was nicer than my own bathroom, and almost as large!
Needless to say, Notre Dame is now #2 on the port-o-john quality list.
The important thing, Pitt. #18 in the list.
WHY: Point Carl Krauser and forward Chris Taft are two of the most talented players at their respective positions. Sure, the Panthers will miss Jaron Brown and Julius Page, but having Chevy Troutman for another season is a huge plus. He gives them the toughness needed for them to carry out Jamie Dixon's style.
WHY NOT: The Panthers still need a reliable perimeter threat. If they can find one, then they could crack the top 10.
SUMMER BUZZ: It's all about Taft. NBA personnel were already pumping him up to be a top 10 pick in 2005. He still has plenty to learn, but he's on track for a banner sophomore season.
Last year Pitt was around #23 in these lists. This year, cracking the top-20. I really can't argue with what Katz writes about the team. Pitt really needs someone to be able to hit an outside jumper. Someone who can at least shoot 40% from outside. Krauser will put up the shots from anywhere, but he is most effective as a shooter on the drive. Will it be one of the new guys? Will McCarroll show some consistency with his outside shot (and play defense)?
The Big East will be tough as hell this year. Syracuse, UConn and BC will definitely be good. Notre Dame might be better or about the same as last year. Villanova has all the talent, and their late run in the Big East Tournament suggests they might finally be putting it together. I don't think Providence will be as good as last year (before their fade), but with Gomes back for another year they will still be tough.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
The new BCS formula gives added weight to the AP poll. Does this mean some stricter voting guidelines could come out for the writers? Just seems that writers with an agenda could affect the outcome of who should be on the field rather then the players.
I don't think you have to worry about that nearly as much as you do with the coaches, who have an actual vested interest. Believe me, 95 percent of writers are more interested in finishing their story before the bars close or counting their Marriott points than whether a certain team is ranked second or third.
That is where I'm concerned. Well, concerned is probably the wrong word.
With the Writer's poll, there is some transparency. You can find out how the writer voted (some will even post their voting order online after the poll comes out). The Coaches' Poll has no transparency. And you don't think there is bias in trying to pump up your conference and teams? Then there is the issue of whether it is actually the coach who is voting and evaluating. Wasn't it some coach in Central PA who had someone else in the athletic department fill it out for him? Plus, how much time does anyone believe a Div. 1 Head Coach is going to have to evaluate his picks? Please.
We're stuck with a screwed up system until the college presidents help end the hypocrisy. Really, they are the ones who I blame. From PSB fave, Matt Hayes from a month or two ago:
We begin with a story of college baseball -- the ping of aluminum, the double-digit innings, the 5-hour games ... I'm already bored. We're talking baseball because without it, we can't see the BCS for what it really is: an exclusive, hypocritical, members-only club.
The Big Ten Conference is upset about (I swear I'm not making this up) competitive inequity in college baseball. The league that, along with the Pac-10, is holding the BCS hostage while dangling the lucrative Rose Bowl is upset because The Man is keeping them down. Yep, they say, forcing Big Ten teams to play baseball on the road in February and March because their fields are snowed under creates a competitive disadvantage for the league when it comes to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament and the College World Series.
So the Big Ten wants the baseball season moved back, beginning at least a month later (early March) and ending well into July. And it's probably going to happen.
"I don't see how it couldn't," says a member of the NCAA baseball committee.
The reason, of course, is money. When there is money to be made -- college baseball is a clay-covered Cullinen diamond waiting to be spit-polished -- everyone has his hand out.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, we give you the connection to college football: By moving the baseball season back, the presidents of these prestigious universities are allowing an NCAA sport to be played not only beyond its proposed semester but beyond the school year. Meanwhile, the steadfast argument against a national football playoff has been that it would extend the season into the second semester. When the fifth BCS game was announced last month, it was revealed that the championship game would be played a week after the other four BCS games -- or one week into the second semester.
Read the rest and laugh.
But I thought that I'd better get my two cents in on college football's new and improved BCS formula. The Associated Press summarizes the changes as follows.
"There will be fewer numbers to crunch in the revamped version of the Bowl Championship Series formula... Under the new formula, which goes into effect this season, the coaches' poll, the AP writers' poll and a combination of computer rankings will each count for one-third of a team's overall BCS ranking. Strength of schedule, team record and quality wins, three components used under the old system, have all been eliminated."
I think that most of us can agree that any system of determining a national champion without a tournament is inherently flawed. That being said, university presidents are obviously going to continue stubbornly refusing to give the vast majority of college football fans, players, and coaches what they really want. And since us fans are too disorganized to ever put together a boycott or something like that, we're stuck with whatever scraps the university presidents let fall from their table.
So what can we say about our new BCS formula? Well, it's certainly simpler, and that's a good thing. However, it also gives the media much more power. And I'm honestly not sure how good of a thing that is. Assuming that all regional biases will continue to cancel each other out, I have a hard time believing that a cinderella -- like last season's TCU, Northern Illinois, or Miami of Ohio -- would ever be taken as seriously by a media poll as it would by a computer poll. Ever notice how much higher TCU was ranked in the BCS than it ever was in either the AP or the ESPN/USA Today polls?
I'm not media-bashing (although it is funny to see the media falling over each other to congratulate the university presidents for their new media friendly formula). I'm just saying that it's human nature to take a long-standing power like Ohio State, Michigan, or Miami more seriously than a TCU. Or (face it) a Big East team. And that isn't entirely fair.
Yeah, I know. What's being fair have to do with college football? And since when is it blogworthy to note college football doing something that solidifies the current hierarchy of football schools?
Incidentally, for those of us who live some distance from Oakland and get a little homesick sometimes, how cool is the new webcam on top of the Cathedral of Learning? You can actually wait in a queue to control where the thing points and the zoom and so on. And the wait is never very long. Try pointing it down Forbes Avenue on a sunny afternoon. You can almost smell the "O" grease and filth. Wonderful.
Finally, hail to the 4D's Lounge -- a large restaurant/bar located right beside the 17th Street Expressway, which is the major entrance to downtown Altoona. The 4D's is building a big new outdoor patio facing 17th Street, which has been named (and prominently signed as) "The Pitt." The DiVentura family, the good people who own the 4D's, are Panther fans. Personally, I just love seeing that sign over the entrance to one of the most Penn State-friendly cities in the Commonwealth.
And I highly recommend the Friday night fish fry.
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Thursday, July 15, 2004
I mean, less than 2 weeks ago Miami and Virginia Tech were quietly welcomed into the ACC. No big press conferences, no huge announcements. Just a little press release to make it official.
Matt Hayes at the Sporting News tells the ACC it can say hello to being a football conference:
It took Miami and Virginia Tech less than one week after they became official members on July 1 to show why. The one-time basketball league now is a football factory, for better or for worse. The ACC will get its million-dollar championship game in 2005, and it could get as many as two BCS slots per year. But it also gets this:
Miami recruit Willie Williams, arrested 11 times since 1999, was given three years of probation last week, stemming from his latest incident. Now he'll start the process of enrolling at the university.
Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick, less than two months removed from being sentenced to 30 days in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor -- he was one of three Tech players who gave alcohol to underage girls -- was arrested last week and charged with marijuana possession.
"It's certainly not the best way to start a marriage," says one ACC official.
But the ACC knew what it was getting into by inviting Miami and Virginia Tech to the party. These are football schools, pure and simple. They bring nothing to the table other than their ability to recruit, win games and shovel potential bowl money into league coffers.
An ACC official told me weeks ago that the league office was watching both cases closely to see how the respective administrations would deal with the off-field issues. The last thing the publicity-conscious ACC wants is to be linked with the SEC and Big 12 as football factories. But after the events of last week, the first step already has been taken.
Of course you can also add the indefinite suspension of Miami CB, Antrel Rolle, after he was charged with (felony) battery on a police officer and misdemeanor offenses of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence.
Oh, and then there is always squeaky clean Florida State to jump into the fun. Bobby Meeks, the starting guard, is facing felony charges from this past weekend -- battery against law-enforcement officers and resisting arrest with violence.
You will know it's all over for the ACC when Duke football players get arrested.
Monday, July 12, 2004
1 What is your favorite moment as a player? (Miller is a former All-Big East point guard at Pittsburgh.)
A: When I was a freshman (in 1988), we played Syracuse on the final Sunday in March. Both teams were tied for first place, so it was for the Big East championship, and it was the largest Carrier Dome crowd for a basketball game at the time.
We went in there and won it, and it was an amazing moment to win the Big East title against a team like that Syracuse team.
2 What did you think last season when you saw ESPN replay the Jerome Lane dunk? (Lane, who played with Miller, broke a backboard on a dunk in 1988 after Miller threw him a pass on a fast break.)
A: It reminded me of how much weight I've gained since my playing days. That clip right there is keeping me alive.
That was a Big Monday game on ESPN, so for him to do that on that stage was amazing. It had very little to do with the pass.
Pitt is active though. The coaches are on the road, at the camps and taking in the players. Pitt looks to be active for many top recruits from the NY/NJ area again. Very encouraging stuff, mostly.
I don't want to complain, but I worry. I guess, I'd like to see Pitt geographically expand a little more in their recruiting. This NY pipeline thing is awesome, but it makes me feel the program is a little too dependent on one area and if Assistant Coach Barry Rohrssen is the main guy as it has appeared in charming the kids to come to Pitt -- then it would be real easy to tumble when he leaves for his own coaching gig in a couple years. Not to mention if St. John's rebounds and Rutgers ever really gets it together. A little more diversity would be nice.
Have to give credit to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Joe Bendel for actually covering the summer camps and recruiting. (Not to mention a decent piece on Carl Krauser playing in the Rucker league games.)Aside from the pay-to-view recruiting sites , the Trib has been the only media outlet to provide info on the Pitt basketball team this summer. They seem to have figured out that people are still interested in what is happening with Pitt basketball even in the offseason.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
pitt panthers fan websites football on Yahoo! has us at #1
Simply looking for pitt panthers on Yahoo! puts us #5 on the list
EA Sports NCAA 2005 Rutgers Ratings through Google put us in at #9
Someone looking for more info about the Ohio State scandal, specifically searching for the Kim Roslovic affair found us on MSN at #3
We don't have the information, but we were #1 in a search for pitt football cheerleaders names from 1978
We didn't actually come up on the list when I checked, but it was in the logs and I'd love to know the story behind the search for virginia tech hokie girls santa outfits.
The University of Pittsburgh said yesterday that four football players face aggravated assault charges in connection with a fight in April during a party at a fraternity house.
The charges relate to an incident that occurred about 11 p.m. April 16 at the Pi Kappa Alpha house on University Drive. Following the incident, two men were treated at a hospital for minor injuries.
Assistant Athletic Director E.J. Borghetti said the players facing charges are Clint Session of Pompano Beach, Fla., a sophomore next season who is expected to be the starting middle linebacker, and three redshirt freshmen. They are Dan Pickens, a tight end from Bridgeville; Chris McKillop, a linebacker from Export; and Lance Asbee, a fullback from Fox Chapel.
Coach Harris has said that internal discipline was already initiated. Further punishment may be given when the matter is resolved by the legal system.
Look either suspend them for a game or don't. Just none of that 1st quarter suspension BS like last year. I guess it's kind of a shame that the Furman game wasn't the opener, then it would be an easy call.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
That is now 2 RBs that have made verbals to Pitt. Considering that depth was an issue last year, and the position is a question mark this season, choices for running backs is a good thing. After getting this verbal, Pitt pulled a scholarship offer to Eugene Jarvis of Central Catholic.
It's not terribly surprising. Miller had been considered one of the hot young assistants at the start of last season. Xavier's Elite Eight run, only made it surprising that he wasn't interviewed for a head job over the summer.
Xavier has become the place for young coaches to be raided. Makes it hard to feel bitter about Ben Howland being plucked by UCLA when you think that Xavier has had Matta, Skip Prosser and Pete Gillen harvested in the last 10 years.
Sean Miller now gets a chance to prove himself. As the old scoreboard at Fitzgerald Fieldhouse would unoriginally display after a Miller 3-pointer, "It's Miller time!"
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Ontario Lett, who graduated in 2003 and spent last year overseas playing for Aras ITU (Turkey) is playing with the LA Clippers.
And right now, that is all I know. Only 12 teams have their summer league rosters up right now. I only saw Lett listed. When the rosters are updated, if other players (Page and Brown) are on the roster, I'll post it.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Unlike WVU, Pitt has yet to announce its non-conference schedule. I will be very curious to see what kind of schedule it will be. I was very critical of last year's non-con cupcake schedule (justifiably in my opinion), so I am hoping they are delaying the announced schedule because they are trying to get some real opponents this year. I'm not looking for them to go out and schedule like Michigan State last year. I just want them to be facing some quality opponents and at least one pre-season top 25 team.