The Confidential

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Archive for the tag “Pitt”

The Confidential’s ACC Football Top 10 Poll: Week 12

With just a few weeks, the ACC picture is starting to take shape.  A few teams are out of the bowl picture.  Several are locked-in.  But how do they rank?   Here is the Confidential Correspondents Football top 10 Poll for Week 12.  Remember, we include Notre Dame and Louisville.  This week, we’ll start with team number #1 and work our way down to #10–where it gets murkier.

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The Confidential’s ACC Football Top 10 Poll: Week 11

There are now a clear #1 and #2 in the ACC right now, as all five voting correspondents this week went with FSU and Clemson.  But what about the other slots?  Amazingly, Syracuse won on the road, but was dropped from its tie–as the Pitt win over ND propelled them up the voting charts.  Anyway, here is the Confidential Correspondents Football top 10 Poll for Week 11.  Remember, we include Notre Dame and Louisville.  This year, we’ll start with team number 10 and work our way to #1.

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The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Pittsburgh FINAL

Well, there were not too many comments on the Pittsburgh Mount Rushmore, making it a challenge for the Confidential.  Ultimately, the Confidential is going with Mike Ditka.  People forget how good he was a Pitt–an All-American tight end that led the team in receiving for all three years.  From there, he solidified his name as a NFL player and coach.  While he has had some controversially dumb things to say, there is no question that he is the epitome of “toughness,” which is an attribute that is associated with Pittsburgh, in general.

Pop Warner had great success, but he had success in a lot of places.  And his replacement had even more success.  Johnny Majors had a great peak with a National Championship, but then departed for his alma mater.  Hugh Green was the real challenger to Ditka.  But Green’s college dominance is offset by notable lack of accomplishment on or off the field thereafter.  Great player, but falls slight short of being an icon.

The Final Pittsburgh Mount Rushmore:  Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Jock Southerland, and Mike Ditka.

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Pitt 2013 Football Preview

Its time! The college football season will be here soon and we wont have to rely on MLB or ESPNs replays of games from last season to get our sports fix. It is, thank God, the FINAL year of the BCS and the year when we get to see the on the field effect of conference realignment. The ACC welcomes Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame into the conference, well most of Notre Dame. Lets take a look at the Pitt Panthers.

Just like last season, the last few years has been a roller coaster ride for the Panthers football team. Through all the coaching changes Paul Chryst is ready for his second year as head coach. Pitt finished last season 6-7 (3-4 in the Big East) and with a loss to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl 38-17. The lows began with a loss to Youngstown St of the FCS 31-27 but they rebounded to beat Virginia Tech and then #19 Rutgers. There was also a couple of heartbreaking losses as well, a 1 point loss to Syracuse and a 3 overtime loss to the eventual national runner-up Notre Dame. Can Pitt steady the ride in 2013?

 

This will be the first time in four years that they will not be playing in a new system but they will be playing in a new conference. One of the glaring stats from last season that most be improved on is sacks allowed, they gave up 38 and were last in the Big East. Some bright spots from last season was their BE leading 10 turnovers and their 52.5% opponent TD rate in the red zone.

Pitt will have 13 returning starters (5 offense & 8 defense) but will be without QB Tino Sunseri, RB Ray Graham and RB Rushell Shell. Key returners are S Jason Hendricks (90 tackles 6 Int.), DT Aaron Donald (64 tackles 18.5 TFL 5.5 sacks), LB Todd Thomas (59 tackles) and WR Devin Street (73 Rec.). They are also bringing in a solid recruiting class that features OT Dorian Johnson, WR Tyler Boyd, QB TraVon Chapman and DT Tyrique Jarrett.

Finding reliable starters at QB and at RB will be crucial for the Panthers but they have alternatives. At QB will be ether redshirt freshman Chad Voytik or senior Tom Savage. With TraVon they should have 3 quality QB to chose from. Isaac Bennett appears to be poised as the starting RB after a solid preseason game. Malcolm Crocket and Desmond Brown would be his backups. This trio combined for only 41 carries in 2012. With the questions at QB and RB and with the loss of their #2 receiver, the offense looks to be the weakness of the team.

Tom Savage is 6-5 and has a strong arm but he hasn’t played since 2010 with Rutgers. At Rutgers he was a freshman All-American but struggled during his sophomore year. He is 192-368 for 2732 yds with 16 TD for his career. He led Rutgers to a 45-24 victory against UCF in the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl in his freshman year. After a falling out with the Rutgers coaching staff he transferred to Arizona but came to Pitt instead after a coaching change at Arizona. This will be his last year of eligibility. He was a 5 star recruit coming out of high school.

The defense is the clear strength of this team as they return 7 of their top 8 tacklers and return their top leaders in INT and sacks. Donald and Hendricks are hyped as preseason All-Conference selections.

Following a tough season opener against Florida St. the schedule could be set up to allow them to get their feet set under them during the first part of the year before ending with 5 tough games. The key to a successful 2013 for Pitt will be finding a QB and RB to step up and take control of the starting position. If this happens then an 8 win season is certainly possible but I will predict them to finish 7-5 (4-4) and in the mid pack of the ACC, which is certainly a good accomplishment in the tougher conference.

Here is a look at the Pitt 2013 football schedule;

Sept 2 Florida St              its hard to pick against FSU here.

Sept 14 New Mexico      should be the start of a winning streak.

Sept 21 @ Duke              the Pitt defense should be enough to get the W.

Sept 28 Virginia              playing at home gives the Panthers the edge.

Oct  12 @ Virginia Tech VT gets revenge from last season at home.

Oct  19 Old Dominion   Pitt will need to avoid a Youngstown St repeat.

Oct  26 @ Navy               A must win game for Pitt.

Nov  2 @ Georgia Tech  GT playing at home gives them the edge.

Nov 9 Notre Dame         ND will be favored.

Nov 16 N Carolina          Pitt has the home field advantage here.

Nov 23 @ Syracuse        A possible W and will be needed to reach 8 on the year

Nov 29 Miami                another crucial game for Pitt to get 8.

The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Pittsburgh

The Confidential has been having some fun with league-wide coaches Mount Rushmores.  Football and Basketball, plus polls for each of football and basketball to share your thoughts.  In fact, it was so sufficiently fun and controversial that we are going to do school-wide Mount Rushmores now.  And we will only put three people on the list, leaving you–our readers–to comment as to who should be the fourth.  We will not do polls anymore.  For today, let’s go with the school that is brand new to the ACC: Pittsburgh.

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Pitt is eliminated after controversial call

English: Logo for the athletics teams at the U...

English: Logo for the athletics teams at the University of Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pitt Panthers came up short in their attempt to win the BE baseball tourney on Saturday after a 10 inning 3-2 loss to Notre Dame. With an RPI of 65 the loss leaves Pitt on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. They will now have to wait until Monday for the field to be announced to learn their fait. I believe that a second place finish in the BE should be enough to get them in.

Pitts two losses of the tourney came against Notre Dame with errors at critical moments of the game. A pair of crucial errors help to lead them to a 5-3 defeat in their earlier meeting and Pitt committed 5 errors in Saturdays game.

Pitt looked poised to take the lead in the top of the 9th when they had base-runners on first and second but a controversial call stalled their rally. Notre Dame pitcher Nick McCarty threw the ball to first in an attempt to pick off the runner but the throw went into the first base stands. Both runners took two bases on the error which scored the runner from second and gave Pitt the lead but the umpires told the runners to back up a base, putting runners at second and third instead and taking the run off of the board. Pitt coach Joe Jordano protested but after a meeting from the umpires the call was upheld. The ruling made was that the pitcher threw over to first base while still in contact with the rubber which limited both runners to one base. If he had left the rubber then the runners would have been given two bases each. The first base umpire ruled that the pitcher did disengage the rubber but was over ruled by the third and home plate umpires. Still Pitt was in scoring position with one out but the next batter popped out to third and the following batter struck out to retire the side.

The bottom of the 10th started horribly for Pitt as Evan Oswald booted a ground ball from ND Charlie Markson. This was followed by Dylan Wolsonovich error on a grounder by Frank DeSico which gave ND two base runners with no outs. ND bunted the runners up to second and third and Pitt intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases and to set up a double play possibility. Instead Ryan Bull hit a sharp single to center to score the winning run.

The sixth seeded Notre Dame will take on eighth seeded Connecticut for the championship on Sunday.

 

Pitt is only 99 days away from their ACC and season opener on Labor Day against Florida State at Heinz Field. This will probably be one of their biggest season openers in recent memory.

If the ACC were to end the football season with a rivalry game, who would best fit that role for Pitt? Virginia Tech? Miami? Boston College? Penn St? Some other team? What are your thoughts?

The Fur and Feathers Still Flying

You would expect a cat to trounce a bird in any matchup but this was for the Big East regular season championship. The 10th ranked Louisville Cardinals hosted the 16th ranked Pitt Panthers in a 3 game regular season ending   series and both teams laid it all on the line. Louisville needed to win two out of the three to force a tie for first place, it started Thursday night with 5-2 Cardinal victory. Louisville followed that win with a 12-4 thumping Friday night.

With the stage set for the all important 3rd game in front of a packed Jim Patterson stadium and an ESPN2 audience, neither team was willing to accept defeat. Louisville struck first with 5 runs in the 3rd inning but the Panthers clawed their way back to a 5-3 deficit. Louisville entered the game with a 36-5 record when scoring first. Clinging to a 7-4 lead going into the top of the 9th, the Cards called on their flamethrower, sophomore Nick Burdi. With a fastball topping out in triple digits, Pitt had their hands full. Burdi struck out the first batter but Pitt still had plenty of fight left and managed to get a couple runners on the bases. Burdi wound up striking out the side and leaving the tying run at home plate.

Burdi picked up his third save in five days, his BE leading 14th of the season. In those three games he has 7 strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched. Pittsburgh’s starter Rhys Aldenhoven (5R 4ER 5H 2BB 5INN) picked up his first loss of the season, falling to 8-1.

The series sweep was the Cards 10th of the season and the win is their 16th straight which is the longest active win streak in the nation and Louisville’s 2nd longest in school history (20 games). During the streak the Cards have a 2.00 ERA, 170 K, 50 BB in 144 INN and have committed just 8 errors. They matched the schools record for regular season victories with 46 (2010). This is the Cards 4th regular season championship in five years. They also ended two of those championships season with sweeps, 2009 against USF and 2010 against Notre Dame.

The BE final standings has Louisville (20-4 46-10) at #1. Pittsburgh (18-6 40-15) finished tied for 2nd with Seton Hall (18-6 36-17). Notre Dame (10-14 31-23) finished tied for 6th with St. Johns (10-14 23-33). In the double elimination BE tournament, the Louisville will face UConn at 5pm Wednesday while Pitt will play the early game at 10am against St. Johns.

Louisville is projected to host Miami, Fla, Illinois and Tennessee Tech in one of the 16 regionals. After the sweep Pitts chance of playing host to a regional seems to have slept away. Pitt is projected to be in a region hosted by Virginia along with Campbell and Holy Cross.

Louisville softball team (44-11) received a #15 seed in the post season and hosting UCLA, UAB and IPFW which started last Friday night. They defeated IPFW on opening day but was eliminated Saturday with losses to UAB and UCLA.

Earlier this week Rutgers hired Louisville’s Senior Associate Athletic Director Julie Hermann as their new AD. She became just the third female AD at a BCS school. Good luck Julie and thank you for your 15 years of hard work at U of L.

Signing Day, One Week Away… Predictions

We’re getting so close to “the big day”. If you’re a true college football fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s right, the day your team signs its new recruiting class and fills team needs is approaching. Most of these high school signees, recruits, or soon to be local campus celebrities (whatever you want to call them) will represent your school on and off the football field for the next several years, so pay attention. As we head into next Wednesday, February 6th, also known to many as National Signing Day, we’ll peak at an early prediction to see how the current ACC’s top classes should stack up. Loads of blue-chip recruits are making final decisions next Wednesday. Let’s shake the magic eight ball and see what happens…

2013 ACC Recruiting Class Predictions:

1. Clemson (Currently 18 verbals, should make major noise on NSD. 3 of the top 5 recruiting battles left include the Tigers. Still in the running for blue chippers in DT Adams, DE Lawson, OT Crowder, and CB Alexander. Dabo has aces in the hole as usual; I’m calling it a top 10 class when the smoke clears. The Tigers like it near the top, may stay for a while with this class.)

2. Florida State (Currently 18 verbals, with stellar recruits on the line. While the Noles had a few recruits part ways over the last few days, they should easily make up ground with blue chip OLB Thomas, WR Cunningham, and possibly DT Bryant among others. Jimbo will make it happen once again, bank on a top 10 class.)

3. Miami (Currently 13 verbals, also in the running with many studs. While the class is currently small, they pack a nasty punch. Still in it until the end for OLB Thomas, DT Bryant, RB Collins, and WR Coley all from the South FL football hotbed. Despite rough times with the NCAA, they’re making it happen. We’ll call it a U top 20-15 class)

4. North Carolina (Currently 18 verbals, looking to throw more on the pile. While most of their guys are already locked in, the biggest battle will be against Tennessee for WR North. North stays close to home, and UNC lands the big fish. They also have a shot at TE McNeil and ATH Summers to name a few. We’ll see Tarheel blue in the top 25 next Wed.)

5. Virginia Tech (Currently 22 verbals, already almost close to a full signing class before the fax flood gates open up. All of the current commits are 3 and 4 stars. Still heavy favorites for ATH Parker and possibly DE Bellamy. The Hokies will be on the cusp of reeling in a top 25 class).

Best of the rest:

6. Pitt
7. UVA
8. NC State
9. Syracuse
10. GT
11. Wake
12. Maryland
13. BC
14. Duke

If your personal rankings stack up a little different, leave a comment below and tell us why.

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