Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bob Smizik: like Gene Collier, only wrong

'Both sides have it wrong on Wannstedt'

Is there logic here?

He is 13-16 in the middle of his third season. He has lost nine of his past 10 games against Division I-A opponents. By the most important barometer, wins, his teams are getting worse instead of better.


Pitt has a long and unsuccessful history of changing coaches. A change is not always for the better. There's no guarantee the next man will improve the situation.


The guarantee that the next man will improve the situation, Bob, is that mathematically the only way he can make it worse is to lose ten out of his first ten games against Division I-A opponents. Repeating for the slow: if the next guy wins two out of his first ten games against Division I-A opponents, that's marked improvement for Pitt football.

Time to Dispatch the 'Stache. Fire Dave Wannstedt.

Irreverent blog highlights irrelevant Panthers

Get a load of this piece from the Home News Tribune, which says it covers Central Jersey, although I don't know why anyone would want to do that.

'South Florida can run the table'

Here's the meat of it:

South Florida, which comes to Rutgers on Thursday night as the nation's No. 2 team, figured to have a good team this year, although they were voted to finish fourth in the Big East Conference preseason media poll.

Rutgers, which some believed would win the Big East, already has one conference loss and two overall.

West Virginia, an overwhelming favorite to win the conference, already has a loss. Louisville, picked right behind West Virginia, was just .500 a week ago before beating Cincinnati. The Bearcats, picked fifth in the conference, came
into that game undefeated.

Connecticut, picked seventh in the preseason, also lost for the first time last week — in a nonconference game at Virginia, leaving them tied with South Florida on top of the Big East.

Syracuse is the only team with two Big East losses, but it knocked off Louisville when the Cardinals were ranked in the Top 25.

Wait -- is a team missing? Oh, yeah, the Pitt Panthers. Now so not-worth-the-ink that they don't fit into a general discussion about seven-eighths of the Big East.

Time to Dispatch the 'Stache. Fire Dave Wannstedt.

Wannstedt tears Achilles' reading

There's no proving that he was reading this blog when it happened. But there's no proving that he wasn't.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dave Wannstedt for Nebraska AD

Hey -- remember back when everyone thought Dave Wannstedt could make a great athletic director at Pitt? We have an even better idea. There's now an opening in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Lincoln, the state capital, is known as Star City. This would suit Dave Wannstedt well because he is a star.
  • There's probably some blue and gold stuff lying around in the office.
  • Dave Wannstedt is widely respected across the Midwest for his splendid tenure as head coach of the Chicago Bears.
  • Nebraska gets to play Baylor.

Those are some of the reasons I can think of right now. Feel free to add yours.

Coming soon: Dave Wannstedt for AD slash head football coach at Nebraska.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Q&A with Frustrated Beat Reporter

One of the great things the Post-Gazette does -- remember, it is one of America's Great Newspapers, but seriously I'm being complimentary here -- is that it allows beat reporters enormous leeway in both real-time and mailbag Q&A sessions. The result is that, except for whomever is covering the Steelers at a given time, every single one of these Q&As turns into a highly entertaining variation on

DavefromNorthVersailles: Why are the (Pens) (Pirates) (RMU Colonials) (Panthers) so bad?

Beat Reporter: Modestly original joke, Dave. Additional generic pithiness. But seriously, let's all take a step back from the ledge.

StillLivingin1979: Beat Reporter, hey, it's me again. From a ledge.

Beat Reporter: At least (Philadelphia) (Manatee Community College) (Duquesne) (just Darnell Dickerson by himself, unprotected by pads, hands bound, with a missile trained on him) awaits on the schedule, so there is outside hope of a victory this week.

And so on, until the Stillers arrive in Latrobe and don the pads Darnell would so appreciate and hope springs and all the bad things go away.

Of course, with the heart of the Big East schedule ahead -- Cincinnati, at Louisville, Syracuse, at Rutgers, South Florida, at West Virginia -- there is no such optimism today from Paul Zeise.

itsonlyagame: In rebuilding a program you need to show some improvement. How will this consistent losing effect recruiting?

Paul Zeise: I think there are a lot of recruits who were on the fence about Pitt and waiting to see what was going to happen with this season. I'd say there is likely a lot less of them who will be considering matriculating in Oakland next August.


Douglas_John: Why is Paul Rhoades still Pitt's defensive coordinator?

Paul Zeise: next question


Blahovec: What was [Super Bowl quarterback] Rod Rutherford doing on the sidelines last night? Is he part of the staff now and does he have any eligibility?

Paul Zeise: He is some kind of an intern or graduate assistant. And no, he doesn't have any eligibility.

Gene Collier is always right about everything

To wit:

"Pitt had 10 days to prepare for Navy, 10 days to decipher an offense that's so darned unpredictable that it runs the ball 84 percent of the time, 10 days to ponder the implications of two Navy slotbacks whose combined weight does not equal that of starting Pitt tackle Jeff Otah.

"Swear to God.

"So it took only two hours after the opening kickoff last night for the Panthers' 'defense' to accomplish what could definitely be called a stop of the Midshipmen, aided though it was by an offensive holding penalty."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No, wait, it did matter who won

Navy, 48-45, final, 2OT. Wannstedt summoned up a corner loft throw by a freshman quarterback on fourth and ballgame from the two instead of giving it to LeSean McCoy, who had about five thousand yards tonight and resurrected the steel industry at halftime and can uncancel Mr. Belvedere with his mind.

Two passes from the two yard line when McCoy worked all night. Nice.

Desperation, thy Name Is Wannstedt

Everything one needs to know about tonight's game against Navy happened on one play with less than five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. That's when, with the game tied, Dave Wannstedt opted to go for it on 4th and about 4 -- inside his own 30 yard line.


It doesn't matter that they made it. What matters is that Wannstedt knew his "heralded" defense was unlikely to be able to stop Navy, again -- and so the only chance that the proud University of Pittsburgh Panthers had to beat a quite average Navy team was to go for it on fourth down inside Pitt's own 30 -- even though the game was tied -- and hope for the best. At home.

Pitt fans, are you getting this? Pitt is now a team that has to take comically nonsensical chances just to be within the realm of possibility of beating bad teams.

Here are two fun facts about this year's Midshipmen. Let me preface this by saying that I live closer these days to the Academy than I do to the Cathedral of Learning, and I at least read the (Baltimore) Sun's coverage of Navy sports, and I am a big fan of Paul Johnson. Still, despite the fact that Navy might take the Commander-in-Chief trophy for a record fifth consecutive year -- this is really an off year for them.
  • Navy lost to Ball State, 41-38, in Annapolis, surrendering 539 yards of total offense.
  • Navy needed a field goal as time expired to beat Duke, 46-43, again in Annapolis. The Blue Devils rolled up 506 passing yards.

This game is still in overtime, but I'm going to post now anyway, because the final score doesn't matter. Congratulations, Dave Wannstedt: win or lose, you are as good as Ball State and Duke.