Wednesday, October 10, 2007

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.

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