Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pittsburgh 28 Notre Dame 21

This wasn't a great Notre Dame team. In fact, the Irish were only favored by 4 points. But this still counts as a big win for the program for many reasons. It helps the confidence of the team, it helps Pitt's reputation nationally, and they won in front of a of big time recruits.  Some other thoughts:

1.  First I have to single out the offensive line. I have been as brutal to them as they've been to the game of football, but tonight they played much better. Paul Chryst and Joe Rudolph also helped the offense with more intelligent play calling.

2.  Tom Savage was much more confident since he knew he would not be running for his life all night. He responded by completing 22 of 35 passes for 243 yards. He also threw 2 touchdowns and did not throw an interception.

3.  For some strange reason Isaac Bennett still gets more carries than James Conner even though Conner is clearly the more talented back. Not that Bennett was horrible. He had 58 yards on 17 carries, a 3.4 average. He also caught 2 passes for 17 yards. Conner had 10 carries for 35 yards, a 3.5 average. He also had two bullish touchdown runs and 2 catches for 20 yards.  Despite a similar average, his runs were more impressive. If he carried 25 times I could see him wearing down Notre Dame's defense, but that wasn't going to happen on this night because he didn't get that carries.

4.  Tyler Boyd again had a very good game with 8 catches and 85 yards through the air, plus an 8-yard run.  Devin Street had 4 catches for 76 yards, but two went for touchdowns, including an impressive 63-yarder where he can ran most of the way. The tight ends and fullbacks also chipped in with 6 catches as Manasseh Garner and Scott Orndoff had 2, and J.P. Holtz and Jaymar Parrish added one each.

5. The special teams were very hit and miss.  On returns Notre Dame either got around midfield or didn't get to the 20-yard line. Trenton Coles was especially impressive on kickoff coverage. Matt Yoklic was once again awful in the punting department.

6.  Defensively, with Aaron Donald double and triple teamed you would think another lineman or a linebacker would have a big game but they didn't.  The only player who did have a big game was the usually suspect safety Ray Vinopal, who despite one awful pass interference penalty, had two huge interceptions. Anthony Gonzalez only had his name called once but it was a big pass breakup to put the game away.

7.  Notre Dame had 451 total yards to Pitt's 356.

Bottom line, this won't mean much if Pitt loses the rest of the games, and that's not out of the question. On the other hand, it could be a springboard to a nice close to the season, and maybe even a strong end to this recruiting class and a strong start to future classes.




130 comments:

  1. Turnover battle the biggest reason for the win. We were outgained and had a come from behind win still. Is it doomsday????? Always nice to beat that d bag Kelly and nd.

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    1. Oh yes, anytime that we can beat that arrogant Kelly, it's twice the enjoyment, especially with all the recruits in the house.
      Was it just me or did anybody else notice that the color of the ND helmets looked odd.

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    2. No, it wasn't just you. They used gold leaf paint versus simply gold paint.

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  2. Great win!

    Something that should be brought up: This was Pitt's first 2nd half comeback since beating North Carolina in 2009.

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  3. Hail to Pitt!
    Nice job by Vinopal and nice job by the everyone especially the the defense. AD got double teamed and held on almost every play. Even though his stats won't show it, he dominated because he occupied 2 or 3guys. H2P

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  4. What a satisfying win. A lot of it has to do with the fact that Tommy Rees made two mind-numbingly stupid throws, but Pitt did what it needed to do to win this game.

    Also, Bisnowaty's presence made a huge difference. HTP!

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    1. Don't forget the big fumble as well. ND gave this game away, but Pitt still gets credit for taking advantage and the plays to win.

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  5. Great game. Which recruits will be the first to commit?

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  6. Some dumba$$ named Zatiti Moody said that we would not win another game - he needs to be banned just like Joe D. :):):):):)

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    1. Well at least Zatiti Moody you are man enough to admit you were wrong.. Hats off to you.

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    2. You didn't just "say" they would not win a game, you "guaranteed" it. So the question is, what did you guarantee? Hopefully it was that you would never make a guarantee again.

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    3. Gotta give you credit Zatiti Moody for admitting you had that one wrong. Others would try to ignore it or make some lame excuse to cover themselves.

      Got Pitt!!

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    4. For daveclt - I guarantee you that I really suck at guaranteeing anything....obviously.

      And am very happy to say so.

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    5. No big deal Zatiti. Iwas as disgusted as you were after the last two losses, which in hindsight had Savage taken the underneath routes that were open ALL NIGHT in this game as they have been ALL YEAR we're not talking about Pitt breaking a two game losing streak.

      Mike W.

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  7. Was Yoklic's punting really that bad? He had that one bad shank in the 1st half. I suppose NFL-like expectations should be zero of those and excellent placement of non-returnable punts pinning the opponent deep when punting from around mid-field or closer.. But aside from the shank, his punts were okay as far as distance goes. So, IMHO, he did an okay job punting--not an awful one.

    Overall, if nothing else this game should/can be a confidence builder, especially for OL play. The team should have a decent shot at taking 2 of the remaining 3 games---But, as you say, they could lose all three.

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    1. He had three or four bad punts. I don't know what's going on with him this season but he's been terrible.

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    2. When punting around midfield, he routinely sends the ball booming into the end zone. Almost every punt last night was bad. It's not all about yardage.

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  8. So good to see Pitt win a big game that it wasn't favored in. The Navy loss is really hurting now, but hopefully next week the weather is really cold for North Carolina, who've seemed to have found its groove on offense. Hopefully, Pitt has too.

    Glad to see the O-line step up and Savage taking the underneath routes to the backs and tight ends.

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    1. Agreed about the O line and the shorter passes. If the line played like that every week, this offense would be something.

      Savage needs to continue taking advantage of the shorter stuff. He's got some excellent tight ends, and needs to utilize them in addition to the deeper routes.

      Ben and Brady's favorite targets are Heath and Gronkowski. They know the value of good TEs.

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    2. The O-line wouldn't have looked as bad as it has had Savage been doing this all year. By taking the intermediate routes you open up the run game and eventually the vertical game by taking the secondary out of cover 2 and allowing the front seven to run blitz on a consistent basis. It's not rocket science, and I can't see how PC and Rudolph haven't been able to see this.

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  9. Congrats to Coach Chryst, staff and players on a great win. Beating ND at home in front of a huge crowd, a lot of recruits, and a national TV audience. Also, Tony D was on the sidelines. After last year at ND, revenge is sweet.

    Let's hope Pitt can finish strong.

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  10. Any word on the reaction from the recruits? Did they stay for the whole game?

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    1. Sat in section 138 last night, right behind about 6 rows of recruits and their families. All of them were on their feet cheering in the 4th as the Pitt D made it's last stand. Very cool to see. All made their way into the field and into the locker room after the game.

      Brian ONeil is a monster. You really wouldn't believe how big this kid is already. Sterling Jenkins too. Incredible that he's only a junior. Kid looks like he's a fully grown, 30 year old pro bowler.

      -BostonsCommon

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    2. O'Neil may end up as an OT. As for Jenkins, recruiting writers think everybody is going to Michigan or Ohio State, and then everybody follows them blindly by repeating it. The truth is, Jenkins could easily end up at Pitt. He likes Pitt and loves the city.

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  11. at the game last night the place was jumping...always great to beat the Irish whether an up or down year for them. a few thoughts...
    coaching- better this week.. used timeout in key situations like the vinopal interception to stop play and see if he really stepped out of bounds.
    made adjustments..got burned on the long pass play to go down by seven but when we tied it did not get caught in bad coverage
    with continued poor short punts maybe try the long field goal in first half instead of the net 20 yard punt.
    savage- good game statistically. he had flashes of what can be when the line gave him time. got the ball downfield and this was when the Irish had to respect that and it opened the short and crossing passes in second half. needs to lead the receivers ,is this an issue from all the seasons hits he has taken?
    boyd and street- both had great games, tyler kept nd off balance in first half and they did not have an answer for him. Street wanted the td. he broke the tackle and laid out to score..heart baby...
    o line - night and day. who shows up next week? how they play decides if this team is 6-6,7-5 or do I say with a win over miami8-4...hopefully they use the game to build on and keep improving..
    punting- most punts down the middle and into the endzone( except the last one which was a good one that went out of bounds on a fair catch) can some one please work with special teams...
    fans- Heinz was rocking/ student section was rocking/ sweet caroline did her thing,kept Irish fans quiet until they went up 21-14 but Pitt had a quick answer and you never heard from them again...great recruiting environment...
    Overall- nice game,still playing a lot of freshman so you never know what you are going to get. north Carolina is on a roll ,Syracuse is away Miami well they are the U . I f Pitt builds on this game they can win out. they have more to play for than the other three teams. It is on the coaching and the team top decide DO WE WANT IT?..we will find out starting next week..H2P

    Gary from Cleveland

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  12. Did Conner already have the nickname "The Hammer", or did Brent Musburger coin it last night? I love the name. Hope it sticks.

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    1. I was wondering that as well. Either way, I say we start using it.

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  13. Chris, you hear anything on the recruiting trail? I was at the game and thought they played really well. Imagine what we would be saying if Pitt didn't lose to Navy and GTech.

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  14. Huge win for the program and especially the coaching staff. Did not see this coming. Hope the win helps recruiting in much the same manner as "13-9". Need to carry this over to the UNC game.

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  15. I first want to comment Chris's opening remark that "This wasn't a great Notre Dame team." Why'd you feel the need to take a cheap shot and try to diminish what Pitt did last night? ND has a roster full of 4-5* recruits, was 7-2 (losing only to #14 MI and #17 OK), and ranked 23 in the nation. You could have started with a positive message but instead chose the negative route. Consider that intro when asking yourself why people feel you prefer the negative side of things when discussing the football team.

    Positives:
    - For those worried about recruiting. That's how a team gets players to sign-up. The used car salesmen can keep their pecan pies and belief that lying to kids is the way to succeed. Nope, for me, beating top teams in a great environment with a bunch of young players contributing should, from the football side, tell a kid all he needs to know.

    - Vinopal making big plays. He gets to be the Big Man On Campus for the week.

    - A. Donald for again having a monster game. I know he didn't put up the stats but the kid was standing in there against 2-3 guys and was holding his own.

    - The OL had a great game. Let's hope this is a turning point for them and they finish the season strong. I really feel that's where the success of this team sits.

    - Seeing the players celebrating with the student section after the game. Always nice to see.

    Negatives:
    - No consistent pass pressure on Rees.

    - Conner fumbling the ball away after scoring his 2nd TD, yes I know he didn't actually fumble but...his ball security is probably the reason he doesn't get those 25 carries/game.

    Overall:
    A great win against a top team which hopefully points to where PC is taking the team. With NC coming in next week, Pitt will need to put this one behind them quickly and get ready. I'd hate to see them lose this momentum.

    Don't have statistics to support, but am I off in feeling the O operates best from the I-formation?

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    1. I said it because it's the truth. It's not a great ND team and they have a ton of injuries. Pitt didn't beat a great team. They were only a 4 point underdog for goodness sakes.

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    2. Rivals Class rankings:
      2013 - 4
      2012 - 20
      2011 - 10
      2010 - 14

      Sorry, please don't give the weak "they have injuries" excuse.

      If Pitt would have lost, guessing the theme of your first line would be "Pitt again blows it..."

      ND is an elite program who played for the national championship last year. It was a great win for Pitt. But if you don't consider ND elite, then all the stuff (recruiting, national brand, team stats, stadium, fan support, etc.) people complain about is a bunch of BS.

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    3. Pitt is the best team in the country. Oh joy, how amazing it is that we get to bask in the glory of it all. Satisfied?

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    4. Kent - I think Chris was merely trying to diffuse any talk of this win not being significant because ND had 2 losses (now 3) w/ that lead-in to the story as he immediately countered w/ "still counts as a big win…". Relax.

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    5. This was almost considered a toss up game. It wasn't a huge upset. People like to exaggerate everything and then if Pitt loses to UNC they crash into depression again. And the truth is, the early line for that game is pick 'em so they definitely could lose it. Could also lose to Syracuse or Miami. This was a good win for many reasons but it's important to be realistic and keep things in perspective.

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    6. Chris - the choke factor also comes into play. Losing to Syracuse/UNC follows the MO for Pitt over the years. Choking against ND - regardless of how good they are - is another.

      I put Miami in the ND/Choke category.

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    7. Chris - You're the only person stating Pitt's the best team in the country. I view them as a young team, learning along the way, and understand they'll be inconsistent while on that journey.

      But you do have a theme going when discussing this football team. Pitt wins, against anyone, and "people need to keep things in perspective". Pitt loses and it's "see how incompetent they are".

      I guess all I'm trying to point out to you is perspective goes both ways.

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    8. Well of course. If they play poorly against bad or mediocre teams then I'm going to say that's not good because it's not. I didn't trash them for losing to FSU because that team was way above Pitt. The rest aren't. That's just the facts. Navy, Virginia, Old Dominion, New Mexico not so good. Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Duke are good, not great. Against the five better than average teams Pitt is 2-3.

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  16. Chris, I was taken back from your opening line only because we haven't won against Top 25 in long time. So for Pitt this was HUGE. Like you said builds confidence. I did not watch the game at all & my first reaction when we won was WOW! We actually won & did not Blewitt :) Hope this win attracts the recruits that was there.

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    1. Well, fans are biased. That's why it's great to be a fan. But anybody outside of Pitt knows this is not a great Notre Dame team because they've had massive injuries. I'm not saying they are bad, because they are still a good team. It was a good win for Pitt. But when Pitt fans know they beat Notre Dame they all of sudden think they're great, but reality is reality. Notre Dame isn't that much better than Pitt this year. That doesn't take anything away from Pitt. They were the underdog but they still won.

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    2. I do not think Pitt is great. I am just glad they stepped up and won a game in front of sellout crowd. Lets hope this continues next week. If this game was played at ND it would probably be a different story.

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    3. To be realistic, ND isn't a great team but this is a good win for the program and also highlights what Savage is capable of doing when he'll take what the defense gives him instead of waiting for the deep ball to open up against cover 2 coverage. Had he done this in previous games we're not talking about a 5-4 record.


      How impressive does that Duke win look right now?

      Mike W.

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  17. After the game, Sagarin ratings...
    Notre Dame at 42, Pitt at 47.
    Notre Dame is not that good this year due to all the injuries. But, its a good win for Pitt on paper and in front of the recruits. Lets hope this translates into 4star recruits committing to Pitt.

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  18. Adonis Jennings, 4 star WR, just decommitted from Rutgers on Twitter. He was at the Pitt game last night.

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  19. At least it seems it might have contributed to WR Adonis Jennings (Rutgers commit) reopening his recruiting. That's a good thing.

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  20. Of course, this is not a GREAT Notre Dame team. Probably not quite as good as last year's either.

    But wait a second. Didn't Pitt nearly pull the upset last year in South Bend and in fact did except for a "homer domer" call by a Ref and botched 30-yard field goal?

    Point is, try getting some perspective. It really comes off looking pretty foolish to discredit Saturday's win.

    The fact is the Coaches, Players, especially Pitt's Quarterback, all deserve recognition for putting together a "second half come from behind win"... something that NEVER happened NOT ONCE during the past three years.

    Now that's progress that is beyond debate.

    PittofDreams

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    1. What's foolish is people who read facts and think everybody's out to get Pitt. Some of you guys need to lighten up. I start every recap with saying what the quality of the opponent it is. It's important to differentiate between a great Notre Dame team and a good one. That means a lot in determining just how important a win is.

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    2. Last years game against ND was great. Almost pulled an upset. Pitt played great in that game also.
      I think the win last year against VTech was bigger than this year win against ND.

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    3. Agree, the "not a great ND team", though true, misses the point. It was a top 25 team, and the reason the point spread was 'only' 4 points is because it's a rivalary. ND was a very good team last year (remember, NC game?), and needed OT and bad officiating to win. No need to spin here.

      Also, the total yardage spin was misleading as well. ND had a few big plays and more total yards, but to be fair, in the more important offensive statistical category, Pitt had something like 8 more first downs. Also, Pitt scored 7 more points, which is pretty important too, eh?

      On the 'concern' side of things, I did not see any pass rush from the DE's, which is typical. Do we have any redshirt players with potential in this area?

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    4. Chris - very good article. And for those all over you for starting it saying "This wasn't a great Notre Dame team." just can't face reality and only want people to speak glowingly of Pitt. I appreciate you are not biased and speak with the facts.

      This was not a great Notre Dame team. As you said, they were only a 4 point favorite so this was not a huge upset, etc. People who want to make more of it than that are fooling themselves. That said, and people know I am not a Chryst fan, this was a win Chryst needed as he had really no good win to date.

      And the real benefit of this win will only come IF Chryst and Company can now close the deal on a lot of the top recruits who were in attendance. It was a good game from that perspective - showing off a very good atmosphere at Heinz Field in front of a lot of top recruits. But if Chryst can not capitalize on the momentum this win hopefully gives him with these recruits, the win will just become a meaningless win against a 4 point favorite, nothing more.

      Hopefully he will do so as the only way this program gets better in the long run is by bringing in better recruits

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  21. Wow, can't we just leave it at that at least Pitt played well enough to beat a decent but wounded team that still probably had more skilled players at more positions than Pitt has? That is good. Had Pitt played this well the past few weeks they likely would have beaten Georgia Tech and Navy but even with 7 wins to date Pitt still has far to go and needs big talent infusion at many positions to win reliably against good teams, not to mention compete against top one.

    More to Chris' point about Donald being doubled+ teamed, held, facemasked, etc, while no one else in the front seven could make a play reveals what has been obvious the whole season. The front seven needs help and hopefully some of the recruits there are the ones who will see plenty of playing time next season. glad that Ezell finally is not getting as many snaps as he had. Now if there was help at the ends that would be encouraging.

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  22. Per Rivals (2010-2013)

    # 5* players - ND-7, FSU-9, Pitt-1
    # 4* players - ND-40, FSU-40, Pitt-12

    Sorry you can't have it both ways. One side saying Pitt doesn't have any good players. Then when they beat a superior team, claim that team wasn't any good.

    But you're all right, the facts are hard to argue with.

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    1. I guess you missed all of those bad Notre Dame teams over the last 20 years that were loaded with 4 and 5 star players.

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    2. Not sure if you're just slow, (if so sorry) or trying to be the new Joe D but how many times does this link need posted by people. Take a stats and math class. The patriots lose to the Bills sometimes, do you honestly believe the Bills are better.

      http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/21641769

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  23. Anyone else find Kent just as annoying at Joe D?

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    1. No, that isn't possible.

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    2. Don't jinx the thread. Pitt won and JD has been quite!

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  24. Pitt has the opportunity to pick up some very strong recruits. If they get land either Kamara or Jennings at WR that would be huge. I seriously doubt that both would come to Pitt. Let's hope that Nicholson lands here as well. The wildcard in my opinion is McKenzie. Hopefully he sees how strong the freshman class is this year and joins. Otherwise it might be Leggett instead. Chris, what you hearing on McKenzie?

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  25. Chris, any news on the recruiting front? I'd love to hear some specific examples of recruits who are strongly considering Pitt that were really impressed! Thanks..

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    1. Who cares whether they are strongly considering.
      Chris gave a list of who attended the ND game. The next question is who will commit after the game. Its disappointing that Chryst didn't close on any that attended the game. I expected a few new commits by today. The fact there aren't any means they probably want to see how Pitt ends the season which may not be a good thing.

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    2. "I expected a few new commits by today. The fact there aren't any means...NOTHING"

      Who cares what you expected. They don't work on your time table. Some kids commit early. Some wait til signing day.

      The longer they wait, usually ends up being a good thing for Pitt. At least for the WPIAL kids (Robert Foster aside).

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    3. Chryst doesn't allow verbal commitments until a player has done a formal visit, I'm told. So that's why you're not seeing more players committing. We've also got what, 6 slots left to offer? It might take some time to see who higher up makes the commitment before accepting a guy.

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    4. I'm pretty sure they landed the kid from gateway after the ND game.

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  26. Chris,

    I'm watching izzo tonight and let me tell you, pitt has a long way to go to get a team that good. It will be awhile before dixon gets that talent, if ever.

    Its just disappointing that they are nowhere near the top of college hoops. Long way to go.

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    1. Do u know what team has the best winning % in the best conference over the last 10 years----Pitt. So i think Jamie has already proven not only can he beat great teams, but he can beat great coaches, Like Chris said in an earlier column--talent is coming and Jamie can coach, Pitt Basketball is still in its Hay Day and moving up. Jamie will get to a final four while Dick Groat is still broadcasting on the radio.

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    2. I don't know about that last statement. Dick was just released from the hospital with pneumonia and and he didn't look good. I'd be surprised if he is travelling to away games this year.

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  27. There is no other coach I would rather have then Jamie Dixon. Pitt is blessed to have him as their coach! What a perfect match. Some people just CLUELESS!!

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    1. No other coach you would rather have?? smh
      I can think of at least 10 coaches, but they don't want Pitt because they are happy where they are at. Not saying Dixon isn't a good coach, but C'mon Man. That statement was ridiculous.

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    2. this seems like a post by Joe D. the anti-Pitt stance? check. the paragraph format? check. smh? check.

      Hi Joe! Missed you!

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    3. Anon at 8:35 is right though. If Pitt could have any current coach it wanted, which it can't clearly, there is ZERO chance Dixon makes the top 5.

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  28. Is today "early signing" for Basketball?
    Who signed? Does Mostella sign or wait until 1st day of class? Is Mostella even coming to Pitt?

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  29. Exactly, they are happy where they are at & Dixon loves Pitt & community he is in. You can get a coach & they can make splash for 5 yrs & leave & what good would that make?? Dixon is a proven winner & could be the next Coach K at Pitt

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  30. We've already given Dixon a lifetime contract. We don't need to start giving him false praise. Dixon's got to advance in the NCAAs farther than he has. He is not considered to be an elite coach. All the conference wins are great but college basketball coaches are judged on how many times they advance in the NCAAs.

    Some of us would rather have a coach who stays for just five years but within that time grabs at least one Final Four.

    I'll tune Dixon in come January and he starts to play a real schedule. With all the empty seats last night at the Pete, looks like many others are doing the same thing.

    Frankly, his approach to pre-conference scheduling and his style of play are just plain uninspiring...maybe even boring. I'm sure the Dixon backers will be hating on me. Too damn bad.

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    1. I watched Kentucky v MichState and Kansas v Duke.
      For such an early season game, they were great.
      There was an article about Dixon's non-con schedule in the PG that I just laughed at.
      But Tony, your assessment is spot on. Buc, stay away from the koolaid.

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    2. Give me Dixon at Pitt for another 20-plus years. Nothing better in college sports than having a coach who wins stay for a long time. BTW, what good did it do Mississippi State going to the Final Four in 1996? That coach wasn't there much longer and if he was, what good did it do the program?

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    3. The same thing happened with Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech, John Brady at LSU, and many others. Brady was fired less than two years after the Final Four. Pitt fans' obsession with the Final Four is silly.

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    4. You think Coach K or Izzo or Calipari or Pitino or Self or Williams would still be at their respective colleges if they didn't make Final 4 at least once every 5 years?? Highly doubtful.

      If Pitt basketball has the same low expectations as Pitt football, than Dixon will be here for years. Getting into a bowl game or getting into the NCAA tournament is sufficient.

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    5. I'm pretty sure most of us get your frustration with 0 Final Fours from Jamie, Tony. But, who are these coaches they can bring in every 5 years to get a guaranteed Final Four? Sign me up if you can do that.

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    6. I'm not a Dixon appologist, and I would never call him elite. He's probably the best coach not to make a Final 4, but that's like being the best player not to win a Championship. Doesn't mean much.

      That being said, with the exception of the Blair-Young team that lost to Nova at the buzzer, Pitt has never had Final 4 talent under Dixon. Never. Sorry. Maybe that means he can't get elite recruits, but he hasn't had elite players either.

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  31. I like Dixon a lot but wish he would quit the BS about the non-conf schedule. Heard him on the radio last week saying that he's been looking but having trouble getting good teams to come into the Pete. Why do these game always have to be at home?

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    1. Because the university wants the money. It has nothing up do with Dixon.

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    2. Tony,

      Your desire for a coach who only stays five years but makes single final four is absurd. In that scenario we wind up like the football team. Irrelevant for decades and struggling to play over 0.500. Be careful what you wish for

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    3. But Chris, what does money have to do with it .. they are already sold-out every year for past 12. They can afford to take a trip to Philadelphia, Wash/MD or Columbus and certainly Morgantown

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    4. They make more money from home games than road games. I think Chris is saying it is that simple.

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    5. Ticket sakes are only part of the revenue generation. Parking, in stadium advertising, conessions, and media coverage all play a big role. Those games even with big TV coverage usually only cover the cost of Pitt being there. Basketball is a revenue sport. That's just the way it is.

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    6. I doubt that you EVER see Pitt travel to Morgantown for anything again. They played WVU because they had to, not because they wanted to. I don't think they have any problem playing WVU, but having to go play in that environment with those drunk whackos isn't something they should voluntarily do.


      Pitt doesn't need WVU, there's no reason to go there.

      Delete

  32. CAUTION... Possible LETDOWN lying in wait for Pitt on Saturday.

    If it happens, OH the VITRIOL that will once again spew forth from those who did not give these Panthers a chance against the Irish.

    But never fear. Pitt does play Miami this year.

    PittofDreams

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  33. Don't blame the fans for moaning, groaning, and criticizing HCPC and his staff if the Panthers bomb on Saturday. Pitt has a long-running tradition of crapping the bed after a big win or a close loss to a big power...West Virginia after the win over ND to close out Pitt Stadium; Mike Gottfried's attempts to beat Temple; West Virginia after Pitt nearly upset Miami in 2002 - a game that gained Pitt more respect here in Houston than any other close loss. That Pitt-West Virginia game still holds the attendance record for Pitt football at Heinz - 66,000, I believe.

    Pitt can usually be relied up to pull a "Pitt." Let's hope this group of young players understands the importance of being NC. It will be their way of showing respect for their efforts against Notre Dame.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know that they have turned a corner or not, but I do think they will handle a mediocre and very beatable UNC squad.

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    2. We already had Pitt being Pitt against Navy, hopefully that was enough to get it out of their system for the year ...

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    3. A couple of challenges come into play Saturday for Pitt.

      One is that North Carolina is better than their record... pretty damn athletic at cirtical positions

      It's also highly unlikely that Pitt will enjoy a "Three to Zero" turnover advantage as they did against Notre Dame.

      Ya, not much of a stretch to say that "Letdown" is possible or even likely coming off last Saturdays emotional "Chryst Revival."

      The difference will come down to how well Pitt's O-Line puts it together after their "Coming out Party" last weekend.

      Quicker than ND upfront, the UNC D-Line will present some problems.

      PittofDreams

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    4. POD,

      It wouldn't surprise me either if Pitt lays an egg tomorrow. If the past is any indicator, it's very possible UNC comes in and leaves with a win. Obviously, I hope I'm wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens.

      That's something Coach Chryst needs to fix; the pattern of taking one step forward and two steps back. The team needs to use the ND game as a springboard to a strong finish.

      I agree that UNC's defensive line could trouble. Our O line seems to struggle with quick, athletic D lines.

      Delete
  34. After the loss to Villanova in the regional finals, some of us began to see something phony in Dixon. When they were again picked to be a #1 seed two yeas later, many of us knew he would fall flat on his face. Under Dixon, Pitt basketball is perpetually over-rated. At least it was until his program crashed and burned two yeas ago. In betting circles, the wise geeks strike Pitt off the program after the fist or second round.


    Dixon has become more aware of his critics since that 2009 loss to Villanova in the regional finals. That's why he called up the Post-Gazette to get a soft sell story published about his scheduling. There wasn't universal approval of his contract extension, either, the day after he blew yet another game in the NCAA tournament.

    We're stuck with Dixon. The one redeeming aspect of that is the fact Steve Pederson can't bungle another hiring situation. Would you trust stumbling Pederson to hire a better coach than Dixon? I don't think so.

    Those of you, including Doke, who rate him so highly will need to continue to sing his praises, especially if the ACC brings no relief from his one-and-done NCAA tournament teams.

    Most of you think he will eventually succeed in the NCAAs. But has Dixon ever out-coached another team in the tournament? Ever beat a higher seed?

    Doke, you said Pitt wasn't able to advance in the tournament because we lack highly rated recruits. Dixon & McDonalds All American Dante Taylor? Not much. Dixon and the star who left in the preseason a couple of years ago? Dixon and Steve Adams. Imagine a part-time player on your team who is able to go pro after one year.

    Dixon's big flaw is his need to control everything and everybody.

    And Doke, the NCAA tournament is college basketball. We are not obsessed with the Final Four. Many of us think a coach who receives as much praise as Dixon and is paid as much and has as much control over his program -- well that coach must advance in the NCAA or forever be an "almost great" coach who never pulled an upset when it counted, never outcoached a peer when it counted, never blended his talent - including great recruits when he was lucky enough to land them.

    College basketball is a marginalized sport. Football has pushed it further and further off the front pages until the deep winter conference season. While the nation is focused on what the top two in the BCS standings do every week, college basketball is an after thought until the NCAA Tournament.

    In that context, Dixon fails to deliver.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. U can rate Dixon all u want just on the NCAA tournament and their has been some heart breaking losses. However, the teams that have beaten them have typically moved far in the tournament. Their is no debating that in the reg season Dixon is a Stud of a coach and the type of person that every school wants to have. He is typically true to his word and though i wanted Calperi after Howland because of the recruits who could have brought in, I am now happy with Dixon and would rather lose with him as a coach and win with someone else that is not as quality of a person,

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    2. Tony,

      I have no idea how old you are or how long you've been following Pitt hoops but I doubt you saw much of the program in the early '90's. If you would have told any Pitt BB fan in 1993 that in the next 20 years the team will the amount of success it has had they would not have believed you.

      These are the "glory years" of Pitt hoops and you should enjoy it for what it is. Some day - most likely after Dixon is gone - the BB team could return to what it was before Howland got here.

      Then the BB fans will sound just like the FB fans, hoping and praying that the newest coach will be the one to lead them back to the Promised Land.

      Yes, I want to see Dixon perform better in the NCAA's but I'm not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      RKR

      Delete
  35. First off, there was no bigger disappointment to me than to see the Pitt '88 team losing in the first weekend to Vanderbilt. They had the team to go much farther.

    2nd, Villanova made 21 of 22 free throws that evening, and 2 nights before, they beat 2nd seeded Duke by 22 points ... they peaked that weekend

    3rd, in 2011, the 2 post-season losses they incurred were in the last second of the game ... to UConn and Butler ... of course, both played in the NCAA title game.

    If there is a concern, it's why we always seem to lose the games that go down to the wire in the NCAA

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  36. I find it humorous that people are down on Pitt basketball, the season just started and quite frankly I think this is one of the more talented teams we have had in some time. Listen I don't think the zone(which seems to be our best defense right now) will do much against a team like Duke, but we do have the ability to drop into a man and still give them fits. Offensively I think we are a much better team this year than we have been. Wright seems poised to have a breakout season, Robinson is taking steps forward and is doing a good job managing the ball, Zanna has developed into a versatile big and they have depth to compete with just about anyone in the country. I am not going to right this team into the final four, but we lost Adams to the NBA, Woodall to graduation and a handful of players to transfers and by the looks of them, I still think they are better offensively than they have been in a while. Maybe you guys can wait until this team hits some bumps in the road to call for dixons head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't believe this team can shoot well enough from the outside to go far in the tournament this year. I believe Jamie is addressing that deficiency through recruiting in coming years, but it will jump and bite them this year.

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  37. Some people on this site are very negative on the football team. Sure this team can lose the next 3 games, be shut out of a bowl game and miss on all the major recruits. This would be horrible, but is a worst case scenario. They also stand the chance to win the last 3 games(all are winnable), finish sixth in the ACC without playing 4 of the 5 worst teams in the ACC(Wake, Maryland, BC, NC State.) They still have a shot to get Kamara, Jennings, Bookser, Henry, Nichlson and either James or MacKenzie. This would translate into a huge successful season and a major step moving forward. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but right now this team lies on the fence and I am hopelessly optimistic that they take at least a small step forward to building a better program. so far they are 5-4 which is exactly where most people predicted them to be. They may not have played the best so far this season, but they are coming off the best game they have played all season and now is the the time to hope for the best rather than double down on the Pitt negativity.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hey, BIG commit just an hour ago. Looks like McKenzie is no longer an option.

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    Replies
    1. If McKenzie wants to come to Pitt, they'll take him...Although, I'm not sure he still wants to come here. I can see him going to VT or GT

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  39. Pitt gets a HUGE commitment from 4 STAR recruit Chris James!

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    Replies
    1. I thought I read he was a 3-star, but, regardless, he appears to be a good one. They beat out MSU and WI for him.

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    2. 3star with good offers.
      Glad Pitt got James instead of McKenzie.

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    3. I don't think I'd count McKenzie out for Pitt. He will need to sit next year out, and Chryst does like multiple backs.

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    4. Wisconsin and Michigan State got other RBs instead so Pitt was all that was left, but whatever it takes.

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    5. So these schools pulled his offer? Do you know that as a fact, or are you just making stuff up? Just because they have commitments from other RBs doesn't mean they couldn't sign James. Heck, Pitt had RBs committed before James and still may sign McKenzie as well.

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    6. It's been written about on 247 Sports for awhile now. James was telling people a week ago that Wisconsin led and Wisconsin's own writer said he was going to Pitt because Wisconsin wanted somebody more. It's been pretty well known. Pitt gets many players like this over the years. It's not a big deal.

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    7. The fact remains that Pitt must have been strong in its recruitment of James, or he would've gone elsewhere. I read where James was extremely complimentary of Pitt's coaches and how they recruited him.

      I'm no expert, but isn't this how the recruiting game works for all schools, not just Pitt? A lot of factors go into landing a recruit, including where other kids have committed.

      I say let's just be glad he's coming here, regardless of how it played out.

      Delete
    8. Pitt definitely did a good job with him. They targeted him way out in Illinois, and they recruited him well. And he's an excellent prospect. I was just commenting specifically on the comment that they beat out Wisconsin and Michigan State for him. The same thing happens with Pitt too. Sometimes they could get a kid if they wanted but chose someone else they wanted more. It just happened yesterday in basketball with Satchel Pierce.

      Delete

  40. Chris... How good is Chris James?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most RB's in Wpial are better than Briggs.
      Heck, he was the #2 RB at SSA.

      Delete
  41. RKR:
    I've been following Pitt basketball since 1966. Thanks for asking.

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  42. Welcome to Pitt Chris James!

    This kid sounds like a very nice get for Pitt. Let's hope he has a great career!

    ReplyDelete
  43. espn report on Chris James


    Size-Strength-Speed
    James has the size, strength and speed for the running back position at the BCS level of competition and a growth spurt would enhance his ability to add bulk over time. Shows the playing strength needed to take on blockers in traffic for hard earned additional yards after contact. Flashes the ability to move the pile with a nose for the end zone. Demonstrates a short burst getting through the hole and up to the second level. Displays the long playing speed which makes him a difficult guy to run down once a step is gained.

    Vision/Patience
    A smart, patient runner with good vision and is quick to locate creases in the line showing the ability to follow blockers when running inside and off the edge. We like his awareness and ability to feel defenders in traffic.

    Agility/Acceleration
    A quick-footed running back with good lateral agility and can quickly step and avoid defenders while still gaining positive yardage. Flashes the acceleration needed to free himself from congestion and into space for big plays.

    Power/Balance
    This guy is a tough customer with the overall playing strength to shed and pull through low tackles. He runs a little upright at times but knows when to lower the shoulder and attack defenders. He is a strong, inside runner with enough playing speed and vision to work off the edge and to the outside successfully. Displays the balance needed to step over and work through trash at the second level. We see carry-the-load potential.

    Bottom Line
    James also brings ball catching skills and block willingness to the table. He displays natural hands catching ability although expanding his route running repertoire is a must. Will stand in and protect the quarterback showing good upper body strength and explosion despite rough technique. Could see early playing time if a redshirt isn't necessary

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  44. Chris James looks built with massive arms. What is his 40 yard dash time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buc--someone said he runs a 4.35 40 and has a 44" vertical. Hope its not too exaggerated.

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    2. I saw that in the Trib that is good speed at his size

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    3. Is that from a combine? Provide the link.
      Otherwise, not believable.

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    4. National Underclassmen profile (they do combines)
      40 in 4.53
      vertical of 32
      http://www.nationalunderclassmen.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=23100&ATCLID=205184081

      Nike spark shows
      4.48 in 40
      37.5 vertical
      http://espn.go.com/high-school/football/events/nike-sparq-combines/2012/story/_/id/7795933/chicago-nike-football-sparq-all-combine-recap

      Delete
  45. Did you see what Duke Basketball just signed??
    #1 Okafer and #4 Jones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 7footer Pierce of Kiski just committed to Marquette.

      Delete

  46. Here's an excerpt from the Trib's coverage of the James signing.

    Don't know, but it sounds like Chryst and his Staff may know a little somethin' when it comes to recruiting afterall.

    ********
    Pitt worked hard to recruit running back Chris James for its Class of 2014.

    “They were relentless,” said James' grandmother, Audrey Davis, who helped raise him since he was 3 years old. “I've never seen anything like it. The mail tumbles out of the mailbox every day.”

    Davis said Pitt coaches even sent her a Mother's Day card.

    James, who played at Notre Dame for Boys in Niles, Ill., said he gave Pitt a verbal commitment Friday because of the relationship he built with the coaches.

    “They were genuine with me throughout the process,” said James, who chose Pitt over Wisconsin, Michigan State and Tennessee.

    ********
    The "GENUINE" part has a certain ring to it.

    PittofDreams

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    Replies
    1. That's a great story, POD.

      I've been saying since the "just offer" rumor was first published (right after HCPC got hired): These guys are BMOCs, accustomed to being wooed. Plus they're 17-18 years old and have no idea what they want (at least I didn't). They must be sold on Pitt, and the coaches must be the ones doing the selling

      Maybe Team HCPC always has done this (and we simply didn't hear about it), or maybe the light bulb finally went off. I know I read plenty of (too many) rumors that guys were offered by Pitt and didn't even know it (if true, I still don't know how that even happens...).

      Either way this is a positive sign, a good trend.

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    2. As everyone learned with the Chryst "Join the Party" Lockerroom Dance Video after Notre Dame... Chryst is a different person to those who know hiim versus the "play it close to the vest" persona he projects publically.

      Critics took the "JUST OFFER" comment much too literally.

      Although, my guess is that Chris is going to say a bit of a transformation has taken place when it comes to way Chryst and his staff are approaching recruitment.

      PittofDreams

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  47. Chris - please explain why OSU basketball can play true road games but Jamie dixon will not. Its very embarassing that you stick up for him in light of that PG article. There is no excuse for this pathetic OOC schedule. So please explain why other schools can do it.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sticking up for him. I've criticized the scheduling often. I'm just telling you what Pitt says about it.

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