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Written by TFW Bryan | 07 June 2012

STICK THIS IN YOUR TAIL PIPE!  Former Pitt offensive lineman Rueben Brown was on The Fan Morning Show yesterday saying “There are many who would like to put a banana in his tail pipe.”  You can listen to the entire interview there.

I AM SO ALL ABOUT ULTIMATE FRISBEE.  Last week, the Pitt Ultimate Frisbee team claimed it's first national championship.  Stories like this need to get more publicity.

HIGH OCTANE AND THE HEISMAN TROPHY.  Fellow Bloguin blog Crystal Ball Run has a rundown of contenders and pretenders for this season's Heisman Trophy.  Ray Graham made the list, but his chances are being negatively impacted by the Todd Graham fiasco and injury.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS STEVEN ADAMS?  Apparently he is on a tour of Pittsburgh with KDKA's Bob Pompiani.  You can check it out tonight on the KDKA news at 6:45pm.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 07 June 2012

OaklandZooFoulShot

(No idea who to credit for this picture, but it's fantastic)

ESPN decided to rank each conference in terms of best to worst coaching jobs. Hey, it's a long, long offseason. In the Big East, Pitt comes in fifth (via ESPN):

5. Pittsburgh: With one of the toughest home gyms in the country, the Panthers have built a reputation of blue-collar success. There is football money to cull from, but hoops does pretty well on its own merits thanks to a string of savvy hires.

Ahead of Pitt is Syracuse, Louisville, UConn and Georgetown. No real surprises there. But I was surprised that Pitt was ahead of Villanova, only because of Nova's location in a recruiting hotbed.

I do wonder how each team would fair in the ACC rankings, which predictably have UNC and Duke at the top, but then Maryland at three and NC State at four. My guess is they'd put Syracuse at three and Pitt at either four or five, depending on how much they value Maryland's recruiting location and somewhat recent success. Either way, Pitt should be above NC State.

Also of interest, Penn State is last among the twelve B1G members, WVU is fourth in the ten team Big 12 and Duquese is 14th in the 16 team A-10. Seems a little high for WVU, but see what happens when you get to a Final Four?

As ESPN writes, a big part of Pitt's success has to be attributed to the Oakland Zoo, which has made the Pete one of the toughest places to play in America. The Pitt News profiled the Zoo and it's accomplishments, including Pitt's 9-0 record against top-5 teams at home. Not to mention this amusing antidote about WVU's Joe Mazzulla (via Pitt News):

An hour before a February 2011 home game between the Pitt men’s basketball team and its Backyard Brawl rival, West Virginia, a Pitt student dressed in a gold shirt, navy gym shorts, high white socks and a headband stood behind a row of courtside seats. He intently watched the Mountaineers’ warm ups.

He paraded a mock-up of Joe Mazzulla’s mug shot and shouted Mazzulla’s name in an attempt to taunt him. Much to the student’s surprise, the West Virginia guard, who has had several run-ins with police, came over, signed the mug shot and then resumed his warm up. Both walked away with a grin.

See, WVU fans, sports can be fun even without throwing things at the players. Go read the whole piece.

And speaking of the Zoo, you have to be excited to read this (via Twitter):

ZooTweetAdamsZeigler

Hail.

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Written by TFW Bryan | 06 June 2012

THE ACC WILL MAKE US ALL SMARTER.  Brian over at BC Interruption posted a good piece today on the academic side of switching conferences.  Citing a recent study, Universities that have switched conferences from 2004 until 2011 have received an academic boost.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, GILBERT BROWN? OH, THERE YOU ARE.  Brian Batko of Panther Sports Network (and this blog) has a piece in today's Post-Gazette on Gilbert Brown's first year as a professional player.

SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMERTIME. NO LONGER TIME TO SIT BACK AND UNWIND.  It took 10 years, but the NCAA has finally changed the rule that had prohibited coaches from working with basketball players during the summer.  Jamie Dixon believes this rule change is a good thing.

NON-BOUNTY RELATED SAINTS NEWS.  The Saints took a change on an injured Greg Romeus in the 2011 draft.  Now that he is finally healthy, Romeus is trying to prove that it was a chance worth taking.

WE WERE JUST BLUFFING, WE WILL GO TO FAYETTEVILLE.  Last week, Syracuse threatened to to play their scheduled game at Arkansas for the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge because they were "over-committed".  This week, that is no longer the case and have agreed to head down to Fayetteville.

FRATERNIZING WITH THE ENEMY.  OK, the Steelers are not the enemy, but Todd Graham certainly thought they were.  Dejan Kovacevic said that Paul Chryst has restored order to the shared South Side facilities and encourages interaction between the two teams.  Here the team is watching Steelers' OTAs after practice last week.

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Written by TFW Bryan | 05 June 2012

hail-to-links

RED SOLO CUP, I FILL YOU UP, TO YOUR DESIGNATED MEASUREMENTS.  Pitt's Department of Student Affairs informs us that the lines on Solo cups are actually predetermined measurements for mixing drinks. Mind = Blown.

SHREVEPORT, LA > BIRMINGHAM, AL.  The SEC has replaced the MWC in the Independence Bowl, pitting the 10th SEC team against the 7th ACC team.  The 10th team in the SEC last season would have been Mississippi State, Kentucky, or Vanderbilt.  So picture the BBVA Compass Bowl in a different state.

THE B1G TEN THINKS THE BCS IS AWESOME, YOU GUYS.  With all of the talk if implementing a Top Four playoff system in college football, everyone thought it was just a matter of selecting a format for said playoff...until some old guy the Nebraska Chancellor said that the B1G Ten Presidents would prefer the status quo.

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD.  Former Pitt linebacker and G.O.A.T. Scott McKillop talks about possibly landing a spot with Wanny up in Buffalo.

MOVING ON UP, TO FEDERAL COURT.  Pitt's lawsuit against the BIG EAST conference has been moved from the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to U.S. District Court.  Ron Cook probably thinks that by doing so will blow it out of proportion and would be considered whining.

LARRY FITZGERALD WAS THE DUDE.  ESPN's BIG EAST Blog talks about the greatest individual seasons in the history of the conference.  Larry Fitzgerald's 2003 season comes in at #2.  Pat White's 2007 season came in at #5.  I bet that would have been higher had it not been for this:

13-9

FUN WITH RANKINGS.  Why are sports writers in Oklahoma writing about the BIG EAST? No idea.  For some reason, they decided to rank the BIG EAST teams' non-conference schedules.  Pitt came out a lot better than anticipated.

LIKE A GLOVE.  Athlon Sports discusses the move of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC and while some speculate that the conference should be having second thoughts, the move was more about "a good fit" than anything else.

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Written by TFW Bryan | 04 June 2012

Yes, the title of this post was intentional.  I've always wanted to get a semi-regular post going like this.  The problem is I've never been able to come up with a good name for it.  Suggestions are more than welcome.

DOES PAUL CHRYST KNOW HOW TO RUN AN OFFENSE? The fellas over at the Wisconsin Scout board, BadgerNation.com, offered up a thread on the effectiveness of Paul Chryst as their Russel Wilson Directorship of Offense Offensive Coordinator.  Mostly a fairly civil thread, although be warned, there is some use of Comic Sans in some of the posts.

HUBIE GRAHAM IS DOING SOME GOOD IN THE OFFSEASON. The Scranton Times has a good article about Hubie Graham and over a dozen other Pitt athletes visiting a Haitien orphanage earlier this month.  Graham says it was a very eye-opening experience.

RON COOK THINK PITT NEEDS TO TAKE A CHILL PILL. I'm willing to bet that Ron Cook would still use a phrase like "chill pill."  Cook believes that Pitt shouldn't expect any favors from the BIG EAST and he believes their lawsuit against their soon-to-be former conference is frivolous.

Pitt is suing, in part, because of lost revenue from West Virginia and Texas Christian leaving the Big East after it and Syracuse started the collapse of the conference. Beyond that, there was no way that the Big East was going to keep Pitt in its league through the 2013-14 year.

Cook neglects to mention that a reason for the lawsuit was because the BIG EAST refused to talk to Pitt about making such a split official.  I guess it makes a better article if he doesn't discuss that point.

THROW THE BALL, TINO. MY GOD, GET RID OF THE BALL. Bill Connelly over at SB Nation released his Pitt Panthers 2012 preview this morning.  He gives an in-depth look at this year's offense and defense while offering up his prognostication for the season.

A GAME-CHANGER CAN BE BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE.  Also over at SB Nation: Pittsburgh, Pat O'Mahony discusses the potential offensive game changers for the 2012 season, both positive and negative.  I bet you will never guess who may have a negative impact on winning?

JOHN SWOFFORD LEARNS FSU AND CLEMSON ARE LEAVING THE ACC.  OK, they really aren't leaving, but if they were, I would imagine his reaction to be something like this.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 04 June 2012

big33

Five 2012 Pitt signees made the Big 33 game, an annual Pennsylvania vs Ohio all-star game played in Hershey.

  • Mike Caprara, Woodland Hills HS, PA
  • JP Holtz, TE, Shaler Area HS, PA
  • Terrell Jackson, DL, Marion Franklin HS, Ohio
  • Tyrique Jarrett, Alderdice HS (Pittsburgh), PA
  • Rushel Shell, RB, Hopewell HS, PA

Pitt led the way with five signees, ahead of Ohio State (4), Penn State (3) and Rutgers (3).

The game will be played June 16th at 7:00. Usually, FSN/ROOT carries the game locally and I'll work to confirm if that's the case again this year.

Congratulations to all five. Now don't get hurt.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 02 June 2012

Even if you don't consider the departure of Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia to be the ruination of the Big East, it will certainly never be the same, especially in basketball. 2006-2011 were incredible years for the conference, filled with incredible players. Check out this fantastic read by the Marquette Blog Cracked Sidewalks, who took the time to rank the top 40 players of the Big East during the "Golden Era."

Do yourself a favor: sometime this weekend, pour a drink, open the list in one tab and YouTube in another. Read the list and watch highlights as you go. Really a reminder of how fantastic the league has been in basketball and how fortunate Pitt has been to be a big part of it.

Speaking of, Sam Young is 24, DeJuan Blair is 17, and Levance Fields is 9.

Roy Hibbert is number 1. Well deserved, except for that 2008 Big East Championship Game....

I kid, I kid.

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Written by TFW Bryan | 01 June 2012

In case you missed it on Facebook this afternoon, this happened...

Facebook-BIGEAST

OK, it may not have happened that way (although it's not that far of a stretch).  It happened more like this... 

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Written by PSB Bryan | 31 May 2012

HCampingFSU

Remember Harold Camping? Probably not. He's a crazy person. But unlike most crazy people, Camping had a platform to amplify his ramblings to the world. See, Camping was a radio evangelist who - for whatever reason - kept predicting the world was going to end. And - for whatever reason - people believed him. Or at least they acknowledged his crazy predictions and therefore somewhat legitimizing them.

Camping had predicted that the world would end on May 21, 1988. Fortunately for George H.W. Bush and the rest of humanity, Camping was wrong. But never fear! It was a simple mathematical error. How embarrassing! The world is actually going to end on September 6, 1994. But then that didn't happen either.

Undeterred, Camping once again predicted the end of the world: May 21, 2011. But a funny thing happened between 1994 and 2011. A thing called "the internet" and "social media" became widely available. So when May 2011 came around, this prediction got a lot of attention. And when it once again didn't happen, well, that got a lot of attention too. Camping was rightfully mocked as someone who incorrectly predicted the end of the world, not once, but three different times.

And that's pretty much exactly where we are with the "impending doom" of the ACC.

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Written by PSB Bryan | 30 May 2012

Two of the biggest recruits in western Pennsylvania - lineman Dorian Johnson and receiver Robert Foster - moved in the new Rivals top 250 rankings, one up and one down.

But perhaps more importantly, the recruiting network 247 labelled Pitt as the "favorite" for Dorian Johnson. Take that for what it's worth, but I'd rather Pitt be the "favorite" than not. They have Johnson as the number 12 player in the country overall and the second best tackle. Rivals, on the other hand, slid Dorian Johnson to 233 overall and the 33rd (!) offensive tackle from an unranked four-star player. That's a fairly drastic discrepancy, but I suppose evaluating the potential of teenagers is an inexact science.

Robert Foster is the number one wide receiver in the country according to 247 and a top 10 player nationally, while Rivals slid him from the number 24 player to 34. He's the top wideout in the class for 247 and the fourth for Rivals.

Foster is another local guy who seems to be interested in staying home, but with any player his caliber, there's the siren's song of the SEC, and in this case, Alabama (via AL.com):

"Alabama may be his only official one definitely," said Mark Lyons, Foster's head coach at Central Valley (Pennsylvania) High School. "I think we're going to let the summer finish out, and by the end of summer when we get into our official camp, he'll have an idea of where he's going to take those five official visits."

While the appeal of playing close to home is believed to be a factor for Foster, some analysts believe the Crimson Tide may be well-positioned to lure the five-star playmaker away from the Northeast.

"If he leaves the East/Midwest area, Alabama is the school I think has the best shot of pulling him," 247Sports analyst Steve Wiltfong said in regards to his report on Foster. "I think the bells and whistles at Alabama, all the tradition, Nick Saban, his spring game experience, have the Tide near the top of his list."

Finally, Ken Gorman has some names to watch in the WPIAL for 2014. Most notably, Blackhawk QB - and Pitt commit - Chandler Kincade, Gateway defensive backs Anthony Davis, Delvon Randall and Montae Nicholson. The Quips will also have their share of offers with Dravon Henry, Jaleel Fields and Donovan Cobb all expected to get FBS offers.

Interestingly, Gateway coach Terry Smith is claiming five "high end, BCS types" in the class. Those are big words, but something that could be possible at Gateway, one of the nation's top producers of NFL talent.

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