Expansiopocolypse is everywhere on the interwebs these days...and the "breaking news" on this topic is nothing more than people repeating other people's misinformation and how it effects [insert school here]. We could write about it every day, but Chas over at PittBlather.com does such a fantastic job creating a daily digest post on the happenings that it would serve little purpose for us to do the same. It's the off season, we need a break too.
But if there is something to report, we will be on top of it. Steve Pederson speaking on how Expansiopocolypse will/won't effect Pitt? That's summer blog post worthy.
The conference commissioners, university presidents and even the pundits flirting with a four-team playoff based on four conference champions are fantasizing. Imagine the litigation. Or even legislation. If you thought senators fumed when Utah or Boise State were snubbed by the BCS, just wait until someone tries to close the door permanently on dozens of schools.
"No way," Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson responded Thursday when I raised the topic. "We don't know where a lot of this is headed, and we might still be looking at some form of the current BCS setup. But everyone absolutely will have access to the national championship."
As long as everyone has access to the national championship, doesn't an ACC team have an easier road to it? Dejan Kovacevic makes that argument in his article:
West Virginia will have to plow through some serious heavyweights — Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State — just to stay afloat in the Big 12, much less contend. Pitt's ACC opponents come with some pedigree, particularly Virginia Tech, but won't be nearly as strong. A 13-0 or 12-1 record isn't easy anywhere, but it sure looks more feasible in the ACC than the Big 12.
Would 12-1 in the ACC be enough to make a four-team playoff?
"Oh, I would think so," Pederson said. "Look, it's pretty clear that there are five power conferences and that the ACC is one of them. We control the eastern seaboard, we've got the prestige, the athletics, the academics ... we're thrilled to be where we are."
Some people are assuming that because the B1G Ten, Pac-12, Big XII, and SEC bring in the most television money, they will always be the Top 4 conference champions (the model being pushed for by most all conference commissioners)...but that is certainly not the case. Let's look at the BCS's history since it was created in 1998.
Using the final regular season BCS rankings, here are the highest ranked four conference champions all-time:
1998: SEC, ACC, Big XII, B1G Ten
1999: ACC, BIG EAST, Big XII, SEC
2000: Big XII, ACC, BIG EAST, Pac-12
2001: BIG EAST, Big XII, Pac-12, SEC
2002: BIG EAST, B1G Ten, SEC, Pac-12
2003: Big XII, SEC, Pac-12, B1G Ten
2004: Pac-12, Big XII, SEC, MWC
2005: Pac-12, Big XII, B1G Ten, (Notre Dame), SEC*
2006: B1G Ten, SEC, Pac-12, BIG EAST
2007: B1G Ten, SEC, ACC, Big XII
2008: Big XII, SEC, Pac-12, MWC
2009: SEC, Big XII, BIG EAST, MWC
2010: SEC, Pac-12, MWC, B1G Ten
2011: SEC, Big XII, Pac-12, MWC
* Notre Dame was ranked #6 in the final 2005 BCS Standings, ahead of the 4th conference champion Georgia (SEC)
Only twice (2003, 2005) have the B1G Ten, Pac-12, Big XII, and SEC owned the Top 4 conference champion positions. If there there was a Notre Dame clause, as there is in the current BCS format, the Irish would have stolen the 4th spot in 2005.
When all is said and done, history dictates that there will at least be one opening a year in the Top 4 conference champion playoff model for a non-Big Four conference champion...and Pitt, if deserving, would have a shot at it.
(Editors Note: Chas needs to trademark the phrase Expansiopocolypse™, and then print t-shirts afterwords saying "I survived Expansiopocolypse™" in a nice royal blue and mustard colored script. I know I would buy one. He should probably do this before Chas down on the corner in Oakland steals his idea too.)
Decommitments make Buddy a sad elf.
Not good. Indiana offensive lineman Dan Sanuelson once made Buddy a happy elf by committing to Pitt. Now? Not so much.
Samuelson has flipped his commitment from Pitt to Nebraska after visiting the Huskers last weekend. (Via Huskers Extra):
The family liked Pitt plenty. They still think highly of the program and coaches. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for them,” said Tom. "They did nothing wrong."
Dan had visited the Pittsburgh campus three times, in fact.
But two Saturdays ago, he received a new offer from a school he just had to check out.
So the family stopped into Nebraska this past weekend. Immediately there was a connection, one that would quickly lead to the Huskers gaining their eighth commitment of the 2013 class.
If the Pitt's ACC staff is going to continue to focus on midwest recruiting, I worry that this might often be the case. There's a reason that Samuelson was Pitt's first recruit from Indiana in a long, long time. Kids in Big 10 country want to go to Big 10 schools. Particularly kids from placed in the middle of the conference like Indiana or Wisconsin. These kids are raised on Big 10 football and more often than not, they'll pick the Big 10 over most over conferences. Pitt may be better off focusing on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and the occasional major recruit from New York or West Virginia, lack of ties/contacts/whatever be damned. Pitt made the conscious decision to affiliate with an eastern conference - Pitt's football recruiting is going to have to keep up.
Making it doubly heartbreaking is that Samuelson is an offensive lineman, an area of gigantic need for Pitt. Making it triply heartbreaking is that offensive line recruiting is supposed to be this staff's bread and butter, but they let a good one go to this guy.
Whatever. Nebraska fans look stupid. Nice corn hat, brah. [/pouts]
In all seriousness, best of luck to Samuelson. Can't blame a kid for doing what he thinks is in his best interest, even if that's not at Pitt.no comments
Like seemingly all news nowadays, it started as an unconfirmed tweet and grew from there: Pitt sophomore fullback Derrick Burns has suffered what many are calling a stroke and is in stable condition at a Pittsburgh hospital.
Burns had apparently been complaining of headaches and was taken to the hospital after the condition became more severe.
He is reportedly in stable condition.
Obviously, his health is far and away the biggest concern right now, but it's unfortunate nonetheless that redshirt sophomore was primed to see playing time at fullback in Paul Chryst's power system. He didn't see a single snap under Todd Graham.
Burns is in our thoughts, along with those of his teammates.
College Football guru Phil Steele has published his 2012 All-Big East teams and the Panthers are represented with four players on the first team. On offense, it's Ray Graham and Chris Jacobson, while on defense, it's Aaron Donald and Jarred Holley. All four players are solid picks and are expected to be stars in order for Pitt to succeed.
Other Panthers on the list include Mike Shanahan and Ryan Turnley (second team), Hubie Graham, Matt Rotheram, Todd Thomas, K'Wuan Williams, Ronald Jones and Kevin Harper (third team), and Tino Sunseri and KK Mosley-Smith on the fourth team.
I don't get particularly bent out of shape about preseason lists anyways, but I think Steele's is pretty accurate. Both Graham and Donald should be in the running for player of the year on their respective sides of the ball if healthy. Moseley-Smith could turn out to be significantly better than fourth team, but that's mostly potential versus proven production.
Of course, it should be noted that Pitt's two best players on offense - Ray Graham and Chris Jacobson - are both coming off season-ending knee surgeries. But if a 100% Jacobson can pull for a 100% Graham, then Pitt's last season in the Big East has a chance to be a memorable one.no comments
In Feburary, Pitt locked up local Clairton athlete Trenton Coles. Coles was undoubtedly talented, but there was some concern about a knee injury he suffered during the state championship. A torn MCL and PCL aren't really something you can overlook in a future WR/DB, especially before he even steps on campus.
If there was any doubt on whether he could come back as strong as ever, this weekend's WPIAL track championship should be a relief. The reigning 100 meter champion beat out his cousin in dramatic fashion (via the Trib):
It was a moment of suspense for the cousins, who share a bedroom. They watched as names and times appeared on a digital screen. Lane 4: Coles 10.94. Lane 5: Moody 10.95.
“I got him by a photo finish,” said Coles, a senior, giving him three straight titles in the Class AA 100 meters.
But this was the most improbable victory for Coles, who needed months to recover from torn knee ligaments and expected to miss track season. Moody pushed him to return, and then pushed him to victory.
“I expected him to make it back,” Moody said, “but I didn’t expect him to beat me.”
Congratulations to Trenton on his recovery and his big win.no comments
It's funny how things one's perception of college sports can change in such a short matter of time.
Not all that long ago, I was looking forward to Pitt playing in the ACC. There would be road trips to beautiful campuses like UVA down in Charlottesville and rekindling an old rivalry against former conference-mate Virginia Tech. The thoughts of Duke and North Carolina each coming to play at the Pete two out of every three years made me giddy like a school girl. The thought of Clemson and Florida State leaving the ACC for the Big XII was nothing more than a figment of some dude's imagination, throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.
Since, ESPN and the ACC signed a new TV contract, the Big XII and the SEC created a new bowl game, yada yada yada, my thinking has made a complete 180°.
But Bryan, you yada yada'd over the best part.
Alright, let's fill in some of those details. To do so, we need to travel back in time two weeks to take a look at where it all began.
Warning, this post approaches 2,700 words. Block out your time accordingly.no comments
We've long been fans of self-deprecating hashtag fun here at the Pitt Script Blog. But our TFW Bryan Took it a whole new level when he decided to ruin everyone's Wednesday productivity by wondering what Pitt-related stories would make a good topic for an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary.
These are the highlights:
Buried in the Tino Sunseri hysteria was maybe the real news of Andrea Adelson's piece from the ACC spring meetings (via ESPN):
Now here is a quick update on running back Ray Graham, coming off a knee injury. Chryst said Graham is "progressing" and anticipates his star back will be ready for the start of fall camp.
"The plan is he will be ready," Chryst said. "We’ll have him practice. He needs it. They all need it. I’m not going to project too much until it’s time. But we’re planning on it. We’re going full steam ahead."
Huge. Graham led the conference in rushing before his injury and should be considered the frontrunner for Big East POY if he can come back at 100%.
The conventional wisdom on ACL injuries are that they take a full year to heal. With Graham's injury occurring at the very end of September, getting him in camp at the beginning of August means he's well ahead of schedule.
Graham, Bennett, Shell, repeat. There's 75% of the offense.no comments
This really shouldn't be surprising (via ESPN Big East blog):
Chryst said Tuesday during the ACC spring meetings, "He was the best quarterback we had out of spring. That's why he's the starter."
"The biggest thing for quarterbacking is being able to do it and doing it on a consistent level," Chryst said. "That’s your normal progression. He clearly was the best this spring that we had. You’re aware of the history but it doesn’t really matter for us. What do you have right now? It’s our job to coach them and how can you help everyone get better? He’s got a great opportunity. He has played in a lot of games, he does have experience. He’s got room to grow. If he chooses to grow, and I know it’s easier for us to say last year or two years before that doesn’t matter. It matters in the sense that you should learn from all of it, positive or negative. But it doesn’t matter going forward.
"Right now, if you were to say who gives you the best chance to have success, it would be him. So coach the heck out of him."
Yes, Tino was bad last season. I don't think that's debatable - poor offensive line and all. But honestly, who's going to beat him out? Both Mark Myers and Trey Anderson were all but begged to take the job away from him last season and neither could do it. Anthony Gonzalez has been moved from quarterback to just about every position out there. Chad Voytik? Only a very select few freshmen quarterbacks are able to come in and play after just one summer and I just don't see Voytik being ready right now.
The fact of it is that Pitt's quarterback situation is not ideal. Blame that on the instability. Blame it on the failure of Wannstedt to recruit better options (although his second half recruiting haul of Sunseri-Myers-Gonzolaz-Nova is pretty solid). Blame it on whatever you want, but the options right now are very limited. And three coaching staffs have all evaluated what they had and concluded Sunseri is the best option.
Chryst's job is to win games now. Tino Sunseri very well likely gives this team the best chance to win games in 2012. And that's why he's the starter.no comments
A few random basketball links to clear before they get buried:
- I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal. Steven Adams is adjusting to life of an American college basketball star (via The Post Game):
"Ever since I've been here, it's just been media, rah rah, media; I'm still getting used to it," he said. "At first I was real nervous, mumbling; I didn't know what to say. I never thought it would be like this. It's crazy."
Participating in events like the Jordan Brand Classic, an annual high school all-star game now in its 11th season, has helped Adams acclimate to the culture here and even learn to enjoy it.
"It can be quite fun," he said, "but sometimes I think it's too much attention for people my age. We're still high school players."
- Probably not going to happen, but let's speculate anyway. When Seth Greenberg got canned at Virginia Tech, his recruiting class left with him. Four-star power forward Montrezl Harrell signed his letter of intent but is asking for a release. The Washington Post speculates that Pitt is one potential landing spot. But there is absolutely no chance of Virginia Tech releasing him and allowing him to sign with an ACC team. Not going to happen. Even with the fresh media turd left by Bo Ryan.
- Jamie Dixon making himself at home. Jamie Dixon and Jim Boeheim are at this week's ACC meetings in Florida. No word yet on whether Dixon will save someone from a wrecked car or hand-deliver the conference's next expansion target. Stay tuned.
- At least someone will play Indiana. The ACC/B1G match-ups were released yesterday and as expected, they're pretty awesome. Tuesday, November 27 features UNC at Indiana and NC State at Michigan. Wednesday will have Ohio State at Duke, Virginia at Wisconsin and Michigan State at Miami. Not too shabby.
- At some point, Pitt becomes Villanova. Pitt has offered 2013 point guard Jaren Sina. Sina committed to Alabama last year before opening up his recruitment. Even with James Robinson, Pitt will need another point guard after Woodall graduates. The rest of the roster consists of combo guards and shooters. Here are some highlights from the Lebron Skills Academy.
- ZOMG! NUMBERS! Steven Adams will wear 13, James Robinson 0, Chris Jones 12, Zeigler 23. Plan your lives accordingly.
- Bringing the shirt-and-tie to Morgantown. Former Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart is joining Bob Huggins in Morgantown. Meh. I've never been an Everhart fan and his recruiting was always below par at Duquesne. (h/t Mike Twomey for the joke)
- Back to Jersey. Ashton Gibbs' brother, Sterling, is transferring from Texas to Seton Hall. He'll have to sit out 2012-13, so Pitt will likely never have to face him. FYI - there's a third Gibbs brother who is in the recruiting class of 2016 and is expected to be a high-major recruit.
- Mike Brey's plan to play five starters with an average age of 27 is foiled. Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis was denied a sixth year of eligibility after playing in just two games last season before tearing his ACL. The reason being that he was suspended for playing in a non-sanctioned exhibition game the summer of his sophomore year. By all accounts, it was similar to Pittsburgh's Greentree league, but without the NCAA's blessing. Keep being awesome and non-arbitrary, NCAA. In happier news for the Irish, Scott Martin was granted his sixth year. So there's that.