CFN Analysis - SMU Sacks Pitt In Compass
Posted Jan 7, 2012

CFN Instant Analysis on SMU's win over PItt in the BBCA Compass

CFN Analysis   

SMU 28, Pitt 6

By Pete Fiutak

- I'll take BCS league teams that had no interest in showing up for $200, Alex.

- 205 yards of total offense and ten net rushing yards. Paul Chryst, you're not going to have the same offensive line next year that you enjoyed at Wisconsin. There's a lot of work to do. A lot.

- Pitt might not have played like a team interested in going to a bowl game, but SMU still showed that it's ready to be a factor in the Big East. Everyone knows that June Jones is about offense, but with time to prepare his defense was dominant. It mauled the Pitt offensive line and controle the game from the start.

- Without Zach Line, the SMU running game struggled throughout the last few games of the season. A hot start, a few nice plays from J.J. McDermott, and the defense allowed this to be over before the second quarter.

- Considering the problems SMU had ove the second half of the season - losing four of five games before having problems slipping by Rice – this was a bit of a shocker. But if you're SMU, who cares? The program is looking like it's on the right track just when it needs to start creating more of a buzz. With the big conference move coming, it's going to be a nice offseason.

- Marshall, Southern Miss, Houston, a close call from Tulsa against BYU, and now this. Conference USA is having a nice bowl season.

- It's not that Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri isn't effective, he's just not efficient. If the Panthers want to push the ball down the field, it's hard to see it because Sunseri is too busy getting hit.

- Again, Chryst, the offensive line. Pass protection is Job One.

By Richard Cirminiello 

Do not discount the importance of this game to the SMU program. It was a pretty significant win for a school that played awfully in the second half of the regular season, and used Pitt as an ideal measuring stick as it prepares for life down the road as a member of the Big East.

Priority No. 1 for new Pitt head coach Paul Chryst will be to fix the offensive line, which was a blue and gold sieve throughout the season and in Birmingham on Saturday. He's off to a promising start by luring assistant coach Bob Bostad out of Madison.

Although the BBVA Compass Bowl was a wire-to-wire snoozer, the game was hamstrung by both team's best players being out with injuries. If the go-to backs, SMU's Zach Line and Pitt's Ray Graham, were available, the game would have had no choice but to be slightly more entertaining. Slightly.

Despite the victory, SMU head coach June Jones still has plenty of issues on offense that need to be addressed in the offseason. His run-and-shoot attack produced more than 28 points just once in the last seven games, and will need to decide if Kyle Padron is still his quarterback of the future.

Although still just a junior, NFL scouts at Legion Field still took in as much of SMU DE Margus Hunt that they could on Saturday. The 6-8, 295-pounder from Estonia, a small Eastern European country, arrived in Dallas on a track and field scholarship, but has evolved into an interesting project as a pass rusher and kick blocker.

By Matt Zemek

The BBVA Compass Bowl offered one final affirmation of a simple, time-tested truth: Bowl games are crapshoots, chiefly because it's impossible to gauge the level of motivation on each sideline. It made a lot of sense to predict that SMU would be the flat team on Saturday in Birmingham, given the fact that coach June Jones tried to leave for Arizona State, only to hit a late snag and remain the boss of the Mustangs.

When a team – especially a collegiate one – realizes that its coach has wandering eyes, it is very easy to mentally check out of the hotel before kickoff and pack the bags for the bus ride to the airport. SMU figured to go through the motions, while Pittsburgh – whose coach actually SUCCEEDED in fleeing to Arizona State, unlike Jones – figured to bring some fire and vinegar to Legion Field.

Naturally, the above narrative watched in silence as its exact opposite unfolded in this contest. SMU competed as though it was broke, starving, and in search of meal money. Pittsburgh's emotional fuel tank ran on empty, perhaps because of the fact that it was playing in its second straight Compass Bowl, meaning that the Panthers had to endure another very long layoff between the end of the regular season and their bowl game. Logic suggested that Pittsburgh would play this game with more passion, but good luck trying to get inside the mind of a 20-year-old… or any human person, for that matter.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

- Whatever June Jones said to his team to get them to buy back in after Jones flirted with other jobs, it worked. SMU looked like a team that was truly excited about playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl, which would make it the first team to ever be excited about playing at Legion Field.

- SMU's pass rush and rush defense were both outstanding. Pitt got absolutely nothing on the ground, and quarterback Tino Sunseri's head was spinning all afternoon. Granted, Sunseri isn't exactly known for his stellar decision-making, but SMU was all over him. Seven rushing yards? Do better, Pitt.

- Is John Swofford really sure about this Pitt to the ACC thing?

- On second thought, it got blown out, so Pitt will fit right in to the ACC.

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

- Believe it or not, the Big East got the last laugh in this game, as future member SMU throttled Pittsburgh, and dominated every facet of the game while doing so.

- Today's game demonstrates precisely why there needs to be a moratorium on hiring coaches until the end of the season. Due to Todd Graham's departure, and some other coaches leaving for higher profile jobs, Pittsburgh only had four coaches today. That clearly disrupted the Panthers' bowl preparation.

- Inadvertent whistle or not, the officials got the call wrong by not awarding Pittsburgh the ball. The fumble had taken place before the errant whistle blew.

- Paul Chryst's first order of business as the new head coach at Pitt will be to protect the QB. The Panther line allowed an NCAA worst 56 sacks coming into the game, and surrendered 8 more today against a Conference USA defense. That will not win games in any conference – especially the ACC, which has churning out some of the best pass rushers in the nation every year.

- The key to SMU's success today was team speed. No one from Pittsburgh could get any separation against the speedy Mustang defense.

- Speaking of mismatches, why were the Panthers using LB's to cover SMU's slot receivers?

- How much more entertaining would this game have been if Ray Graham and Zach Line had played? With each team depleted by injuries at the RB position, this would have been a welcome sight. Fortunately, both players have an additional year of eligibility remaining.

- Was June Jones trying to send a message when he called for a punt block with a 3 TD lead and only seven minutes remaining?

- Even with the loss today, the Big East will likely hold on to the automatic berth to the BCS in the near future thanks to impressive wins by West Virginia and Cincinnati. The conference will fight tooth and nail to keep the Mountaineers around for awhile.
Phil Harrison

- Hey, maybe this new shiny Big East thing won't stink after all. SMU looks competitive enough, and Boise State will give the conference another feather in its cap. Now about the state of affairs at Pitt....oh, and about the flagship Mountaineer program leaving...

-Is SMU really that much better of a situation and program than Hawaii? June Jones has almost instantly brought credibility back to the Mustangs, you just felt that he would have landed in a bigger spot while shunning and address in paradise.

- You wonder what Paul Chryst was thinking watching this game. The amount of weapons stockpiled at Pitt versus Wisconsin is like comparing the cold war era Soviet Union to a third world country. Good luck Paul.

- Speaking of which, Chryst is more than likely going to bring back the traditional power running attack that old time Pitt is used to. It should fit in just fine with the blue collar town of Pittsburgh.

- Weird stat of the game--How did SMU dominate time of possession while flinging the ball all over the yard? Oh, that's right, neither team ran the ball. The more and more you watch the evolution of college football, you almost have to come to grips with the notion that you don't have to have a running game any longer. And traditionalists are fuming.