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5 Thoughts - Falling For Pitt ... Again.
Pitt WR Jonathan Baldwin
We will not fall for Pitt again ... we will not fall for Pitt again ... maybe. It's just week one, and there's time to change things around. Or maybe Pitt's an underachiever again. The Panthers, JoePa's unbreakable record, and the rule changes in this week's 5 Thoughts.
5 Thoughts ... Sept. 1
spend the next 30 years in Norman, Oklahoma.
the sports world have any real idea just how amazing and
untouchable Joe Paterno’s record of 373 wins at the same
D-I/FBS school is? This is a very good, very
unappreciated Penn State team that should finish with at
least eight wins this year, and with the right breaks,
this could be a ten-win team. Say this is an 8-5 season
after the bowls and JoePa finishes the year with 380
wins at the school. Now, find the best combination of
youth and success in the game right now, probably
Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema, who’s 38 years old with a 22-5
record after beating Akron this week. To beat Paterno’s
mark, Bielema will have to average, AVERAGE, 11
wins a season for the next 32 years, and that’s assuming
Paterno is done after this season. Say Bielema averages
a solid nine wins a year for the rest of his career.
He’ll have to coach close to 40 more seasons, and would
be close to 80 years old, to beat the man.
For another example, take Bob Stoops (please), who turns
48 on September 9th. With a 98-22 record at Oklahoma,
Stoops has averaged close to 11 wins a season so far,
and is likely to hit the mark again this year. To beat
Paterno's record, Stoops will have to stay in Norman for
more than 28 years to be in the hunt, and he'd be around
75 by the time he'd be close.
In other words, enjoy the history while it’s happening
before the anti-Joe backers try to boot him out. You'll
never see these many wins by one coach at one elite
college football school ever again.
Dumping the Pitt
on everyone—present company included—who gave way too much
credit to Pittsburgh in the offseason. Saturday’s lethargic 27-17
loss to Bowling Green in front of a stunned home crowd was Exhibit
A, B, and C that the Panthers aren’t getting over the hump as long
as Dave Wannstedt is on the sidelines. This was supposed to be the
year that Pitt broke through, but no one gave enough of a look at an
offensive line that’s trying to break in current pros Jeff Otah and
Mike McGlynn. Or enough analysis of Wannstedt, who’s been a major
disappointment as a head coach in the pros and with three years at
his alma mater. Bowling Green is a nice MAC program, but with
expectations soaring in Western Pennsylvania, this was a game the
Panthers had to have in order to keep the positive offseason vibe
going strong. Now, after suffering one of the most embarrassing
losses of the opening weekend, Pitt might need to win the Big East
to keep Wanny off the unemployment line.
3. The first Saturday of the 2008 season reminded us is why
recruiting... and rankings... and assessments of (only) the physical
aspects of players are so woefully limited in their ability to predict a
Lots of folks claimed that the Pitt Panthers would be really good this
season... BCS bowl good.
For a team that's been downright mediocre over the past few years,
throughout the entirety of the Dave Wannstedt era, it seemed like a very
curious wave of distinctly unmerited hype. This was not a program that
seemed likely to suddenly become a big, bold bad boy in the college
Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the hype-meisters and
big-talkers were put in their place, as the home team suffered an ugly
and crushing loss to Bowling Green: ugly because of all the turnovers,
missed kicks, and dropped passes; crushing because of all the unearned
praise lavished upon the Panthers before they did anything to deserve
In life, it is said that a leopard doesn't change its spots.
In college football, the spots that don't change belong to the Panthers
As is the case with Texas Tech (we'll see how that program handles the
hype in 2008), it is wise to see legitimate and credible proof of an
ascendancy before daring to predict it.
Relax ... Pitt will be fine. Uh, really. Maybe.
everyone, this is week one. Week one. These are 18-to-22-year-old
kids who don’t get preseason games like the pros, and they get
roughly a quarter of the practice and film room time of the NFLers.
That’s not to say Pitt shouldn’t have beaten Bowling Green, or Texas
A&M shouldn’t have beaten Arkansas State, but the Panthers and
Aggies are hardly finished products. It's not like the Panthers lost
a conference game, like Oregon State did to Stanford, to inspire a
full-blown panic mode. They could quickly start to play up to their
talent level, beat Buffalo, and turn everything around. It's not
like Pitt was going to be playing for the national title. There are
three weeks before dealing with Syracuse in the Big East opener.
There are three weeks before the real season starts. Win the Big
East title, go to the Orange Bowl, forget about Bowling Green. (Or
beat Buffalo, get blasted by Iowa, lose to South Florida by 30, and
end the season by mid-October. This is Pitt, after all.)
Utah is a tight, veteran team that’s healthier than it was at the
end of last season when it was red-hot over the second half, while
Michigan’s offense is all but starting from scratch. Don’t shovel
dirt on the Wolverines just yet; remember what they did as last year
Don’t get too hung up on what happened. It’s easy to go overboard
with love after finally getting to see teams hit the field, and it’s
way too easy to assume as season is over, like Clemson’s, even
though there’s still everything to play for. If the Tigers go
ballistic and play like they’re supposed to the rest of the way, the
loss to Alabama could quickly be diminished in the BCS rankings.
Remember, the human polls tend to punish later losses and forget the
ones that happen in August.
With that said, the big wins can set the tone. Now, Utah is a
possible BCS buster. Alabama is expected to be a player in the SEC
race, and Stanford all of a sudden appears to be dangerous. Coaches
should be able to spin week one any way they want to when it comes
to motivating their teams, but that only matters if everything goes
right in week two.
in under 40 seconds
5. Why is it that they are always changing the rules in
college football? A couple of years ago it was that ridiculous
rule that kept the clock moving following a change of
possession. It took them one season to get that off the books.
This year it's the one that keeps the clock moving on an
out-of-bounds play once the ball is declared ready for
play--except for the last two minutes of the half or the game.
This is just to mimic the NFL or supposedly move the game
faster. That's ridiculous. When a team is trailing and trying to
mount a comeback, it needs every break possible. The game is
fine the way it is. Quit tinkering with the rules.