Jan 022014
college football map

I consider myself as a lucky sports fan. At least I’m not a Cleveland sports fan. I can find hope without looking too hard. BUT! C’mon, everyone wants some of their teams to do better. So here’s my wishlist for college sports in 2014.

college football map

Pitt football

  • Better recruiting on Defense. I expect that Paul Chryst and his staff will continue to build the offensive lines and reel in quality offensive recruits. That’s evidenced by getting 4-star RB Chris James as well as offensive linemen Mike Grimm and Alex Bookser. But I just don’t see those studs coming in on defense. Matt House took some pretty harsh criticism for the defense this year. Some of it was deserved, some not. But Pitt’s whiffed on some local kids who would have helped out a lot on defense. And that comes down to House’s and the defensive staff’s ability to recruit. He has to get better there. No amount of coaching ’em up will help if there aren’t capable players behind the schemes and instruction.
  • Pitt Logo - block letteringPaul Chryst’s growth as a coach. Chryst needs to become a better game day coach. Some of that is getting his guys in and up to speed. Some of it is just better in-game adjustments. There are times where you see what his offense is capable of. Games vs Duke and ND. The near comeback against UNC. The bowl game vs Bowling Green. I like Chryst and believe he can become a great long-term coach but he has continue to grow as a coach.
  • Tyler Boyd contending for the Biletnikoff Award. He had a monster season and with the emergence of Manasseh Garner and return of JP Holtz, I expect that Boyd will continue to put up big numbers. (Especially if he’s left in to return punts or kickoffs).
  • 8-4 regular season record. Simple and easy. Winning more will improve recruiting, improve the morale of fans and draw more people to Heinz Field. It will show tangible proof of the growth/regeneration of the program. Avoid pulling a Pitt more than once next season and 8 wins is doable. Navy should have been a win. Same with Georgia Tech. That there would have given Pitt an 8-4 regular season record.

Pitt basketball

  • A strong ACC season. The ACC is not as strong as the Big East once was. It isn’t. Not this year at least. It ain’t no picnic either but Pitt’s been down this road before. I expect that Pitt, warts and all, should be in the top half of the conference. Outside of Duke, UNC and Syracuse, whom should Pitt fear? NC State, UVA, ND, UMD – good teams, yes. But not other-worldly programs. Fourth place is there for the taking. Continue reading »

Condoleeza Rice on the College Football Playoff Committee

 College Football, Football, The Bigger Picture  Comments Off on Condoleeza Rice on the College Football Playoff Committee
Oct 092013

Secretary_Rice_With_Afghan_President_Hamid_KarzaiThere’s been some mild controversy regarding former NSA Advisor Condoleeza Rice’s appointment to the college football playoff selection committee. Some of that is sexist. Some legitimately calls into question her experience and therefore standing to be on the committee. Here’s one I hadn’t considered from SBNation’s weekly Alphabetical column:

Zubaydah. As in Abu Zubaydah, waterboarded 83 times in the month of August 2002 with the consent of the Secretary of State National Security Advisor at the time, Condoleezza Rice.

Here is a non-sexist case to be made against the selection of Condoleezza Rice as a member of the new College Football Playoff committee: she endorsed the use of torture. Note: not “enhanced interrogation techniques,” or “extreme cuddling,” but torture, a practice whose ultimate end is simply more torture.

This is a sport of unpaid labor working under sketchy contracts beneath the auspices of coaches and athletic directors taking an insane chunk of available wages. This is a sport in the throes of denial over a number of health and safety issues, including the idea that your brain might not work properly after even a limited amount of time spent playing it.

But even this filthy marketplace of confidence men and shell non-profits running profitable black market businesses has lines it won’t cross. There are some who will even laugh at you for mentioning the committee candidacy of a rogue’s choice like Barry Switzer, someone who giddily trampled the rules of amateurism during his tenure at Oklahoma. (That feels weak. Switzer ran a monster truck over them, then hit reverse, and then ran them over one more time before pouring gasoline on them while yelling “WORLDSTAAAAARRRRR” and pointing at the camera.)

Those same people will smile and applaud the bold choice of Rice without an ounce of irony, because this sport has so warped their brains that one minute they will side with the rules of the NCAA and the next minute against those of human decency, the Geneva Convention, and every tenet of even the loosest definition of human rights. I hate it when the stink of politics wafts over into college football, but some stenches should follow you wherever you go for the rest of your life, if only to warn others.

In closing: I’d rather have Jackie Sherrill on this committee than Condoleeza Rice. At least Sherrill limited his torture to livestock, and apologized afterwards.

I wasn’t particularly excised about Rice’s inclusion in the CFB playoff committee when I heard about it. I don’t know about her level of knowledge about college football but I’ve always read that she’s bright and I figure she’ll do a diligent job. But if someone objects to her appointment based on the above reasoning, well, I can’t say that I find fault with that.