Tag: Miami Hurricanes
… Or Yes, We Like to Get Ahead of Ourselves at Pitt
Ok, so the ACC released their schedules for the 2013 and coupled with a scheduled home game against Notre Dame, there is awesomeness all around for Pitt fans:
|New Mexico||at Duke|
|Notre Dame||at Georgia Tech|
|Florida State||at Syracuse|
|Miami||at Virginia Tech|
But since I’m a Pitt fan and we forever live in the land of hope and tomorrow. Here’s a projection of Pitt’s home schedules in the next couple years afterwards:
|Delaware||at Notre Dame|
|Georgia Tech||at UVA|
There is currently a scheduled away game at FIU but I expect that to be bought out. It’s not as exciting as 2013 but home games vs Iowa, GT and Virginia Tech are very solid.
Onward brave denizens!
|Notre Dame||at Akron|
|UVA||at Georgia Tech|
|home vs ACC cross division||at Syracuse|
|Open||at Virginia Tech|
No telling what the cross-division game will be. As it stands, I probably expect the Akron game to be bought out or moved to a home game so we have a home MACrifice. Then the Open date shown would be a BCS level opponent similar to Iowa or Navy. Without having looked at their schedule, the Open Date could be WVU since ND would fulfill Steve Pederson’s wish to have a National opponent.
And the one that’s sure to give me a heart attack:
|Duke||at Notre Dame|
|Georgia Tech||at Miami|
|Virginia Tech||at UVA|
ACC cross division
|Open Date||Open Date|
I listed an Away and Home Open Date just for balance’s sake. It’s entirely likely that Pederson will schedule two home games, both against subpar teams (MACrifice and FCS). With ND away and PSU at home, it’s unlikely that Pederson would try to WVU since PSU already fulfills the regional and BCS level opponent in one. Pederson would probably have tried to get the 2015 BCS-level home-and-away in non-consecutive years so as to avoid three BCS-level non-conference opponents in one year.
Past 2016, there’s three more years of Pennstate games and a home game vs Delaware in 2019. But I’m probably going to get stabbed by a Pennstater (maybe even my own kin, Munia!) in 2016 (if not sooner) so I’ll stop here.
Or… Why Joe Paterno is Laughing Himself Silly Down in Heaven
In the wake of Big East Commissioner John Marinatto’s (forced) resignation, there’s been a lot of revisionist history about what should have been done to strengthen the league. I don’t think anything substantive could have been done post-2004; certainly nothing that would have prevented further defections.
It’s been written that the conference dithered too much in the wake of the 2004 ACC defections. The additions of Louisville, Cincinnati and USF stabilized the league but that was it. UCF or Memphis might have been decent additions at the time but no available school would have radically shifted the balance of power nor provided the anchoring presence that the University of Miami once did.
A league needs an anchor tenant (or two) around which to build its brand. The ACC already had a high mid-level brand in Clemson and got an anchor tenant when they admitted Florida State in 1992. Prior to 2004, the Big East wasn’t the clear-cut worst BCS conference; it was relatively on par with the ACC in football and could have even tried to poach FSU and maybe UMD and UVA, two decent mid-level brands. But instead, the ACC acted boldly and snagged the Big East’s anchor tenant (Miami), a high mid-level brand (Virginia Tech) and a large market (Boston College).
So I would contend that the Big East as a major football league has been doomed to die a slow death since losing the Hurricanes. I, for one, am very relieved that Pitt is off that sinking ship.
Perennially on the upswing, the Atlantic Coast Conference had a banner weekend with a number of its marquee programs in action against some quality competition.
The University of Miami withstood Ohio State’s best shot and delivered a resounding 36-24 defeat to the Hurricanes at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio. The score would have been closer if OSU had bothered to be less dominant.
Florida State did its level best to thrust Oklahoma’s Landry Jones into the Heisman conversation as the sophomore signal-caller went 30-for-40 for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in leading the Sooners to a 47-17 victory that had to have former head coach Bobby Bowden rolling in his grave. Wait, Bobby Bowden isn’t dead? Very well then. Note to self: keeellll Bobby Bowden.
Defending ACC champion Virginia Tech burnished its non-conference credentials, following up last weekend’s close loss to Boise State by failing to come back to beat D1-AA school James Madison. This is the second time in as many years that a D1-AA school has defeated an ACC school from the Old Dominion State.
But perhaps the greatest signal of the ACC’s ascendancy was Virginia’s penalty-filled 17-14 loss to USC. The Trojans were so intimidated by the Cavaliers that they followed last week’s 11 penalties by committing 13 penalties for 240 yards. When asked how the Men of Troy could have played so badly and still won, UVA coach Mike London replied, “Don’t go ripping on Lane Kiffin! He’s just a kid! Come to me! I’m a man! I’m 49!!”
ACC proponents celebrated the conference’s gumption in scheduling such tough opponents, also pointing to Clemson’s epic clash with the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College and Maryland’s beatdown of Morgan State. ACC officials also decried the soft non-conference schedules of non-AQ schools, citing that Boise State’s marquee BCS win has been tainted because the Broncos’ opponent has since lost to a D1-AA school. When pointed to the fact that said opponent was from the ACC, the officials changed the subject to Midnight Madness.
One of my main interests in college football is watching the rise and fall of programs that don’t belong to the normal big dawgs’ club. Occasionally one of the top tier programs will fall on hard times but you can’t keep a Texas or an Oklahoma or a PennState or a Southern Cal down for too long. You can see the downturn today at Notre Dame and Michigan but don’t count those programs out for long. (If you’re short-sighted enough to point out that ND hasn’t been factor since the early 90′s, please keep in mind that college football has been played for over a hundred years. A decade is a blip on the radar).
The pursuit of consistent excellence at schools below the high historical threshold is a fascinatingly excruciating exercise. What combination of coaching, recruiting, facilities and plain old luck would it take to engender year-in, year-out contention. Can these schools really dare to dream of being consistent top-10 programs.
The big dawgs have institutional advantages that continually pull down their lesser cousins. Michigan steals Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia, his own alma mater. Alabama lures Nick Saban from the pro’s after a short trip thru the wilderness of coaching mediocrity. Once upon a time, Johnny Majors left Pitt after winning a National Title in order to go home to Tennessee.
Other times, it is the lure of extended history that lays waste to a school’s attempts to climb up the ladder. On signing day 2003, Pitt lost the jewels of a top-25 class when its top QB recruit de-committed to sign with Pennstate and its top RB recruit de-committed to sign with Miami instead. That neither player lived up to his reputation is not the point. The recruiting losses so gravely affected Walt Harris’ faith in his own program that his agent publicly downplayed Pitt’s absolute ability to ever rise to the top. One year later, Harris was pushed out after leading Pitt to the Fiesta Bowl.
You can almost hear the nervous chattering at Cincinnati, a school with less history than Pitt or Cal or Wisconsin. Here you have a program newly arrived on the big stage with a dynamic young coach, Brian Kelly, who could very well give Ohio recruits a second legitimate in-state destination. But like Mark Dantonio before him, most pundits feel it’s only a matter of time before Kelly jumps to a “big” program, leaving the Bearcats to hope they can strike gold with a third coaching hire. Yeah sure. Tell that to Louisville which weathered the departure of John L. Smith by hiring Bobby Petrino but have so far failed with Petrino’s replacement, Steve Kragthorpe.
Sometimes, geographical disadvantages contribute to a program’s uneven performance. Clemson and South Carolina come to mind. Both have had or presently have fine coaches. Neither have really sniffed extended 1st-tier success. The biggest and best of the Palmetto State probably aren’t numerous enough to construct a powerhouse program given that two large programs exist in the state and many of the top prep stars may long to play at Rocky Top or Between the Hedges instead of Death Valley or Williams-Bryce stadium. Is it too much of a coincidence to note that Cal’s rise and Oregon’s steady success has coincided with Washington’s fall from grace?
The upshot of all these considerations is not to excuse Pitt or Louisville or South Carolina from failing to consistently reach the big time. In the end, these programs have only themselves to blame. If a shizzle hole like Norman, OK can become a destination for the best prep stars, the Steel City or even Corvallis shouldn’t be too far behind.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
There is a constantly raging debate in college football about haves/have nots. Central to this discussion is the plight of previous national powers fallen trying to rejoin the elite and programs with maybe one or two brief past glory periods trying to do the same.
As to the former, you have programs such as Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida State and Miami-FL. It has been claimed that Nebraska stands little of being mentioned in the same breath as USC again because players have greater choice and why should any one now need to go to Lincoln, NE. Such a position neglects the resurgence of a program that fell on hard times in the 1990s – the Oklahoma Sooners. Why on earth would anyone want to go to Norman, OK?!
In Notre Dame’s case, academics and recruits’ ignorance of ND’s past cachet has been their undoing. However, ND’s academics have always been stringent. For FSU & Miami-FL, the ever-increasing attention placed on recruiting Florida has certainly hurt these programs’ talent bases. Recruits no longer need to sit as the 3rd string WR at UM when you can be a star (and get TV exposure) at Rutgers or South Florida. However, the rise of South Florida itself and continued excellence at the University of Florida is testament to the depth of the Sunshine State.
In the second case, you have lesser programs such as Clemson, Ole Miss and unfortunately, my alma mater, Pitt. These are programs that experienced meteoric success in short periods in the past. They have never been consistent national title contenders decade after decade like UMich, Ohio State & USC. Yet fans of these schools still look on their teams as still being one snap short, one player short of returning to the glory years. They go from coach to coach, AD to AD, in search of that elusive peak.
In order to divine whether these two types of programs indeed have a lessened or non-existence shot at resurging, we must look more closely at the Have’s in college football. Actually, we should say the Current-Have’s. OU is once again a national power while Nebraska flounders. USC is a contender while Notre Dame languishes. Virginia Tech wins while Pitt languishes. Rutgers rise from (beyond) the ashes while Syracuse bottoms out.
My contention is that coaching is the biggest factor. Programs such as Clemson, Ole Miss, Pitt, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame all have the support of their Administrations. They have great or improving facilities. They all have some sort of tradition and a past of winning and producing great pro players. But they don’t or may not have the right coaching anymore.
Look at USC post-John Robinson/pre-Pete Carroll, OU after Switzer but before Stoops, Notre Dame since Lou Holtz’s departure. Consider Nebraska after Tom Osbourne, Florida State without Bowden’s great offensive coordinators. Now look at USC with Pete Carroll, OU with Stoops, LSU since Nick Saban and now with Les Miles.
It is not a chicken or egg issue. Great coaches can turn around a badly-constructed institution. A bad coach cannot turn win at a well-built administration. Certainly a bad coach can humble a great program. If that was not the case, Paul Hackett would still be at USC, Bob Davie would be winning titles at Notre Dame and Bill Callahan would not have one foot in the grave at Nebraska.
Because they exert greater control over their players and programs, college coaches have much more of an impact than professional coaches. Nick Saban awakened LSU; Greg Schiano is doing the near-impossible at Rutgers; Frank Beamer has built a colossus at his alma mater, Virginia Tech. Soon – Butch Davis at UNC, Dennis Erickson at Arizona State. H*ll, Steve Spurrier won at Duke two decades ago. South Carolina is/will be a picnic compared to Durham. And for my sake, let us hope – Dave Wannstedt at Pitt… or maybe the next guy.