Panther Rants is The Onion of Pitt Sports. Formerly a serious recruiting blog written by a serious recruiting writer, the site was taken over by mediocre bloggers that provide satire, sarcasm and anything but serious information. Everything on this site is tongue-in-cheek and is not meant for serious consumption.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Each Thursday during the college football season former Pitt head football coach and Panther Rants college football analyst Serafino "Foge" Fazio will telepathically give his breakdown of the Panthers and all things happening in the world of college football. His knowledge of the game is unrivaled, but please bear with the coach as he sometimes thinks it's still 1985. Take it away, coach:
I once drove from New York City to Boston and upon arriving at the end of my trip I was asked what I thought about Connecticut. "Connecticut?" I asked. "What's Connecticut?"
My acquaintance assured me Connecticut was a state, but later conceded that it's little more than a highway. He also told me that the really nice rest stop I was describing was actually a city called Hartford. I was still a skeptic until he mentioned UConn. You see, I always thought it was Yukon, a great basketball school from the permafrost laden territory of western Canada. I have to admit that idea always seemed a little odd to me.
Now I'm told that Yukon ... excuse me, UConn, actually has a football team and that seems even more strange. I know Temple, who UConn lost to last week, had a football team. Hell, I know something about losing to Temple. I lost to Temple. UConn "lost" to Temple last week. In the pathetic state of Temple football today - they were run over by Buffalo, which I didn't think was really that embarrassing until I learned it was a college by that name and not the Bills - anything less than a win by three touchdown over Temple is a loss. Why is that? Because it tells you and everyone else something about your team - you stink.
I was offered game film from the UConn/Temple game to break it down. But just then my new best friend, wlat, told me not to bother. He said the final score was all I needed to know that UConn is not a good team. I agree. A close win against Temple is akin to taking home what's left at closing time - you may have gotten some trim, but no matter how many beers you had you can never rationalize what you did the next day.
What shocked me most in all of this was learning that we somehow have lost two of three against UConn. I wonder what that says about our team? Saturday is a chance to erase those memories and start a new era where MassPike U. returns the entirety of its focus to cheating at basketball.
Turning to our Panthers ... what can you say about true freshman LeSean McCoy that hasn't already been said? How about this: It's clear he can't pass the ball, which actually shocked me. It seems this kid can do everything. The other day when I visited practice he even hand delivered my shmuffins right after taping a phone message asking fans to come out to Saturday's game. I understand he is a leading candidate for the athletic director's job. But if "Shady" could pass, Pitt likely wins that game.
That's not a knock on Shady. It's Kevan Smith's inability to pass - he's a quarterback, after all, and I know the game hasn't changed so much since 1985 that quarterbacks are no longer the guys throwing the forward pass - in addition to receivers dropping touchdown passes and fumbling deep in their own end late in the game that proved to be the biggest issue. Are those problems going to be resolved this week? One would have to think that will either be the case or that Shady will have learned how to pass during the week in between.
Even if Smith can't pass, I can't see that being a problem. For Johnny Majors' sake, this is UConn. This a team that has "wins" against Duke (lost 22 of past 23) and Maine (again, I didn't know they played football) and lost to Temple. This is a team that gave up 189 rushing yards at a 4.8 yards per carry clip to Temple. What's Shady going to do against that pathetic run defense? And Shady has help this week. Junior tailback LaRod Stephens-Howling returns from injury. Saturday could feature two Pitt backs breaking the century mark.
Prediction: Pitt will dominate this game. I didn't even get into breaking down my specialty - defense. That unit has been stellar and will continue that play this weekend. Pitt 35, Yukon 6. It's over at halftime.
* What the hell happened to Auburn? Not to take anything away from South Florida, but some of the shine came off that win last week.
*Congrats to Lloyd Carr for finally getting the Wolverines into the win column. Lloyd, I know the feeling of being a lame duck coach. But, please, take it from me and do try to continue to win. Packing it in during those lame duck seasons is something I've always regretted. Oddly enough, you can still make it to a BCS game this year. The Fat 10 is awful. The conference's poster child this season is apparently Penn State. I expect you will win this weekend as the nitters haven't beaten anyone even average yet. Looking at the rest of the conference, who's out there that really strikes fear into anyone's heart? Go out on a high note with another trip to the Rose Bowl. It's within your reach.
*Jabba the Weis, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
*Kirk Ferentz, please pick up the blue courtesy phone and try to explain your salary.
*Is there a bigger train wreck in the country than Syracuse?
*Think any school and its former coach miss each other more right now than Louisville and Bobby Petrino? Mulligan, anyone?
*Rutgers is the most complete team in the Big East.
*Everyone else is playing for third place, nationally. USC and LSU are that much better than the rest of the country.
Well, I'm off to finish a bag of shmuffins.