BIG EAST FOOTBALL PREVIEW: WEEK #2 PITTSBURGH
September 5, 2008
The 2008 college football season was very much anticipated for the Pittsburgh Panthers and their fans. However, after week #1, football fans in the city of Pittsburgh are more interested in studying the NFL Odds to see how their beloved Steelers stack up this season as the Panthers were beaten at home by Bowling Green out of the MAC.
The Panthers watched a 14-0 lead evaporate as the Heinz Field crowd was in shock as the Falcons dominated the game from that point to earn the 27-17 win over the 25th ranked Pitt squad.
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The loss seemed to be more of the same from head coach Dave Wannstedt and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh as their NFL mentality of playing safe and conservative bit them in end once again. The attitude around the program went from promise as the looked to prove last season's finale upset of West Virginia was not a fluke to despair as fans are trying to come up with prospective coaching lists if this is the end of the line for Wannstedt who is now 16-20 in his Pitt tenure with 10 losses coming as the favorite (and three wins against 1-AA opponents).
Up this weekend is a match-up with the Bulls of Buffalo, who are 1-0 coming off a 42-17 home win over UTEP. Last season, UB finished 5-7 (same record as Pitt), but were 5-3 in the MAC. They lost to both Rutgers (38-3) and Syracuse (20-12) of the Big East on the road a season ago.
In their opening win over C-USA's UTEP, quarterback Drew Willy completed 10 of 16 passes for 221 yards (nearly 14 yards an attempt) and 4 touchdowns. Running backs James Starks (179 yards) and Brandon Thermilus (102) yards both went over the century mark in rushing yards. Defensively, the Bulls allowed just 67 yards rushing and 266 total in the game.
We expect the Panthers to open things up and use their athletic advantages to throw down field to weapons such as Derek Kinder (a 2006 1st team all-Big East performer) and create more space for Lesean McCoy, who averaged just 3.1 yards a carry last week.
Pressure is most certainly on the Pitt coaching staff here on out. The time is now to start showing some imagination and putting to use their highly acclaimed recruitng abilities and become a force in the Big East football league. They dominated statistically last week (except for turnovers), now they just need to play to win. Will they learn in time for week #2? Looking at the College Football Odds, the 14-point favored Panthers has the oddsmakers behind them, let's see if their coaching staff believes in their talent and lets them let it all hang out.
For the fans in Pittsburgh to be excited and fill Heinz Field, it would have to be the Steelers and Bills instead of the Panthers and Bulls, however.
Labels: Football Previews