Friday, October 31, 2008


October 31, 2008

The Pittsburgh Panthers will look to rebound from a demoralizing 54-34 home loss to Rutgers last week when they travel to South Bend to meet the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Both teams will enter the contest with identical 5-2 records.

While the Panthers were embarrased on their home field as Rutgers' anemic offense rolled to a 54-point explosion, just 25 points less than they had scored in their first six games against 1-A opponents, there is reason to be cautious if your an Irish backer this week. The combined record of the opponents ND has beaten in their five wins is 9-30, with 4-4 Stanford being the best of the sorry bunch. That probably sheds some light on why Notre Dame is just a 4 and a half point home favorite according to the latest NCAA Football Lines.

The match-up to watch might center around the Pitt secondary against the Irish spread offense. Last week, Rutgers shredded the Panther defense for 371 yards in the air and six touchdowns and since moving towards the spread offense, Irish QB Jimmy Clausen has averaged over 300 yards passing the last four games.

The biggest concern for the Panthers is the Pittsburgh injury report which lists Bill Stull as doubtful for the game after suffering a concussion last week in the RU game that had him carted off the field. The likely replacement is sophomore Pat Bostick and JUCO transfer Greg Cross will also likely see action as well. The Panthers need a balance through the air to give room to their superb running back, LeSean McCoy, who is usually the best player on the field when he plays.

Tough game to call, we are not sold on the Irish as a good football team, however, playing at home against a team with a major quarterback question mark, we look for them to get the win by passing the ball against a secondary that was just exposed by a poor passing team. it will be close, because LeSean McCoy IS that good...


Notre Dame 27
Pittsburgh 24


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Friday, October 24, 2008


October 24, 2008

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights finalled cracked the win acolumn against a Division 1-A opponent last weekend witn a 12-10 upset win over UConn at home. Now they will go for two in a row when they travel to meet Pittsburgh, a team they have had some good luck with of late.

The Panthers continued their impressive run by blitzing through Navy last weekend for a 42-21 win. The victory was the Panthers' 5th in a row after a season opening loss to Bowling Green.

While Walt Harris had little trouble versus Rutgers, Dave Wannstedt has not had similar luck against the Scarlet Knights. Pitt is 0-3 against RU since Wannstedt took over and will look to ride star running back LeSean McCoy to a win to break that streak.

The oddsmakers certainly believe in Pitt as current NCAA Football Lines have the Panthers as a 10 1/2 point favorite.

Pittsburgh is pretty much middle of the road in most offensive categories, but the play of McCoy has liften them in recent weeks. The sophomore running back has gained 447 yards in the last three games, runnign for an average of 6 yards a carry on 76 attempts. All three games resulted in road wins for Pitt.

Rutgers comes into the game with one of the worst offensives in Divison 1-A and the solid Pitt defense should continue to make life miserable for their guests on Saturday. The graduation of Ray Rice has hit Greg Schiano's club hard and shoddy play at quarterback has exasperated the problem. It has certainly been No Rice = No Dice for RU Football this season.

That said, 10 1/2 points is a lot of points for the Panthers to cover. Rutgers will look to take advantage of some expected poor weather and a slippery Heinz Field turf to keep this game close, but Pitt should be able to earn win #6 in a row.


Pittsburgh 20
Rutgers 12


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by Zach Smart

“From now on, nothing goes down unless I'm involved. No blackjack no dope deals, no nothing. A nickel bag gets sold in the park, I want in. You guys got fat while everybody starved on the street…It’s my turn.” - Frank White (King of New York)

Frank: Come to the Plaza Hotel, I’ve got work for you. Ask for Frank White.

Jamie: Come to the Peterson Events Center, I’ve got work for you. We own a 96-10 record and .906 winning percentage there.

Like the legendary, fictional gangster Frank White, the main character in the 1990 thriller 'King of New York', Jamie Dixon has a penchant for getting some of New York’s toughest young guns to go to work for him. In the past, he’s bred players like Carl Krauser, a player who etched his name in New York streetball lure and made waves on the AAU circuit, playing for the Broncos. Last season, Dixon boasted an All-New York backcourt with Brooklyn’s Levance Fields, outside sniper Ronald Ramon (Bronx) and Keith Benjamin (Mount Vernon). All the king’s men fought for Dixon’s crown in March, turning in a titanic, Godzilla-slaying 74-65 triumph over Roy Hibbert and Georgetown in the Big East Tournament Championship game on Dixon's home away from home: Madison Square Garden.


You Tube Highlights of Pitt BET Win

For the better portion of a decade, as head coach and assistant at Pitt, Dixon has sold top-flight recruits on a basketball culture, a top-of-the-line education, a New York pipeline, a chance to play before the bright, brimming Madison Square Garden in March and top notch college basketball odds of a ticket to the NCAA tournament.

This season, however, Dixon’s street nemesis’ Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, and Norm Roberts, amongst several others who are getting heavy in the New York recruiting game, are looking to outclass and dethrone the King of New York.

“We’re going to try to recruit the best kids in New York no matter what. We’re always going to try to,” said Roberts, who already secured 2009 guard and local product Omari Lawrence.

For Dixon, or should I say White, the point guard dilemma may be a real test of his street credit. Fields, who had a storied career at Xaverian, the alma mater of former Pitt standout Chris Taft, is sidelined for an unknown period of time.

“We’ve got (freshman Ashton Gibbs) playing the point guard right now and we have walk-on Ryan Tiesi playing point guard for us right now."

Freshman guard Travon Woodall, a 5-foot-11 Brooklyn-bred guard, is currently out with a concussion.

When asked about how the point guard situation has worked so far, Dixon responded with a Frank-like one-liner.

“They’ve got as much experience as you have, playing in our system,” he said to me. “So, it’s not ideal but nobody’s feeling sorry for us. You give it the best you can…they’re playing hard and getting better.”

The next area the 'King of New York' looks to be branching into is New Jersey. With an out of conference tournament appearance lined up for the Prudential Center in Newark and some Jersey recruits lined up, it looks like the King is branching out...but, he will not forget where he came from, afterall, Pittsburgh won 6x more games in Madison Square Garden last season than St. John's did (6 to 1).


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Friday, October 17, 2008


October 17, 2008

Has Dave Wannstedt and his Pittsburgh Panther football program turned the corner? Evidence is beginning to suggest they just might have and are now ready to compete for the Big East conference title this season. The Panthers road star running back LeSean McCoy to an impressive 26-21 upset win over the South Florida Bulls in their last outing, October 2nd. McCoy darted his for 142 yards on 28 carried and two touchdowns, including the game winning three-yard score in the closing moments to give Pitt the road upset before a Thursday night national television audience.

The Panthers dominated the game throughout against the Bulls, putting together their most complete effort of the season, moving to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Big East.

There will also be some revenge on the Panthers mind this weekend as they head to Anapolis (MD) to meet the Midshipmen of Navy. Last season, at Heinz Field, Navy stunned Pittsburgh by rolling up over 330 yards of rushing in a 48-45 win. Navy went on to go bowling last year and finish with a 8-5 record. This year, Navy is off to a 4-2 start, having beaten Rutgers of the Big East (23-21) at home and an impressive 24-17 win at Wake Forest already, they will look to try to steal another one. Pitt is coming off 16 days off since their last game and also has a date with Notre Dame on the horizon next...uh oh, the classic 'sandwich' game.

The Panthers should be ok in this one. Navy's offense is still potent, but not as strong as last season while the Panther defense is stronger. The college football odds currently list the Panthers as a 3-pt favorite, and riding McCoy and keeping the defense honest enough with Bill Stull finding receivers Derek Kinder and the emerging Jonathan Baldwin deep should give Pitt enough balance to win a tough one on Saturday.


Pittsburgh 34
Navy 28


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