Monday, August 31, 2009

Blast from the Past

Here's a name not heard in a while - Christopher Harris calls Rashad Jennings a remote fantasy football sleeper as he has a chance to win the job as Maurice Jones-Drew's backup in Jacksonville. Not bad - I-AA RB to NFL backup in your rookie year...especially since he was the last running back selected in the draft.

Jennings isn't exactly lighting it up in the preseason with 9 yards on 5 carries, but he apparently is having a good camp. He was kind of in the wrong place at the wrong time with Pitt and didn't get much of a chance.

Arena Talk

Well, as I mentioned in a post last week, I had some fears about the Pitt/Duquesne game potentially being moved downtown. says that not only will this year's game be at Mellon Arena, but the game is expected to be played ANNUALLY at the new arena. I'm kind of disappointed and am still holding out hope that it's not going to be the case as I really felt the game at Duquesne was a lot of fun. But I guess they figure there's more money to be made by moving the game downtown. I'm curious to see how many other, if any, of Pitt's games will be there.

Couldn't This Have Happened Last Year

After a mini-vacation, I get back only to hear that Gil Brown apparently thought it was a good idea to get suspended. Had this happened last year, it wouldn't have been welcome news, but with a young team in need of veteran players, it's borderline disastrous. The only 'manageable' aspect is that he has a chance to be back by December 20th - before the Big East schedule begins. But while the schedule may not help them move up the RPI quickly, it's not a complete walkover. Games vs. Wichita State and then against Iowa or Texas at neutral sites could prove to be big tasks. Pitt then follows that up with the game against Indiana at MSG.

It seems like this guy is just always a step behind...with injuries, sometimes streaky play, and now this. He was really being counted on this year with such a young team and most assuredly would have been starting.

So who is going to get the start? Heck, the entire starting lineup is up for grabs. It looks like Nasir Robinson could benefit the most out of this. And yeah, it's early, but if I had to guess a starting lineup for the first game of the season? Well....

PG - Chase Adams
SG - Jermaine Dixon
SF - Nasir Robinson
PF - Dante Taylor
PF#2/C - Dwight Miller / Talib Zanna / JJ's anybody's guess

I'd also look for Pitt to go small (as if they're not already small enough) with a three-guard lineup at times.

I think Ashton Gibbs could end up getting more minutes than either Adams or Dixon, but Jamie Dixon's penchant for starting seniors may not get him the starting role. I expect Adams to start because I think the coaches will want to get Gibbs to SG. I also think Wanamaker and Lamar Patterson (at least until Gil gets back) will see plenty of minutes.

The front line is also completely unsolved with so many young players. I don't think Gary McGhee, the only player with ANY experience, will see much time.

And you thought football camp was interesting.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CBS Sportsline Blog Poll Week 1

The first CBS Sportsline Top 25 blog poll is out.

My final ballot did not change from my 'tentative' ballot I posted here a week or so ago. It is below.

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
4 Southern Cal
5 Alabama
7 Ohio State
8 Oklahoma State
9 Virginia Tech
10 Mississippi
11 Penn State
12 Georgia Tech
13 Boise State
14 Oregon
15 California
16 Georgia
17 North Carolina
18 Nebraska
19 Notre Dame
20 TCU
21 Florida State
22 Brigham Young
23 Oregon State
24 Miami (Florida)
25 Kansas

Now, I'm convinced that later in the season, the Big East will have at least two teams ranked in the Top 25. We just don't know which teams those are yet. My bet would be on Pitt and Cincinnati, but both have enough question marks to be left off my initial list.

Wrapping Up

Ray Fittipaldo of the PG confirms something I posted yesterday - that Coach Wannstedt didn't have the most logical of reasons for Bill Stull remaining the starter after a lackluster camp:

"I'm just trying to be about as honest about it as I can. He has 13 starts under his belt, so he's our starting quarterback. I feel good about the other guys and I feel good about Billy."

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement from the coach a week and a half before the season starts.

I'm not ready to throw Bill Stull under the bus and am more than willing to give him a chance. I just hope that if he struggles, someone else will get a look. Based on the number of reps that Sunseri got in camp, I think that he would get a shot.

Rod Rutherford is of course familiar with this situation:

As a mini-quarterback controversy swirls around Pitt, one Panthers staff member knows exactly what incumbent Bill Stull is going through.

Rod Rutherford, a first-year graduate assistant, heard the same type of clamoring in 2002 as a junior quarterback for the Panthers.

Just like this year, there were calls to bench the maligned upperclassman in favor of a gifted freshman with local ties.

Back then, it was true freshman Tyler Palko. These days, it is redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri, who attended the same high school as Dan Marino and excelled at training camp for the Big East-favorite Panthers.

"My advice to Billy would be just to continue to do the things that you can control," Rutherford said. "Let everybody else say or do whatever they want."

Things worked out pretty well for both Rod and Tyler.

With camp over, I'm more than happy to shift my attention to actual games. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wanny, Wanny, Wanny

Dave Wannstedt addressed the media today after camp. Here are some of the things I think that are somewhat interesting:

- Dan Hutchins apparently kicked a 47-yarder at the end of practice. I don't care how many times these guys do it until they get in an actual game.

- Wannstedt said, "I’m glad we’re not playing Saturday; we’re not by any means ready to play a football game." I can't imagine this is a true statement. At least I hope it's not. Hopefully Wannstedt is aware there is a game less than ten days away and that the team is somewhat prepared.

- Aaron Berry will apparently have no part in returning kicks or punts...thank goodness.

- Read into this what you will, but it sounds like Ray Graham is more a #1A than a #2 to me.

- Now, every press conference has its money statement. This is clearly it in this one. On Bill Stull, Wannstedt said, "He has 13 starts under his belt, so he’s our starting quarterback." Now, I really hope he didn't mean that to come out the way it did. And, just so you don't think I'm guilty of taking one sentence out of context, I urge you to view the link and read the whole section on Stull. If you read it the way I do, you can see exactly what I've been saying - that Bill Stull is Wannstedt's security blanket to some degree. He feels comfortable with him and despite the fact that many observers at camp will say he was outplayed, he appears to still be the starter.

News and Notes

Things are really slowing down and people are starting to get into gear for the season. A few things today...

Brandon Lindsey moved to defensive end and contemplated a transfer to a D-1AA school:

Lindsey contemplated his future while watching classmate Greg Williams develop into a potential four-year starter at strong-side linebacker. During spring drills, Lindsey told Pitt coaches that he intended to transfer to Division I-AA Norfolk State. Instead, the Panthers promised a change and moved Lindsey to defensive end.

It was an instant success, as the 6-foot-2, 240-pound redshirt sophomore from Aliquippa proved to be a pass-rushing specialist who starred in the Blue-Gold Game with four solo tackles and two sacks. He has sacks in both scrimmages in training camp and has taken advantage of injuries to starter Jabaal Sheard and top backup Shayne Hale to take repetitions with the first-team defense in the past week.

Buried in this article is the fact that Tony Tucker is, in all likelihood, not returning. I wasn't aware it had come to that - I wish him the best.

Meanwhile, Wannstedt takes part in a Q&A. I found this particularly interesting:

Q: How has it been seeing them grow as student-athletes off of the field?

A: That's the most exciting thing about college football compared to the NFL. You're getting 18-year old kids and you're given an opportunity to help them make a difference on the field, off the field, really in all aspects of life. I'm so proud of last year's class. We had 14 seniors and 13 of them graduated. 10 of them are in NFL camps. That's exciting. It makes me feel proud that those kids are working hard and accomplishing their goals.

10 of 14 seniors in NFL camps? That sounds reasonably impressive - even if they won't all make the cut...which they almost assuredly won't.

Paul Zeise thinks Joe Thomas could be the ultimate utility-style player for Pitt.

Brian Bennett at ranks Pitt's running backs 7th out of 8th in the league, even though he says they will 'far outperform its current ranking on my list.' Not sure why exactly he won't rank them higher, then. He also later says that Ray Graham or Dion Lewis could win Freshman of the Year. My pick was Lewis, but I'm not so sure about that now.

Oh, and FanFest is tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Basketball Thought

I'm taking the day off from football. Sue me.

Just a thought about basketball games. I'm wondering if Pitt will elect to play any games at the new arena downtown when it's completed.

I remember going to some games at the Mellon/Civic Arena in the past, which were kind of empty (with the exception of the NCAA tournament games there a few years ago). But now that Pitt is actually good, I'd imagine they could sell out or come close to it for a few games a year.

I'd welcome the opportunity to go to a few games down there, but I'd actually like them to keep the city game at each team's respective venue. If you were at the game at Duquesne two years ago, you know how electric it was. Mix in the fact that it was a close game (a five-point win for Pitt if I remember correctly), and it was an unbelievable atmosphere. The feeling of being in a small gym for a relatively big-time game to the city was great and I'll definitely be at Duquesne again this year.

If any game is being looked at to play in the new arena, it might be that one. But I think it'd be a shame to put that in a bigger venue. I've been to that game at Pitt and it's not nearly as much fun.

Similarly, I don't know if I want the big games (i.e. UCONN) to be played there as well. I think Pitt would definitely lose a bit of its home-court advantage playing in a somewhat foreign arena. Maybe schedule 2-3 of the middle-tier Big East games there. That would also connect more fans in the area with the team as more people would be able to go. Even though tickets to non-conference games can regularly be found on sites like eBay for face value, I think there's a bit of a disconnect with some fans who think the tickets are impossible to get.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the QBs

Pat Bostick appears headed for a redshirt assuming Bill Stull can safely get through the season (which is a big assumption) according to Paul Zeise.

I really hope this happens. Sunseri has already redshirted, so there's no point in playing Bostick ahead of him unless the coaches are sincerely convinced that he's that much better. I'd really like to see Bostick keep two years of eligibility after this season. I'm not saying he's the answer, but I think a full year of development without having to worry about playing in a game could really help him.

Meanwhile the left guard spot is still up for grabs and Ray Graham has officially moved ahead of Chris Burns as the back-up running back.

Even with Lewis assuming the starting job, I've got to think Graham will still come away with about 30% of the carries early on.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Ray Graham Show

Even though Dion Lewis appears to be the starter going into the season, Paul Zeise makes the case for Ray Graham to get some carries. And why not after garnering over 150 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns:

Graham, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound freshman tailback from Elizabeth, N.J., put on a show by picking up 152 all-purpose yards and scoring two touchdowns in Pitt's second scrimmage of training camp Saturday.

"I'm real excited with what Graham did," Wannstedt said. "Now, will he know what to do? Will he hold onto the ball and do all the other things to trust him in a football game? That is still up for evaluation, but the statement he made today is: 'I have the ability to make guys miss.'

"He did some Shady moves out there today."

With Graham having that kind of day coupled with Dion Lewis' mediocre 30 yards on 10 carries, it really shows you just how important it was for Lewis to get a head start, coming in in the Spring. Not saying that Graham is better at this point - either has yet to even play in a real game yet. But I think Lewis' early arrival really helped him get the jump on the other freshmen. I'm expecting to see boh used pretty frequently this least early on.

He seems to be a home run hitter of sorts as he broke a long one in the first scrimmage, too.

Don't forget, this guy had a monster senior year in high school.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And the Big East has been Officialy Shut Out

Well, the Big East has officially been left out of the polls as no team appeared in the AP Top 25 as well.

Pitt managed to land the 28th overall spot in the poll and received the most votes of any Big East team.

This is obviously due to the parity in the league and all the questions surrounding each team. I think once some of those questions are answered, you'll see at least three teams in the poll at some point later in the season. Who those teams are is anyone's guess. I don't think the league is bad by any means, although it is likely to be down from last year. I really feel the voters are having a hard time deciding just who is going to step up.

Do or Die

The second scrimmage of camp was today. Paul Zeise says it's a 'now or never' opportunity of sorts for some players.

But unlike the first scrimmage, there is no tomorrow -- for the most part, this will be the final audition until the games start Sept. 5.

That's because after today, the coaching staff will sit down and evaluate the first 12 days of practice and put together an initial depth chart before setting their sights on preparing for the season.

And while the competitions technically will continue for the final four days of camp, the opportunities to make a move significantly will decrease.

This scrimmage was closed to the public today, so I'm wondering how the players from the key position battles fared.

Good to hear that the secondary has limited giving up big plays other than to Jonathan Baldwin. That is one of my concerns about the team.

Injuries are all over the place.

Hope to have some scrimmage links tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Catching Up

I wanted to resist, but here is another QB story.

And, an AP article talks about Bostick's big game success (despite downplaying that he didn't play particularly well in either game other than mentioning his three interceptions).

Links fast and furious today:

Paul Zeise finally analyzes something I've been screaming about - the bowl situation.

And if that is what the line-up really looks like, in a year when the Irish don't qualify for the BCS and thus end up in the Champs Sports Bowl, the second place team will go to Charlotte to face an ACC team but the third place team in the Big East will end up in either Toronto, Birmingham or St. Petersburg against some MAC or Conference USA school.

That's not a very attractive lineup and speaks volumes about the work left to be done by the conference to continue to build itself up and change the perception of the programs in it.

Finally, someone who gets it.

It seems that everyone (at least from articles I've read) seem to think that the Gator Bowl is no big deal. True it's not a BCS bowl, but it's still a New Year's Day bowl and I consider it on that next Tier of big bowls such as the Cotton Bowl. And for those of you who don't think that's a big deal anymore, I would beg to differ. That may be the only college football casual fans watch all year long (yes, there are actually casual college football fans). A day off of work, too cold to do anything else (at least for those of us in the north) - a day full of college football. Outside of the BCS, New Year's Day is really THE day for college football.

Big East fans also weighed in about it.

Meanwhile, Paul also addresses something I discussed earlier (see below) - the use of the tight ends.

ZEISE: Yes. Cignetti has said as much on many occasions. And early in camp -- before Byham and Dickerson were both injured -- it reflected as much. He knows these guys are two of his best players and he said he wants to make sure they both get enough touches to have an effect on every game. Byham will also play a big role in the running offense because he has developed into an excellent blocker.

As I've said, Pitt is likely poised to use the TEs more - a questionable quarterback, no McCoy, solid players at seems like it's a given.

Shariff Harris
is seemingly in trouble. After a fair amount of hype surrounding him as the possible replacement for Shady last year, he seems to have fallen behind at least Dion Lewis, and now may be as low as 3rd or 4th on the depth chart.

Jarred Holley wants playing time.

Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard are going to be a handful.

Craig Bokor is one of the last holdovers from the Walt Harris era.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Football Notes

Gene Collier wonders aloud if Tino Sunseri is deserving of the starting QB spot.

Meanwhile, Dave Wannstedt confirms our worst fears:

"[Senior] Bill Stull is the starting quarterback," Wannstedt said. "And these other guys, well, obviously we are in training camp, we have to improve. I don't think it is as much as [they] have to prove anything as much as [they] just improve every day."

Okay, so maybe that was a bit harsh. It's not that I don't think Stull should necessarily be the starter. I just wish it was as open a competition as I thought it was supposed to be.

Later in the same article, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti appears to think it IS indeed open:

The news that Stull was called the starter by Wannstedt was a bit of a surprise to Sunseri, who said offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti is treating the quarterback position as "open competition."

"We are all trying to help each other every day," Sunseri said. "Whatever we can do to help the team is what we're going to try and do, and whoever can do it the best is going to be able to play. And coach Cignetti is very, very into that about that competition."

Wannstedt also thinks Dion Lewis is looking sharp - further possibly supporting my mild reach of predicting him as the Big East Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, Paul Zeise answers a question about Bostick possibly taking a redshirt in the Q&A - this is something I've thought about many times since Wannstedt burned....(I mean, used...I guess there's no good way to say it)....his redshirt.

I wouldn't be against it since they already redshirted Sunseri and can't do it again IF they are convinced Sunseri can be the backup. Why not redshirt Bostick if you can this year and allow him to have two years of eligibility? If they don't redshirt him and again burn his eligibility for a game or whatever, then I'll be convinced they are just trying to get him out of Pitt. If Stull plays most of the season and they are convinced Tino can handle the backup role, then there's no reason not to.

Dennis Dodd predicts Pitt to finish third in the conference, though he thinks a win vs. NC State could be part of a 6-0 start.

Zeise also discusses the scrimmage, Dion Lewis, and the kickers (among other things) in his blog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No Script For You

Now, with camp and scrimmages going on, this was a relatively minor note that almost slipped by me in today's Trib. My immediate reaction was, 'Has Steve Pederson lost his mind?' Let's take it piece by piece:

"I felt there had been enough changes," Pederson said.

What? What about all of the nonsensical Pitt logo changes over the past few years...terrible cartoon looking panther, block Pitt number, Pittsburgh, new feline looking panther, jagged looking Pittsburgh. I'm probably even missing one or two. I realize he wasn't there for all of these, but he also instituted bringing back the most hated logo this past year, terrible cartoon looking panther. Sorry, I don't know what else to call it. But I guarantee you know what I'm talking about. You know - the one that looks like a four-year old had free reign on a canvas.

"We didn't need to start re-inventing everything all over again.

Again - then why bring back the old logo last year?

We have a pretty good, recognizable brand, particularly among young people.

Um, sure you do. If you asked ten different people what logo they identify Pitt with, then show them all of the current/recent logos, you'd get all sorts of answers. That's because the logo has changed approximately 1,857 times since the mid 1990s. Your logo is part of brand recognition. Seriously.

I understand people like some things from years ago, but we're trying to recruit 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds

This is nuts. If you look at the stadium on any game day, you'll see all kinds of kids, all ages, wearing script stuff. This is so off-the-mark, it's not even funny.

and we've built a pretty good brand with our success with what we're doing, so I don't think now is the time to change much."


Pederson isn't inclined to have a throwback day on occasion, either.

"We did throwbacks one time, and those things generally are exciting in a one-time deal," he said, "but they never have seemed to quite take off (in sales)."

If the throwback logo isn't successful, then why are you still selling it? That's right - the script logo was readily available during Pitt games in the stadium and the Pete during basketball games. And it's STILL available...even with the new Nike logo merchandise.

Even though this is a relatively insignificant item, I'm amazed at some of Steve's comments, which seemingly make little to no sense. And it's not like he's trying to get back to 1-2 logos. If you look on the Pitt store website, there are tons of variations.

I like Steve - I think he's done a lot of good things for Pitt. But I wish he would just come out and say he doesn't like the script. When he says things like the above, it just makes people say, 'huh?'.

Really, it's a bit much.

Camp Kikakee Continues

Pat Bostick says all the right things about potentially not being Pitt's starter this year:

"I'd like my role to be the starting quarterback," said Bostick, who has become one of the team leaders over the past two years. "But I still have a job to do every day even if I am not. I think some guys, if they are not the starter, they let their foot off the gas but that is not the case with me.

"Your opportunity can come at a moment's notice and it is one play. One moment's notice an injury happens and you are out there playing and you have to be ready. What really motivates me is that this university made an investment in me to do a job and I've got to do it."

There are an awful lot of injuries and Dan Mason makes headway to gain the starting spot at middle linebacker...I'd still have to see it to believe it.

Meanwhile, my worst fears continue to be confirmed, as the Big East inks a deal with the Champs Sports Bowl.

Oh, and there's a pretty important scrimmage in case you haven't heard.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Here's something we haven't heard in a while - Pitt short on Tight Ends? Well it's only temporary:

Pitt is suddenly short on tight ends, as redshirt freshman Mike Cruz was excused for a second consecutive day for what coach Dave Wannstedt called "personal reasons", and seniors Nate Byham (headache) and Dorin Dickerson (hamstring) were held out of Sunday's afternoon session.

This was a minor note in the Trib's camp review today, but it actually brings up an interesting question. Just how relevant will Pitt's tight ends be this year?

An outsider looking at the circumstances may say quite a bit. With a struggling QB and options such as Byham and Dickerson, Pitt could line up a lot of two TE sets. Sounds like the logical thing to do, but....well, never mind.

And speaking of Dickerson, you've got to wonder how he feels about his Pitt career. He's been moved more times than an Army brat and after so much hype, hasn't really had the chance to prove himself. Couple the handling of his situation with that of super-athletic (so we're told) Greg Cross, and you wonder if Pitt will struggle to land the type of super-athlete this team could desperately use. Not saying Pitt hasn't/won't land talented kids - they have every year since Wannstedt has been here. But when it comes to the Terrelle Pryors of the world, someone multi-dimensional, you've got to question whether Pitt can land someone like that with the way they've handled Dickerson and Cross.


I don't know if Cameron Saddler is the answer at returning kicks, but I sure as heck don't want to see Aaron Berry doing it.

Paul Zeise sees a trend developing, further damaging the little faith I have in Bill Stull, and also answers questions about the possible QB controversy.

Meanwhile, taking a break from camp, Brian Bennett tells us who Pitt's greatest villains are. Yes, one is the old guy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009 Blog Poll Week 1 Preview

This is my pre-preseason Top 25 scheduled to appear on the blog poll. This may change prior to the first week, but as of now, this is what I'm scheduled to go with.

1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
4 Southern Cal
5 Alabama
7 Ohio State
8 Oklahoma State
9 Virginia Tech
10 Mississippi
11 Penn State
12 Georgia Tech
13 Boise State
14 Oregon
15 California
16 Georgia
17 North Carolina
18 Nebraska
19 Notre Dame
20 TCU
21 Florida State
22 Brigham Young
23 Oregon State
24 Miami (Florida)
25 Kansas

Watch for the first week poll on on Monday, August 24th around noon.

A Controvery Brewing?

Paul Zeise makes it clear that while he isn't ready to declare a QB controversy outright, he does believe that Stull has had some competition - and not from Bostick, who some believed might be able to challenge him:

Let's put it into golf terms, since, the PGA is currently going on and well, you know who is a virtual lock to win it.....

But say for instance, Bill Stull began camp with a big lead, say he was at -10 over Pat Bostick at -6 and Tino Sunseri at -4.

Well, so far through five holes on the final round, Stull is about three over par (or -7 for the event), Bostick is about one over (or -5) and Sunseri is about two under (or -6 and surging).....In other words, stay tuned to this one because the back nine is going to get very, very interesting.

Meanwhile, despite getting more work as of late, Wannstedt says that Bostick is still #2 on the depth chart - for now:

For the second day in a row, redshirt freshman Tino Sunseri took more reps than junior Pat Bostick with the second unit. Sunseri ended the red-zone drills with a pair of crisp touchdown passes. Wannstedt said nothing has changed on the depth chart. Sunseri and Bostick are backing up Stull, who had another rough day.

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest question is whether Wannstedt will let go of his 'comfort zone' in Stull and give he job to a fairly inexperienced starter of what could be a conference championships team.

Meanwhile, ESPN The Magazine talks about the QB issue and gives its Big East conference preview (Must be an insider to view article).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Off to Good Starts

Pitt's top two NFL Draft Picks, LeSean McCoy and Scott McKillop got off to good starts.

McKillop led the 49ers in tackles with nine (eight solo) in their 17-16 win over the Broncos. I watched this game and McKillop was all around the ball on a lot of plays.

Meanwhile, Shady (presumably getting the start with Westbrook out - I didn't see the game), led the Eagles with 55 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Yes, I know it's the preseason, but still...

Day Four Events

Day Four of Pitt brought a somewhat disturbing picture of the QB situation:

I had written after the first two days that the quarterbacks threw the ball well and they did. But I also cautioned they were throwing in 7 v 7's and without a pass rush. Well, yesterday the defense turned up the heat a little bit and it all came crumbling down.

Starter Bill Stull looked a lot like the player who ended last season and Tino Sunseri looked a lot like a second-year player. And Pat Bostick was the odd-man out yesterday as he barely participated in any of the team stuff as he and Sunseri will be alternating days to get the bulk of the work with the second team.

This key question remains for me - Is there any way Stull will not start the season as he Pitt QB. It seems more and more unlikely the closer we get to the first game. As mediocre (and sometimes downright bad) as he was last year, he seems to be the 'safe' choice - to Wannstedt at least. I think he figures the defense looks great and he really only needs someone to manage the games at this point. And who better to manage the games than an experienced Senior?

I'm not sure that's the way he should be thinking. In fact I'm pretty sure it's not. But nonetheless, that's where I believe he's at.

Man, Does This Stink

So on the heels or probably losing the Gator Bowl, I was a bit worried.

Seems like my concerns are valid

The Big East is close to a deal that would send its No. 2 team to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando and its No. 3 to the Sun Bowl, a source close to the negotiations told

The league's current deal, which ends after this season, has its No. 2 team going to the Gator Bowl or Sun Bowl, with Notre Dame eligible to be taken in place of the Big East twice in a four-year span.

The Champs Sports Bowl? I'll admit it's not the worst bowl in the world, but I don't think it's close to the Gator Bowl. This effectively would remove the Big East from New Years Day outside of the BCS.

I know what you're thinking. Surely this arrangement would at least keep Notre Dame out. Wrong again. The only minor benefit to this deal (as it's being reported) is that Notre Dame would only be able to steal this bowl appearance once every four years instead of twice every four with the Gator.

I'm sure this move will be met with the Big East patting themselves on the back in public, but in reality, this has to hurt. I'm hesitant to say the Big East should steer clear of a relationship with Notre Dame because aligning themselves together certainly helps the Big East in some ways. But at what point does the conference stand on its own two feet and say 'Enough'?

And this is where the NCAA steps in. Why are independents even allowed? Having Notre Dame being allowed to contend for a national championship independently is akin to allowing the NY Yankees declare themselves too good for a division, but claiming they have the right to play in the World Series. Slightly different situation because there is no 'playoff' in college football, but you get my point.

If the NCAA forced Notre Dame to join a conference (and the other 3-4 independents) if they wanted to compete in the postseason, Notre Dame would have signed the deal yesterday.

This is probably more complicated than I'm letting on, but this is frustrating.

Day Three of Camp

Day three of camp brought a familiar incident:

Here is a story we've heard before (far too many times) -- redshirt junior safety Elijah Fields was demoted to the second team today because there were some "internal" issues which have “come up during camp” (Dave Wannstedt's words, not mine).

But hey brace yourself for this --- he'll be back to the first team tomorrow.

Or so we’re told.>

You really hope that it's nothing serious. By the sound of it, if he's only been dropped from the first team for a day, it doesn't sound too bad.

Meanwhile, Zeise checks back in with a look at the unclear LB position.

Adam Gunn seems confident of a successful return after last year's injury"

"I couldn't be more excited," Gunn said. "I used the whole spring just getting a feel, trying to get over the whole injury. Now, I'm ready to go. Nothing is holding me back. I'm trying not to have any concerns. I'm trying to keep it in the back of my mind and not think about it. I'm definitely looking forward to (today). I'm truly, truly, truly excited about it.

"I'm sure it's going to go well. I can't wait."

You've got to think that the first few hits he dishes out will be cautious ones. But his approach (at least to the media) sounds like the correct one.

In other news, Kolby Gray, the recruited QB from Texas, will miss the season to have shoulder surgery. Not particularly big news team-wise since he was going to be redshirting, but it would have been nice for him to be able to practice this year and learn the ropes a little.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Rich Get Richer

And just like that, the Big Ten will reportedly have THREE New Year's Day bowls:

The Gator Bowl and the Big Ten are close to an agreement that would pit the Big Ten's No. 4 or No. 5 team against most likely the No. 3 team from the ACC. The proposed four-year agreement, which would begin in 2010, would put the Big Ten in three early games on Jan. 1, which would lead into the Rose Bowl.

Sources said the Big Ten likely will continue its agreements with the Capital One and Outback bowls.

The number 4 or 5 team going to a New Year's Day bowl game? Wow - must be nice.

Let me be clear about this - while I believe that the Big East really needed to get out of that agreement because of the Notre Dame stipulation, I don't know if this really helps the conference. Where will they turn to now? I'm curious to see how this is going to unfold.

Camp Notes

The Post-Gazette takes a look at Senior corner and everyone's favorite kick returner, Aaron Berry:

Berry, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior cornerback, was one of the highest-rated players in the 2006 recruiting class and was a starter by the third game of his sophomore season.

Last year, he was second-team All-Big East after recording 41 tackles and three interceptions and breaking up a team-high 10 passes. But he also had too many lapses and gave up too many big plays for a guy who was contemplating leaving school for the NFL.

Seriously though, kick return follies and defensive lapses aside, he's expected to be a major player for the Panthers this year. Personally, he's given up too many big plays for me to call him a shut down corner. I'll have to see it to believe it.

Meanwhile, the Trib takes a look at the guys replacing the forgotten third key departure - Conor Lee:

"Conor Lee, we know by his production here at Pitt how valuable he was to the university," Wannstedt said of Lee, who set a school record with five field goals at Notre Dame, including the game winner of the 36-33 quadruple-overtime victory. "Now, the first time we go out to kick a field goal between Kevin Harper and (Hutchins), it's going to be the first time they're lining up and performing when it counts."

This could really be a serious problem for Pitt. Their offense is not why they were picked to win the Big East, so they may be a team heavily relying on field goals for points. If they can't convert those, it could spell doom.

Paul Zeise checks with his camp notes and continues to rave about Aundre Wright and the running backs.

The AP also spotlights Pitt's losses and its chances to win a wide open Big East.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Odd Man Out

I briefly discussed this in the previous post about Chase Adams - a somewhat crowded backcourt becomes even more crowded. But in looking over the roster from last year, I got another thought:

Where does Brad Wanamaker fit?

Wanamaker had a solid sophomore year, but that was with Woodall injured/struggling and without the new guy, Adams. Here's how I see it shaping out:

Jermaine and Ashton split time at SG. Not sure who will get more minutes, but I'd say Jermaine will start. Gibbs will almost certainly get more minutes than he did last year and both are quite capable of handling the SG spot for an entire game.

That leaves PG where Adams will have to play, you figure. It's hard to imagine him coming here for one year without any shot of getting on the court. Assuming he plays well, I think he'll get the bulk of the minutes. Woodall will probably get some time as well. Sure Wanamaker could play here, but that's really not his position. I'm not crazy about his ball handling, so I'd really rather not see him at PG.

You look down to SF and, again, sure he COULD play there. But you've already got Gilbert Brown, who if he can stay healthy (assuredly, a big if), you'd like to see on the court for 25-30 minutes a game. You've also got Nasir Robinson who played well in spurts last year and incoming F Lamar Patterson who is supposed to be pretty good. If Patterson is redshirted, Wanamaker will probably spend some time here.

If Patterson isn't redshirted, I'd say Wanamaker's best bet to play this year will come as part of three-guard rotations. Either way, Pitt is sure to have a deep team with lots of guys getting minutes.

Battles to Keep an Eye on

One of the biggest question marks comes at running back. Not so much because the position appears to be in great trouble, but because of the wait to see who will grab the bull by the horns and secure the starting spot.

But Pitt running backs coach David Walker is not overly concerned about it, mostly because he has plenty of young and talented options to pick from.

"No concern at all," Walker said. "It is a work in progress, and half of the fun is to try and build it and see if some guys will rise up and take the job. Now, obviously, if we didn't feel the guys we have are capable, that's a different situation, but this group -- we are smart, we are tough and we're athletic -- so I am confident that whoever runs out there and gets the bulk of the carries will be ready to do a great job for us."

In fact, picking the best one might be the toughest part of the transition because they are similar in talent and all seemingly capable of getting the job done.

Dion Lewis to this point apparently has the starting spot, but it's a long way till the start of the season. While I'm glad that there are so many options available, that could possibly be a problem for Wannstedt. Remember, it took him a while to give Shady the job full time, even though he had effectively outplayed Larod Stephens-Howling...and even then, LSH still got a decent amount of carries. I really hope that if someone stands out, they'll land the job and not have to deal with a running back by committee.

Meanwhile, possibly the other biggest decision for Pitt will come at guard.

Either way, Pitt looks to be solid on the line.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two More Basketball Players

Looks like Chase Adams is here:

Pitt was about to enter the 2009-10 season without a veteran point guard, but a little known NCAA rule allowed the Panthers to land a senior transfer who will be eligible to play this season.

Chase Adams, a starter at Centenary College the past three seasons, will enroll at Pitt in a couple of weeks and will find himself competing for time at point guard, an area of concern for the Panthers after the graduation of four-year starter Levance Fields.

Later in the article, Adams believes there will definitely be a competition:

"It's definitely a situation where there is going to be competition," Adams said. "I'm going to compete and hopefully show my experience. Wherever I fit in that's what I'm going to do."

At first I was kind of lukewarm about the idea - still am to some degree. I was really hoping Travon Woodall was going to get his shot this year, but I have to admit it will be good to have a veteran in there. The team is going to be so young and Adams and Dixon would give Pitt a veteran backcourt. Pair them with Gilbert Brown at the three, and suddenly, they're not so young anymore.

The biggest thing this does is possibly push Ashton Gibbs out of the starting lineup. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Dixon start because of his defense - as long as they get Gibbs at least 20 minutes a game in varying capacities (SG and PG). The move also, obviously, probably limits Woodall's minutes significantly.

But back to Adams - He was also the Summit Conference defensive player of the year. Hoping he and Dixon will be able to shut down opposing guards and really give Pitt an edge there.

Adams confirmed that the probation was the big factor in deciding to leave:

"When I found out (Centenary) was going on probation, I looked around, and Pitt was the best fit," Adams said.

Bob Smizik weighs in here.

Not to be lost in the madness is another verbal commitment for 2010-11 - Cameron Wright, a guard from Cleveland who had offers from Indiana and Wisconsin, among others. is projecting him as what sounds like a typical Pitt player.

Notes, Notes, and More Notes

Paul Zeise of the PG checks back in for the first time this football season and discusses the scheduling options of Michigan, Cal, and Utah.

As I stated before, I think Michigan would have been a much better 'get' for Pitt, but Utah is at least intriguing (not to mention downright scary).

The Trib has a few articles on possibly the two biggest key offensive pieces for Pitt: Jonathan Baldwin and Bill Stull.

I think it's a given that Baldwin is going to have to get more than 19 touches for Pitt to win the Big East, as predicted. The question is, can Stull get him the ball?

Brian Bennett of has Pitt headed to the Meineke Car Care Bowl and also notes that Aaron Berry is on the watch list for the Thorpe Award.

Dennis Dodd ranks Pitt as the 40th best team this decade - behind teams such as Iowa and Southern Miss.

Lastly, Pitt has some new gear - get a look at it here. Also, here are the new jerseys...someone doesn't like them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

True Parity

You don't need to look farther than the preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll to see there's plenty of parity in the Big East.

No teams were ranked, but five received votes, led by Cincinnati who has a total of 90 points. Every team has its major weakness.

Still it was a bit surprising that not even one team could make it into the top 25.

This and That

Well now, it looks like the football team is setting some lofty goals:

"I remember when we all came in for visits and [in] our freshman season and we all said we need to be the class to put Pitt back on top," said senior tight end Nate Byham.

He was one of the top prospects in the country coming out of high school and chose the Panthers over USC, Michigan, Penn State and Miami.

"We got halfway there last year, winning nine games and all, but we were very disappointed. But we didn't set out to achieve a nine-win season -- we wanted a Big East championship and a BCS bowl game and we feel like we should have went undefeated last year, so that left a bitter taste in our mouth.

"We have the talent, we have the team, we have to go out now and every week take care of business with no letdowns. And we're focused on finishing the job -- if we go 11-1 and don't win the Big East, it won't be a success in my mind, it will be a disappointment."

With football season less than a month away, the Trib-Review spotlights a few players including defensive standout Greg Romeus and his prospects to potentially leave for the NFL after this year.

Despite mock drafts that project the redshirt junior as a potential first-round pick, Romeus said he is doing his best to remain grounded and ignore talk of entering the NFL Draft next spring with one year of eligibility remaining.

"I still have two years left. I play for Pitt. I'm not worried about that stuff. If I'm blessed, that stuff will come later," Romeus said. "That's not a distraction for me. I know where I started. Three years ago, I wasn't a big-name player. I was inexperienced. I'll always stay humble about that fact. I can't worry about the future. I have to stay with the present."

Mock drafts already projecting him as a possible first-rounder? Wow. That's a bit much for me - there's a long time in between now and the end of the year.

Meanwhile, some good news for folks with Comcast. The company forwarded me a press release with the news that ESPNU and are now both available to Comcast users as part of a digital package.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A New PG...THIS Season?

I have to say I'm a little surprised by this because it's happening so late, but nonetheless, Chris Dokish is blogging that Pitt may be adding a point guard for THIS SEASON:

Enter Chase Adams. The 5′10″ Baltimore native is very seriously considering joining the Pitt program. Adams has spent the last three seasons at Centenary College in Louisiana where last season he averaged 14.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 4.5 apg, while making 39.8% of his three point shots and 70.3% of his free throws. He was also named Summit League Defensive Player of the Year thanks to his 83 steals. He has averaged 2.3 spg over his three year career.

Before you get to skeptical with the team already having Travon Woodall now and Isaiah Epps coming in next year, this looks like it would be a one-year deal. I have to admit that last year's 'short-term' addition of Jermaine Dixon was a good pickup. But I'm still a bit skeptical that Pitt would do this.

Woodall may be just as talented and has already been in the system a year. Yes, his numbers at the home of Robert Parish, but every bad team is always going to have someone put up good numbers (See Cedric Ceballos with the Lakers from 1993 - 1996).

The flip side is that he may be just the type of veteran we need on a young team.

Count me remarkably undecided.

A Little Basketball

In the midst of all of the football talk, Pitt released it's non-conference basketball schedule today.

You can hit the link for the entire schedule, but a few highlights are:

- Still no Midnight Madness...I won't get on my soapbox about this. The annual FanFest will be Saturday, October 3rd at the Peterson Events Center.

- Game Vs. the Binghamton Kornheisers on November 17th will actually be on ESPN2.This is part of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Pittsburgh. Pitt will play Eastern Kentucky two days later. I think this is a bit different from before - if I'm not mistaken, Pitt played on back-to-back days.

- The tournament will then move to Kansas City for the Semifinals/Final/Consolation games. Pitt will match up against Iowa, Wichita State, or Texas. Wichita State in Missouri? Can you say trap game?

- The City Game Vs. Duquesne will be on December 2nd at Duquesne. The game will be on CBS.

- The Robert Morris game is the only one TBA.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A New Deal

Looks like the Big East has, deservedly so, locked up their BCS bowl guarantee for the next five years:

"It is all in place, the Big East is in for the next five years," BCS administrator Bill Hancock said yesterday at Big East media day. "There were standards in place, and the Big East proved it on the field.

"All six [BCS] conferences earned it on the field for that matter, and there was a pretty big gap between conference No. 6 and conference No. 7 in the ratings. It was a four-year [span] that was evaluated '04 to '07. Now the next four years will be evaluated to see if anyone else out there can earn it."

Personally, I didn't know what the criteria was for the Big East keeping their bid. But it's good to know that the folks making these decisions (however ludicrous it might be that there's no playoff system) are at least looking at the results on the field and not going with public opinion.

The Big East has been very successful in bowl games, particularly BCS games, where they're 3-1 over the past four years as the article notes.

And it's not just been the BCS games - they've performed solidly throughout the course of the entire bowl season each year, stacking up well against other BCS conferences:

2008 Season (4-2) - 3rd overall (out of six BCS conferences)
2007 Season (3-2) - 4th overall
2006 Season (5-0) - 1st overall
2005 Season (1-3) - 6th overall

Over the past four seasons that were evaluated, the Big East went 13-7. How does that stack up against other BCS Conferences? I was curious myself so I did a little digging:

SEC (22-10 / .688)
PAC-10 (15-7 / .681)
BIG EAST (13-7 / .650)
BIG 12 (17-14 / .548)
ACC (15-19 / .441)
BIG Ten (9-20 / .310)

The first thing that should stick out is despite the public's insistence that the Big East is a weak conference, their track record is solid, placing third of the six conferences. If ANY of these conferences should lose a BCS bid, it sure as heck ain't the Big East.

The next obvious thing is, man, I knew the Big Ten was bad, but didn't know they were THAT bad. 9-20? Even Prairie View A&M thinks that's a lot of losses.

The last thing is look how close the Big East is to having the best record - they're only .38 points behind the leader, the SEC. By contrast, look how much better they are than the worst conference, the Big Ten - They MORE THAN DOUBLED their winning percentage. That's unbelievable considering the relatively short time period we looked at.

Clearly, the Big East should be in no danger in the near future of losing a BCS bid.

Check It Out

I'm honored to have been selected to participate in the weekly weekly football Blogpoll.

You can compare the blogger picks vs. the 'experts' here.

In addition to finding my weekly vote there, you can also get it right here. Definitely be sure to check it out. First vote is due out later this month.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Football News

Today was kind of a shocker. First I thought it was the Sporting News that had gone batty. Now it's the media, which has gone and picked Pitt to win the conference.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - any team with as big of a question mark at quarterback is hard to pick as a champion. That said, the defense looks good and if the running game can manage the clock a bit, they could surprise some. Still, it's hard for me to pick them outright - I placed them third in the blogger preseason poll in the post below.

And speaking of the Big East, guess who's on Twitter and Facebook?

Recruiting-wise, Pitt landed another one over the weekend in Ohio TE Dan Schneider:

Schneider chose the Panthers over 19 scholarship offers, including offers from Florida State, West Virginia, Colorado, Syracuse, Louisville and Cincinnati. His three finalists were Pitt, Florida State and West Virginia and he made his decision after visiting both Pitt and West Virginia earlier this week.

Looks like Pitt's current Tight End, Nate Byham, had something to do with it:

''It helped a lot to sit down with Nate and get the perspective of someone who's been through this and get his honest opinion of his experience at Pitt,'' Schneider said of their lunch during an unofficial visit this past Monday. ''It was invaluable.''

In the 'not completely meaningless, but darn close' category, you can vote here for Pitt to have a spot in the All-Time Top 40 team (they're currently 37th). has already had their top 40 mock draft and Pitt is not included. Now I'm not normally one for these types of polls, but really - Arizona State? Kansas? South Carolina? Come on.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Preseason Blog Poll Results

Who is going to win the Big East this year? Your guess is as good as ours, but assorted BE football bloggers decided select a consensus conference favorite, also voting for all-conference teams, and projected award winners in the process.

Participating blogs:

Astro's Bulls Blog (South Florida)
Bleed Scarlet (Rutgers)
Eye of a Panther (Pittsburgh)
Orange::44 (Syracuse)
Orange Fizz (Syracuse)
The Smoking Musket (West Virginia)
The UConn Blog (Connecticut)
Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician (Syracuse)

If your favorite blog was not included, it was either because they apparently have no fans on the internet (Cincinnati), did not respond to invitations to participate, no contact address could be found, were unfortunately overlooked, and there was one major human oversight where a ballot was not sent in time to the popular Pitt Blather blog.

Projected order of finish (tally of first place votes in parentheses)

1. USF (3) - Big East bloggers generally loved USF, with the only major skeptic being Rutgers blog Bleed Scarlet.

2. West Virginia (2) - The votes are once again a near consensus, with Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician the only one skeptical of the Mountaineers.

3. Pittsburgh (1) - Aptly named The UConn blog projects big things for the Panthers in '09, losing only one conference game.

4. Rutgers (1) - The double reverse jinx may be in play, with Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician seeing the Knights rolling through a god-awful schedule to their first ever BCS berth.

5. Cincinnati (1) - There's a lot of skepticism of the Bearcats this year, likely owing to their complete overhaul on defense. Bleed Scarlet thinks that Brian Kelly and co. will manage to outscore their opponents anyway, while Syracuse blog The Orange Fizz believes that Cincy will barely manage to stay out of the conference basement.

6. UConn - UConn's projection is as boring and monotonous as their offense, with exactly four voters placing them fifth, and the other half had them sixth.

7. Syracuse - Upset of the century! The rebuilding Orange managed to stave off a crumbling Cardinals squad for seventh. The Orange Fizz actually has the Cuse finishing sixth in conference, ahead of Cincinnati.

8. Louisville - It's going to be a very long year for the once-proud Cardinals.

First Team All-Conference Roster

QB: Matt Grothe (USF)
RB: Victor Anderson (UL) - unanimous selection
RB: Noel Devine (WV) - unanimous selection
WR: Marshawn Gilyard (UC)
WR: Mike Williams (SU)
TE: Nate Byham (Pitt) - unanimous selection
OT: Anthony Davis (RU)
OT: TIE Jeff Linkenbach (UC)/Mike Hicks (UConn)
OG: Josh Jenkins (WV)
OG: Art Forst (RU)
C: Ryan Blaszczyk (RU)
K: Maikon Bonani (USF)
KR/PR: Marshawn Gilyard (UC)

DL: Scooter Berry (WV) - unanimous selection
DL: Arthur Jones (SU)
DL: Greg Romeus (Pitt)
DL: George Selvie (USF)
LB: Reed Williams (WV) - unanimous selection
LB: Ryan D'Imperio (RU)
LB: Scott Lutrus (UConn)
CB: Aaron Berry (Pitt)
CB: Brandon Hogan (WV)
S: Robert Vaughn (UConn) - unanimous selection
S: Nate Allen (USF)
P: Rob Long (SU) - unanimous selection

Second Team All-Conference Roster

QB: Tony Pike (UC)
RB: Mike Ford (USF)
RB: John Goebel (UC)
WR: Jonathan Baldwin (Pitt)
WR: Jock Sanders (WV)
TE: Mike Owen (SU)
OT: Jeff Adams (UL)
OT: Jason Pinkston (Pitt)
OG: Zach Hermann (USF)
OG: Moe Petrus (UConn)
C: Jim McKenzie (SU)
K: Jake Rogers (UC)
KR/PR: Mike Holmes (SU)

DL: Jabaal Sheard (Pitt)
DL: Terrell McClain (USF)
DL: Lindsey Witten (UConn)
DL: TIE George Johnson (RU)/Mick Williams (Pitt)
LB: Jon Dempsey (UL)
LB: J.T. Thomas (WV)
LB: TIE Kion Wilson (USF)/Lawrence Wilson (UConn)
CB: Jasper Howard (UConn)
CB: Jerome Murphy (USF)
S: Aaron Webster (UC)
S: Sidney Glover (WV)
P: Teddy Dellaganna (RU)

Team by team breakdown

UC: 7
UConn: 7
UL: 3
Pitt: 7
RU: 6
SU: 6
USF: 9
WV: 8

Honorable mention (also receiving votes)

QB: Jarrett Brown (WV), Bill Stull (Pitt)
RB: Kordell Young (RU), Delone Carter (SU), Andre Dixon (UConn), Joe Martinek (RU), Jordan Todman (UConn)
WR: Jesse Hester Jr. (USF), Timmy Brown (RU), Alric Arnett (WV), Doug Beaumont (UL), Donte Davis (SU), Carlton Mitchell (WV)
TE: Shamar Graves (RU), Kazeem Alli (UC), Ben Guidugli (UC), Tyler Urban (WV)
OT: Selvish Capers (WV), Jamar Bass (USF), Tucker Baumbach (SU), Greg Tomczyk (UL)
OG: John Malecki (Pitt), Lucas Nix (Pitt), Jeff Braun (WV), Alex Hoffman (UC), Zach Hurd (UConn), Jason Pinkston (Pitt), Kevin Haslam (RU), Jason Kelce (UC), Alex LaMagdelaine (UConn), Caleb Ruch (RU), Mark Wetterer (UL)
C: Moe Petrus (UConn), Chris Jurek (UL), Robb Houser (Pitt)
K: Dave Teggart (UConn), San San Te (RU), Shane Raupers (SU)
KR/PR: Dontavia Bogan (USF), Trent Guy (UL) Jasper Howard (UConn), Max Suter (SU)

DL: Alex Silvestro (RU), Jason Pierre-Paul (USF), Chris Neild (WV), Aaron Harris (USF), Julian Miller (WV), Curtis Young (UC)
LB: Adam Gunn (Pitt), Greg Williams (Pitt), Derrell Smith (SU), Manny Abreu (RU)
CB: Jason McCourty (RU), Johnny Patrick (UL), Dom DeCicco (Pitt)
S: Joe Lefeged (RU), Mike Holmes (SU), Boogie Allen (WV), Aaron Bagsby (UConn), Max Suter (SU)
P: Desi Cullen (UConn), Delbert Alvarado (USF), Cory Goettsche (UL)


Preseason Big East Offensive Player of the Year: Noel Devine (3)
Preseason Big East Defensive Player of the Year: George Selvie (5)
Preseason Big East Special Teams Player of the Year: Rob Long (3)
Preseason Big East Rookie of the Year: Greg Paulus (2)
Preseason Big East Coach of the Year: Jim Leavitt (3)