Sunday, October 4, 2009


That might be the best way to sum up a tidy win. Pitt looked particularly sharp in the 2nd half - something that had been missing. The defense pitched a shutout, led by stellar defensive line play, and Bill Stull was master of the deep ball.

Speaking of Stull, he's been making most of us doubters, including Ron Cook of the PG, eat our words:

Stull has played well enough for Pitt to be 5-0 and ranked in the top 25 instead of 4-1 and -- to this point -- not even an afterthought in the minds of the AP poll voters. He has thrown 11 touchdown passes and just one interception.

I wish I would have predicted that before the season.

I feel a bit foolish about now for thinking Stull was going to be Pitt's weak link. Not that I was alone. Even Wannstedt gave him a lukewarm endorsement before the season.

How much fun Stull must be having proving all of us wrong. He doesn't look at all like the quarterback who was so bad in that Sun Bowl fiasco.

I'm more than happy to admit I had this one wrong. While I wasn't sure that Stull would flounder this year, I was more than happy to give someone else a shot at the beginning of the season.

Mistakes got the better part of Pitt in the first half, but they came back to play a strong 2nd half.

"At the half, we knew we really made too many mistakes to score points," Pitt quarterback Bill Stull said. "But we cleaned some things up and took some shots and made the two big plays to sort of take control of the game a little. It was nice to finish this one after the way things went last week."

Last week? Oh yeah, almost forgot - don't remind me. This is one of the things Pitt does to us diehards. They can lose games they should win and win games they should lose. Right now, truth be told, Pitt should be 5-0. A 14-point lead late in the third quarter of a game should net you a win. But alas, this is Pitt. Not that I want to be too hard on them, but it is frustrating when you consider they could realistically be a top-15 team had they won that game.

And by the way, looks like NC State's quarterback, Russell Wilson ended his interception streak one week late.

As I alluded to yesterday, Bob Smizik points out that Stull is indeed one of the top passers in the country statistically- at least in terms of passer rating:

NCAA statistics posted this morning on its web site show Stull to be fifth in the nation in passer rating at 167.49. He has completed 77 of 116 passes for 988 yards. He’s thrown 11 touchdown passes and one interception.

If he keeps this up, Pitt could be looking at a 10-win season...or better.

Meanwhile, down in Louisville, one columnist goes so far to say that this was their program's worst home conference loss.

And Louisville just a 'couple of plays away?'

"We're just a couple of plays away," Froman said. "We had a good game plan. We knew what they were going to do. We just didn't execute."

Not sure I buy that one. 35-28? Sure. 35-21? Maybe. But you can't score zero points in the 2nd half of a 25-point loss and proclaim it was pretty close.

Pitt didn't get through the game completely unscathed. There were some injuries.

Meanwhile, Brian Bennett at calls Cincy and South Florida the class of the conference so far. Hard to argue with that.

It appears my pleas did some good - the Pitt/UCONN game next week has a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

In a somewhat unrelated note, the Big East announced its partnership for a new bowl game. Yep, exactly where I want to be in December - New York City. What a joke.

And some personalities make early projections for bowl games, putting Pitt in the oh so interesting International Bowl or the St. Petersburg Bowl. The Big East is really tied into some bad bowls. With the Champs Sports Bowl not until next year, it really is BCS or bust in my opinion.


  1. The margin of error for a 10 win season is slim, but possible. ND, WVU, Rutgers, Cincy and USF are going to be very hard fought games, Pitt can will all of them or lose them all.

    UConn is not going to be a push over, SU should be a definate win.

    The NC State game was ours for the taking, sadly we lost it.

    The defense is going to have to play consistent, that being said the d-line is going to have to pressure the qb to make up for the inconsistent secondary.

    The offense finally played a game where they put their foot to the floor and tried to run up points, do you think Cig has opened Wanny's eyes?

  2. I agree that a ten-win season is going to be difficult, if not unlikely. But if Stull continues to play the way they have been, all of those games are winnable. I think they'll find a way to win at least two of those. UCONN won't be a pushover, but at home, they need to win that game.

    And I hope Cignetti has opened Wannstedt's eyes. I don't have a problem with being a run heavy team when you have a great defense...unfortunately, the defense hasn't been great and as evidenced by the NC State game, Pitt will need to prove they can score points at times. With a top-flight receiver like Baldwin (and Stull proving at least temporarily that he can make those throws), there's no reason Pitt shouldn't be taking 3-4 deep shots per game. Cignetti's playcalling - taking the deep shot, mix of pass vs. run, use of Dickerson, has been unbelievable.

  3. I agree on the offensive play selection, it has been a surprise and I would venture to say if Cav was here we would be 3-2 instead of 4-1, but thats my viewpoint only.

    I had the opportunity to see some of the UCONN / Baylor game in Waco, UCONN won and played a good game in a hostile environment.

    Pitt is going to have to play a good game and limit their mistakes, UCONN is much better than Louisville.