Ed – We’re a little out of sync, we’ll get back into proper timing in the next couple days.
We’re just over two months from kickoff, putting us squarely on #63 – another beatdown of the Pittsburgh Panthers.
On September 18th, 1993, the 2-0 Ohio State Buckeyes faced off against the 1-1 Panthers. Pittsburgh rolled into the game after a crushing 63-21 loss at the hands of Virginia Tech, and few were expecting much of a fight against the visiting Buckeyes.
OSU jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead in front of a crowd that seemed to be about one-third Buckeye fans. Butler By’not’e’s opened things up by returning the first kickoff 89 yards for a score. The Bucks then followed that up by scoring on their next four possessions.
Pittsburgh started to rally, closing the gap to 35-14 on the strength of the arm of back-up quarterback John Ryan. It was much too little too late for the hapless panthers as OSU’s offense cruised to the tune of 500 yards.
The Buckeyes ended the season 10-1-1, polishing off the lackluster year (we lost to Michigan, enough said) by beating the BYU Cougars in the Holiday Bowl 28-21.
The History: Formerly known as the Birmingham Bowl and the PapaJohns.com Bowl, the BBVA Compass Bowl takes place in Birmingham, Alabama. BBVA took over sponsorship of this game in 2010. The game usually puts a team from the SEC against one from the Big East, and this year is no exception with the Ole Miss Rebels taking on the Pitt Panthers.
Ole Miss Scouting Report: Ole Miss plays in the gauntlet that is the SEC. The Rebels lost six games this year, five of which came to teams which finished in the top 25 at the end of the regular season. Sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace leads the Rebels’ offense as he threw for 2,843 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. He also tallied eight rushing touchdowns on the year. 10 of Wallace’s touchdown passes were caught by big-play wide receiver Donte Mocrief, who averages nearly 16 yards per catch.
Pittsburgh Scouting Report: Pitt is no stranger to the BBVA Compass Bowl as this will be the third consecutive trip for the Panthers. Pittsburgh had to win its final two games (against Rutgers and South Florida) in order to become bowl eligible and the Panthers did that in dominating fashion. Pitt is led by quarterback Tino Sunseri who threw for 3,103 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. The Panthers also have a solid ground game behind running back Ray Graham and his 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns.
tBBC “Expert Selections:
My Selection: Pitt finished the season strong, but ultimately I have more faith in a team from the SEC than one from the Big East, even after the meltdown by Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss wins a close game, 31-24.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Duke (12-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 12/29 Santa Clara, W 90-77
Upcoming: 1/2 @ Davidson & 1/5 Wake Forest
The Blue Devils pulled away from Santa Clara late and will open up ACC play this week against Wake Forest. Read More
I was recently asked to do a conference preview of the Big East for the upcoming season. Go ahead and laugh. We drew straws, and I got the shortest one, so here I am, writing about the Big East, a conference that only has eight teams competing in football. I know this conference’s football doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement, but hey, you never know, Louisville could come out and win a national title for all we know (doubt it). So now, with all jokes aside, I give you our Big East football preview.
Where does the conference fall in the national rankings – how likely are they to have a team in the Title game?
With the departure of West Virginia, Louisville is the cream of the crop in this conference. They are currently the only team ranked in the AP Top 25, and the conference has no ranked teams in the USA Today Poll. The Cardinals are coming off a 2011 campaign where they went 7-6. Yes, the strongest team in the conference was 7-6 last year, so that should tell you a lot about how the conference compares to others nationally.
Behind Louisville, the next best team is likely Cincinnati, a team that went 10-3 last year, but the Bearcats lost some key players on offense, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead. Past those two teams, it’s Pittsburgh and everybody else. Expect Louisville to get the at-large automatic BCS Bowl bid come bowl season.
In terms of conference strength, I’m going to be blunt. It’s the weakest BCS conference. Put these teams up against any of the other power conferences, and it makes for an ugly comparison… there just isn’t any other way to put it.
Who is the best team in the conference? Who will play for the conference title game (if there is one)? Read More
More pointless bowls after New Year’s Day? Heck Nah! This game matters! To Dallas Fort Worth and the five people that aren’t Steelers fans in Pittsburgh. Okay, enough bitterness about the Bowl System. If it’s a bowl, we got it covered here at TBBC!
The Basics: Saturday, January 7, 2012, 1:00 PM EST on ESPN, from Birmingham, Alabama. SMU (7-5, 5-3 CUSA) and Pitt (6-6, 4-3 Big East).
History: Formerly known as the Papajohns.com, All-American, Hall of Fame and Dixie Bowl, this is the second year that BBVA Compass has been the main sponsor of Saturday’s event. Pitt returns after a big win over Kentucky last season. UCONN beat toUSC in 2010 pretty easily as well. The bowl was established in Birmingham in 2006, but there is a rich history of bowl games in the city in years past.
SMU: So…. June Jones isn’t the coach for Arizona State. He is only looking for win number 100 as a head coach at the D1 level, against the team of Todd Graham – Who Arizona State swapped from Pittsburgh. Oh how college football is a mess sometimes. The Mustangs will look to J.J. McDermott to lead a very inconsistent offense. SMU will be without Zach Line, who had season ending surgery in November. He is one of five in SMU history to have two 1,000 yard seasons. They surely have struggled on defense this year, but look for SMU to exploit Pitt’s 55 sacks given up with blitzing and aggressive line play.
Big Win: @TCU Key Losses: USM, Houston, Texas A&M
Pitt: Is there a player on this roster that you know? Quarterback Tino Sunseri doesn’t count. It seems like he has been in Pitt forever. Top running back Ray Graham will be out of this one and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson will be inserted on the interim as head coach (even though Paul Chryst is done coaching…). Insanely they are looking for their fourth straight bowl victory. I guess that’s as close as calling a team “Toilet Bowl Champions.”
Big Win: South Florida Key Losses: Utah, Cinci, Iowa, West Virginia
Fun Fact: Legion Field was built in 1926 and cost a total of 429,000 dollars to construct.
Who We Got:
Ok, let’s take a look at the much maligned Southeast bracket…I also plead you don’t listen too much to what I have to say, because it may just confuse you more as you try to win tBBC Challenge. I’ve linked to some of our previous impressions as well, so you can make a better guess.
This maybe the most difficult region that I have ever tried to predict in recent memory. On the 1 line is a very solid Pitt Panthers team, but they are a team that can struggle offensively at times. If they face someone that gets hot from deep not sure they can keep up. Then you have a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 seeds that are so similar that it would be hard to call any win by them an upset. I’m not sure that any team is favored by 8 points or more, with most of them are probably toss up or 3-5 point spreads.
This region also has two teams hurting with lost players. BYU lost 3rd leading scorer, and main big man, Brandon Davies to team rules while St. John’s also lost their 3rd leading scorer in D.J. Kennedy. Both losses make these teams vulnerable to first round upsets to Wofford and Gonzaga respectively. I will speak about Belmont later, and also have Utah State as a team that could pull the 12-5 upset.
At the end of the day I am not sure who to pick. I am making the safe pick and advancing Pitt, but read along and you will see some stars to watch, under the radar players to watch as well as my sleeper pick and elite 8 picks.
The chili is simmering, my daughters have already made the only dessert appropriate, and the tasty beverages are chilling awaiting consumption. I’ve got my spot staked out in front of the plasma, and the guy that’s been at my Super Bowl party for eleven of the last twelve years has flown down from Seattle.
But, you know what? I have no idea who I want to win. Seriously, and I know that there’s a lot of folks who are like this, but this is the most apathetic I’ve ever been about a “Super Bowl”… heck, at this point, I wouldn’t care how it was spelled.
I haven’t watched the fifteen months of coverage, so I’m not all that informed about this year’s game. I know Roethlisberger did something creepy and this is a chance at redemption and everyone got freaked out because he liked Billy Joel. Although, I don’t hear a lot about other quarterbacks who did something creepy in the past and might have repeated that behavior… so maybe it’s not an issue.
I know it’s cold, and everyone’s griping about that (Great idea, NFL- and next year you’re in Indy? With NYC to come? Good thinking.); although as a B1G fan my response is to suck it up and play the game as it was invented. Although, since the Super Bowl has become more for the bandwagon folks and celebrities, I’m not surprised at the complaining- in fact, it reinforces my belief that a playoff for college football isn’t a great idea (but that’s another post).
But, with all that “research” and the copious coverage, I still have no preference for a victorious squadron. Read More
History: This ‘classic’ event in Birmingham Alabama was initially chartered as the Papa John’s bowl, which had a history of issues from its inception; including poor ticket sales that required the crowd to sit on one side of the stadium (so it looked full on TV), to continual problems with the sponsor providing enough pizza. Our friends over at The Wizard Of Odds have done a great job at covering the fiasco- my favorite is the misspelled “Cincinnati” on the game t-shirts. Look, when the local media is making fun of you, and you’re supposed to be a tourism event, you know there’s a problem.
So, of course, with this much prestige it deserves a January 8 broadcast date. And why does it get the prime slot on ESPN? Well, probably because the network owns, operates, and profits from this matchup. When you argue about “why can’t we have a playoff?”, make sure you discuss the fact that the World Wide Leader will need to make tons of cash off of whatever solution you come up with. TV + Tourism = Money.
If you were looking for another reason to watch this, be aware that you’ll be able to enjoy the dulcet tones of Dave Neal and Andre Ware. Congrats.