Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What If........

I thought we would try to change the focus, like the coaching staff is begging the media to do, to the Buffalo game this weekend. I'm not going to preview this game or make any predictions we have our usual columns for that. What I'm going to do is give a few scenarios and what those scenarios would mean for the state of the program. Get ready for the Ok, the Usual, and the Catastrophic.

The Ok

The margin of victory for us would be in the mid 20s or greater. Stull would continue his solid play of the first half against Bowling Green and put up decent numbers in the passing game. Shady would bounce back from the bad game and return to his All American form. Baldwin would replace Turner in the starting lineup and arrive with a bang. Lucas Nix will get enough snaps to lock down the right tackle position.

Defensively we would see more pressure and usage of nickel packages. Elijah Fields gets a decent amount snaps and he makes an impact. McKillop bounces back and gets 15 tackles. The defensive line dominates the Buffalo line.

Gameplan wise we see a less conservative system that takes chances and turns those chances into touchdowns.

Percent chance of this happening: %1

The Usual

Margin of victory would be at the most 10 points. Shady bounces back and has a big day scoring a few touchdowns. Stull continues to manage the offense reasonably well. Baldwin recieves a few more snaps but doesn't start and isn't used in any significant way during the game. Nix gets a few snaps in the second half when the game looks pretty well in control.

The defense plays similar to what they did in the first half of the Bowling Green game. Elijiah Fields gets a series or two in the second half again, when the game seems well in control. No real changes to the pressure and very few uses of the nickel/dime packages.

Gameplan is almost identical to the one used against Bowling Green. The only change is that the difficult decisions of a close game aren't need to be made. Wannstedt then can claim that his gameplan and system works to perfection and no changes need to be made. Nothing has really changed other than we beat a team we should have beaten and we are still at square 1.

Percentage chance of this happening: 49%

The Catastrophic

All of the problems with the offense continue. Stull has a problematic game due to problems with the offensive line. We see Baldwin used in an almost identical way as to last game. Thomas "earns" his spot on the offensive line and we see no changes to the position.

Defensively we are tricked and neutralized in the same way Bowling Green did. The Bulls gameplan is too difficult to for the coaching staff to figure out and we see the same game. Fields continues to stay on the bench as the coaching staff cites there was no situation they could have used him.

After the game we would see the same blame spreading to some sort of execution breakdown and turnovers. Wanny continues to posture to the media about someething that happened to him in 1991 while coaching the Dallas Cowboys. Pederson comes out and throws a parade down 5th ave for Wanny and Nordenberg signs off on that lifetime extension.

Percentage chance of this happening: 50%

Nothing particularly good is going to come out of this game unless we see a complete 180 from the coaching staff on philosophy and personnel choices. Beating Buffalo with the same style of gameplan means absolutely nothing in the end, all the problems we had against Bowling Green will still be there. The coaching staff will parade a win over Buffalo around like it is a bowl win though no matter what. I don't root against Pitt, it is why I always lose in NCAA Tournament pools, so a win will feel at the very least even.

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