Tuesday, August 4, 2009

#1 in the Preseason Media Poll

The Big East Media picked Pitt to win the Big East today. THE BIG EAST MEDIA PICKED PITT TO WIN THE BIG EAST TODAY! Now I'm not that shocked but this comes a bit out of left field considering the question marks we have on both sides of the ball. This is a great marketing tool for the Athletic Department to sell some more season tickets regardless of the merit to the ranking.

Here are the five biggest questions that need to be answered for us to win the Big East as we have been picked to do:
  1. QB. Somebody needs to take over and play well not just stumble to wins.
  2. New OC Cignetti needs to establish his style of offense early in the season and find the type of playcalling that will fit our personnel. No more 3rd down draws and bubble screens on 1st and 2nd downs. You don't win the Big East by being as conservative as the playcalling was under Cavanaugh.
  3. Offensive line. Who is going to be play the two tackle positions? Is Houser going to be able to come back from injury and keep the center job? Will Jacobsen finally get his shot at guard? Will Nix win a starting job? Does seniority decide each position battle like it has in the past? By the time we break camp every position needs to be decided and the players winning the starting jobs need to play well enough to keep them.
  4. Will potential stars on defense finally emerge and play consistently for an entire season? Greg Romeus had a great Freshman season but struggled in many games last season. Aaron Berry is the biggest underacheiver in the Big East and you rarely know what you will get from play to play with him. Elijah Fields is the egnima of the entire program with all the off-field stuff and the flashes of potential on the field.
  5. Has Wanny learned from the mistakes of last year? At so many points the program was on the verge of breaking through but something always killed the momentum. We all know exactly who Wanny is and what he brings as a gameday coach but can he get over the hump.
I see the logic of why the writer's voted us as the Preseason favorites because of the question marks each contender has. If we find solutions on offense 2009 could be an amazing year. Being picked to win the Big East Title preseason is where we need to be every year if we are to become a top level program.

For what it is worth I would have picked us to finish either 2nd or 3rd behind either Cincinatti, WVU, or USF. I think we have every chance to win the Big East and I don't see anybody as a big favorite.

Big East Preseason Poll


Joshua said...

If Pitt is being picked to finish first, then the conference must be VERY BAD this upcoming season. See Fiesta Bowl 2005. As for where I think Pitt will finish, let's just say a lack of an adequate running game, mixed in with a HORRIBLE passing game, will cause Pitt to finish behind at least the three you mentioned plus UConn. Louisville and Rutgers are enigmas, and Syracuse will still suck balls compared to Pitt.

rkohberger said...

Wait, wait... isn't that the same year and Fiesta bowl that die hard Walt Harris supporters point to as being the benchmark of PITT football over the last 25 years?

Isn't that the same accomplishment that DW detractors point to and say "He inherited a BCS bowl team"?

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way, the defense made great strides last year because of a new DC. I am looking for the same from the new OC. Cav was horrible.

Anonymous said...

Why is Joshua always such a Debbie Downer?

Finish behind UConn!?!? Are you kidding me?

rkohberger said...

Joshua - here we agree, in part.

I think having a new OC will make a difference also, but in different ways than most fans (posters on message boards) hope. I can't see us scoring more than we did last season in any way. PITT had 29 ppg in the regular season in 2008. That's a higher total than all but one year, I believe, over the last decade. I don't think we match that.

However, I do think we'll see a more consistent offense in the area of third down conversions. This is desperately needed as we were 94th in the NCAA @ 34% conversion rate. If Cignetti can raise that 10% our offense will be way ahead of last years. That is achievable as we'll have a RB or two capable of short yardage conversions (which we were very poor at last year) and I think we'll see much more short-med pass routes using our TEs.

As to the DC... I think we'll see a big difference in the defense between this and last season as it's Bennett's second year in the system - which means he is totally familiar with his personnel and what they can do on the field. Our 2008 defense wasn't as good as everyone thinks. It was very strong in spots - most importantly late second half defense, and that we should retain as we have even more depth to rotate kids and keep fresh. But Bennett will now be able to tailor his defense to personnel and highlight strengths.

The only fly in the ointment with this is that Bennett will be dealing with Adan Gunn at MLB who he's never seen play - but no one really has yet. Williams he know well and same with Gruder in a sense.

Anonymous said...

Romeus struggled last year after a great freshman year? That's news to many as his season last year go him a spot on I believe the all Big East second team and vaulted him to a possible first rounder. I'm not sure how you negatively spin that season. Also I don't think its such a stretch to pick a team that returns as many starters as Pitt first in the league. Finishing behind UCONN? Seriously, if you happened to watch the PITT UCONN game last year, you would have noticed that UCONN's passing attack made Stull look like Steve Young in comparison.