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Nice to Have an Off Week

BSo it's been a slow week in terms of football...but in a good way. It's nice not to have to worry about a game for once. Pitt is starting to get some national attention now and as I mentioned before, with a bye week this week and hopefully a win next week Vs. Syracuse, Pitt should be knocking on the door of the top 10 in the polls. One team in front of Pitt already lost earlier this week.

Now, the Notre Dame game isn't perfectly meaningless. It's just not as important as even the Syracuse game because it's a non-conference matchup. I am with Paul Zeise in his assessment that Pitt needs to get to 10 regular season wins this year to be called a success:
ZEISE: If Pitt finishes 8-4 then really what will we be talking about? It would be a huge disappointment at this point given how well this team has played. It would also mean they finish the season without a truly quality win, other than perhaps South Florida, and if that is the case then how much progress has really been made in the past five years? Pitt needs to finish this off and get to at least 10 wins which means win two of those last three over the top teams on their schedule. Pitt has an opportunity to really take a step forward as a program and as that saying goes it is time to seize the moment. Anything less than a 10-2 record will be disappointing at this point.

This is a perfect example of expectations changing. At the beginning of the year, I would have said nine wins would have fine. But with the way they've looked and the start they've gotten off to, a 2-2 record to finish the year would be disappointing.

Earlier this week, the Pitt Vs. Penn State movement got some steam with some looking ahead to a potential BCS matchup. Gene Collier explains it would take the perfect storm to happen. Now, Pitt fans have a horrible reputation for traveling to bowl games, but I think if this matchup happened, there might be quite a few (including probably myself) that would make the trip. But this isn't even worth discussing at this point. *Cough* 12-0 *Cough*

Quick mental note to myself - drop Iowa in the blogger poll even if they go on to win this game. Okay, all done now.

Pitt's pass defense has gotten better while the O-line has looked strong all year:
"It's just awesome," Stull said of the way he is being protected. "For the season to come together like this is very encouraging. We always say it starts up front and ends up front. If they keep playing the way they're playing ... keeping my jersey clean, Dion's jersey clean, Ray [Graham's] jersey clean, it's going to be pretty exciting."

You can say this about any football team, but for this one especially, I think the offensive line play has been the #1 strength of this team. Stull makes mistakes when he doesn't have time to pass. No passing game, and there's no way the running game is as successful as it has been. The defense has been good, but has shown lapses at times.

Meanwhile, BCS and conspiracy theories abound:
Andrew from California writes: Since you keep getting questions about the Gator Bowl, here is an interesting predicament for Pitt. If they beat Notre Dame and then split WVU and Cincinnati they would have a better record than Notre Dame, would have beaten Notre Dame and would most likely still get rejected by the Gator Bowl. If they lose to Notre Dame and split WVU and Cincinnati, Notre Dame could likely make a BCS Game and Pitt would get the Gator Bowl. Since the Gator Bowl pays about $3 million and the next bowl pays about $700,000, Pitt has a $2.3 million incentive to throw the Notre Dame game.

Brian Bennett: You're not really suggesting that Pitt lose on purpose, are you Andrew? We know that will never happen. If I'm a Pitt fan, I root for the Panthers to beat the Irish and to go on and win the Big East, and I wouldn't worry about anything else at this point.

I don't even know how to address this.

Some quick hitters:

Pitt announced its 2009 (yes, 2009...not 2010) senior captains. If someone can explain to me why this just now happened, please feel free to enlighten me.

A look at Mike Shanahan and the wideouts.

Myles Caragein is the focus of this piece on the D-Line.

And I don't know which has been beaten to death more - the stories about Bill Stull struggling or his resurgence. Here's another one.

After setting a personal best with 144 yards, Jonathan Baldwin gets a look in the Beaver County Times.