The Daily Five
Is a feature that will be posted Monday – Friday to kick off the morning, centered around rumblings, musings and opinions on five emerging stories in the Pittsburgh Sports Scene:
1. Whether you like the decision or not for Pitt to join the ACC, they deserve a lot of credit for not waiting around for the Big East to suddenly become a football conference again (It’s never going too) and be left in a situation that West Virginia might soon be in.
Pitt officials took a lot of heat for not aggressively pursuing a move to the Big Ten last summer but it’s takes two to make a deal.
As Pitt was aggressive in orchestrating a move to the ACC, ACC officials were just as aggressive. The ACC not the Big Ten was always the spot Pitt officials wanted and things ended up working perfectly for them.
“This is an exciting day for the University of Pittsburgh. We have a long history of competing and collaborating with the distinguished universities that already are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have enormous respect for both their academic strengths and their athletic accomplishments,” Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said at a 6:00 p.m. news conference. “In looking to our own future, we could not envision a better conference home for Pitt and are grateful to the Council of Presidents for extending an invitation to join the ACC community.”
“This is a very significant day for all of our student athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh, ” AD Steve Pederson said. “The strength and quality of the ACC is highly regarded by everyone at Pitt. When we set high expectations for our student athletes in their academic, athletic and personal goals, it is important to provide every opportunity and resource to enable that success. Joining the ACC and the outstanding institutions in this conference will give every Pitt student-athlete the chance to achieve their highest aspirations.”
From a basketball fan standpoint, not playing in the Garden for the Big East Tournament will be missed but in the long run, It’s hard seeing fans complain when Duke and North Carolina among others come to town. Not to mention that UConn could be joining the ACC as the conference might expand to 16. Expanding to 16 is considered a real possibility and something ACC officials admitted today isn’t being ruled out.
The two top targets are reportedly UConn and Rutgers. West Virginia does not appear to be on the radar of the ACC.
For now, Pitt can’t join the ACC until 2014-2015 due to transfer rules in the Big East but a university contact I spoke with this evening believed Pitt will find a way out well before then. Pitt and Syracuse will both pay a $5 million fee to leave the Big East.
Chancellor Nordenberg also made it clear that Pitt will explore options about reducing the 27-month waiting period.
Nordenberg and Pederson cited the Big East not addressing the long-term concerns about the football conference as the main reason for Pitt exploring options of leaving the conference. Nordenberg said the University was in constant contact with the Big East about their growing concerns as the process rapidly progressed this week when the ACC decided to expand to a 14 team conference and targeted Pitt.
2. The Steelers beat a very bad team on Sunday in the Seattle Seahawks but in the NFL, a win is a win. The Steelers are 1-1 with some momentum to build off of and the schedule sets up so well for the Steelers with a week 3 matchup on the road against the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts who dropped their home opener against the lowly Cleveland Browns.
Questions surely still linger such as the team not having any kind of pass rush until the 4th quarter, among others, but again, in the NFL a win is a win.
As the Steelers showed in 2008 and last season, if you beat the teams you should, it’s going to be an 11-5 / 12-4 season. The Steelers have also shown recently that hitting your stride late in the season means a lot more than earlier in the season. Just ask New England.
3. Week 1 is often the biggest over-reaction period from NFL pundits and fans. Pundits like to proclaim Super Bowl, division favorites and so on after just one game. Last week was no different when it led to laughable talk of the AFC North going through Baltimore after their dominating performance against the Steelers. It was just one game with 15 more to go.
Well Ravens fans should hold off on reserving hotels in Indy. The Ravens were thumped by the rebuilding Tennesse Titans, 26-13, and suddenly Pittsburgh and Baltimore are 1-1. A let down was surely expected but not to the extent of how the Titans dominated Baltimore in several areas.
Everything that went wrong for Baltimore on Sunday happened a week later than many expected. Joe Flacco made Joe Flacco type of mistakes and the Titans torched the Ravens through the air for 358 yards and the Ravens offensive line had the type of troubles, we thought we’d see in Week 1 against Pittsburgh.
Let’s hold off on those judgements of whether the AFC North goes through Baltimore until after week 9, when the two rivals meet in Pittsburgh.
4. Mike Wallace’s goal of 2,000 reception yards is unreasonable but 1,500+ yards could be a possibility, which would be an impressive feat as only two receivers (Reggie Wayne, 07, Andre Johnson, 08, 09) have collected 1,500 yards or more in a season since 2006.
One big reason why is that Wallace is no longer just a straight runner. He has made great strides in his route running ability, emerging as a difference maker on short routes and is evolving as a complete receiver.
Wallace has 16 receptions for 233 yards and a touchdown in two games so far this season and he’s a threat to rack up yardage any time he touches the ball.
Wallace has eight 100-yard receiving games in his last 11 regular seasons games, dating back to last November and Wallace has 5 straight 100-yard receiving games in the regular season.
5. Things have been extremely promising for Sidney Crosby through two on-ice sessions in camp but what will be interesting to see is how the Penguins handle a possible situation if symptoms flare up for Crosby again.
Last year they handled the Crosby situation extremely poor from a PR standpoint and dealing with the media, but I’d look for more forthcoming news coming from team if setbacks were to happen this time around.