Louisville 24, Pittsburgh 17

This is the part where I'm supposed to talk about how a win is a win and we're just a game away from being bowl eligible, which is awesome, but my ability to feign optimism was completely exhausted in the wake of the Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky games. The simple truth is that we were lucky to escape with a home win over the second worst team in the league.

A team that we had outclassed at every position besides tailback and cornerback was a yard away from taking us to overtime in our house. I mean the two things that propelled us to victory were a defensive holding call on a play where our wide open receiver fell down and had the ball hit him in the shoulder pads, and a botched exchange on the goalline.

Our defensive philosophy was the right one; against Pitt you have to make Pat Bostick beat you, and he proved for four quarters on Saturday that he couldn't do it. And yet and still, with the game on the line, we allowed them to go from their 35 to our 20 on three straight draw plays. The 17th tier ESPN announcer quipped "you're never out of a game when you're up against Louisville's defense," and I suppose he's right, just about any two-minute offense will suffice against the red and white this year.

To all the "this is a great Big East win" fans, kudos, I really wish I could lie and say I feel the same way. Maybe it's just the steady barrage of football taking its toll, maybe a bye week is what I need, I don't know. All I do know is that when the clock hit zero on Saturday it was the least amount of pleasure I've taken from a football victory in a decade.

We always start positive here, so...Bilal Powell. If he doesn't touch the ball ten times next Thursday (Andy Bernard voice), I'm gonna lose my freakin' mind.

If Pitt can somehow figure out how to get their program together, LeSean McCoy is going to be a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate in two years. And if not then he's going to be a conference Player of the Year candidate who's about eight months away from making more money than I'll ever see in my life.

Surprised to see LaRod Stephens-Howling carry the ball just three times after going for 100 last week against Cincinnati. He still has another year in Wannstache land and I wonder how he's going to take his workload being reduced to single-digit touches after he was such a hoss early in his career.

After watching this game and the South Florida/Connecticut game back-to-back, there's officially no doubt about it: The Big East has the worst officials in the country, and it isn't even close. It was obvious to EVERYONE watching at home, in the stands, or from the sidelines that Brock Bolen scored in the third quarter...everyone except the official standing five feet away from the play and the guy watching the replay 20 times in a room by himself. And then the holding call on South Florida was the 18th luckiest thing I've seen Connecticut get away with this season.

Seriously, you've got the blatantly obvious touchdown catch in the Temple game that inexplicably wasn't overturned, the worst non-call in the history of football against Louisville, and now this. What the hell is going on in Storrs? Are people going up to these guys before games and threatening bodily harm?

I've been impressed with Brian Brohm's increased arm strength all season (sans the last play of the UK game), but that throw across his body on the first drive of the game was something I didn't think he had in his repertoire. Wow.

Again, not the best afternoon for Brohm, but after seeing Cox and Berry play 60 minutes for the second time I think that Pitt's pass defense ranking of six is only mildly inflated.

Every time we're on defense and the cameras show Kragthorpe shouting encouragement, the only thing he's ever saying is "let's go, let's go, let's go." I'm not sure this would inspire me, but I'm positive that it would be annoying.

If you run for seven yards on first down, go ahead and run it again on second down every now and then.

Have I mentioned that Lamar Myles is a beast recently? The play where he took the lead blocker head on, and then reached around him and pulled McCoy down with one arm was easily the defensive play of the season thus far.

Peanut Whitehead...yes...except for, you know, the whole throat-slashing thing.

Great game by the offensive line - which deserves far more credit for the way it's played this season than it's receiving - including Brian Roche who made his first career start at right guard.

I think Art's chances of a Groza repeat are dwindling, and the block on the 47-yarder certainly didn't help. It may be time to start padding stats. Am I saying take a knee on 3rd and 7 from the 29? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Mario's not shaving points, he didn't vandalize a UK billboard, he didn't assault anyone in a club, and he didn't pistol whip Jerry Smith or impregnate Dejuan Wheat's girlfriend (that was supposed to be him too right?). Good to see him back on the field because just his presence as a deep threat will be a boon in November.

He almost came up with another sensational diving catch, but Scott Long's golden hands failed him on a couple of occasions, most notably on the third down pass near the left sideline. Even Harry Douglas has dropped a pass or two...when he was a sophomore. No. 84 still needs to be on the field.

Brohm and Douglas are going to get the majority of the attention for the next four weeks, but Gary Barnidge is about to put a cap on quite the Cardinal career as well. For four years we've taken having an athletic tight end with the ability to go over the middle and make plays for granted, and I think we're all going to have fully realized just how special Barnidge was by this time next year.

Do I think we win at least one of our last three and finish at least 6-6? Yes I do. Now Pitt finished 6-6 last season and was passed over by the bowls, but with six tie-ins this season I think a .500 record guarantees us at least a trip to Birmingham.

Feel the magic.

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