Life intervened again this week, by which I mean I learned there exist "T-gates" at Atlanta's airport. Who knew?
Anyway, I allowed myself time to dream about what it would mean if we actually won this game Saturday. As I write this, the UConn/WVU game hangs in the balance while Mrs. CardsFan922 watches Catch Me If You Can for the umpteenth time. Regardless of how it ends, two things are certain: literally anyone can win the Big East, and Catch Me If You Can is a really re-watchable movie. Lots of random stars with bit parts and big parts. And a great story about the two mice in a bucket of cream, one of which drowned and one of which struggled so hard it churned the cream into butter.
Regardless of how this season plays out, you can tell that Charlie Strong has our guys playing their balls off, and what they lack in talent, they make up for in effort. Regardless of how bad UConn is, blanking them was pretty amazing considering everything we've been through. So I don't blame you, reader, if you've allowed yourself to dream about what this season may bring. If Cincinnati loses another game, and if we win this game tomorrow, we control our own destiny in the Big East. Think that's far-fetched? You know what else seemed far fetched a few months ago? This statement: BRYCE COTTON WILL BE PLAYING IN THE YUM! CENTER THIS YEAR AND MAY BE PROVIDENCE'S BEST PLAYER.
That just happened.
First Play: Run with Powell. Pitt's run defense ranks 9th nationally in yards per game at 92. The last time we played a team with that good run defense, Bilal Powell quickly ran for those yards in about one play:
Second Play: We've got to throw the ball, and Pitt's pass defense isn't great, coming in at 75th, waaaay worse than ours. According to the NCAA, our passing defense is ranked 19th in the country. That's based on yards per game. I really don't believe it, and efficiency-wise we're at 67th, which sounds about right. Either way, the passing game has not been a strength, except for CamEmoGraham and a few flashes of Bellamy. Maybe Pitt's defense will be the cure.
Burns Island: For real this time. Seriously, I wonder how this article got written. I guess "stabilized" is technically true, but notice it doesn't say that he has "solidified" or "fortified" or "improved." Just "is consistently the best of some bad options but gets beat a lot." Burns has an interesting story, he seems like a good kid. But he's too short and gets blamed for losing the Cincinnati game by getting beat on some big plays, mainly because of his size, and somewhat unfairly since he was supposed to have help from the safety on the last TD and was helping out Ashley on the first. Anyway, against a bunch of tall receivers, he's going to get picked on tomorrow. Three pass break-ups in seven games is not outstanding, and Patrick at least has some interceptions to go with it. But screw it, Burns Island is a real place, and the whole world (or at least everyone watching on the no good gd mfing espn3.com) will see it tomorrow.
Offensive MVP: Froman. Bilal Powell is obviously the most important player on the team, but Froman will have to make some plays to get us a win. Both with the arm and with a couple decent runs, Froman needs to step up. I love the Wannstache's answer to a question about Froman:
"The first game their quarterback started was a year ago against us. He's a senior kid; he was a junior college kid too. He's a good athlete. He can get out of trouble and run the football. He's the third-leading rusher on their team.
He also added that Froman is about yay-tall, has red hair, is a man, wears shoes and has red hair.
Defensive MVP: Defensive line has to step up. Pitt's offense has a lot of weapons, and if we are going to stop them, it has to come from both pressure on Sunseri and preventing Dion Lewis and Ray Graham from getting theirs. Hakeem Smith and Shenard Holton will be busy, but without consistent pressure and plugging up holes, no way our secondary stops Baldwin and Friends from getting a ton of yards and a couple TDs.
Specific Prediction: Announcers do not mention once that Sunseri committed to UofL.
Final Score: WVU has lost in overtime to UConn. A movie about check kiting and diploma forgeries in the 1960s was the most anticipated movie of 2002 and is still watchable in 2010. We can all see the Cotton-buzzer-beater-dunk coming from miles away. Nothing makes any sense anymore. But this: no matter how hard we work and how much we church, that can't change the talent advantage and match-up problems Pitt enjoys. So I'm saying Pittsburgh 35 - 17 Louisville.
Next year, though, we win the Big East and end the season in the Top 10. The Big East sucks and Charlie Strong is going to own it, if he wants to stay here, very soon. He may not actually walk on water, but he can make his players walk on cream until it turns into butter.
That just happened.