Friday, November 18, 2016

The Football Weekend That Was

Before another football weekend begins, I need to comment on what happened last week in Pittsburgh football circles.  As we were in the midst of our Tennessee trip, access was limited, but this is what I did see.

The Pitt-Clemson game was televised on ESPN, so I was able to catch the beginning of the game before we had to leave our hotel to go to the wedding.  At that time, the score was 14-14.  After the ceremony, we were made aware that Pitt was still very much in the game, and, through the magic of cell phones and video streaming, I was able to watch Chris Blewitt kick the 48 yard field goal that enabled Pitt to upset the heavily favored, second ranked Clemson Tigers.

To call this Pitt win "stunning"  would be seriously understating it.  This was easily the Panthers biggest, most important, and most unexpected win since they beat undefeated West Virginia in 2003, a game that cost WVU a chance at the national championship.

It was totally and completely unexpected, but I need to tip the Pitt Script ball cap to our pal, Bob Middleman, aka, Bob Jeffrey, who, at our North Side Breakfast last August called for a possible upset of Clemson by Pitt in Death Valley.  We all laughed, but who's laughing now?  I only hope that Bob had a bet on it.


Then there was the Steelers-Cowboys game.  We were in Louisville that afternoon doing our "tourist thing", and then hit the road.  We checked into a motel somewhere in Ohio a little after 7:00.  I had no idea what was going on in the game, and I turned on the TV just as the two minute warning was taking place with the Steelers leading by one point.  You know what happened...I saw the Cowboys win the game....then I saw the Steelers win the game...then I saw the Cowboys win the game.

Looks like I missed seeing perhaps the best NFL game of the year, but, wow, what a crummy end result.

It now looks like the Steelers had been over-rated by many (and, yes, that includes The Grandstander), especially on defense.  By this coming Sunday, it will have been forty-two days since they last won a football game.  No way to dress that up.  However, in an effort to try to be positive, I point out that four of their remaining seven games are against  division foes.  Win those, maybe steal one of the other three (against Colts, Giants, Bills), and they probably win the AFC North.  

Then, who knows what might happen?  It's asking a lot, I realize, but it wouldn't be all that surprising in the NFL of 2016, and, yes, I know that them going 3-4 in these least seven games would be all that surprising either.


Remember back on September 10 when Pitt beat Penn State?   Remember how even the most die-hard PSU loyalists were questioning how James Franklin could possibly retain his job past this season?  Of course you do, but then an amazing thing happened.  Penn State somehow managed to upset unbeaten and heavily favored Ohio State, and they now own a record of 8-2, 6-1 in the Big 10, and are ranked in the Top Ten.  They need help from some other schools, but it is possible that they could be playing in the Big Ten Championship game, and if they could somehow manage to win THAT, then could they be considered for the Playoffs?  I know, I know, that's a lot of "if this" and "if that", but I doubt that there is any "fire Franklin" talk taking place in Happy Valley right now.  In fact, this turnaround could put Franklin on the short lists of some NFL teams who might be coach shopping this winter.

It's kind of incredible when you come to think of it.

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