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Tag:West Virginia
Posted on: November 27, 2010 10:41 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 10:42 pm
 

Report: Bill Stewart to retire

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Suddenly there are quite a few big name schools with coaching vacancies to fill if you believe the reports circulating on Saturday night.  First we heard that Miami will be firing head coach Randy Shannon -- though this is yet to be confirmed -- and now it seems that West Virginia may have an opening as well.  

Though this one won't be due to a firing.

According to a report, West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart is going to retire at the end of the season.  This is from a report on EerSports.com, which is a pay site and can't be viewed without a subscription.  There has been no official word on this from West Virginia or Bill Stewart.

Still, the same report also says that former WVU assistant Rick Trickett who now serves as Florida State's assistant head coach is a top target to replace Stewart, along with both Terry and Tommy Bowden.

Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more information on this story as it develops.
Posted on: November 27, 2010 2:24 pm
 

Connecticut capitalizing on opportunity so far

Posted by Chip Patterson

When West Virginia toppled Pittsburgh in the 103rd Backyard Brawl, Connecticut suddenly had a reason to extra thankful this weekend.  The Panthers loss opened up the Big East conference championship race to the Huskies and Mountaineers, with the prize of a BCS bowl berth at the finish line.  Connecticut has been on a tear since starting the conference season 0-2.  They have knocked off West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse on their climb up the standings.  Now with two weeks left, the Huskies own the tie breaker against the top teams in the conference and control their own destiny.  Connecticut has seized the opportunity so far against Cincinnati, leading 24-10 at half.  

Jordan Todman has continued his impressive performance on the ground, creeping up on the 100 yard mark in the first half.  Todman has broken the 100 yard mark in every game except a 26-0 shutout loss to Louisville, and is averaging 155 yards per game in the Huskies current win streak.  It is awfully impressive to think that a team that just joined Division I is on the verge of a potential BCS Bowl game, and a huge credit to head coach Randy Edsall for getting them to this point. 
Posted on: November 26, 2010 8:35 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2010 8:39 pm
 

Backyard Brawl sets up wild finish in Big East

Posted by Chip Patterson

So far in 2010, the Big East conference has lacked many defining or memorable moments in conference play.  Those moments that every team in the conference will remember that game that changed the landscape across the entire league.  It feels fitting then, that one of those performances came in the 103rd Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia.  The Panthers entered the game sitting in the driver's seat on the way to a BCS bowl game.  A win over their rivals on Senior Day in Pittsburgh could put the Panthers just one Connecticut loss away from that coveted automatic bid.

Unfortunately, the Panthers have failed to shake the late-season struggles that crashed their conference championship hopes a season ago.  Pittsburgh entered this same weekend in 2009 undefeated in conference play, only to lose back-to-back games to West Virginia and Cincinnati to finish the season.  On Friday, Pittsburgh started this home stretch just like last year with a 35-10 loss to the Mountaineers in the Backyard Brawl.  With the win, West Virginia has turned around a disappointing middle of the season and set themselves up with a chance to win the conference.  

But the biggest winner in the Big East on Friday was Connecticut.  If the Huskies can pull out a win against Cincinnati at home on Saturday they will be one win away from their first BCS Bowl appearance in program history.  Connecticut just joined the conference in 2004, and nothing would be a higher compliment to Randy Edsall and his staff than to finish 2010 as the Big East Champions.  The best advantage the Huskies have in the race is owning the tie-breaker against both Pittsburgh and West Virginia thanks to their current three-game winnning streak.  

But with Pittsburgh's loss on Friday, it sets up a fantastic finish for the Big East title.  The Huskies control their own destiny, but with one loss could open the door for West Virginia.  West Virginia just needs a win next week and one Connecticut loss to clinch the conference, and Pittsburgh can still finally grasp that conference title with a win over Cincinnati and one loss from both West Virginia and Connecticut.  

Regardless of who your dog is in the fight, all eyes will be turned towards Storrs on Saturday.  The Huskies, the one team who controls their own destiny, will take the field against a Bearcats squad that has the chance to spoil title hopes for two teams.  Critics will argue that this finish is a result of season-long mediocrity, but the football fan in all of us is happy with the added significance to these late-season conference battles.      




Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:40 pm
 

Backyard Brawl more of a staring contest

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you were to just look at the numbers from the first half of the Backyard Brawl, you would have to assume that Pitt was leading West Virginia.  Just look at these things.

Pitt has outgained WVU 130 yards to 59.  The Panthers have 12 first downs to West Virginia's two.  On third down, the Panthers are 8-of-12 converting. The Mountaineers?  1-of-4.

So what's the score?  It's 14-7...West Virginia.

As is usually the case in games like this, it's turnovers that are deciding the outcome.  Pitt has turned it over three times and West Virginia hasn't. Two of those turnovers led to all 14 Mountaineers points.

On West Virginia's two scoring drives in the first half, they've run a total of 4 plays.

So, on one hand, if you're Dave Wannstedt you have to be somewhat pleased with your team today.  After all, a win keeps your team in line for a BCS berth, and they have outplayed West Virginia through the first thirty minutes.  On the other hand, you were probably hoping that the dumb mistakes and turnovers that had plagued your team through the first ten games of the season had been fixed, and it's clear that they just haven't been.

Still, Pitt is only down seven points.  If it can manage to hold on to the ball in the second half, and keep playing the way it has been, the Panthers should leave this game with a win.
Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:55 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 12:01 am
 

What I learned from the Big East (Nov. 20)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. It doesn't have to be pretty, Pittsburgh just found a way to win - It took almost three quarters, but the Panthers offense finally caught stride in the second half. A touchdown-less game saw back-to-back-to-back touchdown drives across a 12 minute span that put Pittsburgh up for good 17-10. Tito Sunseri efficiently led the way on the scoring drives, completing 8 of 9 passes in the second half. Dion Lewis was undoubtedly the Panthers' feature back, rushing 22 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. Avoiding a loss keeps Pittsburgh alone atop the Big East standings, as we creep closer to the end of the season and crowning of a conference champion. With only two other two-loss teams left, all eyes will be on the 103rd Backyard Brawl against West Virginia next week. A Panthers win would eliminate all other contenders except Connecticut, a West Virginia victory blows the race wide open with a week left.

2. At 7-3, West Virginia can thank their defense for success - While many teams fear the power and potential of West Virginia's offense, their success in the 2010 season can be credited mostly to their defense. The Mountaineer defense is among the top five in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 12.9 points per game. No team has scored more than 21 points on West Virginia, Saturday's 17-10 victory over Louisville was another example of Bill Stewart's defensive unit closing out a game, pitching a second half shutout against a Cardinals rushing attack that entered the Saturday averaging 192.3 yards per game -- best in the conference.

3. Connecticut poses the biggest threat as a dark horse - On a three game winning streak, one of the conference's hottest teams is Connecticut. The Huskies have moved from winless and sub-.500 to one of three teams competing for a BCS Bowl birth in late November. The Huskies 3-2 conference record is good enough for second place, and with wins over West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse, they own the tie-breaker against the conference's best teams. If Connecticut wins against Cincinnati and South Florida, all they need is one loss from Pittsburgh and the Huskies will find themselves bowling in January. It would be quite an accomplishment for a program that just joined Division I-A in 2002.

4. Learning the scenarios for the Big East title contenders -
For Pittsburgh to win the Big East - Simply - win both of their remaining games. Can also clinch the division with a win over West Virginia paired with a Connecticut loss. Losing to West Virginia would blow the title hunt wide open with Connecticut taking a slight advantage by owning both tiebreakers.

For West Virginia to win the Big East - West Virginia needs to win the Backyard Brawl and defeat Rutgers in the season finale. They also will need a Connecticut loss in order to avoid losing the conference championship to the Huskies in a tiebreaker.

For Connecticut to win the Big East - The Huskies need a Panthers loss in order to get a shot, but victories over the Panthers and Mountaineers have given Connecticut protection in the event of any ties. However, the Huskies would need to win out as well, and after watching Cincinnati hang 69 points on Rutgers, there are no guarantees in the Big East.

Posted on: November 20, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2010 6:53 pm
 

Backyard Brawl could decide the Big East

Posted by Chip Patterson

With Pittsburgh and West Virginia collecting wins on Saturday, the road to a BCS Bowl game will run straight through the Backyard Brawl next week in Pittsburgh.  The 103rd meeting of the Panthers and Mountaineers is one of the most pivotal games remaining in the Big East title race.  Pittsburgh rode a hot second half from quarterback Tito Sunseri to a 17-10 victory, giving the Panthers a one game lead in the conference with two games left on the schedule.  

Syracuse, West Virginia, and Connecticut are the only remaining two-loss teams in the conference, and either the Orange or Huskies will pick up their third conference loss when they square off later this evening.  West Virginia will have a chance to tie the Panthers for the best conference record and own the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win next weekend.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Saturday Meal Plan: Week 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

We're less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and apparently the NCAA has taken that into consideration with this week's schedule.  It seems they're kind enough not to give us anything too heavy this weekend so that we're able to gorge ourselves to death on Thursday.

The NCAA: always concerned about the fan and their digestive limitations.

Breakfast

Main Course - Michigan vs. #6 Wisconsin - Noon - ESPN

Listen, people, if Bret Bielema can put up 83 points on Indiana, then surely he can do the same against a Michigan defense that has been the polar-opposite of stout this season.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Badgers shoot for 100 this weekend.

First of all, they need a win a win to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive, and second of all, the Badgers have some BCS computers to impress.  What's more impressive than 100 points?

There's also the fact that Bielema has already gotten Tim Brewster fired this season, and may have added Bill Lynch to his tally last week as well.  Why wouldn't he take a shot at Rich Rodriguez?

Side Orders: Not much else of importance on Saturday morning, but there are options.  Oklahoma State goes to Kansas looking to stay atop the Big 12 South division, and West Virginia will try to keep its slim BCS hopes alive on the road against Louisville.   There's also the battle of North Carolina when the Tar Heels take on N.C. State.   Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan State looks to maintain its spot on top of the Big Ten hosting Purdue.

Lunch

Main Course - #21 Iowa vs. #8 Ohio State - 3:30pm - ABC

We have a couple of games featuring ranked teams during the afternoon, but in my opinion, this one should grab top-billing.  Iowa saw its chances at winning the Big Ten ruined by Northwestern last week, so what could be better for the Hawkeyes than to ruin Ohio State's chances?

After all, it was Ohio State that beat the Hawkeyes last season and ended their hopes of going to the Rose Bowl, so why not return the favor?

If nothing else, it's just another chance for Ricky Stanzi to spread the message of loving America and hating hippies throughout the country.

Side Orders: The other ranked game this afternoon features Miami and Virginia Tech.   Miami has a very slim chance to win the ACC Coastal division, but in order to keep those hopes alive, they have to knock off a Hokies team that's won eight straight since dropping that game to James Madison.    There's also some Les Miles fun on the mothership when LSU hosts Ole Miss, and seriously, after all that's gone on surrounding the game, how can you not tune in to Illinois and Northwestern at Wrigley Field?  I'll be at that game witnessing the insanity from the press box.

Dinner

Main Course - Maryland vs. Florida State - 8pm - ABC

The game that would decide the ACC Atlantic! 

Who saw this one coming?  Essentially, the winner of this game will be going to the ACC Championship Game in a few weeks.  Now, while seeing Florida State in this position doesn't come as much of a shock, the fact that Maryland is here is rather surprising.

Though that's just the way the ACC rolls these days.  One minute you're terrible, and then the next you still aren't very good, but you're good enough.  Seriously the ACC should adopt the motto of "Hey, at least we aren't the Big East!"

Side Orders: If ranked teams are more your thing, then you can check out Texas A&M and Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers look to hold on to their ticket to Dallas while the Aggies -- who have done a 180 this season -- still want a chance to buy one.  Mississippi State and Arkansas will be going at it in Starkville as well.  Also, if you're into football games being played in baseball stadiums that use two end zones, Notre Dame and Army continue their annual rivalry on Saturday night, but this time from Yankee Stadium.  Show up and chant Derek Jeter's name for no reason!

Late Night Snack

Utah has not had a good November.  One week its getting pasted by TCU at home, and the next it's getting beat up on the road by a mediocre Notre Dame team missing half of its offense. Now they get to take on a San Diego State team that played TCU much better than the Utes did.
Posted on: November 14, 2010 2:30 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 2:32 am
 

What I learned from the Big East (Nov. 13)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. West Virginia is tired of being talked down to - There was a time, in this very feature, when it was declared that West Virginia looked like they could cruise to the Big East title. But coming into Saturday, the Mountaineers were tied at the bottom of the conference standings and no longer considered a threat by many. Tired of being disrespected, West Virginia made a statement in the 37-10 victory over Cincinnati. Recently, it has been difficult to find the same West Virginia team that used to hold position in the polls and gave LSU a run for their money. The Mountaineers scored fast and often, jumping out to a 30-3 halftime lead on the Bearcats. Cincinnati never had a chance, with the defense chipping in as well to force four turnovers. With how wide open the Big East race is, the Mountaineers are now bowl eligible, and not completely out of the conference championship race.

2. Skip Holtz ushering in new chapter at USF - When the Jim Leavitt scandal erupted a season ago, a dark cloud hovered over the young program. If South Florida was going to continue the kind of early success that has catapulted the Bulls up the football ranks, they needed to figure out a way to start a new chapter. Enter Skip Holtz, a young, football-smart coach from a rich football bloodline and also recent success at East Carolina. Holtz' first two conference games were a harsh welcome to the conference, losing to Syracuse and West Virginia. But since the rough start, the Bulls have been rolling and now find themselves eligible for the postseason. The overtime victory at Louisville extended the winning streak to three, as South Florida looks ahead to hosting the first-place Pittsburgh Panthers. The Bulls are one of the hottest teams in the conference, and pose a great threat to Pittsburgh's conference lead with Saturday's date in Tampa just a week away.

3. Get used to these Big East teams, they'll be playing into December - Big East could have a heavy representation in the bowl picture- Widely regarded as one of the worst conferences with an automatic qualifying bid to the BCS, the Big East already has three bowl eligible teams. Also, it is possible that Connecticut, Louisville, and conference leader Pittsburgh will all become eligible as well, giving the conference six possible teams in postseason play. With all of the criticism leveled on the conference, there has to be some bit of optimism from the fact that 3/4 of the conference will be playing into December. Others would argue that the records are just a snapshot of the conferences mediocrity. Whichever way you slice it, it looks like the Big East will have several chances to prove their worth in bowl play.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com