You have a lot of questions following Pitt's 45-14 decimation of Syracuse if front of a packed Dome on Saturday. I have your answers.
Q: What was THAT?
A: "THAT was an ass-whooping. THAT was a reminder in the talent gap that exists between schools like Pitt and Syracuse. THAT was the Football Gods punishing us for our hubris this past week. THAT was a lesson in understanding that the little things that we were willing to overlook because we had a lot more items in the win column than in the loss column were bigger issues than we were willing to notice. THAT was a reminder that while Ryan Nassib has progressed, he still has a ways to go. THAT was Big East karma reminding us that while we can beat anyone in the conference, anyone in this conference can beat us too. THAT was a little something to let us know that while we're on our way, we're not there just yet.
Q: Was this loss a worst case scenario given what was happening around this game?
A: Short of Doug Marrone walking out on the field in the middle of a play, pulling down his pants to reveal neutron bombs strapped to his thighs, screaming at the top of his lungs that the infidels should pay and then detonating the bombs, killing everyone inside the Dome and turning the city of Syracuse into a radioactive hot zone for the next 300 years...yes, this was a worst case scenario loss.
It was Homecoming. The University and fans spent the entire week desperately trying to sell-out the Dome. We had an Orange-Out in effect. We spent the week musing about our new-found place in the college football hierarchy. We wondered not if we'd make a bowl but which high-level bowl we'd play in. We watched national media types talk in glowing terms of SU football for the first time in a half-decade and though they were skeptical of our success, they seemed impressed with the job Doug Marrone had done so far. We spoke of Coach of the Year honors and record-breakers and feats not reached since the 1990's. Even if it wasn't nationally-televised, folks would be paying attention to see just how real we were.
Then we lost 45-14. And it wasn't even that close.
Q: Is that it? Are we doomed to lose every game from here on out by thirty points? Will we never win more than four games in a season again?
A: Here's the thing. Can we admit that we all got a little carried away last week about how good this team was? Okay well if we can see that we want way too far in that direction, let's then recognize that it does us no good to go too far in the other direction.
Remember, Dave Wannstedt is the Pitt Paul Pasqualoni. As such, we should have known Pitt would win this game. In fact, 2010 is going to be the Pitt equivalent of Syracuse's 1997 season. The Orange started that season with huge expectations and they promptly lost three of their first four games. Expectations completely unfulfilled, the Orange rattled off eight-straight wins to finish the year respectably. I guarantee you Pitt wins at least five of their last six games because they're officially in Part II of that equation...the "no expectations" zone.
It's my fault for not catching this earlier. I apologize.
What should you take away from this week? We're not as good as you thought we were a week ago. But remember what we did a week ago and know that we can still do that again. We're not the same old Syracuse, even though Saturday's score would indicate otherwise and everyone else now assumed we are. I promise you, we're going to win more games.
Q: Did we lose because the players intended to eat at Chipotle last week before finding out that it didn't open until the 19th?
A: Yes. Absolutely. Just wanting to eat Chipotle is enough to make SU athletes lose. It's that potent. One day you'll believe me...
Q: What's the worst part of that loss?
A: Two things.
First, that it gives every whiner on campus an excuse not to go to another football this season. "See! Told you they're terrible! I'm not wasting another dollar on them!" That sucks.
Second, I am willing to wager my complete earnings and assets on an impending Daily Orange Monday editorial about how this SU Football team is a fraud.
Q: Is this why you didn't change the Quest For Beef to the Quest For Pinstripes or something else?
A: Look, I was as excited as anyone last week but I found it a little much when some folks were commenting that we were reaching too low by continuing to reach for Beef. Not to say that I thought SU would lose by 31 points this weekend, but I just felt like to start staking claim to something more than Beef was to challenge the Gods a little too much. And we were already challenging the Gods enough. As we all saw.
Beef is and remains our goal. We are an impatient bunch, myself included. But we're just going to have to continue on the road of baby-steps, like it or not.
Q: Up next is West Virginia, who is probably the best team we're gonna play all year, followed by Cincinnati who seems to be back on track. Level with me, we're f**ked, aren't we?
A: Well, we're not f**ked. And I wish you'd stop cursing. But the truth is the next two weeks are going to be really, really tough. This was a pretty bad time to lose all our confidence and momentum. Then again, maybe it was good. Maybe we realize we still have a lot of swagger left to earn. Maybe we needed a kick in the ass to remember our place in the world right now. Maybe we needed to go into the West Virginia game pissed off. So be it.
SU-Pitt Recap: The Dark Side...Brent Axe
SU-Pitt Recap: The Sunny Side...Brent Axe
SU-Pitt Recap: This, That, and the Other Thing...Brent Axe
Panthers storm into Carrier Dome, maul Syracuse University 45-14...Nolan Weidner
Pittsburgh anticipates Syracuse football team's game plan, and sophomore quarterback sparkles...Dave Rahme
Pitt coach catches his counterpart's act on TV and implores his team to be physical...Dave Rahme
Receiver Marcus Sales back in mix on Syracuse University offense...Nolan Weidner
DEFLATED: With dominating 1st half, Pittsburgh blitzes SU in Homecoming blowout...Daily Orange
From first play, SU defense exposed by Pitt aerial assault...Daily Orange
Recapping The Orange...Cardiac Hill
When SU loses, third-down issues to blame...Watertown Daily Times
Not So Fast Orange Optimists: Pitt Smacks SU...OrangeFizz
Pittsburgh Outclasses Syracuse, Defeats Orangemen 45-14...Cuse Connection
Panthers maul Syracuse 45-14; Orange drop to 4-2...Syracuse Sports Online
|SU vs. Pitt: Coach Marrone's Post-Game News Conference|