czech the pulse

After four months in the grave it would appear that the site’s best days are long day. The domain is still ours, however, so here’s a quick post to tide you over until, I guess, next year’s tax season is complete? and the GA has time to contribute.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a TSwift concert in the Queen City. 🚨 Hot take alert 🚨 – 1989 in 2015 was actually a better show (higher % of time spent on bangers vs the Grimm music she’s been making lately) but Eras did not disappoint. Among many great songs these stood out as the top five:

  1. Bad Blood – I’m as surprised as you are. Despite being one of the weaker tracks from 1989, Bad Blood S L A P P E D in Cincy. If I had to guess it was the combination of a sweet fire show and a finally setting sun (see Cruel Summer write-up). Much like the 2016 election I did not see this coming and much like the 2020 election some losers are going to question the legitimacy of the outcome but it happened.
  2. Are you Ready for It? – as far as I’m concerned this track marked the beginning of the concert, even if it didn’t get played until about an hour in. Absolute banger*. A favorite of mine since ESPN used it in the initial montage for ND vs. Clemson in 2018. Let the games begin, indeed.
  3. Don’t Blame Me – do yourself a favor and listen to this immediately if you are unfamiliar, as I was until the show. Wow, what a treat. It’s big and haunting and fills up the entire stadium. A strong case can be made that, even if Fearless and Red were the most fun Eras of the evening, Reputation walks away as the golden age.
  4. Enchanted – cheating slightly with this one. It’s a fine song but probably would not be a top track on the merits of the Cincinnati performance alone. Instead, listening to it from Mount Washington during her PGH performance alongside thousands of other non-ticketed fans made me appreciate the gravity of the tour and set into motion the forces that would send me down the river to the Queen City (“this night is flawless” — chills). Without Enchanted, the rest of this list does not exist.
  5. Cruel Summer – I could not fucking wait to hear her play this. Easily the most anticipated song on the setlist for me. Unfortunately came out a bit flat – weather moved our tee time up an hour to 7pm, and I fear the earlier start suppressed some of the initial energy (Cruel Summer is the first complete song that gets played). Still a banger but alas! will not go down as the song of the summer.

* LBaby has argued that the verses are a little lame and that’s probably fair. Still bangs.

The Abyss

Fucking hell, the time after the super bowl but before march madness is the worst. Oh good! We now have tons of spare time on the weekend and we can do all of the shit we’ve been meaning to do! Now what was that again? The next thing you know, it’s 4:00am on a Saturday night and I’ve been standing in the same spot for seven hours, contemplating the horror of the FACT that there couldn’t possibly be a benevolent God that would create a system that makes living things need to fucking murder and consume other living things in order to survive. So is God evil or just impotent? Also, is Pitt hoops underrated or overrated? There was a moment a week or so ago when Pitt had more or less the same record as Virginia, including conference record, but Virginia was No.7 nationally and Pitt wasn’t ranked at all and estimated as a 9 seed. Honestly, I don’t follow college hoops much until it’s time for me to pick out a bracket, then I read a bunch of articles. All of the things that used to interest me about college hoops, either Notre Dame or Storied Programs, all seem to be foundering these days. I miss the Big East of John Thompson and Rollie Massimino and Louie Carnesecca’s sweater. I never thought I’d miss Mike Krzyzewski, but here we are. I’ve read that this year’s tournament field is incredibly flat, basically anybody can beat anybody on a good night. Does my longing for Storied Programs and a benevolent, omnipotent God make me a closet conservative? Am I, dear god, a fascist? Fuuuuuuuuck.

Reesus Wept

Until recently, my views on Tommy Rees were complicated.

Loved him as a player, believe it or not; something about a no-talent, unathletic kid wearing #11 resonated with me (as certain readers may recall, I also donned the double ones as the 9th man(1) for St. – – – – – – of – – – – -’s A Team in 2009), in addition to the several times he bailed out the 2012 team with zero emotion on his face. Perhaps because of this history, I also had a soft spot for him as a coach. In an industry of type A snake oil salesmen (not Marcus, of course, but the Dabos and Jimbos of the world), his lack of charisma presence or energy(2) was actually kind of endearing (I mean this sincerely). The Do Your Fucking Job incident was also fun.

But holy hell were there some ugly things about his tenure. He was the QB’s coach for six years and produced zero game changers at QB (if your counter to this point is Ian Book – what are we even doing here). Over the three years he’s also been OC, ND lost eight games, six of which were emphatically the offense’s fault. This is where the football intelligentsia will say “no, no Ken you’ve got it all wrong; he’s a brilliant play-caller, his players just suck,” but a couple thoughts on that.

  • Making sure the players don’t suck is kind of his Fucking Job. He had plenty of time to build a roster.
  • Put that aside, the elites might say. “He won’t have that problem at Bama, and recruiting isn’t a thing in the NFL, for which he’s destined. Watch how good he schemes it up now.” Sure, fine. But does an offensive savant under any circumstances put up 14 net points and 14 gross points against Marshall and Stanford, respectively, as Thom did in 2022? We’ve seen the kid get absolutely body bagged intellectually several times (see second halves of Navy 22 and OK State Fiesta Bowl) against opponents with far less talent(3). He got to make the offense in his image and likeness this season, and the team fell flat on its face as a result.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish he was staying this year. For the first time since 2015, the ingredients for an elite offense – stud QB in Sam Hartman (whose matriculation is perhaps Tommy’s finest accomplishment) playing behind a ferocious offensive line(4) – are in place. I would’ve loved to see the guy put his name on it and prove me/the haters wrong. But given that no one, including Hartman, seems to be following the guy (why would they?), I’m not too worried about it. There is zero doubt in my mind that ND can do better at OC. Let the big brains in the NFL have Reesus; time to bring an Elko/Lea/Freeman(5) equivalent to South Bend.

So while I’m not concerned about the football implications here, I will say I’m bothered by how scummy this all is. Tommy doesn’t owe anything to me or Jack Swarbrick or even (it pains me to say) Marcus Freeman. But he does to Sam Hartman. He does to every kid he pressured into coming to Notre Dame. They say it’s a business, but it’s a business built on the backs of teenagers. His value as a coach is in large part predicated on his ability to influence kids as they make the biggest decision of their lives. I realize that promotion and relocation are natural parts of coaching. However… Tommy is lateraling OC jobs between two top-end programs. Notre Dame pays him millions of dollars a year, so we’re far beyond the point of “he has to do what’s best for him.” Had he jumped to the NFL, I think we’d all say that’s cool, that’s a step up. That’s where all CFB players want to end up too. But Tommy has spent six years telling kids to come to South Bend instead of Tuscaloosa. To sign a recruiting class then immediately hop on Air George Wallace to join Bama – the program whose ethos is (I say this dispassionately) the antithesis of how ND markets itself; the team that kicked his ass in the 2012 championship and embarrassed him as a coach in the 2020 playoffs – feels extremely scummy and extremely manipulative and cowardly and I don’t like it.

So in summary, my views on Rees are less complicated now. Fuck that MFer, to quote one of his favorite films. But I will wrap up by saying thank you Tommy. For bailing us out against Purdue in 2012 (sincerely). For, uh, securing commitments from Brandon Clark, Drew Pyne, Tyler Buchner, and Steve Angeli (insincerely). And most importantly, for giving me a reason to break out the typewriter in February. Feels good.

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Note: these footnotes are even more meandering than usual, I wouldn’t bother reading.

(1) Pretty sure I was the 9th man – I can think of three guys who played even less than me, and I assume there were 12 guys on the team – but would love it if one of our readers could confirm. Fun fact: that team knocked Flay out of a game by breaking his hand in what was, at least at the time, the biggest win in program history.

(2) FFS this was his big “IM NOT LEAVING” moment last year. Chills.

(3) A quick, somewhat contradictory aside. A lot of Rees haters like to cite individual play calls as evidence for him being a bad play caller, but that’s not me. Rees is not Jack Nash but there’s a lot of game theory involved in play calling. You can’t call plays that play to your strengths every down, and sometimes the opposing DC just sniffs you out. It happens here and there, I don’t judge. But getting blanked in a 2nd half by the USNA means it happened like 40 consecutive times, in which case I do judge.

(4) We can thank Jeff Quinn for this. Harry Hiestand may be a better OLine coach, but that doesn’t mean Quinn was a bad one.

(5) This run of DCs is extremely impressive and underappreciated. Three consecutive home runs at DC, all of whom are now P5 head coaches. Tip of the cap to Kelly, while also underscoring how the offense has been the problem during Rees’ tenure.

Random thought to prove that I can be critical of Marcus: TRees wasn’t the only guy lateraling to a powerhouse this week. James Laurinaitis, previously a high-profile GA at ND, took an equivalent job at his alma mater, OSU. This was 100% inevitable, and good for him. Frankly, it’s always nice when folks show loyalty to their roots. However, there is no reason JL should’ve been a prominent part of the recruitment of any linebackers, as has been reported. The guy was always going to end up back in Columbus, and Marcus should’ve known better.

One more note: Bill Rees, Tom’s father, is employed by Notre Dame as its chief scout. It has been reported that Bill was influential in coordinating Tommy to Alabama. Helping a competitor poach one of your company’s top executives is scummy and extremely unethical. Turns out he was the impenitent thief by Reesus’(i) side; send him straight to Golgotha.

(i) if it wasn’t clear, I did not coin “Reesus.” But it’s been good fun, and I’ll miss the jokes:

Sunday Snippets

Folks, your boy got a new gig. I have ascended from a Staff Accountant to a Staff Accountant who works dahntahn. If this appears to you as only a title change well then you must not know the differences in image, routine, and social status that this ascension brings along. While I do not intend in going into detail about the lavish life of PAT busses (the port authority has recently rebranded as the PRT (Pittsburgh Regional Transit (I added another set of parentheses because I live in excess))) and lunches downtown, I would like for everyone to know that I read the headlines now. Yes, a crucial step to becoming ingratiated into the working dahntahnian is reading the headlines. Reading as much as is necessary to be informed these days is a difficult task and so I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t pass my newfound knowledge on to the faithful readers of COS. Here is what you missed by not being an informed dahntanian.

More Classified Documents Found at President Biden’s Delaware Home

Starting off with politics? Given my measured, certainly unbiased approach to covering college football for COS, I feel that this is well within my wheel house. Joey B just can’t catch a break with this one. In the midst of what was a developing case against Former President Donald Trump for mishandling classified documents ole Joey got caught doing the same thing. What is shocking to me is that this is an issue. Check the wallets of any member of their generation and see how far back they keep receipts. Some of the greatest battles of mankind has ever seen has been between leather and accumulated receipt paper. Yes, they aren’t technically their receipts and likely shouldn’t have ever left the establishment (maybe establishing a customer copy and a merchant copy isn’t the worst idea) but at the end of the day its paper. Yawn, move on.

Cost of Eggs Up, Shortages Due to Bird Flu

Okay I am upset. Last year it was the price of wings and now its the eggs (inadvertently just solved the chicken v egg argument as I typed that one out). I would really like for there to be an emphasized effort to start protecting chickens. You need eggs for everything! Cooking, baking, even teaching aerodynamics to middle schoolers! I get that it has been troublesome to fight the economic fires that have resulted from the pandemic but I’d empty any of Pittsburgh’s four rivers to put this one aht.

Debt Ceiling Looms Over Capitol as Congress Returns to Work

Okay this is going to give away how much I actually know about this issue but diving into this really gave me a good laugh. Apparently if we can’t sort out this issue and can’t pay the bills then our credit will appear tarnished on the international stage. You are saying to me that if we can’t pay the bills now then a nation who carries 31 TRILLION dollars in debt is going to seem like a credit risk? Hmmmm. Interesting. On the other hand I look like a credit risk because I don’t have enough lines of credit. So maybe going further into debt isn’t a bad thing? Probably could get a good deal on miles with Capital One.

r/Pittsburgh post claims that a shipping container was spotted in flight over dahntahn this week

Lets end with some local flavor. This is not an official headline but according to a post on reddit to r/pittsburgh a citizen of shadyside expressed concern that they might have spotted a flying shipping container in the sky. Whether this is yet another Pittsburgh tech company partnering with Amazon to find creative ways to become more efficient or someone was really fed up with hauling crap through the tunnels, rest assured it wouldn’t be unwise to be on the lookout for more flying shipping containers traveling over your home.

Czeching In

Note from the author: inspired by THE BEASTE’s latest contribution and determined to prove to the Grad Assistant that I’ve still got my fastball, I’ve decided to throw on the 4-5 and come out of retirement.
 

I took the Marshall loss hard. Deleted twitter, put the groupchat on mute, thought about going to church. “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” etc. But I kept coming back to something I wrote when Kelly skipped town:

Well said, Ken. There are very few college programs that are a sure thing any given Saturday, and the Irish weren’t one of them even during Kelly’s golden years. In fact, this past September feels pretty familiar: encouraging performance in an early-season loss against a strong opponent (see GA 2017 and 2019), subsequent let down against a weak team, and a couple of shaky wins led by an undersized quarterback who looks and, as Ken Sr noted during the first half of the Cal game, plays like he belongs in the 812(1) basement.

The best we could hope for this fall was stasis, and we’re still pretty close. The Freeman mandate remains the same: keep the train on the tracks so that you can continue to recruit your zbikowski off, and then in a couple years reap what you have sown. Finish this year with ~9 wins, beat those clowns from Los Angeles in November and we’re on our way. The best is yet to come(2).

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I’d also like to address some comments made recently on these pages. Specifically:

Pride comes before the fall, who knew. Instead of dragging tGAJr, as he’s requested, I’ll defer to Donny Boy (think of the second highlighted portion as my response and, separately, the first as a motto of sorts for this blog).

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(1) I fear that our audience has dwindled to the point where everyone reading will understand this reference.
(2) I think and hope this is the case. To borrow a construct from TB, Freeman is both our guy and a good guy. And I promise no one will ever look colder in South Bend than this.

Quarterly Report Card

For those not keeping a fractional record as to how far into the College Football season we are, I will report to you that the regular season is a quarter of the way through. Though the fight to get to the season is arduous it seems as if it passes by with ease. A quarter of the regular season has transpired without comment from yours truly. I have found myself dealing with the uncertainties of transition but those headaches are nearing an end. However, my dear readers, this time spent away from writing has allowed for deep thought. Thoughts so deep that I now feel comfortable to provide analysis for the Pitt Panthers but also for the other two programs that dominate our demographic as well as a little touch of a national perspective. So now that I have already lost most of you talking about what I am about to talk about, here is what I am talking about.

Penn State’s Quarterly Report Card: A.

The GATE student who had to resign from five different officers positions they held. Hey we knew you had it in you. You just needed to settle down focus on maybe one or two extracurriculars (keeping a offensive coordinator for once). A gutsy win at Purdue to kick off the season (Week 1 is a difficult time to schedule a P5 opponent folks) and seeing consistent progress where you want to see it. The largest question heading into the season was not QB play (you morons) but whether or not the offensive line could aid Sean Clifford into creating offense. You add in Nick Singletary and you have a Quarterback who won’t do it all, he will not pass for 350 and 3 td’s, but he can make the right decisions and manage his way into scoring 40 plus points over the last three games. There is trouble ahead. Though it hasn’t shown yet (due to the strength’s of their opponents being conducive to Penn State’s defense) the front 7 will be tested against some of the nation’s most efficient rushing attacks in the month of October. Minnesota will be problematic as will Michigan. If Penn State can find their way to wins in those games then I have no doubt that the OSU matchup will be to decide the east.

Notre Dame’s Quarterly Report Card: B-

Let’s do the private school kid who transfers into regular public school classes.I think the expectations are unfair. Just because they came private school doesn’t mean they are smarter.  Surely most are expecting a harsh grade however I think that would be unfair. Notre Dame doesn’t have a quarterback. Notre Dame’s offensive line is arguably not as strong as years past. Notre Dame is replacing a stable back in what was Kyren Williams. There is transition on the defensive side of the ball. Notre Dame has a first year head coach. When the preseason diagnosis came that Notre Dame’s only loss might only be to Ohio State, I was confused. Maybe I was too pessimistic on the Irish’s chances to absorb the impacts of change and continue on successfully. I am not sure that Tommy Rees and Tyler Buchner were ever going to gel that well offensively. The defense is performing to arguably a higher standard than what was expected ( see holding Ohio State to 21 points, like what). This is not on Buchner, not on Rees and not on Freeman. It’s been mismanaged expectations. Obviously the Marshall loss is a horrible optic but I think the team is severely limited on Offense and it wasn’t the defense that lost them the game. As Freeman gains experience, as Pyne gains experience and as the young talent gains experience you would expect the quarters going forward to be a tad less bumpy.

Pitt’s Quarterly Report Card: B

This one is tough to put in terms of the apparent high school academic grading scale I’ve found myself referring to. Let’s go with the kid who blew Biology out of the water but is having a hard time understanding Chemistry. Yeah that one really makes sense because I think that is what Pitt’s issue is at the moment. An unimpressive win against WVU and a frustrating loss to Tennessee has Pitt fans unsure if the panthers can defend their ACC title. I think a lot of people thought there was going to be a peaceful transition between the 2021 Kenny Pickett led Pitt Panthers and the 2022 Kedon Slovis led Pitt Panthers (2008 election). Well it really wasn’t that seamless (2020 Election). A brand new offensive scheme and some unfamiliarity between QB and WR’s has left the offense a tad bit disjointed. Konata Mumpfield who was brought in to ease the loss of Addison has had some hiccups. But should that be shocking to you? I’d argue it shouldn’t be. The identity of this offense has changed which was apparent when Pitt dominated Western Michigan largely through a rush focused offense. The sample size is way too small to label this offense as unproductive. Defensively, the issue is similar. Two brand new linebackers and some unfortunate injuries on the defensive line has hindered Pitt’s production. With that said growth is taking place each game and you are seeing a more productive defense. Pitt held one of the most potent offenses in the game to 3 points in the second half. As time passes this team will get better as long as the rate that Pitt appears to be sustaining injuries begins to dwindle. 

Exceeds Expectations: 

Look closely and you can find some perennial poopers playing polar of expectations. I would like to call attention to some undefeateds. Kansas is undefeated, already covering their season win total including an away win at West Virginia( you idiots, you morons, you played week one like it was your super bowl and you lost to Kansas. You should be embarrassed). Duke is another surprise especially considering Mike Elko is in year one of his tenure. If you are close with me or pay attention to COS’s only podcast Noon on Saturday you wouldv’e one smart contributor call for Oregon State to surprise folks this year. They are in fact undefeated with two solid wins agains Fresno (debatably the best G5 program this year) and Boise. 

1.5 hour Parent Teacher Conference:

This is for the kids who’s behavior call for serious intervention. I would mention Nebraska and Arizona State but they have already intervened. Kirk Ferentz is dealing with the issue of why you never go into business with family. His Son is singlehandedly imploding the program Kirk built for 20 years at Iowa. He is offensively inept which is okay in some scenarios but not when you are the Offensive Coordinator. In that case, it’s not okay.  I don’t enjoy writing this but Jeff Hafley and Phil Jurkovec need to have a sit down. With losses to Rutgers and Virginia Tech who are both below average teams, it seems the offensive magic that existed in 2020 is now gone. We could be looking at mid-season expulsion if things continue to go poorly. 

Just as a final note, a note I didn’t think I would find myself writing but due to some recent activity I feel like this should be said. Last Saturday, Pitt won and covered on the road against a group of five opponent on the back of Pitt’s third string quarterback. Feel like a winning program would be able to handle a G5 opponent at home with their starting QB. Maybe I’m holding people to higher standard than what is fair

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

The Beaste – 9/23/2022

Note from the Editor: there is nothing better than waking up to four 2am emails from [email protected], who becomes COS’s most prolific 2022 contributor with this post. Please enjoy his latest below.

I should have written this a week ago, when the Hot Take types might have been tempted to predict that Notre Dame might not win a game all year.  After losing to Marshall, it appeared that the offense might have no path forward to improve.  A new receiving corps wasn’t going to spring forth from the Touchdown Jesus mural(1).  The line was abysmal so running was impossible and there’s only one Michael Mayer.  If there’s a dimension between zero and one, that’s where Notre Dame’s offence could be found.  Vast improvements needed to be made, but there was that sinking feeling that it might not be possible with the players they had.  Then they lost their quarterback for the season.

And I felt a certain kind of lightness.  During the broadcast, much was made of the fact that Marcus Freeman was the first Notre Dame coach to ever lose his first three games(2).  And yet I had a little flutter of joy in my heart.  You see, Brian Kelly is no longer the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame.

For those not familiar, Kelly’s tenure at Notre Dame consisted of very successful regular seasons, each followed by an embarrassing loss at the end.  Often very good.  Never great.  That I can forgive.  What I find it hard to forgive is when someone is openly and brazenly just a fucking slimeball.  He’s the type of coach who blames “execution” (i.e. his players) when the team loses and lauds “coaching and preparation” (i.e. him) when they win. Coaches yell at players, sure, but for some reason when Kelly did it, he had all the decorum of a four year old who wanted cheetos for dinner and can’t believe that life is so cruel.  Still though, is all of this really so bad?  I mean, he’s not a monster(3).  But who could possibly root for the kind of guy who fakes a southern accent when he meets his new fan base?  You know the world is upside down when I feel bad for LSU.

Over this past summer, Mrs.TheBeaste noted, “The Steelers are about to find out how much they relied on their piece of shit of a human being quarterback to pull out last minute wins for the past twenty years.”  She was right, as always.  The case against Ben Roethlisberger is much more cut and dry.  Rape.  There, done.  Besides his actual prison-deserving crimes(4), his personality flaws are massive and too many to list(5) and it gives me great joy to hear Pittsburgh sportscasters(6) talk openly about what a garbage human being he is.  It’s a weird space to be in to root for a team but to root against the player who is most responsible for them winning.

It can’t be healthy for me to harbor such negative feelings.  I guess I’m hoping that writing this will serve as a sort of exorcism, now that it’s safe to do so.  Because (say it with me, people) THOSE FUCKERS ARE GONE.  This is the first time in nearly twenty years that I can root for football teams that I actually, unequivocally, LIKE.  We in the The Beaste household are celebrating all of this upcoming season.  And that celebration will go on, despite the fact that the Steelers and the Fighting Irish are about to lose a LOT of games.

“Show me someone who is comfortable with losing and I’ll show you a loser.”  Sure.  But here’s the thing that people miss in all of this.  I’m not the one winning or losing the games.  I’m just watching other people compete and rooting for their success because it’s fun.  When it comes to sports, winning is just how I feel at the end of the day(7).

Which brings us to the thorny case of Lou Holtz.  So, let’s be honest with ourselves here.  Even before the national championship that he won, in fact even before the team played a single down with him as head coach, we all knew that he was a little bit slimy and we loved him anyway.  Even among the members of my family that can’t stand Brian Kelly’s “character” all was forgiven with Lou(8).  His differences compared to Kelly are pretty obvious, national championship aside.  Lou’s charisma was off the charts, and his clear and genuine love of the university itself was endearing as fuck.  But the slime was still there, indelible, and backed up by his actions occasionally.  And this led to a certain *wink, wink* vibe that it was ok because he was *ours*.  And sometimes I think that the “It’s ok when it’s our guy” approach to moral choices is one of the root causes of what is wrong with our society.  But I loved him as much as anyone else.  Would I still love him in the same way today(9)?  I honestly can’t say.

Post-script:  I attended a wedding a few months ago, in a picturesque back yard on a lake in Florida.  Weeping willows, lighted docks, all that shit, gorgeous.  And I got into a similar discussion with the gentleman whose gorgeous house and yard it was.  He was also a Notre Dame grad and a Steeler fan.  And when I said something like “Success is great, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have character” he immediately became offended.  Ok dude.  You do you.  Life’s litmus tests abound, I suppose.  …Then later, when I was shooting the shit with one of the servers, she let me know that the leftover alcohol from the reception had already been purchased and would be left in the house.  As we left the reception to continue matters back at the hotel, my nephew [name redacted], in an act of glorious chutzpah and questionable morals that will no doubt be remembered for generations, brazenly walked out of the house with a large crate full of assorted booze, and then ten minutes later spilled half of it as we entered the hotel.  Legendary.

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(1)  I think the other non-Jesus folks on the mural are apostles, maybe?  There may be a king or two in there?  I should know this.  Definitely not wide receivers though.

(2)  In Freeman’s case, dating back to last year’s bowl game

(3)  We’ll get to the monster momentarily

(4)  Some in the Steelers organization who saw the report from the NFL’s investigation, called it “horrifying”

(5)  including self-servingly calling his past sins “between me and God” to avoid any actual reckoning

(6)  including the late, legendary Myron Cope

(7) Fer chrissakes, the Grad Assistant is a Pitt fan, but that doesn’t make *him* a loser.

(8) You can tell a lot by the fact that we call him by his first name, a sign of affection.  Brian Kelly is just “Brian Kelly” or “”Kelly”  and you could probably do a peer-reviewed sociological study about who calls Ben Roethlisberger “Ben” vs “Roethlisberger” vs “Fatty” vs “”That Rapist” and the correlation to their political beliefs

(9) It’s all too easy to retcon Lou into Bad Guy status due to his recent descent into the MAGA morass, so let’s choose to ignore that for the sake of embracing all of this delicious ambiguity

Top of the Lineup: Irreverent Ramblings

Yo is the Mic still on. We are dangerously close here to being six months removed from the last post on this site. Believe it or not we don’t have the brand power quite yet where we can tease releases for as long as we have.  Am I going to sit here and promise consistent content in the coming days. Nope. But what I will tell you is that I am going to post more ramblings while no one is looking and in light of the Buccos outperforming expectations early, here is the top of my ramblings lineup.

Batting first in the Irreverant Rambles lineup we have my take on NIL. There has not been a post about NIL since the Addison Accident and I feel it should come from me as opposed to anyone else. When Jordan Addison made the decision to enter the transfer portal, I crumbled. My immediate reaction was that I lost the one sport that I love so dearly to a changing landscape that would never provide enough opportunity for the Pitt Panthers to compete nationally. While that still could be the case I have since cooled off and now found solace in the fact that each school, and increasingly the blue bloods, are having trouble keeping up with the financial commitment that recruiting in the NIL world requires. I think its likely college sports begin to see definition take place in regards to NIL to limit outrigh stealing players like that no good, dirty rotten, joke of a meat smoker, transfer reliant, fraudulent, toothpick look-a-like, underwhelming, outright arrogant, lastname, firstname instead of a firstname, lastname having, a$$ coach out at USC. Besides my faith in Pitt has not waivered much.

Very related and batting second is the NSFW and may not ever see the light of day opinion on the Pitt Panthers. I am going to keep this short in fear of exposing what might be my most vile opinion on Pitt that I have ever had. So ghastly and repulsive I am keeping it to myself for the safety of my loved ones. If this take was released it would eventually be to my own and their detriment as well. All I have to say is I have the utmost confidence in the 2 quarterbacks that could lead this offense this year. Adding the fact that there will be 0 new faces on the offensive line bolsters my confidence in whichever offense appears on the field. On the other side only losing 1 member of yet another dominant defensive line is crucial for this defense potentially being one of Narduzzi’s best. Last but not least, as was apparent in the conference championship game having the 2 H’s at safety will ease any discomfort you might have about losing Damarri Mathis and some inexperienced talent emerge at the cornerback spot. This take more than likely will be revised but if you look closely its not hard to see which team this has me reminiscent of. 

Rounding out the top of the lineup is my opinion on the world around me. In no means is this an educated rant but it certainly is visceral. I feel like it is responsible to not neglect what the current state of things are and to offer my thoughts on the world around me. With what happened in Uvalde and Buffalo just ten days prior and the outrage that has followed but has since tempered, bringing up the issue of safety that exists because of gun violence should be brought up maybe not incessantly but consistently enough that it remains relevant. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Increasing security and arming schools is the most illogical and out of touch argument that I have possibly ever seen and would likely only exacerbate the situation. I don’t know the point of this rant but my main goal is to ensure that Uvalde and Buffalo and countless other senseless acts remain in the thoughts of our country. Things really need to change and I wish it wasn’t so hard for the right people to make the right decisions but here we are. 

Hello

By: The Beaste

Note from the editor: we could not be more excited to introduce our newest staff member, The Beaste. As TB alludes to in the following post, this is probably a “in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand” situation. However, much like the Grad Assistant Jr, “it’ll be ready to post in a few days” from The Beaste really means “remind me in a couple months,” so we think he’ll fit in nicely. Please enjoy, and as always, thanks for reading – Ken.

The Gray Monstrous Beaste emerges from the shadows.  The blog nears the end of its first act(1) and a new antagonist is made known.  It’s like if you read LOTR starting with the second book (which I did for some reason) and you think Saruman is the main bad guy, and it’s only later that you learn about Sauron and you’re like oh fuuuuuuuuu

The thing is the boys were content starved, or maybe just lazy, and that caused some sloppy and desperate decision-making.  Bring in a new podcast?  Absolutely!  But let it slip across a dinner table that you’ll accept any written content as long as it abides by the Rules?  Huge mistake.  

I think if Ken were to have, I don’t know, not fucked up, he might have considered who he was talking to… I mean, not just myself (god help you), but also my older and far crueler brother(2). And he may have chosen less dangerous words.  But time, like entropy, moves in one direction.  Or does it.  Regardless, it’s too late.

All of which is to say Hello.

Mostly what I’m trying to do in this post is make Ken nervous(3).  I mean, what *will* I write about, Ken?  I certainly don’t know, so how could you?  Strident political issues that will alienate 50% of our readers?  Boring dorky stuff like watersheds and geomorphology?  Weird druggy shit?  Straight up porn?  I told Ken that my first blog post was going to be just random letters, like “gjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgjgj [and so on, literally forever]” and he didn’t have a way out of it.  

You see, there are Rules to this blog. In case you aren’t aware of them, they are as follows:  I. No hate speech(4), and  II. No real names(5).  Fine rules, the bare minimum, frankly.  But anything else goes, apparently.  And if that seems like a bad idea to you, Dear Reader, I can only concur.

Don’t worry Ken, it’ll probably be mostly sports.  OR WILL IT

———

(1) of a 527 act work that is itself but a sliver in a much larger Volume

(2)  Let’s stretch this LOTR comparison past the breaking point and call him Morgoth

(3) Grad Assistant Jr loves it

(4)  Ken shot a pointed look at Morgoth across the table when he said this (we all laughed uncomfortably) and then Morgoth, bafflingly undeterred, replied “Buuuut, what if it was funny?” … Debate is split on whether “He’s learned so much though (*sigh*)”

(5) More on this later

Weekly Report: Week of 01/10/22

Per the terms of my employment and at the request of the head coach, I am required to generate a weekly report regarding the state of the program as a whole. This is my unedited and unqualified analysis of the University of Pittsburgh’s football program. If you are not interested in my recap of the 2021 season read first paragraph and then scroll to third, thx.

At the end of the night on December 10th, the Pitt Panthers had more questions than answers after a season concluding win. With the ensuing bowl season in the balance due to the ever-present battle with Covid, the team’s flagship radio station losing two of its key components in Pitt football coverage, and what would assuredly be an off-season full of departures, the program lacked definitive direction. Fast forward to August, Pitt’s starting quarterback Kenny Pickett would be entering his fifth fall camp, Noon On Saturday was reborn, and a team with unnoticed potential was beginning to take shape. I will take a quick break in this story to reference the first and up until this point, only, Weekly Report of the fall. The report filled with unabashed optimism had called for what seemed like a highly unlikely and almost certain consecutive year of misplaced optimism in the Pitt football program, and most importantly a conclusion worth noting, “Strap in folks, this is the year”. Let’s resume, shall we?

In what could only be described as a quintessential Pitt football September, the Panthers would go into a historical SEC venue in Neyland Stadium to defeat an unexpectedly potent Tennessee football team and then, just a week later, lose to the Western Michigan Broncos from the MAC in a shoot out. Head Coach Pat Narduzzi’s seat already warmed with the friction of missed opportunities of years past had now been heated to an uncomfortable temperature with the likelihood that the football team would again perform under the mediocre standard that had befallen on them. Just to make note, I found this loss to be the catalyst of the season and do not for one second lament the outcome on that day, no matter the value of winning that game. A victory came easily against a FCS opponent that probably was the victim of the frustration of the previous loss which set the stage for what would be an unbelievable final 2/3rds of the season. The win against New Hampshire did little to quell the displeasure of the Pitt faithful but Pat Narduzzi had the opportunity to do so himself with what would be arguably the most important October of his head coaching career. Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami in order were the opponents to begin ACC play. Optimistic Pitt fans at the time were wishing to beat Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech(both away) and hoping to beat Miami. The first two games featured dominating away victories, setting the stage for a down but still formidable Clemson team to travel up to Heinz field. Not only did Dabo Swinney and the tigers travel up to Heinz field but so did the dormant Pitt fan base that had long awaited a nationally relevant matchup including the Panthers that wasn’t versus a non-conference rival. This game was huge and would be the determining factor as to whether an explosive Pitt offense was legitimate and would also reveal if Pitt were to be conference contenders. Pitt won by double digits at home. Thus began the era of Pitt being considered as contenders for the College Football Playoff. Interviews dominated the week. Attention was being paid to this Pitt team on a scale that was much greater than the typical upset of which Pitt had become accustomed too. After a week full off playoff hype, Pitt would fall to Miami at home after Miami’s true freshman quarterback would torch Pitt’s secondary in the first half and hold till the finish to give the Panthers their second loss of the campaign. The questions of Narduzzi’s head coaching caliber would rise again as Pitt was in jeopardy of losing the opportunity to clinch the coastal. November shaped up to be the most influential month of the season and given Pitt’s performances of Novembers past, there was a legitimate cause for concern. A slow start against Duke made doubts grow considerable heading into a short week when UNC would come to Heinz Field on a Thursday night to, yet again, test the validity of Pitt’s team. The team would start lighting fast against North Carolina and have to fight all the way into overtime for a win, which would come as a monsoon poured and Pitt would pick off North Carolina’s Sam Howell to seal the game. At the conclusion of that weekend, Pitt would remain atop the Coastal with one loss but could not afford to lose against its next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, without losing its top spot. In this game Pitt’s offense would torch UVA’s defense in shootout, ending when Biletnikoff winning Wide Receiver Jordan Addison fought off a Virginia defensive back to seal the game and the coastal for the Panthers(worth noting Notre Dame had recruited Biletnikoff winning, true sophomore Jordan Addison to be a defensive back). With the coastal clinched and Pitt’s position in the ACC championship solidified, Pitt had only history to play for when it met Syracuse on the last game of the regular season and history they achieved. With the win against Syracuse, Pitt became the first team since 1982 to win ten games in the regular season. Wake Forest was the last team to stand in the way of Pitt’s first outright conference win in the program’s storied history. Two offensively oriented teams would meet to decide the ACC champion. Wake Forest would score 21 points in the first quarter and play true to its strength initially but would not score again as defense became the focal point of this game. Pitt would pick off Sam Hartman 4 times in the game to solidify Pitt as ACC champions.

In the spirit of We Not Me, the Panther’s 2021 slogan, I had left out that Kenny Pickett would have the best single season a Pitt quarterback has ever had after the press wouldn’t mention his name with the best in the conference let alone the nation. I had refrained from mentioning that Pitt’s defensive line for the third consecutive year would finish top 5 in sacks after losing two All American defensive ends to the NFL, and it is worth pointing out that most believed the losses on defense to be too much for the team to be successful. Losing All-ACC center and All-ACC guard Bryce Hargrove to the draft would be no issue for an offensive line that lacked production in previous years but had performed high above the standard set upon them in the preseason. The unanswered questions, the highlights of the season, the success that Pitt had this season points back to one, undisputed, irreputable fact. The preseason call made by yours truly was remarkably accurate. Those who are close to me grew tiresome of the calls for a 10 win season and the unwavering support of Head Coach Pat Narduzzi. Is this season anymore proof that your deaf ears and patronizing faces should be ashamed of the ignorance it bestowed? What’s more entertaining is the seemingly organized effort to find holes in this imperfect but notably successful season. Desperate attempts to claim the Peach Bowl as the most important game of the year and critical definitions of a team’s captain and how the Heisman finalist does not fit them. Rest assured, those within the program are thankful for the opportunity to represent the ACC and are only thankful for the quarterback who put them in this position. Are the fans of different teams who have so passionately detested the perspective of Pitt fans and players alike afraid of the potential of a rising program? Are they uneasy that it might be harder to pick on the Panthers in the future? It is unclear and I will also say Pitt’s potential is as equally unsure. What I am sure of is the effort and time put into this agenda can’t be worth throwing stones at the champion of a seemingly irrelevant conference. It amazes me how quick empathy is lost when those who were once in very similar positions(Think Jimmy Clausen and Matt McGloin) reach stable success. Where does the truth lie in an argument of relevancy? It only confuses me that “superior programs and conferences” would spend such time building an argument against a program and a conference that is so often deemed as lowly. This is where my expertise expires and I can only guess, which is not my job. As a Grad Assistant, I am to learn and to report. Understand, my goal is only to inform and not to mislead. I come to you as a student-teacher and not a salesman. This is evident in my accurate prediction for this team. In parting, I want to thank the avid readers of the site and the consistent listeners of the Noon On Saturday podcast especially those who understood the vision of an ACC championship. Hail to Kenny, Hail to Pitt, and Hail to the Grad Assistant.