Tag Archives: Pitt

Big Ten Expansion?

image from sportsflagsandpennants.com

First and foremost, I apologize for the long absence of posts.  My computer once again went on the fritz.  Unlike last time, I’ve missed way too much, and I’m just going to move forward without a recap.  Sorry if you’re disappointed.

But there was something that was interesting that I wanted to touch on.  If you haven’t heard, the Big Ten issued a statement today saying they may be interested in a 12th team.  Here’s the story. First of all, I’ll believe Big Ten expansion when I see it.  They have a lot to gain, but they’re a tradition filled group, and I’m not sure there are any immediately available teams that fit the bill.  But, for the sake of a story, and because it’s a neat debate, I thought it would be interesting to examine what team they would select if they were to expand.  The obvious first choice would be Notre Dame.  Everybody knows that.  If expansion were to happen in the near future, I’d imagine the first call the Big Ten would make would be to ND, and I’d imaging the conversation would go something like this:

Big Ten: “Hey Notre Dame.  We’re really serious about expansion this time.  This is your last chance to get on board with the conference.  After this, the door’s closed.”

Notre Dame: “I see.  Well, I just built a vault with a diving board to house all of the money from our NBC contract.  You know, the money we don’t have to split with anyone?  It’s sweet.  Now we can go swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck.  So, I guess, in short, we’re good.  Thanks, though.”

And that would be the end of that.  So, assuming Notre Dame turns them down, who would they take?  Well, there are a bunch of school names and rumors floating around.  Here are my thoughts on each.

Missouri

Pros: They’re rumored to be angry with the Big XII because they feel like an outcast in the North Division.  Do they have the guts to put their money where their mouth is and leave?  They’d be a perfect fit.  They’re a large, midwestern land grant school.  They’ve got a huge following and they’re an established BCS conference team.

Cons: I can’t see them leaving the Big XII.  The Big Ten is a good conference, but switching leagues is always a risk, and is the Big Ten that much of an upgrade?  They’re not in a bad situation right now.  Why would they throw that away?  I’d say they’re the obvious second choice, but from here on out I’m assuming they’re not a viable option.  That is until I hear something that says they’re officially interested.

Rutgers

Pros: New York market.  That’s the reason they’re here.  The Big Ten can expand into the largest market in the US.  Simple as that.  Plus, they add another state to put their cable channel in.  Rutgers is also a good academic fit (see the bottom of the post), and they’ve got a decent fan base.  All pluses.

Cons: Geography.  They don’t really fit.  That’s a hike to bring the Iowa field hockey team all the way to New Jersey every year.

Pitt

Pros: They fit in with the Big Ten well.  They’re in the geography, they fit academically, and they’ve got a big football tradition (they’re not at their best right now, but the folks in Ann Arbor would understand that, right?).

Cons: The fan base is tiny.  They’re not a big land grant school like the Big Ten teams.  They don’t have an entire state rooting for them.  Also, they’ve got a fairly undersized athletics department.  They only have 17 teams.  If they go to the Big Ten, they might have to re-invest some of the increased budget into fielding some more sports (the good news is that they’ve got decent facilities for the non-revenues once the new baseball/soccer fields are complete).  But the huge hurdle for them is fans.

Syracuse

Pros: Just like Rutgers, Syracuse would be added to try to grab the New York market.  Just like Rutgers they’d fit well academically.  They also have a good football tradition that would play well in the Big Ten.

Cons: They have a decent fan base, but I’m not sure it’s as big as Rutgers’ is.  The way I see it, if the Big Ten wants to go after New York, Rutgers has the fans and Syracuse has the tradition.  The fans (and $) win.

Cincinnati

Pros: My, my.  I’m not sure this name would have popped up about 2 years ago or so.  They’re definitely an up and coming program.  They also fit very nicely geographically (if that’s what the Big Ten is going for).

Cons: Lots of them.  First of all, they have no consistency in the athletics program.  They’re good now, but are they going to be good for the long haul (especially with the coach leaving)?  Second of all, they’ve got another small athletics department (14 sports).  But most damaging is their facilities.  Nippert Stadium is one of the oldest college football stadiums in the country and only seats 35,000.  That would be the smallest in the Big Ten by over 10,000 seats.

Louisville

Pros: They’re similar to Cincy.  They fit the geography of the Big Ten.  They’ve got an up and coming program in the past few years, they’re building a fan base.  Unlike Cincy, they’ve got a very strong athletics department on the whole with some very nice facilities.

Cons: They don’t have the tradition (read: name recognition) that a lot of the other schools have.  They don’t really fit academically.

WVU

Pros: Besides Mizzou, they’ve got the biggest fan base of any of the Big East schools under consideration.  They’ve got a big stadium that they fill up consistently.  Their football program’s in the best shape.

Cons: If the Big Ten wants to expand its boundaries, I’m not sure West Virginia is the state it’s got its eye on.  Also, the big killer is going to be academics (see below).  I have a feeling that academics won’t be the deciding factor by any stretch, but it will be a preliminary screen.

So, overall, I think the obvious first and second choices are Notre Dame and Missouri respectively.  But in the extremely likely case that both of those schools turn them down, I see this as a two pony race: Pitt and Rutgers.  Both schools fit the academic criteria.  Both have facilities that would measure up.  They would both do as a 12th team (neither is a perfect fit, but a perfect fit isn’t going to happen).  It all comes down to what the Big Ten wants from the 12th team.  Pitt would expand the Big Ten brand of midwest schools with solid academics and a deep football tradition.  Rutgers would expand the Big Ten footprint to include New York.  In other words, Rutgers diminishes the Midwest image that the Big Ten’s getting, but they bring a higher financial return.  Pitt would be a solid placeholder that gets them to 12 teams and a championship game.  I think I’m not stretching things too much when I say they’re most likely going to opt for Rutgers and the increased market.  Money talks, after all.  But, as a Pitt fan who would not want to be left behind in a Big East jilted again, I offer this caution to the Big Ten.  Remember the ACC.  They really wanted the New England market, so they took BC.  They wanted to go from a southeastern conference to an east coast conference.  Well, Boston didn’t care about BC before, and they don’t care about them now.  Think a lot of schools wouldn’t trade that extra “exposure” so that they don’t have to fly the mens cross country team from Atlanta to Boston every year?  I’m just saying…..

Appendix

Knowing that academics is probably going to be a weed out, I did some research.  Here are the academic rankings of the current Big Ten members, and the prospective teams.  The ARWU is the Academic Ranking of World Universities: a 100 university list of schools from around the globe produced yearly by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.  You can read about it here.  USNWR is the US News and World Reports yearly ranking of US universities.  133 were ranked in 2009, with the rest being grouped into ‘Tier 3’ and ‘Tier 4’.  Those are the two most widely cited rankings I could find.  Public Ivy is a list comprised by Richard Moll of Yale University and has been widely used since.  The original list had 8 schools and 9 runners-up.  The list was expanded to 30 schools in 2001.  You can read about it here. Since the Big Ten is mostly public universities that pride themselves on being on this list, I thought it was relevant.

School 2009 USNWR Rank 2009 ARWU Rank Public Ivy Class

Michigan                               27                                                          22                                          Original 8

Michigan State                   71 (tie)                                                 86                                            2001 List

Iowa                                       71 (tie)                        NR (last ranked #97 in 2007)              2001 List

Minnesota                            61 (tie)                                                 28                                             2001 List

Wisconsin                             39 (tie)                                                 17                                   Original Runner-Up

Illinois                                   39 (tie)                                                 25                                   Original Runner-Up

Northwestern                     12                                                           30                                               (Private)

Indiana                                  71 (tie)                                                 93                                             2001 List

Purdue                                   61 (tie)                                                  65                                                  N/A

Ohio State                             53 (tie)                                                  62                                             2001 List

Penn State                            47 (tie)                                                  45                                   Original Runner-Up

Missouri                                102 (tie)                                                NR                                               N/A

Rutgers                                   66 (tie)                                                 55                                            2001 List

Syracuse                                 58 (tie)                                                NR                                           (Private)

Pitt                                            56 (tie)                                                50                                     Original Runner-Up

Cincinnati                              Tier 3                                                   NR                                                N/A

Louisville                               Tier 3                                                  NR                                                 N/A

WVU                                         Tier 3                                                  NR                                                 N/A

And just so I don’t get accused of putting up numbers that only make Pitt look like the obvious choice, here are the football stadium capacities, football average attendance and number of varsity sports for each team:

School Stadium Capacity 2008 Attendance # Varsity Sports

Michigan                                       106,201                                                   108,571                                                25

Michigan State                              75,005                                                     74,858                                                20

Iowa                                                   70,585                                                    70,169                                                 20

Minnesota                                        50,000                                                    48,958                                                23

Wisconsin                                         80,321                                                     81,088                                                23

Illinois                                               62,870                                                     61,707                                               19

Northwestern                                 47,130                                                      28,590                                               19

Indiana                                              49,225                                                      31,782                                               22

Purdue                                               62,500                                                     56,702                                               18

Ohio State                                       102,329                                                   104,976                                              36

Penn State                                      107,282                                                   108,254                                              27

Missouri                                           68,349                                                       64,520                                              18

Rutgers                                             54,000                                                      42,378                                              22

Syracuse                                          49,262                                                       33,474                                              20

Pitt                                                     65,050                                                       49,352                                              17

Cincinnati                                       35,000                                                       31,965                                              14

Louisville                                        42,000                                                       39,680                                             21

WVU                                                  60,000                                                      58,085                                             16

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Pitt Update 8/11/09

image from postgazette.com

image from postgazette.com

First and foremost, I’m sorry for failing to update in forever.  It’s been an extremely busy week for me, and I just couldn’t put in the time.  I’ll be better in the future.  As for the Buccos, I’ve missed two straight series recaps, but judging by the hits to the site when I put up Pirate posts, no one really cares about the Pirate recaps anyway.  The quick rundown of the Diamondbacks/Cardinals series are that we stunk.  A lot.  We were swept in both.  The offense stunk.  The pitching stunk.  Matt Capps plunked Albert Pujols out of what I’m sure was frustration.  It was bad.  So, now that that’s out of the way, I figured I’d put up a post about something else.  Usually Tuesday is the new ‘My Two Cents’ segment, but I felt like that was a rut.  I kept saying over and over again that if rules are set ahead of time, they have to be followed.  They can be changed, but they have to be lived with in the present.  People want to complain when the rules that are set up aren’t always ideal or fair.  Well, tough.  Learn from it.  Change them moving forward and live with what happened in the past.  Anyway, I figure I’ll take a week off to see if I can find a different tangent to take.  In the meantime, Pitt’s been in the news a lot lately, and I figured I’d give a quick update of their goings-on.  I’ll probably do likewise for the Steelers this week sometime.  I know that’s probably eagerly anticipated.  I’m pumped to write about something besides the Pirates.  So, without further adieu, here we go:

Uni Change

In case you haven’t heard, Pitt switched their sponsor from Adidas to Nike.  The new football uniforms are above.  They look pretty nice.  Classic and plain.  Just the way I like it.  I’m always in the camp that you can only do harm by putting a bunch of crap on a football uniform.  Isn’t that right, Oregon?

image from faniq.com

image from faniq.com

But, alas, I am no fashion expert.  You can make your own judgement.  Enjoy the future swoosh clothes, Panther fans.

Agnes Goes Overseas

Women’s basketball coach Agnes Berenato was selected to go overseas and speak to the troops with a few other college basketball coaches.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Coach B a few times, and I can say that she’s one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met.  I always leave encounters with her more motivated than when I came.  I have no idea why.  But I know that hearing a personality like that can only do positive things for our men and women overseas.  Agnes is keeping a diary on the post gazette online if you want to keep up.

Couple of Basketball Commits

Chase Adams from Centenary College and Cameron Wright from outside Cleveland both committed to Pitt.  Adams will join the team this year as a point guard and be immediately able to start.  Centenary was a Division I school last year, but is dropping all the way to Division III.  That means all their kids can transfer penalty free.  The book on Adams is that he’s had decent production against good BCS teams (as he should being the centerpiece of the team) and he’s a defense first guy (defensive player of the year in the summit league last year).  He’s only available for one more season, so he better make the most of this year.  I’ve heard some rumblings that this is a sign that Coach Dixon is not impressed with his current stable of guards.  I disagree.  I think this is just a gamble free hedging of his bet.  Travon Woodall would be my next choice for starting PG (I know about Ashton Gibbs and how he’s been doing ok at the point, but he’s still a natural shooting guard).  Travon got hurt and sat out 90% of last year.  The plan was to have him play behind Levance last year and take over this year.  When that didn’t go as planned, Dixon brought in an insurance policy that doesn’t cost more than a one year scholarship we had in our back pocket anyway.  I think it’s brilliant and worked out quite nicely.  A team doesn’t move down in class with an experienced PG we can grab every year.

Wright is the more inconsequential of the two right now because he doesn’t come until next year.  He’s a solid recruit, but not outstanding.  Seems to be a typical Dixon guy.  Not a prolific scorer in high school.  Someone who will buy into the defense/unselfishness that Pitt preaches.  We’ll see how he  pans out next year.

Football Starts Practicing

The Pitt football team started practicing on the South Side again today.  It’s way too early to get a read on anything, but there are a few question marks that will be fun to watch.  Quarterback play first and foremost.  Pat Bostick, Tino Sunseri and Bill Stull will all compete for the job with it apparently being Stull’s to loose.  From what I’ve heard, Bostick had another terrific summer, so who knows what will happen with him.  Maybe this is the year he blossoms into a great QB.  I doubt it, though.  He’s not mobile enough to  be a star in the college game.  However, if there ever was a year for him, this is it.  He needs time to throw, and this is supposedly one of the best line’s Pitt’s seen in a while.  Sunseri is a wild card because he hasn’t played a down, and hasn’t really competed for a starting job yet.  Stull is the known entity.  Sorta.  He had a terrible second half to the season (which most Pitt fans remember and why this is even an issue).  But what most people fail to remember is that Stull had a concussion against Rutgers.  I noticed a drop in production after that.  Maybe a summer to (literally) clear his head will do him good.  Also, a change of system might help him as well.  Matt Cavanaugh’s offense was basically put the ball in Shady’s hands or wing it to Baldwin.  That meant most of Stull’s throws were screen passes or 40 yard bombs.  Well, Stull didn’t have much of an arm, so the over the top plays didn’t work so well unless Baldwin outran his opponent by so much he had time to run under the ball (which happened).  He also just couldn’t make a screen pass to save his life.  I have no idea why.  But he was pretty good on the few routes over the middle he threw.  His strength is definitely his decision making.  Frank Cignetti Jr. said he will open up the offense a little more.  That could mean asking Stull to make more passes that fit his skill set.  Just food for thought.

The other main concern is special teams.  We have to replace a kicker, a punter and a long snapper.  The long snapper is someone who no one will know once he starts playing, so why start now?  I know how important that job is (just ask the Steelers), but I think as long as you do it every day and with the same holder, you’ll be fine.  It’s a consistency issue.  I’m not worried.  The punter seems to be decided: Dan Hutchins.  The kicker will either be him or Kevin Harper.  Not sure about Hutchins’ kicking pedigree, but Harper was recruited as a kicker and had some impressive boots in high school.  We’ll have to just see if he can handle the pressure of NCAA football.

Pitt’s #1

Pitt was ranked as #1 in the Big East by the media.  Most people reacted to this with laughter.  Which I’m a little insulted by.  What’s wrong with us being #1?  We have some issues (see above), but we also have one of the best defenses in the country last year mostly in tact.  I don’t get it.  But I digress.  If you really want to laugh, you’re not looking at the total picture.  The first 5 teams were separated by only 35 points.  #6 was 52 points behind #5.  The #3 team had just as many first place votes as #1.  The voters are clearly telling us there’s 5 teams that could win and Pitt is one of them.  But, unfortunately, most people were too lazy to look at any number besides the one to the left of the team.

So that’s about it for Pitt about now.  I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to the first game.

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Someone needs to get a tissue for Jim Calhoun

So after a great win last night, unfortunately one of the top stories was Jim Calhoun crying to the media about the officiating:

(Blair’s) a great, great basketball player. Terrific player, a great warrior. When he’s allowed to roam the post like that and use his physicality in the post, he’s absolutely wonderful. He’s a nightmare for every single coach. I’m sure in a couple of years, if he’s smart by staying around, he’ll be a great pro because you’re allowed to do that in the NBA.

The NBA is more physical than the Big East Conference?  Wow.  That’s news to me.  But I guess he’s a coach and I’m a fan so he’s supposed to know better.  Oh, and the other gem:

The game was played different than any other game we’ve played. … [The media has] got to come up the conclusions. I can’t. I’d like to, but I can’t.

So…….in other words: I can’t complain about officiating, but would you guys mind making a big deal out of this for me?  You can just see it in the picture above.  I think he’s trying to give one of those pouty faces that girls are really good at.  I wonder if one of his granddaughters taught him that one.

I’m going to start with a disclaimer, though.  Anyone with half a brain knows what Calhoun was doing there.  He’s politicking real early for the March 7th game in Pittsburgh.  So I realize that there’s not much of story here, but I’m going to blast Calhoun here anyway just because he’s acting like a sore loser.  He’s made his living at physical basketball and he knows it.  But he also knows that Pitt is at a more severe disadvantage in closely called games, so he’s going to make this an issue going into the next meeting so the refs will have to watch their step.  I was impressed, though.  He managed to get a point across multiple times without actually coming out and saying he didn’t like the refs.  He absolutely toed the line sometimes where I thought the next word would get him a fine, but he always stopped short.  I swear, whether it’s with the press or politicking the refs during a game, no one plays the game outside the game better than Calhoun.

But back to the original point: were the refs biased?  Well, look at the box score.  18 fouls for Pitt, 19 for UConn.  Both teams had a star foul out (Thabeet and Young).  Seems pretty even to me.  Just watching the game, there might have been a period of 5 minutes to start the second half where the refs lost some consistency and started calling some ticky tack stuff.  But that was on both teams.  There was never a period where one team was getting all the calls.  The only argument UConn really has is that they didn’t like the style.  Here’s coach C again just for kicks:

I still maintain that if it’s going to be called that way, let us know before. Let us know that the flow of the game’s going to be like that. That’s all.

No, Jim.  One of the learned skills that all the greats have it the ability to feel for how the game is being called without being told.  They pay attention to what’s being called and what they can get away with and they tailor their game to it.  DeJuan isn’t there yet.  This game was called to his style, but others haven’t (think Louisville and Villanova), and he hasn’t felt the different flow to the calls and reacted.  And I’ve called him out for in on this very blog.  So I feel perfectly fine saying this and not feeling like a homer: Pitt won fair and square so you should quit complaining.  As I mentioned, the refs were consistent for the most part.  They called blocks consistently.  They let anything go on rebounds (including bodyslams).  Pitt reacted to that (or just played a game that meshed with it as dumb luck) and UConn didn’t.  End of story.

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Weekend Games to Watch 1/16/09

Pitt @ Louisville (6pm Saturday-ESPN)

Pitt’s second big test of the season comes against a very different style of play.  Louisville loves to put pressure on you defensively.  They’ll put on a full court press and really pressure you in the half-court to try to generate a lot of turnovers.  The heat will really be on the guards to make quick decisions and handle the ball well.  The Cardinals do a really good job at denying the post, so every time Blair or Biggs can get a touch down low, it’s a win.  On the other end of the court, Louisville’s offense relies heavily on the transition game.  They’re a very athletic team like South Florida where most of the guys on the court won’t hesitate to put the ball on the floor and take you to the tin.  That could spell trouble for Pitt if they haven’t figured some things out.  I think a big bright spot for Pitt, though, is that Louisville is not really the most physical team in the conference.  I think Pitt can rack up a huge advantage on the glass if they want to.  Overall, keep an eye on turnovers and rebounds.  That will tell you how the game is going.

Player to watch: Levance Fields-Pitt

Teams like this are why Levance isn’t paying for college.  He’s not the most athletic guy on the floor, but no one has a better handle and no one makes better decisions with the ball than Levance.  I think if he does a good job breaking the Cardinal press (and there’s no reason to believe he can’t), Pitt will be in a very good position to win.

Prediction: I’m going with the Panthers but I’m not going to make a score projection because that depends on how many turnovers Louisville can create.  Fields can handle the press.  Can Wannamaker?

Eagles @ Cardinals (3pm Sunday-Fox)

I think the best matchup of the weekend is the Arizona offense vs. the Philly defense.  The Cardinals love to throw the ball around the field, and the Eagles defense loves to blitz.  So it’s going to be on Kurt Warner and the Cardinals offensive line to get time and get the ball out as soon as possible.  I think the Eagles secondary is vulnerable, so if Arizona starts getting off some passes, it could be a long day for the Eagles.  On the other side of the ball, I think the Cardinals defense has been much improved towards the tail end of the season.  However, I think they may be a bit slow to the outsides, which plays right into the hands of a versatile back like Brian Westbrook.

Player to watch: Kurt Warner-Arizona

As I said, he needs to deal well with the pressure that’s going to come, and get the balls out quickly.  If he can get the Eagles to respect the pass, it sets up to be a good game for Arizona.

Prediction: I think this will be the antithesis to the AFC Championship, and filled with scoring.  I’d say both teams in the high 20’s at least.  Probably 30’s.  I think it’s a game of stops, and the Eagles get one or two more.

Ravens @ Steelers (6:30pm Sunday-CBS)

I’ve already covered this extensively in previous posts, but to reiterate: I think it’s a low scoring affair.  That means it’s anyone’s game.  This comes down to one key play or two that could go to anyone.  I think turnovers will have a huge impact on the game.  There’s a lot of talk about Raven injuries, but I think most of them will gut it out, and it won’t have a huge impact on the game.

Player to watch: Willie Parker-Pittsburgh

I think the Steelers need to keep it on the ground, because throwing against this Ravens secondary is dangerous.  Really, it’s on the offensive line, but since I can only pick one player I’ll put it on Parker to need a big game.

Prediction: Way to close to call.  Neither team gets to 20 points.  I think Pittsburgh puts themselves in a bit better situations to get a big play.  Baltimore’s been relying on some big passing plays that may not be there on Sunday.

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Weekend Games to Watch 1/2/08

Pitt @ Georgetown (Noon Saturday-ESPN)

Two evenly matched teams with similar styles here. Should be a terrific match up. The way both these teams play defense, you can guarantee a close game throughout. One that’s sure to give me a heart attack. All the hype is going to be on Greg Monroe vs. Dejuan Blair inside and rightfully so. For those Pitt fans out there who don’t follow other teams, Monroe is the real deal as a freshman. He’s long, very athletic, and is a terrific passer for a big man. I think the name of the game here is going to be rebounding and second chance points. I don’t think there will be many possessions, so maximizing your own possessions and limiting your opponent to one shot will be key. Right now, Pitt has a little bit of an edge in rebounding, but Pitt’s rebounding is more focused around one person (Blair). If Dejuan gets in some foul trouble, Pitt will find it very difficult to win.

Player to watch: Jessie Sapp-Georgetown

Monroe and DaJuan Summers are the easy pick for this, but I’ll go a little obscure. Sapp made himself a 3 point shooting threat last year shooting 40% from beyond the arc. He started this year strong but has struggled the past 4 or 5 games. Pitt’s perimeter defense has some holes. This may be a slump breaking game for him.

Prediction: Assuming Blair stays out of foul trouble, Pitt eeks out a game in the 60’s.

Tennessee @ Kansas (2pm Saturday-ESPN)

Good early conference season match up on a slow day. Should be a battle of tempos here. Tennessee will try to push the tempo to warp speed and Kansas, though athletic enough to run the floor, will most likely try to slow things down to take the Vols out of their comfort zone. Kansas favors a 2-3 zone which is an excellent choice against a team that loves to drive the lane like Tennessee. The downfall for Kansas could be their youth. They have little experience after graduating most of the national championship team from last year. They have a lot of talent, but if they get down early it could get ugly.

Player to watch: Cole Aldrich-Kansas

Cole is a huge physical center for the Jayhawks and a terrific rebounder. He’s a bit slow which may come back to bite him against Tennessee’s very long and fast front line. But in a half court game, he’ll eat up Brian Williams.

Prediction: Kansas has the talent if they can stay in front of the Vols in transition.

Ravens @ Dolphins (1pm Sunday-CBS)

Should be an interesting game. Miami was one of the leaders of the pack with taking the wildcat offense to the NFL. But the Ravens defense, especially against the run, is solid. I think they totally take the wildcat away from the dolphins. I think the pressure will be on Chad Pennington’s arm, and that’s very scary for fins fans.

Player to watch: Lousaka Polite-Miami

He should only be used sparingly, but I couldn’t resist being a homer for a Pitt grad. If you want someone who will have a huge game, look for the obvious choice of Ray Lewis. The Dolphins are a tricky team, but Ray’s been around for awhile. I don’t think he’ll get fooled much.

Prediction: Ravens by however many points Joe Flacco can put up.

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