Monday, September 10, 2007

Pennsylvania Football Roundup - Week 1

I was not able to liveblog any games this weekend, because I was able to pull some strings and get into the PSU/Notre Dame game for free, and I opted to go to my friends and watch the Steelers in HD on Sunday (the raindrops are so crystal clear!) Anyways, this is my way to wrap the Steelers and Penn State games nicely under one post...but to be fair to the rest of the state I'll mention what happens to Pitt, the Eagles, and even Temple since they're technically D-1. I will go in chronological order, starting of course on Friday night with my high school alma mater, the proud Buccaneers of Chartiers Houston High.

Chartiers-Houston: For those of you unfamiliar with CHHS (which hopefully is all of you), I'll give you a little background. Nestled in the bustling community (NOTE: sarcasm) of Houston, PA, CHHS gathers its students from Houston and Chartiers Township, which encompasses parts of Canonsburg, Meadowlands, and Washington. I had the priviledge of getting a diploma from this prestigious institution in 2003, and then immediately moving 25 miles north to Pittsburgh with my mother, and then immediately moving again to Penn State (it was a hell of a move).
Anyways, the football team. They are single A, which is the lowest HS division in PA, and traditionally mediocre at it. There was about one good season while I was there. I can't tell you a single thing about this year's team, except that they're 0-2 after losing to South Side Beaver 26-13 on Saturday. Go Bucs.

Pitt: Beat up on I-AA Grambling State, tearing up the Heinz Field surface in the process. At least they're better than Michigan. I used to rip on Pitt for being in the Big East, but I can't really do that anymore since 5 of the 8 teams in the Big East are legitimate Top 25 contenders. However, Pitt isn't one of those 5, so I'll rip on them for just sucking in general. I honestly have nothing against Pitt since I'm not dating their fans anymore, and most Penn State students will say the same. I have lots of friends there and I enjoy hanging out in Oakland when I am home. However, many Pitt fans despise Penn State, to the level that we despise Michigan or Ohio State. I can understand alumni feeling that way because they're old enough to remember when we played each other, but students aren't, so I'm not really sure what the problem is. I guess it's just an inferiority complex. But in this blog I'll still rip on them because it's fun.

Temple: Lost to Buffalo 42-7 in what I think was their first conference MAC game. I love how Philadelphia is considered "Mid-American" now. Since Buffalo is PSU's next opponent, should we be nervous or is Temple just that bad? My money's on the latter.

Penn State: For those of you who are complaining about this game, I direct you to September 9, 2006. That day, we went to South Bend and lost 41-17. I direct you to 2003-2004, when we combined for a record of 7-16. Notre Dame came into Beaver Stadium, we spotted them 7, and then we wiped our ass with them. They did not score any offensive points. The touchdown was on a pick six and the field goal was set up by a punt return to the 7, after which we forced a 3 and out. Essentially, our defense shut them out, and has still not allowed any real points this season. And that's not mentioning the 0 rushing yards ND had. Our running game? We ran the ball at will in the second half. There was a 10 play touchdown drive in the 4th qtr - all runs. Austin Scott had over 100 yard On special teams, D-Will had a spectular punt return for a TD, showing that he's finally recovered from his broken arm and able to make big plays again. Kevin Kelly didn't miss any FG's (granted he only attempted one) and he put multiple kickoffs in the end zone. We did allow a decent punt return to their Z named guy, but that was the only bad special teams play. The only facet of the team that played poorly was the passing game. Morelli: 12 of 22, 1 TD, 1 INT (TD), 131 yds. Yeah, there's no sugar-coating that, he played poorly, receivers dropped some balls, etc. But give some credit to the Irish secondary: they are clearly the best part of that defense. And despite Morelli's poor performance, we still won by 3 touchdowns. If people were expecting better, I'm not sure why. Yes, Notre Dame is clearly having a down year, but they're no Florida International. 31-10 is a darn good score. Right now I'm gonna go ahead and say that based on the evidence we have seen, we are the team to beat in the Big Ten. Wisconsin beat UNLV by only a touchdown. Ohio State could only put up 20 points against Akron. We all know how Michigan is doing. Purdue can put up points but the defense is suspect. Iowa and Michigan State look good so far, but still have to prove themselves. Everyone else is on a different level at this point. I think the conference comes down to the game on October 13 between Wisconsin and Penn State. That should be a very closely contested one, but the key is that it's at Beaver Stadium.
Oh yeah, 110,078 people mostly wearing white - incredible atmosphere. I'm really glad I was a part of it.

Eagles - Lost 16-13 at Green Bay on a last second field goal by Mason Crosby. I'm sure Philly fans are plenty used to guys named Crosby scoring goals against them - BA DUM CHING!

Steelers - No complaints here. Absolutely steamrolled over the Cleveland Shit Stains in their building. Things were over quickly as Cleveland self destructed in the 1st quarter, and we capitalized by scoring 17 points. The biggest question coming into the season (other than how the coaching staff would turn out) was Big Ben and how he would do. 4 TD's later, I would say he's looking pretty good. 4 TD's to four different receivers - Ward, Holmes, Miller, and even rookie Spaeth got one. People will whine about his low completion percentage, but there were a lot of drops. Willie Parker wasn't spectacular, but got over 100. Jeff Reed was true on all his kicks, and rookie punter Sepulveda got nearly everything inside the 20. The defense was pretty much awesome, terrorizing Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson all day long, with 6 sacks total and lots of pressure. Joey Porter's replacement James Harrison was all over the place. Tomlin and the new staff clearly had them ready to play. My only regret of the game was that Brady Quinn didn't get introduced to the Steelers D. Final score: 34-7.

Elsewhere around college football, Michigan sucks, LSU's pretty good, and the Big East really is relevant again. In the NFL, Rex Grossman still sucks, but even he would do pretty well against the Giants defense. After tonight, we'll know if the Steelers made the right coaching hire after Whisenhunt's first game with the Cardinals, and either the Maryland State Penitentiary or the Bungles will be 0-1. Yay!

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