Jimbo: And, I'm Jimbo.
Duke: Well Old Grads and Young Lads, this article has been rewritten several times. The first time it was focused solely on the Pitt victory. We held its release in order to insert Jimbo's comments about the Ohio State-Michigan game, as he went to the game. As Jimbo is giving me his thoughts about the game on the drive home, Cincinnati is jumping on Rutgers early and often in their blowout win over Rutgers. Now everything is in chaos.
First of all, it was a nice win over a Pitt team that clearly would have liked to ruin our season. A 27-24 halftime lead had to make everyone a little nervous based upon the history of this series. Steve Slaton and Patrick White ended this nonsense and just went wild in the second half, but just as impressively the defense went wild in the second half as well.
Jimbo: The defense was awesome in the second half. We held Pitt to minus 1 yard rushing. Even if you take away the eight sacks, Stephens-Howling and Collins combined for only 39 yards rushing. That is a great day at the office. I have to give Pitt some credit in the first half, but we clearly weren't flying to the ball like we did in the Cincinnati game. Coach Rodriguez likely gave a very memorable pep talk at half time.
Duke: Jimbo, switching to the Ohio State-Michigan game, I'm glad you had a nice trip, but frankly I cannot stomach the hypocrisy. Big Ten folks and the national media are quick to say after the Louisville-West Virginia game both defenses stink. After Slaton and White went crazy in the second half against Pitt, I heard the same garbage – both defenses stink, but when Ohio State and Michigan rack up 81 points, I hear, "very impressive, big players step up in big games...blah blah blah." You can't have your cake and eat it too!
I saw missed tackles and a lot of arm tackling. As Coach Lombardi would say, "Grab, grab, grab, everybody is grabbin', nobody tacklin." Hart, Wells, and Pittman each broke off long runs. Where are the great defenses? Ohio State rang up 503 yards of offense and Michigan gained 397 yards and it would have been more if both teams hadn't dropped several passes. Mike Hart gained 142 yards for a 6.2 average and Pittman ran for 139 for a 7.7 average. Pittman's backup averaged 11.2 yards per carry. Jimbo, I saw a couple plays that didn't materialize for big gains where Steve Slaton would have been bye-bye. The holes were huge.
Jimbo: Duke, admittedly I was caught up in the atmosphere of the game. I may have sipped the Kool-Aid. I'm sorry, but it was a heavyweight championship fight. The game had so many facets: #1 and #2, big time players, great bands, Script O-H-I-O, good weather, the historic Ohio Stadium, and the national media. That all being said, you are right on – Pittman and Hart while good backs are not in Steve Slaton's league. There were several plays where Slaton would have broken long runs.
Duke: It doesn't end with Steve Slaton. I'm running into Ohio State folks that believe that Pat White will be a wide receiver in the NFL. Mel Kiper brought this up as well last week. Give me a break. Everybody focuses on Pat's running ability and his 1,000 yards, but he is developing into a first class passer. He threaded a couple of balls against Pitt and that touchdown pass to Slaton was absolutely beautiful. Steve never broke stride.
Again, I'm watching the highlights and ESPN says, "Another great day for Brady Quinn as he passed for 218 yards with 3 TD and an INT." You hear about Pat's 220 yards rushing, but what about his 204 yards passing and two touchdown passes? You give Pat two more years of hard work in the weight room and in the film room and this kid is going to be a passing force at any level! Jimbo here is the bottom line – I believe that we have two out of the three best players in the country. I don't care who you insert as #3, Troy Smith or Brady Quinn. If the Downtown Athletic Club actually brought in the best five players, Steve Slaton and Pat White should be sitting there.
Jimbo: I'd like to bring our offensive line with them. I was also pleased in an emotional Pitt game we only had four penalties for 40 yards.
To top off the weekend, Rutgers laid an egg with a 30-11 loss to Cincinnati. I didn't see this coming. We ran right through Cincinnati and I expected Rutgers to do the same. Now we have to hope that Pitt beats Louisville in order to have a chance at the automatic BCS bid. With the game being played in Pittsburgh, Pitt has a puncher's chance. Louisville at home and Louisville on the road are clearly two different teams.
Duke: Let's open some mail from our fans. Trivia Boy, grab a question from the Mail Bag.
Trivia Boy: Is it permissible as a West Virginia fan to root for Pitt against Louisville?
Jimbo: Where is the pitcher of Pitt Kool-Aid? I'm drinking the whole thing. Rooting for Pitt doesn't mean I like Pitt. In fact it will sicken some Pitt fans that they are helping us! I love it!
Duke: I'd like to say that I can't root for Pitt in any circumstance and we need to earn our own way, but there are $14 million reasons that say we should root for Pitt.
Duke: Now for the Big Finish!
Jimbo: The emotions in Columbus were unreal and the loss of Bo Schembechler really elevated the game. We listened to a couple of his memorable speeches including his 1983 "TEAM" speech. We also reminisced about the time he fired the basketball coach because he didn't want an Arizona State man coaching a Michigan team. He wanted a Michigan man coaching a Michigan team. The "TEAM" speech ranks right up with Vince Lombardi's and Knute Rockne's great speeches.
Duke: Right on Jimbo - the college football lost a patriarch on Friday. Coach Bo Schembechler had a huge influence on our head coach, Don Nehlen. In the 1984 book titled, "I'm Nobody Special – The Story of WVU Coach Don Nehlen," Coach Schembechler had many complimentary words of Coach Nehlen. It was typical "Bo" that he skipped a doctor's appointment so he could speak to the Michigan team on Thursday.
Jimbo: With all that being said let's not lose sight that we play a very capable South Florida team this Saturday. Let's circle the wagons and beat the Bulls and go 1-0 one more time!