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Despite a week off, the Pitt Panthers moved up to 14th in this week's AP poll, up two spots from a week ago. In fact, they're just two spots below the USC Trojans. That's a sentence I never thought I'd be writing in 2009.

So how does a team move up when they're watching at home? You can send your thank-you notes to Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech, two teams which were ranked above Pitt but lost this weekend. If there's ever one thing you can count on in the college football season, it's Virginia Tech eventually dropping in the polls. That, and blocking some punts, which will be immediately be followed by the announcers gushing about "Beamer Ball". But I digress.

Next week, the 7-1 Panthers host Greg Paulus and 3-5 Syracuse, which lost 28-7 to Cincinnati yesterday. It's a noon kickoff between Pitt and Syracuse at the Big Ketchup Bottle.

As for the other team that gets a lot of love from the MH readers, the Penn State Nittany Lions rallied from a 13-10 halftime deficit to defeat Northwestern 34-13. PSU ran their record to 8-1 and moved up from #12 to #11, but they still rank behind #8 Iowa as Big Tenleven teams go. Which means I'm going to go on a mini-rant here.

As I often mention, I'm not by any means a Penn State fan, nor am I a conspiracy theorist; but as I watched Saturday's Indiana-Iowa game as a neutral observer, it certainly looked as if the officials had a certain Hawkeye agenda on their minds. OK, Indiana gave up a couple of huge plays in the second half where it looked like their defense thought they were playing flag football. But Iowa was getting every close/reviewed call, getting not one, but two Indiana touchdowns off the board. A couple of those calls go the other way, and it totally changes the dynamic of the game. That doesn't excuse the insane 28-spot the Hoosiers allowed in the fourth quarter, but I think it partially explains it.

I, along with most people outside of the state of Iowa, will be rooting for every one of the Hawkeyes' opponents the rest of the way, because they are a painful team to watch. Unless you think a QB who throws five picks in an afternoon is compelling television. This is a team that had to block two last-second field goals to beat Northern Iowa and a team that struggled to beat Arkansas State by three points. I can't imagine that is what fans what representing the Big 10 in the BCS.

As for the third team in this "local" race, the WVU Mountaineers dropped out of the Top 25 with a shocking 30-19 loss to South Florida on Friday night. I guess that game should give Pitt some confidence for their pending matchup with the Mountaineers, because they handled the Bulls with relative ease. Of course, you can throw all the records out the window when the Panthers and Mountaineers get together, lest anyone forget "13-9", which was supposed to be a WVU cakewalk. This year's game is scheduled for November 27, with a lot riding on the outcome once again.

As I was writing this, I found the USA Today polls, and they've got PSU at 10 and Pitt at 14. The BCS will be unveiled later today. Until then, we'll just have to pass the time by watching Baltimore author the manual on how to beat the 2009 Denver Broncos.

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SantoGold said...

You didn't say whether all of the close calls in the Indiana/Iowa game were correctly reviewed or not. If the reviews/close calls all favored Iowa, but were all the correct, I don't see a problem.

BURGH08 said...

I'm glad you left out the W&J loss of 'transfer of power' in the PAC to Thomas More.

I went to watch that debacle, and as a former President, was sick to my stomach.

JW said...

Does that make you an ex-President?

johnny said...

@ JW,

The Ghost of Patrick Swayze = pleased.

BURGH08 said...

Let me get one, just one wave before you take me in Utah!

NickDawg said...

First time Pitt and Penn st have been both ranked in top 15 since 1989. Kudos to both teams! Pitt still rules!