BLITZING 7: Road Warriors, Big Brother and AARP's Maize and Blur Defense
1. Big Brother/Little Brother Keystone Edition: Penn State and Pitt play Saturday for the 98th time in a Rivalry that was once an annual season-ending game as bitter as any in college football. While the rivalry faded with Penn State joining the Big Ten, Pitt fans kept harboring a venomous dislike for Penn State. Penn State fans tended to be dismissive of Pitt much like the Panthers were the pesky little brother that kept wanting to play with you and your friends. Well Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi knows how to play the Big Brother/ Little Brother scenario. He learned from his time at Michigan State working for Coach Mark Dantonio whose Spartans played and beat “big brother” Michigan in seven of the last ten games.
2. Tough Road Debut: New Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley gets a brutal career road debut when he takes his team to #2 Ohio State. Since Urban Meyer took over in Columbus the Buckeyes are 34-2 at home and have outscored their opponents by 945 points (an average of 26.25). Talk about jumping on a bike for the first time with no training wheels. The key will be how well they handle the noise in a stadium that architecturally holds in sound. Want a tougher road debut? Joe Paterno took Penn State to play #1 and eventual National Champion Michigan State in his first road game as Penn State head coach in 1966.
3. Speaking of Road Trips: UCLA may have had a comeback on Sunday night and a short week, but they do get Hawaii for their next game. The Rainbow Warriors should change their name to the Road Warriors. The trip to LA for this game is their SHORTEST road trip of the year at 2,550 miles. The longest was week one at UMass (5,080 miles). Their total travel for 6 games will be 19,310 miles an average of 3,418 miles—about the same as going from JFK to London for every game.
4. More Road Warriors: While Hawaii has some long trips Stanford is on the road at USC after a 7,420 mile trip to wallop Rice in Australia. The Cardinal play their first three games on the road including the Sydney trip the USC trip and next week at San Diego State.