December 15, 2011

Where Have You Gone, Ol' Yinzstachio?

PUSHMASTER PICKS '011: WEEK FIFTEEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    

"THIS IS A REAL HONOR, BUT DOES ANYONE KNOW THE FASTEST WAY OUT OF HERE?"


“Yinzstachio had many faults as a coach, but Pitt will probably get an even bigger dumb-fuck this time around.” —Me, December 7, 2011
Two dumb-fucks later, the best you could say about the post-Yinzstachio era at Pitt is that it has been eventful. Next thing you know, Walt Harris is going to sell his chipped-horsebeef cart that he wheels around downtown Bozeman, MT, and set forth to try to restore the Panthers to glory.

The rumor swirling around the PushMaster Command Center is that in the next few days Johnny Majors will be driving his whiskeymobile up to Heinz Field to be introduced as the next head coach at Pitt. Whiskey will be named defensive coordinator. Walt Harris is the second choice.

Oh, Todd Graham, Pitt hardly knew ye. What looked like a decent hire after the Mike Haywood debacle has turned out to be a total waste of a year for the Pitt football program. Not that most of them aren’t.

Even this season’s highlights turned out to be rather low-octane for Pitt, such as a 44-17 drubbing of top-20 South Florida. The Bulls, of course, finished with a 5-7 record, 1-6 (!) in the Big East, the worst major college football conference of the last 50 years.

If Graham had left for a big-time job this would be less of a slap in the face to Pitt. But his destination is Arizona State, which has been a Pac-10/12 also-ran since Jake Plummer left. The word that he was poking around about the Kansas and Texas A&M jobs goes to show what Graham’s prime directive really was: get the hell out.

Pitt will now be on their fourth head coach in about a year, a glowing reminder that they’ve been a second-rate football program for over three decades. Graham surely realized this. I’m guessing he never bothered to unpack his suitcase. He was probably on his cell phone, working on getting his next job, while he was waiting for his introductory press conference to start.

By almost every measure, ASU is a major upgrade for Graham, and not just for the sunshine. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a dick move. A dick move Pitt should have seen coming from the coach with the sweatiest face in Football.

It is understandable why Steve Pederson and company are a little butt-hurt, but Pitt was desperate when they hired Graham. They needed a warm body to fill the head coach position, and that’s what they got. A warm, sweaty body.

By the end of the season, it was obvious he didn’t want to be there. The fans hated him, the media hated him, the team sucked. Where exactly was the Todd Graham era headed anyway?

I’m probably not the only one wishing for a Yinzstachio-ride right now.

Panthers v. TEXANS (-6.5)
Man, it’s a lot harder to get a complete set of whole-numbered spreads that I actually like with only NFL games to chose from. Oh well, if anyone can pull a push out of his ass with a six-and-a-half point spread it’s T.J. Yates. It’s hard to put into words how magical Yates is. The game is never over when he’s behind center. His teams never stop believing, even when it looks hopeless. And don’t be fooled by his ability to throw the ball down the field, it’s only masking his one true skill: Winning.

Lions v. Raiders OVER (48)
This is shaping up to be a game between two teams that kind of don’t care anymore. I look for a lot of touchdowns to be scored while the defenses aren’t paying attention, or by interception return (Carson Palmer: minimum of 3 pick-sixes in this game), or maybe a whole bunch of safeties.

JETS (+3) v. Eagles
Look, I’m no fan of the Jets, and I certainly don’t think they’re an elite team this year, but how are they underdogs? Do the Eagles have some sort of magic Dream Team beans? This is what we call Free Points.

Broncos v. PATRIOTS (-6) UNDER (46)
Last week the Broncos went to overtime against a team with a bus driver at quarterback; that stopped calling plays in the fourth quarter; that played a 30-yard prevent defense against an opposing quarterback who can only throw it 25; and with a running back who had two different chances to basically win the game by falling on his ass, and did it neither time. (Taking the extra half-point cost me a push, be damned!) The Patriots don’t seem to have much of a defense, but it probably won’t matter. At the very least, they’re less likely to give away the game like Chicago did.

This week’s spreads come to you courtesy of the wonderful folks over at BetOnline.com at 3:25 PM MST on Wednesday. Head on over there to pick up some great Christmas gifts for your family, like that Over on the Cowboys game that Dad’s always wanted, or the Colt’s-Browns teaser that Grandma pretends like she doesn’t need.


Robb Witmer Full is the Yinzstachio-ride operator at the SPORTS-THRUST theme park, THRUST-WORLD!! You can hear how he denies short people entry on Twitter.