Ray Jr. on Sports

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  1. Pitt Panthers basketball made news as they announced that their rivalry with West Virginia will resume for 4 years starting in 2017. The will play at the Petersen Event Center 2017 and 2019 and at the Mountaineer Coliseum in 2018 & 2020.
  2. I’m so glad that this game is returning, it should’ve never ended in 2012. (just like the Penn St. game) they can use the excuse of being in separate conferences all they want, but Pitt and Duquesne have been playing in difference conferences since 80’s-and they play every year. So it’s an excuse no more, and Pitt and WVU has proven it.
  3. According to news reports, Pitt HC Kevin Stallings and WVU HC Bob Huggins pushed hard for this rivalry to resume and I tip my hat to both of them. From what I heard, apparently former Pitt HC Jaime Dixon didn’t want this game to continue. I like Dixon, but apparently it took him getting out of the way for it to begin again.
  4. As for the basketball team itself, I don’t know what to make of it just yet. Yes, they have returning scorers Mike Brown and Sheldon Jeter, plus freshman Cory Manigault-who was is their top prospect. Hopefully redshirt Big Man Rozelle Nix will work out, because Pitt needs size at center. Nix missed all last season due to injury and apparently is expected to play a role this season. We shall see. As usual, the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is waiting and will be ready.
  5. Now onto Pitt Football…what in the world?? I honestly can’t believe for the second straight week that they went out like that-and blew a chance to win. Two weeks ago, it was Oklahoma State and last week it was against North Carolina. Pitt started 2-0 and now they’re 2-2(0-1, ACC) they should be 4-0, in my opinion.
  6. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Pitt’s pass defense is horrible. There’s no way they should rely on that unit to secure the victory at the end of games, because they’ve failed to do so. Shame on HC Pat Narduzzi for doing this two weeks in a row. They need to stop taking the ball out of QB Nate Peterman’s hands and let him throw the ball!
  7. Pitt’s next opponent is the Marshall Thundering Herd Saturday at 7:30 at Heinz Field. This is the first time that these 2 teams have ever played, which is cool. Marshall used to be the top Division 1 Subdivision team (before Boise State and Youngstown St. took over)
  8. Under Coach Doc Holliday, the Thundering Herd has averaged 11 victories a year over the past three seasons. Marshall fashioned a 23-4 record over the 2014-15 seasons. Their QB is Chase Morton who leads with 10 TDs, their RB is Keion Davis who averages 50.7 yards a game and their top WR is Josh Knight who averages 48 yards/game.
  9. I think Pitt will do well in this game-but they need to stretch the field with passes and unleash the pass rush because I trust the defensive backs about as far as I can throw my car.
  10. As for the rest of college football, here is the latest Top 5 AP poll: 1. Alabama (again!) Ohio State (No surprise)3. Louisville (and counting) 4. Michigan and 5. Clemson. Former Pitt HC Paul Chryst’s Wisconsin Badgers have moved up to #8 and the ACC’s Miami is ranked #14. Interesting.
  11. And now onto the Pittsburgh Steelers who looked a mess after getting blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles 34-3 on Sunday. I still believe that the Steelers underestimated the Eagles, especially rookie QB Carson Wentz-and got punched in the mouth for it.
  12. But that’s the past, and the Steelers now need to focus on their next opponent: The KC Chiefs Sunday night at 8:30pm. Like the Steelers, the Chiefs are 2-1. QB Alex Smith has 3 TDs, RB Spencer Ware leads on the ground (in the place of injured Jamaal Charles) and WR Travis Kelce leads in the air. Apparently they have injuries on defense as CB Phillip Gaines and Marcus Peters are injured and could miss Sunday’s game.
  13. The Steelers have injury concerns of their own as several missed practice due to injury Thursday: Safeties Sean Davis and Robert Golden, G Ramon Foster, C Cody Wallace, WR Eli Rogers, and LB Ryan Shadier. Not good at all. Friday’s practice will truly tell the whole story if any of these players have a chance to play Sunday.
  14. Of course, the good news is that RB Le’Veon Bell is back and his skill set will truly benefit the Steelers-especially since some of the WRs are still finding themselves-and yes, I’m referring to Markus Wheaton, who dropped 3 passes in Sunday’s loss.
  15. It also appears that CB Marcus Gilbert, whom the Steelers acquired from Cleveland will have a chance to play Sunday. No surprise that he hasn’t played much so far, as he needed to learn a new defense. He could also return kicks too.
  16. Speaking of the Browns, apparently WR Josh Gordon is making news again-and not the good kind as he’s entering a drug rehab. To be honest, it’s good news because he’s concerned about his life, but what a distraction that he’s been to a team who has suffered so much on the field and off the field. Gordon’s return is obviously on hold. I wish him the best.
  17. The Cincinnati Bengals are a very happy team right now as LB Vontaze Burfict has returned from his 4-game suspension due to his flagrant hits last season. Burfict will be a benefit to the team, but he will also be a distraction to the team if he continues his thuggish ways. Just stop trying to hurt players-period.
  18. Sorry to hear that Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is once again out due to a hairline fracture in his leg. It’s a shame that these players’ seasons are limited due to injury-this is the last thing that the Cowboys need.
  19. As for MLB, it’s official: The Pittsburgh Pirates are eliminated from the postseason. Of course, it didn’t take Einstein to see that coming. They were out of it after trading closer Mark Melancon…and I will continue to say that. Hopefully they can at least finish at .500.
  20. Continued prayers for the Miami Marlins organization and the family of P Josh Fernandez, who lost his life in a boating accident early Sunday. His funeral was Thursday. Just heartbreaking.

Please e-mail ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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