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No. 23 Pitt wrestling dominates weekend duals to move to 7-2

The Pitt wrestling team returned to duals action for the first time in more than a month after beating West Virginia in December. The Panthers had three opponents as part of their hosted 'Pitt Duals' event on Saturday and won all three easily.

Pitt first shut out Franklin and Marshall, 46-0, before defeating Davidson (45-0) and Bloomsburg (32-6). Both Davidson and Franklin and Marshall were on the Pitt Duals slate last year and while the Panthers easily beat Davidson, they had more trouble with Franklin and Marshall, winning 'only' 25-12.

One minor note is that it was good to get Dom Forys back. Forys, a top ten ranked wrestler at 133 pounds, missed the team's last dual against West Virginia with an injury. He returned to win all three of his matches.

The only Pitt defeats on the day that the team suffered were losses by Taleb Rahmani at 157 pounds and Donovan McAfee at 184 pounds (both in the Bloomsburg dual). Both of those wrestlers had one other match and successfully won (Rahmani also won a third via forfeit, so he was 2-1 on the day).

Ranked wrestlers Dom Forys (No. 7), TeShan Campbell (No. 13), and Ryan Solomon (No. 20) all had easy days, finishing a perfect 9-0. Every bout except for a forfeit and Solomon's 2-0 win against Bloomsburg was a technical fall win or a pin.

The most interesting thing on a day full of easy wins was that Mikey Racciato didn't wrestle. Not sure if it was an injury issue but hopefully he's back in time for the next meet. That next one, by the way, is an important one - it's a road trip to Virginia Tech next weekend for the first ACC dual of the season.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Historical marker dedicated at Ty Cobb’s Georgia home

Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb had a historical marker dedicated in front of the Georgia home where he lived for 19 years and where four of his five children were born, the Augusta Chronicle reported Saturday.

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Cobb, one of the first five players elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, lived in the Summerville neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia from 1913 to 1932.

“The Georgia Peach” made his professional baseball debut on April 26, 1904 as a 17-year-old for the Augusta Tourists of the South Atlantic League. The Ty Cobb Augusta Heritage Foundation erected the marker at 2425 Williams St., and Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro helped unveil the marker.

"I think it’s long overdue," Niekro told the Chronicle.

Cobb was born in Narrows, Georgia, in 1886, and grew up in Royston.

A game after his debut, Cobb was shipped to Anniston, Ala., before returning to Augusta to rejoin the Tourists in August. After starting the 1905 season in Augusta, he was promoted to the major leagues, joining the Detroit Tigers.

Cobb played 24 seasons in the major leagues and had a lifetime .366 batting average. He collected 4,189 hits and won 12 American League batting titles.

Cobb’s ties to Augusta were deep, the Chronicle reported. He married a Richmond County woman, Charlie Marion Lombard, at her family’s home in 1908. He owned a tire business in downtown Augusta and also built an apartment complex.

Cobb’s home has only had two other owners since he sold it in 1932 and moved to California, the Chronicle reported. The Sherman family bought it from him.

Current owner Beverly Ford opened the house to the couple of hundred visitors who attended Saturday’s marker ceremony, showing off the rooms that have largely unchanged since Cobb lived there.

Cynthia Cobb McGowin, daughter of Cobb’s youngest son, Jimmy, spoke at the dedication.

Niekro pulled the cover off the marker to officially dedicate it.

 "Ty Cobb never got a hit off me," said Niekro, whose major-league debut came three years after Cobb’s death in 1961 in Atlanta. "But I never struck him out, either."

Seattle's Bennett berates reporter after playoff loss to Falcons

Frustration boiled over for Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett as he lashed out at a reporter after Seattle’s 36-20 NFC playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, ESPN reported.

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Bennett became angry when a reporter mentioned that the Seahawks’ rushers had difficulty putting pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Bennett challenged the reporter’s observation.

 "We got a lot of pressure," Bennett said. “He threw the ball really fast. There was some busted stuff going on so obviously you don’t know football. He threw the ball pretty fast. He did his thing. We rushed as good as we could. Don’t point and say we didn’t do what we needed to do, OK? Don’t do that.”

Ryan completed 26 of 37 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns and was not intercepted. The Seahawks had three sacks and eight quarterback hits during the game.

"Get out of my face now," Bennett continued. "Don’t tell me I didn’t do my job. … Get … out of my face. Don’t play with me. I just put my heart on the … field. … Try me again, see what happens. I ain’t one of these … out here. Don’t try to tell me what I didn’t do."

Kevin Stallings comments after brutal Miami loss

I don't typically 'do' basketball press conferences. Generally after football games, I'll try to check in on what Pat Narduzzi has to say, win or lose, but there's just way too many basketball games to care that much.

But being so curious how Pitt basketball coach Kevin Stallings would address the brutal loss to Miami on Saturday, I tuned in afterwards.

First, Stallings said what most of us thought in watching the game. "I certainly tip my cap to Mike Young because he shouldn't even have been playing," Stallings said.

Young, apparently, was a game day decision and the team didn't even find out they'd have him until late this morning. Late in the week, in fact, Stallings expected to have Ryan Luther but not Young, but it actually worked out the opposite way since Luther suffered an injury in practice on Friday. After that, Stallings figured the team would be without both until they learned of Young being able to play this morning. Finally, on that front, Stallings also confirmed Luther would be out for at least a couple of weeks.

You don't need me to tell you that's a problem for Pitt regarding the depth. Young will likely be available going forward, but Stallings said he would continue to wear the make since he has an orbital bone fracture.

One interesting thing that he said was that they would likely try a different mask. Earlier in the press conference, Stallings talked briefly about it being difficult to play in those things (in terms of being able to see and breathe, so it sounds as if Pitt is going to try a different mask for him to make him more comfortable. But it has to be custom-fitted and ordered, so they couldn't get it by today. Even if he is able to play, though, obviously he's going to be limited.

Stallings explained the mask deal a bit more. "That one he used today, I've had other players that have had to use that. In order to see down, you have to tilt your head to look down because you can't see below your eyes," he said. "The one he'll have, hopefully by Tuesday, will be clear and he'll have a better peripheral vision."

Stallings continued to praise Young and said that on Friday, he looked like he'd been in a ring against Mike Tyson with his eye barely open. Despite that, Young insisted he wanted to play. As I said earlier, he deserves a lot of credit for suiting up and trying to help the team out. Pitt was very shorthanded with Luther out and for Young to give it a go really impressed me a lot, despite the poor game he had.

The Pitt coach also talked about the lineup going forward without Luther. Would freshman Corey Manigault be the one to come in and pick up the slack?

"We might have to play small," Stallings said. He didn't elaborate on that since he went back to talking a little about the Luther injury, but I thought that was interesting. It was just a brief answer, but it certainly sounds like Pitt is hesitant to fill Luther's spot with another big. Assuming Pitt does go smaller, that probably means more of Justice Kithcart out there.

I thought that was an interesting answer because Pitt hasn't gotten much from those guys at all. Kithcart hasn't had a field goal in his last five games and Wilson hasn't had one since six games ago again Omaha. There's Jonathan Milligan as a potential option, too, but the long and short of it is that there isn't any easy fix to finding a replacement for Luther's minutes.

My guess is that Pitt continues to stretch their starting lineup as much as possible and simply get other guys off the bench to play a few minutes. If someone like Milligan gives them a few buckets, perhaps they play a bit more. This is going to be a lot of feeling their way around, I imagine, as the games go on. There's just not one solid option you can point to and say unequivocally that 'he's the guy.'

So, what did Stallings think about the game?

Particularly, I wanted to know what he thought of the team's effort. Stallings was first asked a question if he had anything specific to say about his team's effort. His response?

"No. No."

He later elaborated a little more.

"Today we felt like, obviously, was a day that we needed to win," Stallings said. "But I'm not going to come here and throw anybody under the bus."

Stallings continued. "I don't know if they did the best they could under the circumstances but I think they think they did the best they could under the circumstances. Do we need to get better? Yeah, we need to get better. Do we have some holes? Yeah, we have some holes. Have we had those holes all season long? Yes we have. But when you have holes and you have two guys that can bail you out sometimes like Jamel and Mike do then you can sometimes cover those holes."

Listening to Stallings speak there, he really just sounded like a guy that knew Pitt was walking such a thin rope. The depth, as we've stated, is not there. And while Pitt can be a good team at full strength just because of the starters, Stallings has known this team is inches from being significantly worse than they are when everyone is healthy.

It's also evident that without being too hard on the guys that he felt they could have given a better effort today. There's not really any other way to read into that quote. Effort, I felt, was a problem today and without saying it specifically, Stallings seemed to indirectly concede that he thinks it may have been, too.

Finally, Stallings talked a little about the roster deficiencies and sort of indirectly hinted about possibly not having enough talent. The coach continued, "If we've got guys injured, we've got to play the guys that we have. If the guys that we have aren't good enough to win, then we're not good enough to win."

No surprises here, but again, it's not hard to read between the lines. Stallings is short on talent (at least developed talent) and he knows it.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Effortless: Miami steamrolls Pitt in ugly 72-46 loss

In a game the basketball team virtually had to have, the Panthers were not only beaten, but routed, by Miami, falling 72-46 at home on Saturday.

That score isn't a typo, nor is the name of the opponent. Pitt lost to a decidedly average Miami team. At home. By nearly 30 points.

I really hate writing overly long articles and, generally, it's understood that anything beyond 1,000 words that's not a longform article on an important topic is considered rambling. Yeah, so this is going to be a lot of rambling because I know full well I'm clearing that 1,000-word limit today.

Pitt was missing Ryan Luther, who not only didn't play, but will be out for a few weeks with a foot injury sustained in practice this week. They might as well have been missing Michael Young, too. Young played most of the game, but clearly was nowhere close to 100% with an ugly eye injury that forced him to wear a mask. He was completely out of his element and had no positive impact at all, missing all ten of his field goals and scoring only two points. It was clear he wasn't really healthy enough to play and likely the only reason he did was because the team was just so short-handed without Luther off the bench.

Before I get to some of the things that annoyed me about this game, I wanted to touch on Young. No, he didn't play well. And if you asked him, I'm sure he'd say he was horrible. He looked visibly frustrated a few times during the game. But I really commend him for stepping up to not only play but play as much as he did. He was out there as much as the other starters today and knew how badly the team was shorthanded. I'm about to get really critical of what Pitt did today but to do so without recognizing the effort Young gave in a really difficult circumstance would be wholly unfair. If anyone deserves a bit of a pass today, it's him.

Now, to the rest.

Recapping stats is sort of pointless here, so I'm not going to bother. Here's the box score for those that want it, though.

I had a really big problem with how Pitt played today but it goes far beyond the actual result of a loss. For Pitt to lose to a decent Miami team on the road playing shorthanded would perhaps be disappointing but not entirely unexpected. To lose in the manner they did today, given the circumstances, is nothing short of unacceptable.

For starters, the game was not even close. Losing by 26 points to anybody is ugly. Losing by that many to a decent but not unbeatable Miami team is absolutely horrendous. And considering the game was at home, the loss is even more of a problem.

Speaking of home, that deserves some attention, too. The crowd today was completely lifeless and at times, it felt much more like a neutral-court game than a home game. I'm not the guy that's going to get on the crowd for that, though. It's hard to cheer in such a lopsided game. But I think it's important from a context standpoint in that it shows that the fanbase, as a whole, is much more apathetic when it comes to Pitt basketball these days. Tickets are readily available and I continue to get several notifications via email about buying tickets, etc. If Pitt continues on a downward path this season, imagine how difficult selling tickets will be next year when the team loses four starters and will, for all intents and purposes, be starting over?

Just food for thought. Back to the game.

Part of the problem for me is that this was a very beatable opponent. Miami shot pretty well from the field but was even sloppier than Pitt with 18 turnovers. Even with the decent shooting night, a lot of teams having decent games would have been able to beat the Hurricanes with that many gaffes. And again, this is a team that won by almost 30 points. I have to imagine these are the games that winning coaches sort of despise on some level. After all, how do you tell your team that taking care of the ball is all that important if they can be so haphazard out there and still blow their opponent out?

The game was tailor-made for Pitt. As I said, Miami is hardly a terrible team. But you figure that playing with your backs against the wall at home in a game you need, you'd see a bit more in terms of effort - shorthanded or not. This was a nice rebound situation for Pitt and a win here could have gotten them back on track after a slow start to the conference season.

Finally, consider that this also a game Pitt desperately needed. As I wrote in the preview for the gamethread, with such a challenging schedule, this was really a game Pitt needed to win. There wasn't much reason to not show up in this game - particularly after giving the game against Notre Dame away, coming out wholly unprepared against Syracuse, and getting blown out of the water in the first 20 minutes against Louisville to come back and make it a respectable finish. Is it an absolute killer in terms of the NCAAs? Nope. But it also means finding another win on the schedule, which is full of very difficult opponents.

Those three games, too, sort of underscore the problem I have with the team. There simply has been zero real effort in the first halves against Syracuse, Louisville, and now, Miami. And while it was disappointing to be shorthanded today, as I said on Twitter earlier today, this is hardly a one-game thing. It's the third straight time that Pitt has not only started off slowly, but looked entirely overmatched in the first half of games. That's not acceptable by any measure.

I still struggle with how much of this goes to Kevin Stallings since this isn't his roster. But what I don't struggle with is the idea that the team needs to give more effort and stop making so many boneheaded plays. And regardless of the guys on the court, that's part of Stallings' job. What's the answer to get more effort and better starts for Pitt? Lineup tinkering? New practice tactics? Beats me. But again, that's the job of Stallings - to coach the guys he has and it's up to him to figure it out.

I was also unimpressed with the offensive gameplan, whatever it may have been. As I said in the comments section of a recent post, Pitt's offense has largely been dominant due to having the two top scoring guys in the ACC. What I wondered at the time of my comment was just how much credit Stallings can receive since I figured they would score just as much on a Jamie Dixon team that was so thin. The offensive game plan without one of those guys (as we saw today and earlier against Duquesne) is generally pretty bad. There just isn't enough quality movement.

Let me explain.

A lot of times in basketball terms, people will suggest things like there's not enough ball movement in an offense. Ball movement facilities everything and is particularly important when you don't have stars that can easily break down defenders on a 1-1 level and get into the paint and/or take over games. When you have that, ball movement is generally less of an issue. But it's not just ball movement that teams need. Pitt, for example, moves the ball around enough for my tastes. What they don't have is quality movement without the ball - guys cutting and breaking free of their defender, looking to get open and actually do something.

Back in middle school basketball when all of us were getting our first taste of what it was like to play basketball on an actual team, we were just kids following the coaches instruction running the silly 'Replace' offense. They say cut, you cut. Often kids would cut and not be looking at the ball at all. Pitt's offense isn't that bad, of course, but my point is that you can move around a lot and really not do much of anything to get open for a quality shot. It seemed like there was a lot of that going on today. And in one case when Artis did cut freely to the basket and was open by a good two feet, he was blatantly missed by Chris Jones, who had the ball.

Just really bad basketball, folks.

Some of Pitt's problems have been in shooting the ball. They had another horrible shooting day and sometimes the ball just doesn't go in. But much of it is also on playing just bad basketball and not being a sound team. Pitt, for example, was outrebounded by 14 today. Things like rebounding are largely based on effort. And in a game that required all hands on deck and guys doing whatever they could to win, to be beaten that badly on the boards is a really bad look.

For the first time this year, I think some sense of panic will set in with a lot of fans. I wasn't there before since Pitt played Notre Dame and Virginia pretty well while putting together a great second half against Louisville. But there are too many alarms with this team right now and when you throw an injured Luther into the mix, it's hard to have much optimism at all around this team after a game like this.

Pitt has plenty of time to turn it around and as they showed against some of the better teams they've faced this year, when they're on, they're a pretty good team. But with many more showings like today, things could get ugly in a hurry.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Raiders file paperwork to move to Las Vegas

The Oakland Raiders have filed paperwork to make a big move that will undoubtedly be controversial with fans.According to The Associated Press, the Oakland Raiders filed official forms Thursday to move the football franchise from Oakland to Las Vegas. The team has not been able to secure a satisfactory stadium option in Oakland, prompting the desire to move, according to sources.

Oakland Raiders file papers to move to Las Vegas. https://t.co/YQhabEgnKP #NFL #sportsbiz pic.twitter.com/4GHr2IoPcN— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) January 19, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

>> Read more trending stories The Raiders will need to gain the support of 24 NFL team owners to make the move official. That vote would occur in the spring. The Chargers announced recently that the team is moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, giving the city two NFL teams after having no team for 20 years. The St. Louis Rams relocated to L.A. for the 2016 season.

>>Fans react to Chargers new logo

Golfer sues course, claims he was hit by portable toilet

Golfers deal with many hazards on the course — water, trees and sand traps, to name a few. But an Illinois man said he never expected a portable toilet to affect his game or his well-being, and he has filed a lawsuit for some relief.

 

>> Read more trending stories

 

Brian Berg claims he was hit and seriously injured by a porta-potty that was being hauled by a forklift driver while he played a round at a suburban Chicago course in August, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

 

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court, Berg said he was watching his 6-iron approach shot to the seventh green at the Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village on Aug. 11. According to the lawsuit, he alleges that a course employee, operating a forklift that was carrying a portable toilet, was driving "blind" on a golf cart path and the potty "completely obscured his view," hitting Berg from behind 

 

After Berg was knocked to the ground by the "initial blow," the forklift did not stop, causing him to suffer an injured shoulder, a cut chin, a cracked rib, a bruised bicep and a "large, deep bruise to his leg," the lawsuit claims. Berg also claims he was knocked unconscious by the force of the forklift's blow. 

 

Berg filed suit against the Elk Grove Park District, which owns and operates the Fox Run course, and the forklift operator. He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and alleges in the lawsuit that the worker was driving "with complete and utter indifference to the probability that a golfer would be in the path of a porta-potty." He also alleged that the golf course "uses unsafe means and methods of transporting toilets."

 

Officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the Sun-Times said.

Chargers reveal new logo before move to Los Angeles; fans react

The former San Diego Chargers will become the Los Angeles Chargers as the team leaves the city it has called home for the last 56 years and moves north, Chargers CEO Dean Spanos confirmed Thursday.

>> Read more trending stories  

"After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season," Spanos said in a statement. "Today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers."

A letter from Dean Spanos pic.twitter.com/rTNIvrsN1A— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) January 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Chargers revealed a new logo later in the day, which caused a buzz from both fans and critics.

Many people said they didn't like the new logo, and many compared it to the L.A. Dodgers' logo.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/chargers-logo/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/chargers-logo.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Chargers logo" on Storify]

But Spanos is determined to make the best of the changes. 

"We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans," he said. "The Chargers are determined to fight for LA, and we are excited to get started."

Chargers confirm move to Los Angeles

The San Diego Chargers will move north to Los Angeles, Chargers CEO Dean Spanos confirmed Thursday.

The move will end the team's 55-year stay in the city.

>> Read more trending stories

The Chargers notified NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league owners of their intent to move to Los Angeles for the 2017 season, ESPN reported. Annie Heilbrum of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweeted Wednesday that the team was expected to make an announcement sometime Thursday.

I'm told by a #Chargers source that the team is expected to officially announce tomorrow. Still getting the word "expected."— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) January 12, 2017

The Chargers are expected to share the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the Rams for the next two seasons before moving into a $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, which is expected to open in 2019, ESPN reported. 

The move gives Los Angeles two NFL franchises after two decades without a team. The Rams returned to Los Angeles last season, going 4-12.

The Chargers were established in 1960 and played their inaugural season in L.A. for the old American Football League before moving south to San Diego in 1961.

Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweeted that the Chargers will consider rebranding but noted it wouldn't be done in time for the 2017 season, if it's done at all.

"More than anything I'm shocked," Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget told ESPN. "I didn't think it was going to happen. I thought we were going to stay in San Diego. I thought something would've got done and worked out...So I guess L.A. is our new home then." 

An NFL source told ESPN on Wednesday night that Chargers chairman Dean Spanos had yet to send a formal relocation letter to the NFL or notify public officials in Los Angeles or San Diego of the team's move. 

"At first, I hoped it was fake news. It's something that is unfathomable, but it is reality," Chargers quarterbacking great Dan Fouts told ESPN. 

Chargers wideout Keenan Allen told ESPN that "It's different to hear the Los Angeles Chargers, but it should be dope." 

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the front of Chargers Park was egged amid reports of relocation.

How's San Diego taking news of imminent relocation? Front door of Chargers Park egged tonight. San Diego police monitoring facility now. pic.twitter.com/t0gYwfpauF— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) January 12, 2017

During the Chargers’ time in San Diego, they won the 1963 AFL championship and made Super Bowl XXIX, losing to the San Francisco 49ers.

Spanos has unsuccessfully tried to land a new stadium with taxpayer funding for more than two decades, according to Bleacher Report. Qualcomm Stadium, which opened in 1967, is the fifth oldest among current NFL stadiums. 

In November, San Diego citizens voted against funding for a new Chargers stadium.

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