Kovacevic: Hoping for another Pitt-Penn State classic, but …


To continue reading, log into your account:

[theme-my-login show_title=0]
Pitt linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu is flattened by Youngstown State tight end Shane Kuhn on Saturday at Heinz Field. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Penn State will beat Pitt by pretty much any score it wants.

I write that with zero malice. I picked the Panthers to win at Heinz Field last year and was roundly ridiculed, but that group had bona fide offensive talent to offset its defense. This one doesn't, as the overtime win over Youngstown State painfully illustrated. Max Browne and Qadree Ollison aren't Nate Peterman and James Conner, plain and simple. And defensively, for Pat Narduzzi to allow his secondary to get scorched by strikingly similar wheel routes all afternoon long ... that strongly suggests he learned nothing from watching his team engage in basketball-type scores last winter.

The Nittany Lions, by contrast, absolutely overwhelmed Akron. Which they should have.

• I'd love to be wrong. I'd love for it to be a tight, intense game. Because what's invariably going to come from a lopsided outcome are the always annoying Penn State claims to not care about Pitt, or Pitt not being a rival, despite ample evidence -- and history -- to the contrary.

• The Steelers' latest acquisition, the Sunday trade for J.J. Wilcox from the Buccaneers, bolsters their depth at safety by bumping Robert Golden down the depth chart.

This is welcome. This is awesome, actually.

But I'm still not buying into any notion that the Steelers are going for it, or that they're all in, if only because they're like that every year. The lone difference with this unprecedented summer splurge is that, thanks to the superlative draft of 2016 and the belief in Vince Williams' ability to replace Lawrence Timmons, they have the cap space and capability to add like this.

Which, again, are all great things.

• So wait, Neal Huntington's only regret about the Juan Nicasio fiasco is that, per his public accusation Sunday, some unnamed other team "leaked" that he was on waivers?

Because we wouldn't all have found out that Nicasio was on waivers when, you know, the Phillies claimed him?

And his explanation for why that team would leak was that they "wanted to embarrass us."

So the regret was that they were caught doing something embarrassing?

That's what he came up with after several days to prepare for this?

• Oh, and I don't want to point fingers here about that mystery, amoral, unethical leaking team among the National League contenders that's shed all this additional light on the Nicasio fiasco, but ...

[caption id="attachment_409644" align="aligncenter" width="640"] TAYLOR HAASE / DKPS[/caption]

• Don't believe it?

Well, among the countless inanities expressed by Huntington in these two interview sessions, he spoke of a competing team having offered him its "No. 52 prospect" for Nicasio, then insisting he rejected that because he didn't want to help that team "win in the postseason and generate revenue for next year."

The number of teams in the National League playoff race that would have even a remote concern about generating revenue for next year is exactly one: Milwaukee. The Brewers, based in a metropolitan market two-thirds the size of Pittsburgh, opened the year with a payroll of $56 million, roughly 60 percent of the Pirates' payroll, but they're just a half-game out in the wild card race. No other playoff team -- Cubs, Dodgers, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Cardinals -- matches the description, not even the latter two as Colorado and St. Louis have always spent competitively.

Now, that obviously doesn't mean the Brewers were the team that leaked Nicasio being on waivers. But why reference them at all, vaguely or otherwise?

• Regardless, you have to love the idea that Huntington so seamlessly connects "win in the postseason" and "generate revenue for next year." As if the latter is the ultimate goal of the former.

• This is a repeat: Pittsburgh deserves better than this garbage. Fans of the Pirates deserve better. The current participants on the field deserve better. The proud alumni, particularly the surviving members of the 1960, 1971 and 1979 championship teams -- Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, Steve Blass, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Parker, Kent Tekulve, to cite a handful -- they all deserve better. The memories of those no longer with us, notably the one and only Roberto Clemente, they deserve better, too.

These people running the franchise are not the Pirates. They're stewards.

Criticizing them or wanting to see them replaced is not the same as ripping or hating the Pirates as an institution.

The institution of the Pirates remains exactly what it's always been. Except that better, bolder smarter stewards are needed.


• Here's the latest on the new, live DK Sports Radio venture, which launches tomorrow!

• If you missed it late last night, here's the entire episode of our news partner WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word.' I was on the panel, along with Mark Madden and John Steigerwald. The host was Chase Williams.

• We're trying to get some -- OK, not many -- of our staff some time on Labor Day. That isn't easy with a startup. Especially not with Radio launching tomorrow, the Pirates playing a matinee at PNC Park and the Steelers beginning their first real week of regular-season practice. But hey, we're skipping Live Qs. That's something.


 Event: Game vs. Cubs
 Location: PNC Park
 First pitch: 4:05 p.m.
 Clubhouse opens to media: 12:35 p.m.
 Home batting practice: 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
 Visitors' batting practice: 2:15 p.m.-3 p.m.
 Open to fans: 2:05 p.m., Clemente Gate
 Our coverageLance Lysowski, Matt Sunday


• Event: Practice
• Location:
Rooney Sports Complex
• Time:
10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
• Open to fans:
• Our coverage:
Mark Kaboly, Sunday 


• Event: Practice
• Location: 
Rooney Sports Complex
• Time:
 9-11 a.m.
Narduzzi press conference: Noon
• Open to fans: No
Our coverage: Lance Lysowski


 Event: No team activities today


• Today: None, holiday
Tuesday: Kabolyentries at 3 p.m.
Wednesday: Matt Gajtka
Thursday: Lysowski
Friday: Audrey Snyder


Ready to fan out for football this weekend:


• Our subscription levels
• Our apps
• Our advertising kit
• Our newsletter
• Our Stanley Cup section

To continue reading, log into your account: