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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: All is ‘Fine’ in Syracuse?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Unless I missed something while away from the TV set, I didn’t catch ESPN mentioning anything having to do with Syracuse’s own child-abuse charges against former assistant coach Bernie Fine.

This was a fine Jason Whitlock column I read yesterday about Fine.

Is he right that the mess was wholly overblown?

If so, is it that clear-cut that ESPN would make zero mention of it, compared to the dominating — and justified — presence the Jerry Sandusky scandal was given during Penn State football games?

>> The Panthers are 0-6 in the Big East for the first time after predictably falling to No. 1 Syracuse at the Dome, 71-63 but I liked almost as much in this game as I did in the loss at Marquette. Maybe even more, given the uptick in competition.

Ashton Gibbs continued to make his shots, Lamar Patterson penetrated a little, John Johnson made some shots, and even Cam Wright stepped up. Not many of us expected the Panthers to be within four points with eight minutes left. There were still way too many turnovers and WAY TOO MUCH Dante Taylor on the floor in any capacity, but they’re getting better.

Bear in mind, Pitt’s trying to make the leap from disastrous to decent. Doesn’t happen overnight.

>> Please, please tell me that nothing having to do with Taylor had anything to do with Khem Birch’s departure. Taylor is one of those guys that costs a coach sleep.

>> Todd Graham is a real piece of … work.

>> Maurkice Pouncey was named to the All-NFL team selected by the Pro Football Writers, yet another feather in the helmet of someone who really didn’t play a whole lot.

Shouldn’t that at least make it into the fine print for qualifications?

Pouncey missed four regular-season games to injury — a quarter of the season — then the playoff game in Denver. On top of that, he and the entire offensive line were absolutely awful in the opening game in Baltimore. That’s essentially six games the Steelers played in which he contributed nothing.

I don’t care if you’re Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson all rolled into one for the remainder of those games, it”s tough to explain how he was the NFL’s best center in 2011.

Remember, part of what made Webster and Dawson great was durability.

>> Here’s a terrific interview between Ray Shero and Mark Madden yesterday. All I’ll add: I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the Penguins’ general manager.

>> I’ll be over at Consol most of the day, covering for Josh Yohe with news in the morning and working on a column later in the evening.

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