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THE JOYS OF BEING PITT IN 2007

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WHEN YOU TRY TO TALK A COMPUTER INTO A HISTORIC UPSET

PAT BOSTICK, THE MOST UNDERUTILIZED RUNNER IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Ryan, Jason, and ourselves simulated WVU/Pitt 2007 for the big SB Nation project about that season. The video’s here, if you’re into killing long stretches of your Friday by watching Twitch for College Football, But Not Live, and Without Repeated Pleas for Patreon Donations.

Can 2007 WVU beat Pitt in "NCAA Football?"

Let's use EA SPORTS NCAA Football 08 to give WVU Football ONE MORE CHANCE to avoid catastrophic upset against the Pitt Panthers and earn a 2007 BCS Championship spot. Can the 'Eers pull it off this time? The definitive story of that game, with interviews from both sides: https://www.sbnation.com/a/2007-college-football-season/pitt-west-virginia

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Thursday, July 27, 2017

It’s long, but not as long as the actual game, which was a dreadful, clanking misery that ultimately cost West Virginia the national championship, and did nothing for Pitt whatsoever besides satisfy a deep need to humiliate the Mountaineers. (Also: apologies for sharing a Facebook link, but business is business.)

It ended up being much more fun than we thought it was going to be mostly because we ended up playing as Pitt, the underdog, and doing our level best to play the part of Pitt in character. This meant running the clock down on every play, trying to limit possessions, running the daylights out of the ball, and passing to a bunch of tight ends and fullbacks because that’s what teams without wide receivers or hope do when, at long last and out of options, they have to pass the football.

That’s good dickish fun. It is also super instructive, if you haven’t tried it, to replicate an upset. Admittedly, NCAA 2008 is a video game, and one with certain features you can’t move around. There’s no way to replicate Pat White getting hurt at a very specific point; there’s no way to replicate the creeping dread that paralyzed West Virginia’s offense in the second half; and at one point, the game will cave in on the underdog beneath the sheer weight of grades, numbers and ratings. Wide receivers in the third quarter will drop passes they caught easily in the first half. Defensive linemen who held their own will miss tackles on passing hot dog wrappers blowing in the wind.

Even with all those qualifiers, it’s still amazing to try to pull it off in character because you start to realize, at a basic level, how insanely difficult it is to get eleven little sims to do what they’re supposed to do, every time. Missing one tackle on LeSean McCoy was bad. But if I missed a tackle on Pat White, he was gone, 100% gone and counting the seams in the padding of the endzone walls, and opened up a lane for Steve Slaton, who then opened up a lane for Owen Schmitt. That’s before you even worried about the passing game—which is one of the things the real West Virginia never even really tried, for some reason, against a Pitt team playing Cover 0 for a lot of the game.

It’s hard as hell, and if you watch, you’ll see we did well but ultimately ended up failing and giving West Virginia some historical redemption of the flimsiest sort, and inadvertently giving Pitt ‘07 credit for an astonishing accomplishment. When Owen Schmitt said they lost to the “shittiest fucking team in the fucking world,” it’s not far off from the truth. Putting them to the test, they were empirically kind of shitty, and pulled off 13-9 despite all that—meaning, somewhere in all that shittiness, there was a tiny shard of greatness they spiked into West Virginia’s eye. We respect the upset even more after trying to do it with a spreadsheet, because in the end even a computer was confused by the idea of Pitt beating West Virginia in 2007.

Also, Pitt should have let Pat Bostick run a lot more, based solely on our getting two long first downs with his legs. PB HAD SOME JETS, WHY DIDN’T YOU LET HIM FLY, DAVE WANNSTEDT? WHYYYYYYY—-