Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Another Shot for Bowl Spot

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Another Shot for Bowl Spot

Article excerpt

Each of the past two years, Pitt has had to win its final game of the season to clinch a bowl bid.

The Panthers would like to avoid setting up that scenario for a third year in a row, and they can do that with a win Saturday against Syracuse.

With a loss, Pitt (5-5, 2-4 ACC) would need to pull an upset against Miami in the season finale to ensure postseason play for the sixth consecutive year.

"There's going to be pressure next week against Miami, too," senior linebacker Shane Gordon said. "We owe Syracuse one from last year, so it'd be good to win."

One more win would give Pitt's seniors a chance to play in a bowl game other than the BBVA Compass Bowl, the only bowl they have played.

While it almost certainly won't be a fourth consecutive trip to Birmingham, Pitt's potential bowl destination remains up in the air. The Panthers would likely head to one of the lower-tier bowls with ACC tie-ins: The Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.), the Advocare V100 Bowl (Shreveport, La.) or the Military Bowl (Annapolis, Md.).

The ACC already has eight teams with six wins, and as many as five more (including Pitt) could join them by the end of the season. That would bump the league over its allotted bowl spots, even if Florida State ends up playing in the BCS national championship game.

If that happens, Pitt could get bumped from the ACC's bowl lineup and be forced to take a bowl spot from a conference that cannot fill its allotment. The most likely scenario would be the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, which probably won't be able to fill its Big Ten slot.

Players, though, aren't concerned with a potential destination, but just getting there in the first place.

"It's going to mean a lot," cornerback Lafayette Pitts said. "Not just for me, but sending these seniors out in a bowl, that would be a good note for them."

Pitt lost out on its first chance to clinch a bowl spot last week with a 34-27 loss against North Carolina. Cornerback K'Waun Williams said everyone knows what's at stake this week, but it isn't a major rallying cry around the locker room. …

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