Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Military Bowl Takes Panthers after Snub by Tier One Games

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Military Bowl Takes Panthers after Snub by Tier One Games

Article excerpt

Much more than just a team's record goes into where they fall in the bowl selection process. Pitt found that out Sunday, when they fell out of the ACC's "Tier One" group despite finishing in the top five of the conference.

Instead, the Panthers will travel to Annapolis, Md., to play No. 21 Navy in the Military Bowl at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 28 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"It's a rocky road when you talk bowls and all the politics involved," Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. "I'm just glad they didn't leave us out. I'd have been disappointed if we didn't get a bowl selection."

After the New Year's Six and Russell Athletic Bowl make their selections, the ACC's Tier One group of the Music City Bowl, Sun Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl and Belk Bowl get the next pick. Despite three ACC teams already off the board - with Clemson and Florida State in the New Year's Six and North Carolina in the Russell Athletic - all four Tier One bowls passed on Pitt (8-4, 6-2 ACC).

Three - Music City, Belk and Pinstripe - took teams with worse records than the Panthers.

Of those three, Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes said he had had the most interaction with the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, even sending them a potential travel and marketing plan to try to fill the stands at Yankee Stadium.

Still, the Pinstripe Bowl opted for Duke (7-5) over Pitt.

"We were very pleased with our communications there," Barnes said. "Why they chose Duke? You're going to need to ask them."

Barnes, in his first year at Pitt, added that the ACC's bowl selection process was "less prescribed and more subjective" than previous conferences he had worked in. He admitted that there was likely a stigma attached to Pitt that its fans don't travel well. To that end, Barnes has made a concerted effort to try to get fans to make the four-hour drive to Annapolis for this game. …

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