Pitt at Louisville: An Elimination Game For Pitt
By Ben Livingston
Todd Graham might not have done the math yet, but if Pitt (4-5, 2-2 Big East) is unable to win on the road at Louisville (5-4, 3-1) this Saturday, the Panthers will be mathematically eliminated from contention for the Big East’s automatic BCS berth.
In short, this is because Pitt’s best-case scenario would become tying for the Big East championship with Louisville and at least two other teams. Pitt would then only be able to receive the BCS bid via a tiebreaker only in a scenario that involves Rutgers (6-3, 3-2) finishing with fewer than four wins, Connecticut (4-5, 2-2) finishing 4-3, West Virginia (6-3, 2-2) doing the same, and Cincinnati (7-1, 3-0) finishing no better than 4-3. This is impossible, which means that Pitt will not play in a BCS bowl this season without a win at Louisville.
If this happens, Pitt’s season will have fallen short of Todd Graham’s stated goals for his first season as the Panthers’ head coach. Graham made clear on Oct. 22 (six days prior to Pitt’s 35-20 win over Connecticut) that there would be no moral victories for his team this season.
As Graham said, it’s time for Pitt to “put up or shut up.” The Panthers’ chances of winning the conference and earning a BCS bid will remain slim even with a win at Louisville, as Pitt remains 1.5 games back of Cincinnati (who Pitt does not hold a head-to-head tiebreaker against due to its 26-23 loss to the Bearcats this weekend), but a loss will leave Pitt’s season all but over.
You can listen to Pitt vs. Louisville this Saturday, with Panther Pregame starting at 11:45 a.m. on 92.1 WPTS and worldwide on wptsradio.org.