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Pitt Vs. South Florida: Panthers Will Fight To Stay On BCS Path

With a fairly comfortable lead and only four games left to play, Pitt seemed ready to grab hold of the conference’s BCS berth. But a disappointing road loss to UConn changed everything and now the Panthers have gone from favorites to potential underdogs.

Pitt has three games remaining and if it wins out, the team will win the conference. But two of those games are on the road and the lone home game is on a short week against bitter rival, West Virginia.

None of the three games will likely be easy and the chance the Panthers can pull off a 3-0 record may not be all that great.

Pitt starts its journey with a road game at South Florida. Unlike the UConn game, Pitt won’t have to contend with a team on a weeknight. Mock the game against UConn all you want, but any road conference game on a weeknight when fans are even more into the game is a challenge. Still, Pitt will have an improving South Florida team on its hands – one that includes dynamic QB B.J. Daniels.

However, while the Bulls are 6-3, even with the season almost over, it’s hard what to make of them. Facing Florida, West Virginia, and Syracuse, USF’s toughest opponents, the Bulls went 0-3 and only put up a total of 29 points. The team’s best win is an overtime win at Louisville. Not exactly awe-inspiring.

The Bulls also have won its past three games, but only done so by a total of 12 points. They won by eight at Cincinnati, but struggled to beat Rutgers by one and then won the Louisville game by a field goal. USF could almost just as easily be 3-6.

The game will likely come down to USF QB B.J. Daniels. He’s thrown a total of nine interceptions (and at least two in each game) in South Florida’s three losses. In their six wins, he’s thrown only two interceptions total against eight touchdowns. The Bulls are without many offensive stars, so the formula is simple for Pitt – keep B.J. Daniels in check.

This isn’t to say the Bulls can’t beat Pitt. We’ve all seen how crazy the conference can be this season and anyone can beat anyone on any day. I expect South Florida to come out fighting, but in the end, I think the UConn serves as plenty of motivation for Pitt to get back on track.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.