When Pitt faces SMU in about a month in the BBVA Compass Bowl, they’ll have a bit of history on their side.
Since the inception of the bowl in 2006 (previously called the Birmingham Bowl and the PapaJohns.com Bowl), the Big East has been surprisingly good in the game. By good, I mean undefeated. The conference is a perfect 5-0 in the game, having beaten teams from the SEC, ACC, and Conference USA.
Pitt, of course, won the 2011 game against Kentucky. Prior to that, UConn beat South Carolina, Rutgers beat North Carolina State, Cincinnati beat Southern Miss, and South Florida beat East Carolina. The closest contest was Rutgers’ six-point win in 2008.
I’m not the type of person to place an enormous amount of stock in historical bowl games, but I think there is something to it. Part of the reason is because Big East teams have played against some lesser SEC and ACC teams and Conference USA squads, obviously. But when it comes right down to it, 5-0 is still pretty impressive.