No one needs to be told how big the game is:
The Pitt Panthers will play their most important home game since 2003 Saturday when they entertain No. 5 Cincinnati (11-0, 6-0) to decide the Big East championship.I kind of disagree with that sentiment. That 2003 team wasn't as good as this year's team in my opinion and probably wouldn't have stood much of a chance in a BCS bowl. Their losses leading into the Miami game included a shocker to Toledo and a blowout against WVU. That team would have struggled to get to ten wins, while this team can STILL win ten games even with a loss to Cincinnati. This game is so much bigger for Pitt, who stayed in the top ten for a few weeks this year and really got back on the national landscape. Plus with a national telecast against Cincinnati, the entire nation will be watching. Another thing - if Pitt can manage to win this game, it would give them to very strong seasons back-to-back. That's the kind of momentum needed as Pitt will likely head into next year with a potential top 15 preseason ranking.
In 2003 the Panthers (9-2, 5-1) played host to Miami on the final day of the season. The Hurricanes dominated the Panthers that day and Pitt had to watch a Big East championship and a BCS berth be awarded to a visiting team on its home field.
And I don't subscribe to the theory that the WVU loss will still hurt if Pitt can make the BCS bowl. I'd take a WVU loss every year if it meant winning the conference. Yes, it's a rivalry game. But by no means is it the disaster being made by some.
I don't know how much difference that it will make, but an extra day of preparation is always a good thing:
"Obviously with the extra day, since we played Friday, it gave us the opportunity to move in the direction of Cincinnati from a preparation standpoint. That’s where are players are at. That’s obviously where the coaches are at.
For the Panthers, there is simply no time to ruminate. That's why the team captains spoke up in the locker room afterward and canceled today's scheduled day off in favor of film work and early preparation for the Cincinnati game Saturday.The Dave Wannstedt press conference really focused on moving forward. I was surprised that I counted exactly one, and only one, question about the WVU game. Everything else focused on the Cincy game.
The Big East title is at stake.
"We just talked about it," said linebacker Adam Gunn, one of the captains. "We told everyone we're coming in (to the practice facility). Everyone will be there at 12. All of us captains spoke up and said, 'Backyard Brawl, we wanted to win; now it's time to win the Big East.' "
As expected, it doesn't appear as if Aaron Berry will miss the game as Dave Wannstedt said he is definitely starting. All hands on deck will be needed for Cincinnati's passing attack, which ranks nationally 6th in passing offense and 1st in passing efficiency. Those stats are made possible in part to their offensive line, which ranks 5th nationally with only .82 sacks allowed per game.
Yep, it's gonna be a big one - dopey Turn It Blue promotion or not.