No Virginia, The Panthers Are Not Big East Champs

We're No. 1 ... er, sort of (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It's all fine and good that Pitt wants to feel as if it has a share of the Big East title. Technically, they're correct. Still, something about Max Gruder's quote in the Trib this weekend doesn't sound quite right to me.

After Cincinnati's win this weekend, Gruder had this to say:

"We aren't going to the BCS, but we're getting a ring," Linebacker Max Gruder said. "It feels good to beat them here after what they did to us last year. It could have been easy to give up after what happened last week (losing to West Virginia)."

Well, Gruder's got one thing right at least. Pitt could easily have come out and laid an egg. I didn't expect it, but after getting crushed by West Virginia last week, a feeling of disappointment could have carried over. Pitt, for its part, played pretty well in a tough situation. So for that, I certainly give them credit.

However.

I'm not going to judge Gruder too harshly. I didn't hear the context of the question and I don't know the tone of his voice, but that first sentence just reads awful. It's like, 'Hey, well we didn't accomplish our goal this season, but we're still the champs. Sort of. I mean, we get a ring, right?'

I don't know, it just really rubbed me the wrong way. Rings are the last thing this team should be getting excited about. They had a nice in-conference lead and not only failed to finish first, but they couldn't even finish second. That proved somewhat costly as the Big East's second place team, West Virginia, did indeed get the bid to the Champs Sports Bowl.

And it may feel good to beat Cincinnati (and this isn't directed towards Gruder), but there should definitely be no feeling of even a modicum of revenge. Pitt having the BCS bid ripped from them last season and then coming back to winning a mostly meaningless game this year does not count as getting even.

The fact is that the Panthers are NOT the Big East champs. Having the same record does not give you a share of the title. Pitt lost to the two teams tied with them in the standings and, by default, are not their equals.

Enough of this nonsense about Pitt having a share of the Big East.

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