So the predictable disdain over Pitt's third straight trip to the BBVA Whatchamacallit Bowl game totally happened Sunday night into Monday:
"ZOMG!!!11111 Not agin yinz guyzzzzz!!!!!!11111111"
"This bowl sucks"
"The Big East bowls blow!"
Hard to say I'm feeling much different after learning that the Panthers' third consecutive game in the 'Pittsburgh of the South' was official. And I'm going to duck as I say this, but ... there are actually some positives about the game. (That tomato (or as Dan Quayle would say, tomatoe) you threw landed safely over my head).
No, wait - it's actually true. Well, sort of. Okay, so I'm not going to convince you that the bowl game is a good thing. No offense to the fine people of Birmingham, but we're sick of you and your stupid bowl. And I know the feeling's mutual, so don't feel bad. Short of a sunny destination spot like Florida or Hawaii, I'm not sure anyone wants to go to the same non-BCS bowl three years running. It's not you, it's us. But if we're looking for positives ...
It's still a bowl: A few weeks ago at 4-6, chances of Pitt even reaching bowl eligibility were looking slim - particularly with a home date against ranked Rutgers. The Panthers steamrolled over them along with South Florida, though, and bucked the odds. The Compass Bowl isn't an upper-tier one ... or even a middle-tier one for that matter. But the fact is that Pitt is still playing in the postseason and that's better than sitting at home.
Pitt actually will play a name brand: Ole Miss isn't 'Bama. Or LSU. Or South Carolina or Florida. Or even Texas A&M. But they are an SEC team and while Pitt fans may be all sorts of McKayla Maroney not impressed, 6-6 in the SEC trumps 6-6 in the Big East. Ole Miss is an actual major conference opponent and I'd much rather face them than a 9-4 Central Florida team.
More practice time: As much as we all hoped for sunny St. Pete, that game is on December 21st. The BBVA Compass Bowl isn't until two weeks later on January 5th. The Panthers should be able to milk some extra practice days out of this and mundane as it may seem, that's good for the program. Those practices are extremely valuable for the players and coaching staff and are a nice bonus.
Weather: Okay, you'll have to bear with me a little on this one since the 2011 game was miserable and in the 40s, but the weather should be a bit better than in New York for the Pinstripe Bowl. We're having our share of warm days here now, but chances are it will be warmer in Birmingham. Last year's game was in the 60s and I'm willing to bet that it's a bit easier to sit through than a potential blizzard in New York.
Familiarity: Sure, the fans aren't all that enthused about this disaster. And I'm even guessing the players aren't real happy, either. But one thing that should help is that Pitt's familiar with the stadium and the field. Not home game familiar, but it won't be foreign territory to them. Ole Miss is going to win the home field advantage, but Pitt at least has a small level of comfort in playing there the past couple of seasons.
The Todd Graham factor: That's right, our favorite ball coach comes to play in this as well. Arizona State battles Navy on December 29th in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at 4:00 p.m. Meanwhile, the Pinstripe Bowl kicks off 45 minutes earlier at 3:15. If Pitt were in that game and you had any thought of cheering Navy on (which, well, you should), you'd have to do some serious channel flipping. Instead, Pitt's game has no other bowl competition and you're free to relax.
Convinced? Okay, neither am I.