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Lucas Nix Expected To Play ... Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

We've heard this one before ... for a few weeks actually.

But head coach Todd Graham expects Lucas Nix to play during the Backyard Brawl.

I'm not to the point where I'd say, 'I'll believe it when I see it', but I do think it's perfectly fine to be skeptical. Graham, though, reiterated his stance of the past few weeks that he thinks Lucas could suit up in this one:

"We anticipate that Lucas will play," Graham said. "I don't want to tell you he is definitely going to and then he doesn't, and you guys (reporters) think I'm not telling you the truth."

A ligament that provides support for his left kneecap was stretched, and Nix has been careful not to re-injure it during his rehabilitation.

"Obviously, he has the best chance to play this week; he has had the most time to get ready," said Graham, noting that Pitt didn't play last week. "I anticipate and expect him to be playing."

If Nix is anywhere near being able to play, I've got to think he's going to. How do you miss the last Backyard Brawl you'll ever play in? Not only that, but Pitt is still playing for a bowl game and even has an outside shot at the BCS.

It goes without saying that the line is much improved with Nix in there. Not only is Nix the best lineman on the team, but his presence in the starting lineup also means that Pitt's backups are improved without the need to use a reserve as a starter.

Pitt has been snakebit by injuries this season maybe more than any other I can remember. Definitely hard to remember a year with so many injuries to stars and key players, anyway.