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2011 Bowl Projections: ESPN.com Sticks With Belk Bowl For Pitt

ESPN.com Big East blogger Andrea Adelson has her updated Big East bowl predictions out there after this week's action. She basically says it's still early for the team, while currently slotting them in the Belk Bowl:

Belk Bowl: Pitt vs. ACC. It has only been two weeks, but I am still giving the players some time to get adjusted to the new offense and defense.

In case you missed it, the Meineke Car Care Bowl is now the Belk Bowl.

Adelson also selects West Virginia as the conference's BCS recipient and has South Florida, Cincinnati, and Syracuse appearing in bowl games, leaving out Louisville, UConn, and Rutgers.

Conspicuously absent from the bowl lineup is the Champs Sports Bowl, which has a tie-in with Notre Dame. The Irish are 0-2 and while that's not great for Pitt's strength of schedule since they play them, it's incredible for the conference's bowl lineup. Notre Dame needs to finish 7-5 to be eligible to be selected (and finish within two games, I believe, of any eligible Big East team). They weren't picked last season, so they're still eligible for that bowl if they can get to seven wins.

Problem for Notre Dame, though, is the fact that they've got a pretty tough schedule left.

The Irish still have games remaining against Michigan State and USC at home and Stanford on the road. They also have Pitt on the road and Maryland and Boston College at home. Seven wins is possible, but it's no 'gimme' by any means. The bottom line, though, is that if Pitt can't get selected for that bowl this year, Panther fans should be rooting for the Irish to get the bid so they're out of play for next year.

Adelson's projection probably sounds about right to me, though I could definitely see Rutgers getting a bowl bid. Pitt is probably about third in the conference, but only by default. West Virginia and South Florida look like the clear-cut two best teams.

 

Of course, the Belk Bowl would be a disappointment, but if Pitt were to win nine games and get there behind two nine- or ten-win teams in USF and WVU, it'd be hard to get too upset in Todd Graham's first year ... especially the way the team's looked so far.