We've still got about a week to get to Pitt's bowl game against Ole Miss, but ESPN's Big East bloggers weighed in recently with their predictions. Andrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna were decidedly split in those picks, though.
Fortuna picks the Panthers, but Adelson says it will be Ole Miss that walks away with the victory:
Pitt vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 5, 1 p.m., ESPN. Yes, the Panthers are back in Birmingham for what feels like the three zillionth time, to take on one of the more pleasant surprises in the SEC this season, Ole Miss. My question for Pitt in this game is motivation. We have seen this team have a problem with that all season long. They have not put together consistent enough efforts at all. This is the final game for guys like Ray Graham and Tino Sunseri, so they should find a way to get their teammates fired up. But I think this bowl appearance may mean a little more to Ole Miss. And, well, Pitt has followed this crazy lose two-win two pattern all year. Pattern says -- Pitt loss. Ole Miss 24, Pitt 20.
I don't deny that I see Pitt as a bit of an underdog, but not for the reason Adelson suggests. I actually think will be plenty motivated by playing an SEC team. They won their last two games and I think they're actually on a bit of a roll.
Pitt's problem may be that Ole Miss is simply the better team. Each has a 6-6 record, but as I've mentioned before, a 6-6 record in the SEC is far better than going 6-6 in the Big East. The Rebels had a tougher road, playing the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas, and Texas A&M. They didn't win any of those games, but did defeat a good Mississippi State team and was able to really hang with LSU and Texas A&M. Ole Miss should also have a significant home field advantage.
Pitt clearly can win this game, but as of now, I've got to go with Adelson on this one.