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2014 Armed Forces Bowl - Pitt vs. Houston: Cougars present challenge for Panthers

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

No, the Armed Forces Bowl isn't an upper level bowl game. It's not even an upper level ACC bowl game. Heck, it's not even an ACC-affiliated bowl game.

It is, however, a chance to win a seventh game and give the Panthers a second-straight winning season.

In a bowl game, you never know what type of opponent you'll get. But in Houston, Pitt has a team with which they match up favorably. Still, there are some reasons to be wary.

Houston has fared well on defense and ranks 11th in the nation there. A weak schedule may have something to do with that but the Cougars' defense has been pretty stout. The Cougars, though, have been downright stingy. In four of their 12 games, they've allowed ten points or less. And prior to this weekend against Cincinnati (when they gave up 38 points), Houston had allowed no more than 33 to a single opponent.

The Cougars also will have what should essentially be a home game. Fort Worth is a long trip for local fans. The timing isn't terrible since it comes just before a weekend and right after New Year's, but you can expect many more Houston fans, obviously, as the team plays in its home state.

I still expect Pitt to win. I'm not sure Houston has seen players the caliber of Tyler Boyd and James Conner - both NFL talents. The Cougars are also in the midst of a coaching change and aren't a great offensive unit. But Pitt needs to be prepared and make sure they show up ready to play.

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