After the announcement of Pitt's bowl game destination came down, the usual amount of complaining soon followed. While the game isn't an incredibly attractive, there are still reasons to pay attention to the Panthers' final game of the season.
Here are five, to be exact:
5. Senior sendoffs: Pitt's high-profile players will all return next season, but the team does have some seniors that will get one final game. Several players, including Todd Thomas, Anthony Gonzalez, and T.J. Clemmings, have played well for the team this year and have been through all kinds of stuff. All were holdovers from the end of the Dave Wannstedt era and have been through his firing, Michael Haywood, Todd Graham, and now Paul Chryst. Those guys deserve your attention and deserve a final bowl game.
4. James Conner, James Conner, James Conner: The Pitt running back will get a chance to add to his gaudy numbers this season with one more game. Without the game, Conner could have fallen out of the top five in terms of yardage in the nation. With it, though, he'll get a chance to add to his rushing totals and stay in the top five. With 1,675 yards, he doesn't have a realistic shot at getting to 2,000 on the season. 1,800, though, is a possibility, and that would be an incredible feat.
3. Tyler Boyd eclipsing ... Tyler Boyd: Through Pitt's first six games, Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd had a modest 428 yards and looked poised for a dropoff from his big freshman year. Boyd, however, made up a ton of ground in the past six games, with four straight contests of at least 125 yards. As a result, he has put himself on pace to top last year's receiving yardage. Boyd enters the bowl game with 1,149 yards - only 25 yards shy of his 1,174 last season. Boyd should almost certainly eclipse his 2013 season in terms of yardage and that will be a huge accomplishment based on his slow start to the year.
2. Winning season on the line: Pitt finished 6-6 in the regular season, but the team will have a chance to get over .500 for the second straight year with a win. Last year, the Panthers finished on a high note and while there's a bad taste left from the close losses the team endured this year, a bowl win to give the team two consecutive winning seasons is better than nothing.
1. Any bowl game is better than no bowl game: There's not much use in complaining about the team's destination. The game isn't a great one, but it beats not playing in the postseason at all. The Panthers' will be in the news for another month and more importantly than that, they'll gain a number of extra practices. That's invaluable for such a young team. And be honest - the bowl season is just a lot more fun when you have a game with your favorite team to look forward to, isn't it?