Pitt needed a win in the ACC championship game to earn a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl, and it held up its end of the bargain, defeating Wake Forest 45-21 for the ACC title on Saturday. As a result, the team was rewarded on Sunday with a berth in the Peach Bowl, and it drew Michigan State as an opponent.
Despite its 11-2 record and status as the champion of the ACC, Pitt will enter the matchup as the lower-ranked team, as the College Football Playoff committee ranked Pitt No. 12 and Michigan State No. 10. Michigan State finished its regular season on Nov. 27, with a 30-27 win over Penn State. The Spartans did not compete for a Big Ten title, though, as they finished third in the Big Ten East.
Pitt and Michigan State have faced off seven times before, but Pitt has never won any of the previous matchups, which took place between 1945 and 2007. The closest Pitt came to a victory was a 7-7 tie in 1960, when the Panthers entered the matchup ranked No. 17 and the Spartans were ranked No. 6. In the last matchup in 2007, Michigan State won 17-13.
This year’s matchup will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Pitt has fared well in Atlanta lately. In their last three trips, the Panthers have gone 3-0. Of course, each of those matchups was with Georgia Tech, and with a tougher foe in Michigan State, Pitt will face a steeper challenge in getting to win No. 4. Pitt and Michigan State will face off in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN.