MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — On one hand, Pitt’s game against Miami on Saturday was fairly meaningless to the Panthers’ 2018 season.
Pitt had already cliched a berth in the 2018 ACC Championship Game, and will face Clemson next week with a chance at the Panthers’ first ACC title.
But there’s another factor that was riding on the outcome of the game against the Hurricanes.
If Pitt doesn’t beat Clemson, they’ll be at the mercy of the bowl selection process when it comes to determining where the Panthers will play their 14th game of the season.
With that in mind, representatives of the Camping World Bowl, which holds the No. 2 selection from the ACC, were watching Saturday’s game.
What they saw was a mess.
Not only did Pitt lose, dropping a 24-3 decision to Miami, but they looked completely hopeless against a tough Miami defense.
What bowl games are looking for are compelling matchups, and it’s tough to envision this Pitt offense, obviously hurting from the loss of starting center Jimmy Morrissey, providing one of those.
The Panthers’ road to a top-tier goal got even rougher, as Syracuse beat up on Boston College to finish 9-3 — two games better than the Panthers.
With a win over Miami and a solid showing against Clemson, Pitt had a chance to enter bowl season ranked and would have looked like a top pick to head to Orlando.
Now, it seems that they’ll almost certainly slide into the ACC’s Tier I bowl group, which includes the Music City Bowl, Gator Bowl, Sun Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl and Belk Bowl — and could potentially slide farther.
Pitt can improve their standing some with a strong showing against Clemson — a win would give them a guaranteed berth to either the Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl — but it’s clear the Panthers squandered their last, best chance at padding their resume.
ACC Overall Standings:
NC State 8-3
Boston College 7-5
Georgia Tech 7-5
Wake Forest 6-6
Virginia Tech 5-6