It was around 2:00 p.m. PT on Sunday when it finally occurred to me that, if they win this weekend, the Pittsburgh Panthers will be bowl eligible, officially putting the option of a Backyard Brawl in the Pinstripe Bowl on the table. Depending on how things shook out in the other bowls picking before the Pinstripe, that could actually send the 7-5 (5-2) Syracuse Orange all the way to Godforsaken Birmingham, Alabama to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl (!).
Not 20 minutes past before SB Nation released their latest bowl projections, which put Syracuse in the BBVA Compass Bowl against something called ULM (Never a good sign when I have to look up the sponsor of the bowl as well as the potential opponent in order to find out what either are).
So is this actually likely? Let's discuss.
I figured the best way to break it down is to go over why the Pinstripe Bowl would choose 6-6 Pitt over 7-5 Syracuse.
- The Pitt-WVU rivalry is more nationally-recognized than the SU-WVU one and therefore has more TV and PR value.
- It's not like Pitt is that far away. And chances are if their fans are going to travel for a bowl game, it's going to be a bowl game against West Virginia in New York City.
Now why would they choose Syracuse over Pitt?
- Syracuse vs. West Virginia has value. Between the rivalry, the Schwartzwalder Trophy and the dueling Big East getaways, there are more than enough storylines here.
- Syracuse fans are a known quantity for the Pinstripe. We packed the stadium last time and we'd pack the stadium again.
- Hey, we have a better record AND we beat Pitt, you know...
The closer we get to bowl selection time, the less sure I am that the Pinstripe is a lock. However, I'm still fairly confident that we'll end up there.
I hope so, because, seriously, how many of us are going to take the trip to watch SU play a mediocre Sun Belt team in Birmingham? Yuck.
One thing to note...some are saying that Ole Miss is a lock to play in the BBVA, which makes the idea slightly more palatable, but not much.