Pitt announced on Sunday afternoon that it has accepted a bid to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Its opponent from the SEC, however, is not confirmed at this time.
The bowl game will be played on Saturday, January 8 at noon, and will be televised on ESPN. As for the practice routine until then, Pitt head coach Dave Wannstedt said there's no limit on the number of practices that the team can hold. He said for now, his assistants will be out recruiting. The players will be doing regular conditioning this week and possibly next week. This week is the last full week of classes for Pitt students, with Finals taking place next week.
"We're just going to run, lift, academics for the most of these two weeks," Wannstedt said. "Being that we had a game with Cincinnati; there were Big Ten coaches, and coaches in our conference that weren't playing this Saturday, they were on the road, so they got jump on the recruiting.
"We got a big recruiting week; ten or twelve kids coming in for official visits. All our kids, from a players perspective; running, lifting, throwing on your own, primarily academics. From a coaches perspective, recruiting."
He expects the players to be able to go home for Christmas and New Years--something the last two teams haven't had the luxury of, with the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve two years ago and the Meineke Car Care Bowl the day after Christmas last year.
There are pluses and negatives for this bowl game. The positives include a chance to give the players some down time, after being on a weekly practice routine since the beginning of August. On the negative side, Wannstedt talked about its impact on recruiting, referring to how it could potentially interfere with some of the official visit weekends that typically take place in January. In addition to that, the spring semester begins January 5, with the bowl game three days afterwards. Depending on some of the festivities surrounding the bowl game, there‘s a good chance the players will miss the beginning of the spring semester.
Wannstedt talked about one of the big official visit weekends coming up, but he also said with bowl preparations carrying over into January--while it might seem nice to have recruits see you in bowl preparation, the overlap in the schedule will be a challenge.
"We only have six weeks to begin with," Wannstedt said. "With us playing last weekend, it was really like playing in the Southeast Conference and the ACC, like a championship weekend. I think the other conferences are going to get towards that. It does put us behind. Every week is critical.
"If you're here preparing for a game, and there's a coach sitting in the home of a kid that you're trying to recruit, he's going to get a little advantage on you, and you've got to make up some ground."
As far yesterday's game, Wannstedt also gave a brief injury update. Jason Hendricks left the game early, as did Antwuan Reed with a concussion. Wannstedt said they are both fine today. Myles Caragein left the game near the end of the second quarter with an apparent knee sprain. He didn't go into specifics, but did say that Caragein's injury is a "non-surgery" type injury.
"Myles is the only one that looks to be of some amount of time," Wannstedt said. "It's not a surgery injury. We'll just see where he's at once we start practicing in two weeks."