2013 BBVA Compass Bowl
Saturday, January 5, 2013, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Pittsburgh Panthers vs Mississippi Rebels
Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama
Opening Line: Ole Miss -3 (-115)
Current Line: Ole Miss -3 1/2
Opening Total: 52
Current Total: 53 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ole Miss -165 / Pitt +145
Current Money Line: Ole Miss -175 / Pitt +155
The Pittsburgh Panthers have become very familiar with Birmingham in early January as they are making their 3rd straight trip to the city for the BBVA Compass Bowl. The 6-6 Panthers will take on the 6-6 Ole Miss Rebels. It will be a short trip for the Rebels and their fans as Birmingham is roughly 190 miles from the Ole Miss campus in Oxford. This is the first ever meeting between Pitt and Ole Miss.
Pitt is 12-16 all-time in bowl games. They lost in Birmingham last year 28-6 to SMU. Ole Miss is 21-12 in bowl games. The Rebels have won 8 of their last 9 bowl games, including 4 straight. Ole Miss beat Oklahoma St 21-7 in the 2009 Cotton Bowl, the last bowl appearance for the Rebels.
Pittsburgh was 3-4 in the Big East under first year coach Paul Chryst. Pittsburgh had to win their last two games to become bowl eligible. In fact Pitt, alternated losing two games in a row with 2 wins in a for the whole season. The Panthers have home losses to Youngstown St 31-17 and Louisville 45-35, along with road losses at Cincinnati 34-10, Syracuse 14-13, 29-26 in triple overtime against undefeated Notre Dame and UConn 24-17.. The Panthers were up by 14 in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame and also missed a field goal in double overtime that would have won the game. The Panthers have home wins over Virginia Tech 35-17, Gardner-Webb 55-10, Temple 47-17 and Rutgers 27-6, along with road wins at Buffalo 20-6 and South Florida 27-3 to close out the regular season. Pitt is 7-4-1 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season.
Pittsburgh is averaging 400.4 total yards per game on offense, including 263 passing yards and 137.4 rushing yards. The Panthers are 79/186 on third and fourth down conversions and 45/55 scoring in the red zone with 33 touchdowns. Pitt has a turnover margin of +12 with 8 giveaways. Pitt is averaging 60 penalty yards per game, and has allowed 34 sacks. On defense, the Panthers are allowing 325.8 total yards including 196.8 passing yards and 129.1 rushing yards. The Panthers are in the top 25 in all defensive categories nationally. Pitt has forced 23 sacks and 20 turnovers. Panther opponents are 87/192 on third and fourth down conversions and 28 for 36 in the red zone with 18 touchdowns. Pitt is outscoring opponents 27-20 this season.
Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri has completed 240 of 361 passes (66.5%) for 3,103 yards with 19 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He has been sacked 34 times, but does have a rushing touchdown. Running back Ray Graham has 222 carries for 1,042 yards with 11 touchdowns, along with 36 catches for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rushel Shell has 116 carries, 562 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 103 yards. Isaac Bennett has 29 carries, 141 yards, and 3 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 78 yards.
Receiver Devin Street has 66 catches, 892 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Mike Shanahan has 58 catches, 926 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Cameron Saddler has 16 catches, 229 yards and a touchdown. J.P. Holtz has only 12 catches, but 3 of them went for touchdowns. Drew Carswell has 13 catches, 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. No other Panther receiver has more than 9 catches. Three Panther defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed as doubtful or out Saturday afternoon.
Ole Miss was 3-5 ATS under first year coach Hugh Freeze. Mississippi has home losses to Texas 66-31, Texas A&M 30-27, and Vanderbilt 27-26, along with road losses at Alabama 33-14, Georgia 37-10, and LSU 41-35. The Rebels had to beat arch-rival Mississippi St in their last game of the season to become bowl eligible, after a late three game losing streak. Ole Miss has home wins over Central Arkansas 49-27, UTEP 28-10, Auburn 41-20, and Mississippi St 41-24, along with road wins at Tulane 39-0, and at Arkansas 30-27. The Rebels are 9-3 ATS and the total is 5-6 this season.
Ole Miss averages 426.8 yards per game on offense, including 257.2 passing and 169.7 rushing yards. The Rebels are outscoring teams 31-29 this season. Ole Miss is -1 in turnovers with 27 turnovers. The Rebels average 35 penalty yards per game and have allowed 33 sacks this season. Mississippi is 90/196 on third and fourth down conversions, and 37/41 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. On defense, the Rebels are allowing 385 yards per game, including 250.7 passing yards and 134.3 rushing yards. Ole Miss has forced 26 turnovers and 34 sacks. Rebel opponents are 80/201 on third and fourth down conversions and 34/44 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns.
Quarterback Bo Wallace has completed 213 of 336 passes (63.4%) for 2,843 yards with 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, along with 135 carries, 363 yards and 8 touchdowns. Wallace even has a 25 yard touchdown catch. Back-ups Barry Brunetti and Randall Mackey will get a few snaps, but both are mainly used as runners. Brunetti has 184 passing yards and a touchdown, along with 53 carries, 255 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mackey has a touchdown pass and an interception, along with 71 carries, 289 yards and 4 touchdowns. Mackey also has 24 catches for 319 yards. Mackey is probable with the flu.
Running back Jeff Scott has 191 carries, 828 yards and 6 touchdowns along with 20 catches, 175 yards and a touchdown. Besides the quarterbacks no other Rebel has more than 21 carries. Receiver Donte Moncrief has 60 catches, 948 yards and 10 touchdowns. Vince Sanders has 34 catches, 465 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ja-Mes Logan has 37 catches for 454 yards, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. Korvic Neat has 24 catches for 244 yards. Tight end Jamal Mosley has 15 catches, 171 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he is doubtful because of academics. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report for Ole Miss.
Pittsburgh is 5-0-1 ATS after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 4-0-1 after a straight up win, 4-0 in non-conference games, 5-1 overall, 5-1-1 after allowing 20 points or less, 8-2-1 after a cover, 3-1-1 after allowing less than 275 yards, 3-1-2 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, and 16-7-3 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards.
Ole Miss is 4-0 ATS after passing for 280 yards or more, 3-0-1 in neutral site games, 5-1 after a cover, 4-1 on fieldturf, 14-4 in non-conference games, 7-2 overall, 14-5 after scoring more than 40 points, 10-4 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 3-7 after gaining more than 450 yards, 2-6 after rushing for over 200 yards, and 2-7 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards.
I don’t know if Pittsburgh will be motivated to play in the same mediocre bowl game 3 years in a row. Ole Miss hasn’t been in a bowl in 4 seasons. Ole Miss might find it difficult to move the ball against Pitt’s strong defense. Still, I think it is close, but the rebels get the win.
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