Sixth win reward is a bowl date with Southern Methodist
Coach Todd Graham, right, quarterback Tino Sunseri and Pitt are headed for the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 7 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.
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Pitt will play Southern Methodist in the BBVA Compass Bowl at 1 p.m. Jan. 7 at Legion Field in Birmingham. The game will be televised on ESPN.
It will be just the sixth meeting between Pitt (6-6) and SMU (7-5), a Conference USA member. It is the second time the schools have met in a bowl; SMU defeated Pitt in the 1983 Cotton Bowl, 7-3. The series is tied, 2-2-1.
The Panthers scrambled just to get bowl-eligible, and coach Todd Graham said a trip to a bowl is a reward for all of the team's hard work.
"You play an entire season to earn the opportunity for one extra game -- a bowl game," Graham said. "Our team is excited for the chance to put that Pitt helmet on one more time for the BBVA Compass Bowl. Birmingham is a great college football town. We're looking forward to our visit and playing SMU in front of a national ESPN television audience."
Pitt played in the 2011 Compass Bowl, defeating Kentucky, 27-10.
"We know firsthand the great hospitality shown to the teams and fans, and we're looking forward to our visit in January," Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said.
Graham will be without some of his assistants for the game; he announced Sunday that co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, defensive backs coach Tony Gibson and tight ends coach Tony Dews are leaving for other opportunities.
All three are expected to join Rich Rodriguez's staff at Arizona. Magee also is a candidate for the head coaching job at Massachusetts.
The trio worked for Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan, so the moves were not unexpected after Rodriguez was hired at Arizona last month. Graham wished the departing assistants well.
"I want to thank Tony Gibson, Calvin Magee and Tony Dews for their contributions during this past season," Graham said. "We will move expeditiously yet thoroughly in finding full-time replacements, and I know we'll have some exceptional candidates to consider. This is an opportunity for us to strengthen an already strong group of coaches and support staff.
"Moving forward, our coaches will be laser-focused on recruiting and having our team ready to play, and win, a bowl game. We've got an incredibly bright future at Pitt and I'm extremely ambitious and enthusiastic about what we can achieve."
The Panthers will be playing in their ninth bowl in the past 12 seasons and fourth consecutive since 2008. The Panthers are 12-15 all time in bowl games.
"We are very pleased to host SMU and Pittsburgh in the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl," said Mark Meadows, executive director of the BBVA Compass Bowl. "We look forward to having their fans in Birmingham to experience our unique brand of Southern Hospitality, which our game has become known for."
First Published December 5, 2011 12:00 am