Considering all that has happened to Pittsburgh in the past couple of seasons, becoming bowl eligible would label its 2012 season successful.
With one game remaining on the schedule to become bowl eligible, the Panthers travel to Tampa to play South Florida, a team that will be looking to ruin the Panthers' season.
Let's take a comprehensive look into this Saturday's Big East clash.
When: Sunday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 45, Spread: South Florida (+6)
Pittsburgh's only victory on the road this season came at 4-8 Buffalo. The Panthers aren't a very good road team despite showing glimpses of promise, most notably against Notre Dame.
Even though South Florida is 3-8 this season, they have played much better at home. Two of its three victories came at home and they have been highly competitive for the most part.
Take South Florida with a six-point cushion in a low-scoring contest.
Injury Report (via USA Today as of Nov. 27, 2012)
Hubie Graham, TE, questionable
Jack Lippert, DL, questionable
Dan Mason, LB, out for season
Ryan Schlieper, OL, out for season
Manny Williams, LB, out for season
Juantez Hollins, OL, out for season
Bobby Eveld, QB, questionable
Jon Lejiste, DB, questionable
Evan Landi, TE, questionable
Derrick Hopkins, WR, questionable
Willie Davis, RB, questionable
Terrence Mitchell, WR, doubtful
Chris Bivins Jr., DB, out for season
Lindsey Lamar, RB, out for season
B.J. Daniels, QB, out for season
Mark Popek, T, out indefinitely
Chris Dunkley, WR, out indefinitely
Sterling Griffin, WR, out for season
BCS and Top 25 Implications
Pittsburgh could very well be in the mix for the BCS Rankings if it won some of the games it had in hand and won those against inferior teams.
The Panthers had too many no-show games, or they played well but couldn't finish (see Notre Dame). Also, they allowed Youngstown State to go into Heinz Field and defeat them by double digits.
It simply can't happen.
But it did, and that's why the Panthers are simply fighting to become bowl eligible.
Pittsburgh Player to Watch: Tino Sunseri, QB
It's difficult being the starting quarterback in the city of Pittsburgh when you struggle, even if you're a collegiate quarterback.
Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Sunseri has been much maligned in his career at Pittsburgh and rightfully so. However, he has had numerous offensive schemes in his tenure, so that surely is one of the many reasons for his struggles.
But his senior season has been his best as a collegiate quarterback. After Saturday's performance against Rutgers, Sunseri pushed his numbers to 2,892 yards, 18 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
In his final home game on Saturday, Sunseri played a fantastic game and was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Considering everything he went through in his tenure, Sunseri has certainly answered the call this season.
South Florida Player to Watch: Matt Floyd, QB
Freshman quarterback Matt Floyd is now under center following B.J. Daniels' injury and South Florida's offense has been on a downward spiral ever since.
Floyd threw two interceptions in his first start against Miami, but got a little better in his second start against Cincinnati.
This is the first start of his career at home. He will either be really great, or his nerves will get the best of him.
Floyd will determine the outcome of the game in one way or another—he could easily win it for the Bulls or win it for the Panthers.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, South Florida 17
South Florida wasn't very good prior to Daniels' injury, but it's worse now.
Despite Pittsburgh's struggles on the road this season and South Florida playing well at home, the Panthers will rise to occasion and become bowl eligible.