The BBVA Compass bowl has never been a matchup that college football fans have circled on their schedules. Unless your team was playing in the game, there is a good chance you opted to spare yourself from watching SMU's 28-6 drubbing of Pittsburgh in last season's contest. However, in 2013, Pittsburgh will return to Birmingham, Alabama for the third straight year to play an unfamiliar opponent.
The Big East has sent a team to each of the six previous BBVA Compass bowl games. Their opponent has historically come from the ACC or Conference USA. However, in 2013, Pitt will matchup with Ole Miss, an SEC team.
This matchup will offer a true insight into the differing levels of play between conferences. Both squads will enter this game with a 6-6 mark. However, Ole Miss has three SEC wins this season over both Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi St. The Rebels also lost to Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and LSU by a combined 10 points. This team could easily be sitting at 9-3 right now and be in contention for a more prestigious bowl matchup.
Pitt has had an extremely up-and-down 2012 campaign. After losing at home to Youngstown St. in Week 1, the Panthers went on to beat nationally ranked Rutgers and USF in their final two games of the season. Furthermore, the Panthers were an overtime field goal away from pulling out an upset victory over Notre Dame in South Bend this season. This team was truly capable of beating anybody they played, but losing to anybody as well.
The BBVA conference bowl will be an intriguing matchup if for nothing else to see how the Big East matches up with the SEC. These teams have the same record, have both come painstakingly close to knocking off nationally ranked competition this season and feature solid quarterback play. It should be an interesting one from Birmingham.