After being chosen to win the Big East by a landslide, Pitt finished 2010 with a 7-5 regular season record.
Instead of receiving a bid to the Sugar Bowl, they're now scheduled to compete in the Compass Bowl. That makes Pitt fans wonder what direction the team is really headed.
Are they headed up led by future first round prospect Dion Lewis? Could they be headed down with question marks continuing to surround the quarterback position?
The Compass Bowl will tell if Pitt is headed north or south.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Pittsburgh heading into the bowl season:
Pittsburgh's two farthest trips of the year are west to Utah and south to Florida.
Against Utah, they lost a heartbreaker in overtime against a team that rarely ever loses in their house. At South Florida, they defeated the Bulls 17-10.
Flying to Alabama for the Compass Bowl, the ability to travel is a good trait to have.
Most have heard of Dion Lewis after he came out of nowhere and broke Pitt's freshman rushing record last season.
Ray Graham is an excellent change of pace back who rushed for over 800 yards and eight touchdowns this season at 6.4 yards a carry.
Leading the way for Lewis and Graham is 260 pound Henry Hynoski.
He is a tank of a blocker, but at the same time is a reliable check down target in the passing game.
Whenever he does declare, Hynoski will most likely be the top fullback in the NFL Draft.
Jonathan Baldwin and Mike Shanahan provide sophomore quarterback Tino Sunseri with some massive weapons on the outside.
They are both 6'5" and have great leaping ability. Each will be used to create mismatches against Kentucky.
The Panthers haven't had a return touchdown since 2006.
Whether it's Cameron Saddler or Ray Graham returning, they only average about 20 yards a kickoff return.
Their punt returning is slightly better as Saddler averages over 10 yards an opportunity, but there's still no home run threat.
Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Lindsey have combined for 19 sacks on the season.
They consistently apply pressure on opposing passers.
Sheard is a mid-round prospect for the upcoming NFL Draft. Lindsey is a hybrid defender who was converted from outside linebacker.
Max Gruder, Greg Williams and Triston Roberts make up a mediocre Pitt Panthers linebacking core.
After having players like H.B. Blades and Scott McKillop leading their defense from the middle of the field in the past, this season's backers haven't lived up to tradition.
One reason for that, though, is because promising sophomore Dan Mason dislocated his knee early in the year.
A Pitt secondary led by senior safety Dom Decicco is a productive one.
The group is 17th in the nation in defending the pass.
Decicco leads the team in tackles by double digits and also as five interceptions. Sophomore defensive back Jarred Holley has five interceptions as well.
For all the squad's highs, they've had their lows.
The defense surrendered an average of over 250 passing yards in losses to Miami, Utah and Notre Dame.
In the 2007 Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia, a Pitt victory won over a large number of recruits torn between the two schools.
This year, the Panthers lost the rivalry game by a huge margin.
They must win their bowl game to make up for the loss.
A good number of teams have lost interest by this time of the year. If the season hasn't turned out the way they expected it, often teams will give a half speed effort in a no-name bowl game.
After being embarrassed in the Backyard Brawl, the Panthers could have quit. Instead they kept their heads up and moved on returning the favor against Cincinnati the next week.
Pitt actually cares about winning the Compass Bowl, which is something not many teams would have an interest in.