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2011-2012
College Football Season
BBVA Compass Bowl
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BBVA COMPASS BOWL
BBVA Compass Bowl History
SMU SMU (7-5)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh (6-6)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Location: Birmingham, AL
Date: Saturday, January 7
Time: 1:00 pm EST
TV: ESPN

Game Preview

Courtesy BBVA Compass Bowl and CollegeFootballPoll.com
January 6, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Pittsburgh Panthers and SMU Mustangs will square-off in the sixth annual BBVA Compass Bowl. The teams have played five times previously with the series tied at 2-2-1. In the only previous bowl matchup between the schools, SMU defeated Pitt 7-3 in the 1983 Cotton Bowl.

The BBVA Compass Bowl will be played Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at 1 p.m. EST at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., and will be televised on ESPN.

Pittsburgh went 6-6 overall and 4-3 in the Big East under first-year head coach Todd Graham. Graham has since left to take the reins at Arizona State, leaving defensive coordinator Keith Patterson to serve as interim head coach.

Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst will take over the program after the bowl game, becoming Pitt's sixth head coach in just a little over a year.

Pitt has a rocky past year that began with Dave Wannstedt's forced resignation following the 2010 regular season. His assistant and former SMU head coach Phil Bennett was acting head coach in Pitt's 27-10 win over Kentucky in last season's BBVA Compass Bowl.

Michael Haywood was then hired December 16, but was fired on January 1st after he was arrested and jailed on New Year's Eve on a domestic violence charge. Graham was hired on January 14, but left after the 2011 season to become head coach at Arizona State. Patterson became head coach No. 5 when he was named interim head coach for Pitt's repeat appearance in this year's BBVA Compass Bowl game. Chryst was announced as the new man in charge on December 22.

Ironically, SMU head coach June Jones was the leading the candidate for the ASU job until negotiations broke off.

Pitt will be playing in its 28th bowl game overall and fourth in-a-row while becoming the first team to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl for the second time. The Panthers carry a 2-bowl winning streak and a 12-15 all-time bowl record into the game.

SMU (7-5, 5-3 Conference USA) will be playing in its third consecutive bowl game under Jones after being absent from the postseason from 1985 to 2008. Jones in his fourth year at the helm of the Mustangs’ program and will be seeking his 100th career coaching victory.

Jones coached nine seasons at Hawaii, leading the Warriors to a BCS berth in 2007 at the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Prior to heading to Hawaii, Jones had a 12-year coaching career in the NFL, including head coaching stops at Atlanta and San Diego.

The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project Pitt as a 2.84-point winner.






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