November 28, 2008
Pittsburgh 19, West Virginia 15. For the record, here's the play-by-play of Pittsburgh's pair of touchdown drives to put away West Virginia in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter:
That's 10 carries for 71 yards and two touchdowns to bury the Mountaineers from behind for the second year in a row, on top of the 23 for 111 he logged through the first three and a half quarters. His longest gain of the day was 16 yards.
McCoy said Tuesday he planned to return to Pittsburgh for his junior season, and hooray for ol' Pitt and education and all that. The Panthers and college football fans in general (other than those whose teams have to try to stop him, of course, and especially West Virginia) would certainly welcome another year of Shady. Shady might also welcome millions and millions of dollars in his bank account by the summer, if he gives it a second thought.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati can lay an all-time egg Saturday -- and a home loss to Syracuse would be just that, last week's win in South Bend notwithstanding -- and still call this officially the greatest season in school history. The Bearcats are a likely ratings disaster for the Orange Bowl -- specifically, the game is probably looking at Cincinnati vs. ACC Champion To Be Named Later -- and frankly has a lower profile in BCS terms than, say, Boise State. UC had never finished in the final polls before last year, has started a third-string quarterback most of this year, hasn't scored more than 28 points in a conference game, lost by 26 to Oklahoma and 24 to UConn, survived Akron 17-15 and has outscored I-A opponents to date by all of a field goal per game.
The thing is, though, even in the case of another Orange miracle Saturday, the Bearcats are the best the Big East has to offer; four wins in a row (Cuse would make five), under any circumstances makes them the class of a very muddled conference. I don't know what that means for competition or ratings from the big-money perspective, but for Brian Kelly -- at a school five years removed from the obscurity of perpetual also-ran status in Conference USA -- it should mean a great deal of money, one way or another.