Kentucky Wildcats @ Pittsburgh Panthers BBVA Compass Bowl Pick: At just 6-6, the Cats nearly missed a shot at a bowl game altogether. But they lost a lot of close ones to good teams. Auburn beat them by just a field goal, Miss State beat them by just a touchdown, and the Wildcats beat South Carolina. Pittsburgh will have an interim head coach, and you never know how that will go.
The amazing thing to me is how much the public seems to like Kentucky. It started as a -2 spread and moved up over a field goal, which is a big jump in the scoring numbers in football. But I don’t get the public love. The Panthers just had their head coach fired in the last month, they had a new coach hired, he got fired before coaching a game at the school, and their old coach decided he didn’t want to coach the bowl game. Without all that baggage, they were just 7-5 in a weak Big East, losing to just about every “good team” they faced. Not that I would call Notre Dame, Miami, Connecticut, and West Virginia good, but those were the best teams on Pittsburgh’s schedule, and they all ended up as losses for the Panthers.
The Panthers have a solid defense, but offensively they aren’t as good as Kentucky. As I mentioned, the Wildcats fought through a tough schedule in the SEC to get to this point, and even though they didn’t beat many good teams, they stayed close to better opponents than Pittsburgh, and that means something to me. I’ll take Kentucky to win (an thus cover) against the Panthers.
Kentucky Wildcats (+3.5) @ Pittsburgh Panthers