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Pitt accepts invite to BBVA Compass Bowl

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The Panthers will cap a disappointing season with a Jan. 8 game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama against SEC opponent Kentucky.

The University of Pittsburgh today accepted an invitation to play in the 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., it was announced by the bowl’s officials. Pitt will face a team from the Southeast Conference on January 8 at historic Legion Field.

The game will be nationally televised by ESPN and kick off at noon ET.

“We are extremely pleased to host the University of Pittsburgh in this year’s game,” said Mark Meadows, Executive Director of the BBVA Compass Bowl. “We congratulate Coach Wannstedt and his team on winning a share of the Big East championship. We look forward to having the Panther fans in Birmingham with the opportunity to experience some great southern hospitality during their stay.”

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to represent the Big East Conference in this year’s BBVA Compass Bowl,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “The city of Birmingham has done an exceptional job growing this game into a great event. We look forward to some tremendous southern hospitality and the chance to square off against an SEC opponent in January.”

“What a tremendous opportunity our football program has in playing an SEC team on ESPN in this year’s BBVA Compass Bowl,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. “I know our team is excited about the challenge. We appreciate the invitation to play in Birmingham and look forward to a great experience on and off the field.”

This will be Pitt’s third consecutive postseason berth and 27th all-time bowl game appearance. Last year, the Panthers defeated North Carolina, 19-17, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Pitt finished with a 7-5 overall record this season and tied for first place in the Big East with a 5-2 league mark. The Panthers last faced an opponent from the SEC in 1983, when they defeated Tennessee, and former coach John Majors, in Knoxville, 13-3. (Pitt played South Carolina during the 1984 and ’85 seasons when the Gamecocks were an independent.)

The team representing the Big East has won all four previous bowl games held in Birmingham, including last year’s 20-7 victory by Connecticut over South Carolina.

For tickets and travel package information, call the Panthers Ticket Office at (800) 643-PITT. The ticket office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tickets and travel packages can also be purchased online. Go to “Bowl Central” at www.PittsburghPanthers.com.

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