Here are some pre-game thoughts from the Notre Dame-Pitt game at Heinz Field.
— The game is a sell-out and could challenge the biggest crowd to ever witness a modern-era sporting event in Pittsburgh (66,731 against West Virginia at Heinz Field in 2002). Based on the traffic, tailgaters and early crowd, there will be a new record.
— Who would have thought a couple of weeks ago that Pitt’s game at rival West Virginia the day after Thanksgiving will have absolutely no bearing on the Big East championship race? Regardless of what Pitt (8-1, 5-0 Big East) does against West Virginia (7-3, 3-2), the Panthers’ season finale against Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0) will determined the Big East champion.
— Gator Bowl representatives are handing out colorful fliers in the press box, touting the Jan. 1 bowl in Jacksonville. The game will pit an ACC school against either a Big East school or Notre Dame. The Gator Bowl gets the first selection between the Fighting Irish and the Big East’s non-BCS selection. That means, in theory, a 7-5 Notre Dame team could get picked ahead of a 10-2 second-place Big East team, i.e., Pitt. Despite the alleged “two-win” cushion, in which Notre Dame would have to be within two wins of the Big East runner-up to get the Gator Bowl bid, there is no such rule in the bowl contract.
Much more to come during the game.