The University of South Florida Bulls (3-8, 1-5 Big East) have added motivation for Saturday night's regular-season finale against Pittsburgh (5-6, 2-4).
It's Senior Night and USF wants to send off 24 outgoing players in proper fashion at Raymond James Stadium.
But Pittsburgh, coming off a powerful 27-6 victory against Big East leader Rutgers, has significant motivation of its own. The Panthers, once in dire straits at 2-4, can become bowl-eligible by defeating USF.
"There is a big difference (between finishing 5-7 and 6-6),'' first-year Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst said. "If you're 6-6, you've earned the right to play another game. There are a lot of benefits to being in a bowl game. There's extra practice time, the chance for this group to play together one last time. The players understand all of that. But you have to earn it.''
USF coach Skip Holtz said he believes the seniors, including injured offensive catalysts such as QB B.J. Daniels and RB Lindsey Lamar, deserve a victorious send-off.
"You know Pittsburgh is going to come in here fired up, needing one win for a bowl game,'' Holtz said. "At the same time, this being Senior Night for us, our players are really excited. I know it hasn't been the type of year that everyone expected when we came into this, but there's a great deal of love for this senior class, the character they have shown, the way they've kept this thing together.''
INJURIES: Holtz said junior WR Terrence Mitchell, who suffered a concussion Friday night at Cincinnati, is done for the season. Mitchell missed eight games last season after suffering a concussion against UTEP. … Senior OLs Mark Popek and Danous Estenor are expected to play. … SS Jon Lejiste and WR Derrick Hopkins are listed as questionable.