The last time Notre Dame and Pittsburgh met, the Fighting Irish had to pull out an overtime victory to avoid an upset and keep their national title hopes alive. This time around, the stakes aren't nearly as high, but it's a game both teams need to win in order to have a chance at calling their respective seasons a success.
After starting the year 3-1, the Panthers have lost three of their last four games and need to right the ship if they want to make a bowl game for the sixth straight season. The Fighting Irish are in better shape, but they've taken a step back from their 12-1 2012 season. Their two losses in 2013 have come against ranked teams, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but a defeat at the hands of an unranked team wouldn't look good.
Rankings and records: Notre Dame (7-2) is just inside the BCS standings' top 25, checking in at No. 23. Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-3 ACC) isn't close to sniffing the top 25 in any set of rankings. The Irish lead the all-time series, 47-20-1.
Vegas: Notre Dame opened as a 3.5-point favorite, according to Odds Shark, and the over-under opened at 51.
Weather: Saturday's forecast for Pittsburgh calls for a high of 54 and a low of 41.
Three names to know
Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street is third in the ACC with 98.6 yards per game, compiling 40 catches for 690 yards and four touchdowns. He's the top target for quarterback Tom Savage, who has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,779 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His 222.4 yards per game ranks fifth in the conference.
Quarterback Tommy Rees leads the Fighting Irish attack. He's only completing 55.6 percent of his passes, but he's thrown for 2,186 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Two things at stake
Pittsburgh still needs two more wins to become bowl eligible, meaning a victory Saturday would provide the Panthers a huge boost with three games left in the season.
Notre Dame may be a longshot to reach a BCS bowl, but the Fighting Irish can keep their hopes alive if they keep winning. Another loss pretty much destroys their chances.
How to witness
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
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