2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pitt Vs. Kentucky: Disappointing Seasons Come To A Close

Missed opportunities, disappointment and seasons that should've been better are all words thrown around when poking through the SB Nation blogs for Kentucky and Pitt. The Panthers finished the season barely above .500, at 7-5, then had about the worst month a team could have to start the offseason. Their longtime coach -- Dave Wannstedt -- is gone, their new hire -- Mike Haywood -- was arrested then fired and the Panthers are back to the beginning of their coaching search.

Meanwhile the Kentucky Wildcats saw multiple opportunities go to waste as its porous defense hemorrhaged points throughout the season. In other words, the BBVA Compass Bowl should be fun.  

Over at SB Nation's A Sea of Blue, Kentucky fans think the head coaching situation at Pitt will come into play in the BBVA Compass Bowl. With all the turmoil, and no real head coach, that could be the X factor.

The X-factor is the head coaching situation for the Panthers. The team is certainly demoralized by the turmoil currently surrounding the program, and Pitt's excellent recruiting class is now in serious jeopardy due to the coaching chaos. If the Panthers carry all this baggage with them onto Legion Field on Saturday, they could be in for a long afternoon.

On the other side of the ball, Pitt fans are, understandably, distracted ahead of their bowl game. SB Nation's Cardiac Hill sums it all up nicely.

Look, there's a lot of reasons not to watch this game and interest is at an all-time low. And the fact is that it probably does matter a bit more to Kentucky. The Wildcats are trying to build a program. Pitt is rebuilding. They may have been hoping for a bit more than this bowl, but they didn't have realistic BCS bowl aspirations like Pitt did. The Lexington Herald-Leader couldn't even identify a good Pitt win this year.

They do, however, go on to list the reasons to watch, mostly involving sentimental players or the last chance to see this team hit the field. It's been a tough time over there.

The 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl kicks off at noon EST on Saturday, January 8. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with Wildcats and Panthers fans at SB Nation's A Sea Of Blue and Cardiac Hill. For a complete list of bowl games scores, and highlights, browse our 2010-2011 college football postseason schedule.

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