It may officially be named the Armed Forces Bowl, but perhaps the Interim Bowl is a better name for this year's matchup between Pitt and Houston in Fort Worth. With former Pitt coach Paul Chryst having left for Wisconsin and former Houston coach Tony Levine having been fired, the greatest intrigue surrounding this game is who won't be on the sidelines.
Other than that, this isn't your traditional "January bowl game." Neither team has been all that impressive this year, and neither was much of a factor in their respective conference races. Pitt started off the year with some promise, winning three straight, but the Panthers blew a lead to Iowa and lost that game and their next two, against Akron and Virginia. While they had some good games, they were never really able to get over the hump.
Houston was similarly "meh" in its season, as the Cougars have struggled to bring back the glory days of their high-powered offense under Kevin Sumlin. Here's how to watch this extremely "meh" game.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: Noon ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: Pitt is 6-6 and unranked. Houston is 7-5 and unranked.
Vegas: Pitt opened as a 2-point favorite. The line is now 3. The over/under is 53.5.
Weather forecast: [One sentence.]
Two things at stake
For both teams, this is an opportunity to start a new coaching era on a high note and get some momentum heading into 2014.
For Pitt, particularly, it's a way to finally get some good news for the program after going through yet another coaching change.
One big matchup
James Connor vs. the Houston defense. Houston is known for its offense, but this year, the Cougars were actually better on the defensive side of the ball. That isn't saying much, since their offense was ranked 74th in the F/+ ratings and their defense was ranked 69th, but the defense has the ability to show its ability against star Pitt running back James Connor. Connor has been arguably Pitt's best offensive player this year, and if Houston can shut him down, the Cougars will have a good chance to win the game.