That 6th win. That’s what the focus is. That the opponent is South Florida seems almost secondary.
“You only go to a bowl game if you achieve a certain level,” Chryst said. “That’s certainly a goal.”
In Pitt’s case, that would mean beating South Florida on Saturday night and reaching a .500 record in the regular season (6-6) for the second consecutive season.
That likely would lead to the school’s fifth bowl berth in a row, either the Pinstripe, BBVA Compass, Liberty or Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.
“There absolutely is value to it,” Chryst said. “The benefits to the program and the rewards to the players are huge.”
The tangible benefits to the players — other than the gift bags and free meals offered by bowl officials at the site — would be license to practice 15 more times.
Senior guard Chris Jacobson, who has gone to a bowl game in all but his freshman season with the Panthers in 2007, said the experience would be good for younger players who didn’t get a lot of practice time during the regular season.
“We really got after it, the younger guys, and the older guys got a break,” he said, recalling previous pre-bowl practices. “It’s kind of rough, actually. I feel bad for the younger guys,” he said, laughing.
It would be nice for the team to go to the bowl game with the same head coach they had for the first 12 games.