Well folks, we are only a mere 5 hours from kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina as our Panthers take on the Tarheels. In a game that should be (and I hope will be) a win for Pitt there are a few things you should keep your eyes on.
1. How much will the home field advantage benefit UNC? Playing UNC in North Carolina was one of the reasons we were able to take the Car Care Bowl from Rutgers. UNC agreed to purchased a large allotment of our tickets to make this game happen. Now, will the extra powder blue in the stands be a benefit?
2. Will Bill Stull erase his Sun Bowl performance and leave Pitt fans remembering his last game on a good note? This is the last chance that Stull has to redeem himself from the Sun Bowl performance. The only way to erase a poor performance in a meaningless bowl game is to go out the next year and have a great performance in a meaningless bowl game. A good game today for Bill will have fans remember this year as the point where Bill turned it around as a Qb and made big strides. A poor performance will leave fans with a sour taste in their mouth for years to come.
3. Will Wannstedt finnaly win the big game? His whole career people have said he could never win the big game. His biggest win thus far came in a game where Pitt had nothing on the line. We had a chance to end this thought against Cincy 2 years in a row now, but have failed. Today Dave Wannstedt has the chance to earn that elusive 10th win that Pitt has been searching for since Dan Marino was slinging passes around. Just like Stull, a win here will change perceptions and a loss will only confirm it further.
4. Will Dion Lewis put up another monster game? A huge game here will cement Dion's status as a heisman candidate for next year. This game is crucial as the momentum he takes in to this game can be increased heading into the 2010 season. Half of the battle for winning the Heisman is earning that early hype. Dion has a chance to do it today.
5. Will Dorin Dickerson be rediscovered for the 2nd time? Dorin had a fantastic season and showed Pitt fans why he was such a highly rated recruit. Today is Dorins chance to end the season showing that with patience and hard work you can be successful and go to the NFL even if things don't look that way early on. The last two games vs WVU and Cincy saw Dorin phased out of the offense when we could have used him. Hopefully FCj finds a way to get Dorin back in the game making big plays.
My last 5 questions for the game are just small personal ones that probably mean more to me than most fans.
6. Will Oderick Turner, Steve Dell, Shane Murray, and other guys who are seniors get some extra playing time in their last game today?
7. Will we see any creative offensive play calling or will we call the dinosaur-offense plays that we saw vs WVU.
8. If we struggle will we stick to what has got us to 9-3 or will we make changes to win this game?
9. Will the secondary step up in what is their last chance to do so?
10. How will Max Gruder play in his home state?
All of these questions wil be answered around 7 p.m. tonight as the game winds down and Pitt hopefully walks off the field with that 10th win.