BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)—Pittsburgh and Kentucky will meet in the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 8.
The Panthers (7-5, 5-2) were in position to claim the Big East Conference’s bid to a BCS bowl before losing to rival West Virginia 35-10 on Nov. 26. Instead, Pitt will play in a bowl with a projected $600,000 payout, the second lowest of any bowl game. No. 22 West Virginia (9-3) will face N.C. State (8-4) in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28 at the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium in Orlando.
Pittsburgh finished in a three-way tie for the Big East title, but the Panthers still had a disappointing season after opening ranked 15th and favored to win the league.
Kentucky (6-6) lost to Tennessee in its regular-season finale and won only two SEC games. The Wildcats have been to five straight bowls, and this marks the first time since 1909-13 that the Wildcats have notched at least six wins in five consecutive seasons.
Joker Phillips is also the first Kentucky head coach to go to a bowl game in his debut season.
The Big East’s representative has won all four previous bowl games in Birmingham, formerly the PapaJohns.com Bowl. That includes last year’s 20-7 Connecticut victory over South Carolina.
“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to represent the Big East Conference in this year’s BBVA Compass Bowl,” said Steve Pederson, Pittsburgh’s athletic director. “The city of Birmingham has done an exceptional job growing this game into a great event,” Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson said. “We look forward to some tremendous southern hospitality and the chance to square off against an SEC opponent in January.”