Pitt Panthers To Take On Houston Cougars In Armed Forces Bowl


The University of Pittsburgh football team for the seventh straight season and 31st time overall is going to participate in a bowl game.

The Panthers (6-6, 4-4 ACC) were chosen to be in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and take on the University of Houston Cougars in Fort Worth, Texas. The game will be on Friday, Jan. 2, and played at Texas Christian University’s Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kick off is set for noon ET and it will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Radio.

The Blue and Gold wrapped up their season with a 35-23 victory on the road against the University of Miami Hurricanes. Head coach Paul Chryst has led the program to bowls in each of his three seasons. He is the first Pitt coach to achieve that accomplishment since Jackie Sherrill took each of his five Panthers teams to bowls from 1977-1981.

The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will be the third all-time meeting between Pitt and Houston. The two universities have split their prior two matchups with the Cougars claiming a 42-35 overtime victory in Pitt Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14, 1996, while the Panthers captured a 35-24 win in Houston on Saturday, Sept. 13, 1997.

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The invitation came when Mississippi State moved passed Michigan State in the final College Football Playoff rankings released on Sunday afternoon. That set off a series of events that left the Atlantic Coast Conference with one additional bowl-eligible team than bowl tie-ins.

What that meant for Pittsburgh was that neither Army nor the Big 12 Conference could fill their spots in the Armed Forces Bowl, which allowed game officials to select the Panthers.

It will be Houston’s 23rd bowl appearance and its ninth bowl game in the last 12 seasons. They finished in fifth-place in the American Athletic Conference with a 5-3 record and an overall mark of 7-5. The Scarlet and White concluded the season with a 38-31 loss on the road to the the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.

According to Doug Samuels of FootballScoop.com, Rob Sellers of Rivals.com, and Travis Haney of ESPN.com, there is to be a meeting on Monday between Cougars head coach Tony Levine and Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades.

The expected announcement is that Levine will not be back for a fourth season. Levine went 21-17 in three seasons at the helm of the program after taking over for Kevin Sumlin, who left for Texas A&M. There could be an interim head coach on the sideline for Houston’s bowl appearance.

The last time the Cougars won a bowl contest was January 2012 when they defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 30-14 at the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas. The Panthers downed the Bowling Green State University Falcons 30-27 in last December’s Little Caesar’s Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.