Pitt seems very focused and ready for there first bowl game since 2004.
On the flip side, Oregon State is heading into this game dejected after losing convincingly at home to in state rival Oregon and blowing the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl. To make matters worse Oregon State is playing with out the Rodger’s Brothers who accounted for over 50% of the Beavers offensive production.
When the Panthers are on offense expect a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy and LaRod Stephens Howling. I expect Bill Stull will have solid game after having sometime to shake off the concussion sustained in the Rutgers game. The passing game should showcase Jonathan Baldwin to springboard him into the off season.
On defense, expect the Panthers to double NFL Wr Prospect Sammy Stroughter, play coverage and generate a pass rush using only the front four. With OSU’s top two rushers out of the game I don’t expect OSU to run the ball very much. On special teams watch out for LSH returning kicks to showcase himself for NFL Scouts.
Overall I think this is a pretty good match up for the Panthers.
Inside Pittsburgh Sports Prediction: The Panthers win 31-14.
Player on the hot seat
1. Bill Stull – This is a very important game for Bill Stull. What could keep Pitt down from being a BCS Bowl contender next season is a quarterback who can win a big game for them It is believed that there will be a open competition in camp and Stull needs to a strong finish to the 08 season. A solid game in the Sun Bowl will be a head start for Stull going into the Spring drills.
RB LeSean McCoy – McCoy may be back to make a run at the Heisman and a Big East Title now that the Rookie Salary cap is not going into effect until 2011. All indications are he is currently on the fence.
LB Scott McKillop – is a 3rd to 5th rounder and can improve if he runs under 4.8 at the combine or his pro day.
FB Conridge Collins – should be a late first day pick to early second day. He could surprise someone in camp like Peyton Hillis did this year. I expect him to work out well at the combine. Collins is TIOPS #1 rated full back.
DT Rashad Duncan – is a very unsung player on this team and if a team falls in love with his character and work ethic he could be a late round Pick.
Center CJ Davis – improved his draft stock immensely this year by playing well at center for the 1st time in his career. A lot of teams can use someone with CJ’s versatility he could be a late round pick if not the other Pittsburgh team could snap him up as a free agent.
Larod Stephens Howling – will get the chance to return punts in the Sun Bowl to improve his draft stock. He could get picked in the 6th or 7th round, but I expect him to be in someones camp as a free agent and could have a career as a special teams guy.
Derek Kinder, Connor Lee, Dave Brytus and Eric Thatcher should get some looks, but I doubt they will make an NFL roster.
Thanks to special contributor Herron