Pitt-Cincinnati pregame ponderables

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
CINCINNATI -- Greetings from Nippert Stadium, where it's brrrr ... cold. Ice planet Hoth cold. Temperature at kickoff is expected to be about 29 degrees. Thank goodness for heated press boxes.

You have to wonder how the cold will affect these two teams. It's not windy, so the passing game shouldn't suffer too much except for those chilly receivers' fingers. If it becomes more of a running contest, then the advantage definitely swings toward Pittsburgh and LeSean McCoy.

Cincinnati can't clinch the Big East outright this weekend because of West Virginia's win earlier today at Louisville. But the Bearcats will only have to beat Syracuse to take the BCS bid if they win today. If Pitt wins, it will set up a huge Backyard Brawl next Friday.

This is the fourth time I've seen Cincinnati in person this season and my third trip to see Pittsburgh, so I feel like I know these teams pretty well. I see this as being a very close game, and it wouldn't surprise me to see a low-scoring affair.

Pitt is 7-0 all-time against Cincinnati, including 3-0 in Big East play. Bearcats defensive end Connor Barwin lamented that earlier this week by saying, "They haven't been on top of the Big East like West Virginia, and we still haven't been able to beat them." Cincinnati got two monkeys off its back the past two weeks by taking down West Virginia and Louisville, so it would be fitting to make it three in a row on the way to a possible title.

I'll be back with more before kickoff after I let my fingers and toes thaw out from the walk over here ...