Extra motivation for Cincinnati?

PITTSBURGH -- Cincinnati doesn't need much extra motivation today, not with a 12-0 record, Big East championship and possible BCS title game appearance on the line.

But to hear tight end Ben Guidugli talk this week, it sounds like the Bearcats have a little something else driving them against Pitt today. The Panthers, and not the defending champion Bearcats, were picked to win the league in the preseason.

"Pitt gets a lot of hype every year, I feel like," Guidugli said. "A lot of people always pick them to win the conference. They're never going to pick us. It's always going to be Pitt or West Virginia.

"We just like to prove we've got players on this team, too, whether they've got all the higher-ranked recruits or whatever. We just want to go play."

That's one thing to remember about this Cincinnati team. Yes, the players have had several distractions this week, including the Brian Kelly/Notre Dame rumors. But this is also a team full of hungry players, many of whom weren't heavily recruited and many who've waited until their senior year to get significant playing time. They still play with a chip on their shoulders.

Saw a lot of Bearcats fans in and around town last night and this morning. Pitt fans are fired up, too, though. The tailgating was in full force by 9 a.m., even with the cold temperatures, and the students were lined up to rush into their seats as soon as possible.

Less than an hour away from kickoff now.