Lose two, win two.
It has been the formula for Pitt all season long, and in the end it was enough for the Panthers to extend their campaign into bowl season for the fifth straight year.
Pitt was efficient throughout the night in Tampa, Fla., and South Florida simply wasn't, a big reason for the 27-3 Panthers win. Paul Chryst's squad has come a long way from as ugly an 0-2 season-opening start as possible, and now he gets 15 more practices and one more game with his squad. It was an up-and-down first year, beating Rutgers and USF in the final two weeks of the season to get to 6-6.
The future may not be as bright for the Bulls, who turned it over four times, netted just 6 rushing yards and -- once again -- kicked a field goal late with the game well out of reach. The boo birds were out in full force inside Raymond James Stadium, capping a program-worst 3-9 campaign and a second straight 1-6 Big East record, with questions about third-year coach Skip Holtz's job status continuing to mount.
Pitt, meanwhile, jelled offensively, with fifth-year quarterback Tino Sunseri earning himself one more collegiate start by completing 19 of 25 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. Ray Graham added 93 yards and two scores on the ground, and Mike Shanahan caught nine passes for 116 yards.
USF had just 55 yards of total offense entering the fourth quarter and finished with a program-worst 115 on the night, a fitting end to a lost season.