Pitt, Louisville unpredictable
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - Maybe Pitt will see the Louisville team that held Connecticut to 195 yards of offense. Or maybe the Panthers will get the Cardinals that gave up five touchdown passes to Cincinnati.

Perhaps during Saturday's Big East game, Louisville will see the Pitt team that couldn't throw against Utah or couldn't pull away from Florida International until well into the second half. Or maybe the Cardinals will get the Panthers who scored 45 points against Syracuse and 41 against Rutgers the last two weeks.

As Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said, the Cardinals (4-3, 1-1 in Big East) and Panthers (4-3, 2-0) are teams that are very similar, right down to their matching overall records and inconsistent play. Many of their statistics are close to identical.

Pitt has last season's Big East rushing champion, Dion Lewis; Louisville has this season's leader, Bilal Powell, who already has 1,003 yards rushing for a team that has matched its victory total from last season.

Their head-to-head results follow a pattern, too; Louisville beat Pitt by 22 points in 2005 and 24 in 2006; Pitt came back to win by 34 points in 2008 and 25 points last season.

Not surprisingly, it's difficult to predict what kind of game either team will play on a given Saturday. Especially this Saturday.

Pitt lost three of its five non-conference games, only to score 40-plus points in consecutive Big East games for the first time. In its first season under coach Charlie Strong, Louisville beat Memphis 56-0 and Connecticut 26-0 to start and finish a three-game homestand, but lost the middle game to Cincinnati 35-27.

The Panthers have had more consistency lately, and they'll remain the only team that's unbeaten in conference play if they win. No Big East team is nationally ranked.

"A lot of people are saying the Big East isn't as strong this year," Pitt fullback Henry Hynoski said. "We have a bunch of teams that are equal in talent, so you have to come out and play hard every week. That's why this week against Louisville is like a title game for us."