Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Mississippi (6-6), 1 p.m. EST (ESPN)

Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.

Line: Ole Miss by 3 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.


Ole Miss, which finished 2-10 in 2011, is trying to cap its strong turnaround under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels are playing for their first winning season since 2009. Pitt closed its regular season with wins over No. 21 Rutgers and South Florida and also is playing for a winning season with its first-year coach, Paul Chryst.


Ole Miss freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche vs. Pitt running back Ray Graham. Nkemdiche leads the Rebels with 78 tackles, including 12 for losses, four forced fumbles and three interceptions. Graham, a 5-foot-9 senior, leads the Panthers with 1,042 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.


Pittsburgh: Senior quarterback Tino Sunseri threw 19 touchdown passes with only two interceptions. He ranked second in the nation by throwing an interception in only 0.6 percent of his attempts. He passed for 3,103 yards.

Ole Miss: Sophomore wide receiver Donte Moncrief has 334 yards receiving with five touchdowns in his last two games. He had only two 100-yard games in his first 10 games of the season. Moncrief's strong finish left him tied for the Ole Miss record with 10 TD catches.


Pitt is appearing in its fifth straight bowl, including its third straight BBVA Compass Bowl. The Panthers beat Kentucky 27-10 two years ago and lost to SMU 28-6 last season. ... Ole Miss is 21-12 all-time in bowl games, with wins in eight of its last nine. ... The Panthers took No. 1 Notre Dame to triple overtime before losing. ... Graham was named a first-team all-Big East player for the second straight year. ... Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace scored as a passer, rusher and receiver this season. He passed for 2,843 yards with 19 touchdowns, ran for 363 yards with eight touchdowns and also scored on a 25-yard reception. ... Pitt defensive lineman Aaron Donald led the Big East with 18.5 tackles for losses. He had 5.5 sacks and led Pitt with 11 quarterback hurries. ... Pitt ranks 21st in the nation with its average of 19.67 points allowed and 16th in allowing only 325.83 yards per game. ... Freeze inherited a team that had lost 14 consecutive Southeastern Conference games and led the Rebels to three conference wins.