WVU has to have Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2) win out to land the Mountaineers a Bowl Championship Series berth. The Bearcats visit Syracuse (5-5, 1-4) on Saturday and then host Connecticut (4-6, 2-3) at noon next Saturday.
West Virginia loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Cardinals, due to Louisville's 38-35 win at Mountaineer Field three weeks ago. However, a three-team tiebreaker among the Cards, Bearcats and 'Eers should go WVU's way.
Those three teams are each 1-1 against one another (Cincinnati beat Louisville, but lost to WVU). In that instance, the Big East tiebreaker goes to the top team in the BCS standings.
Although the BCS reveals only the top 25 in its weekly standings, WVU entered the Backyard Brawl 26th in the BCS standings this week, trust me. Only two other Big East teams were among the 41 with BCS points last week - Rutgers (33rd) and Cincinnati (38th).
Louisville, at 7-5, is likely to get some BCS points when the new standings are permutated Sunday, but not enough to get into WVU's neighborhood. And if the Mountaineers and Cincinnati win out, the Bearcats are going to gain little, if any, on WVU.
Rutgers (8-3, 4-2), you ask? The Scarlet Knights finish the regular season Saturday in a noon game at UConn. A three-way tie among Louisville, WVU and Rutgers favors the Cards, who beat the other two.
As for a four-way tie among WVU, Louisville, Cincinnati and Rutgers, the Mountaineers and Cardinals are 2-1 in that group, while the Bearcats and Scarlet Knights are 1-2.
The Big East tiebreaker for the BCS bid rewards the higher BCS standings team among the two that are 2-1 -- again that would be a winning-out, 9-3 West Virginia over U of L.
If Cincinnati falls and eliminates WVU from the BCS chase in tandem, the Mountaineers are likely to head to the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 in Charlotte, N.C., perhaps against Virginia (8-3), unless the Cavaliers down visiting Virginia Tech on Saturday then win the ACC championship game next week.
"There was nothing we could do to help South Florida beat Louisville, or what Cincinnati does," Holgorsen said when asked if he thought his players viewed the earlier Big East game Friday. "The only thing we could do is do our best to beat Pitt."
They didn't do their best, but what the Mountaineers did was good enough to allow them to sit in front of the tube Saturday and root for the Bearcats and Huskies before turning their attention to USF.