By The Associated Press
(AP) -- THURSDAY
Pittsburgh (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-0), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Cincinnati by 2 1/2
Series Record: Pittsburgh leads 8-3
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Ohio City rivalry marks the beginning of the Big East's final season before a massive overhaul. West Virginia has already left for the Big 12. Pitt and Syracuse will bolt for the ACC after this season. Cincinnati has won three of the last four games against Pitt, including a 45-44 win in 2009 for the league title.
Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux against the Pitt defense. Legaux was an inconsistent passer during three starts last season as a sophomore while Zach Collaros recovered from a broken ankle. Coach Butch Jones has been pushing Legaux to do a better job of reading defenses and finding his best option. Panthers first-year coach Paul Chryst thought his defense was passive during a shocking 31-17 loss to Youngstown State on Saturday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Pittsburgh: RB Ray Graham. The senior returned from a torn ACL in his right knee that ended his 2011 season and ran for 71 yards on 14 carries. He also fumbled deep in Youngstown State territory. Chryst thought Graham's performance overall was the equivalent of getting over a big hurdle.
Cincinnati: RB Ralph David Abernathy IV. As a freshman, he became a dangerous kick returner. With RB Isaiah Pead gone, the Bearcats will use three players at running back, including Abernathy. They're trying to find ways to get the ball to Abernathy, their best breakaway threat.
FACTS & FIGURES
The winner gets to keep the River City Rivalry Trophy, a 46-inch-tall, 96-pound replica of a riverboat telegraph that was created when Cincinnati entered the Big East in 2005. ... The Bearcats went 2-1 with Legaux as the starter last season. Collaros returned and led the Bearcats to a win in the Liberty Bowl. ... The Panthers will be making their 18th appearance in a Thursday night game televised by ESPN, the most by any Big East team. Pitt is 7-10 in those games. ... Pittsburgh is 3-1 at Nippert Stadium.
Updated September 5, 2012