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Panthers looking for momentum, bowl berth at USF

Associated Press Modified: November 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: November 26, 2012
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"I think it would be good to know that we could overcome anything and still get to another bowl game," Shanahan said. "I've gone to a bowl game every year since I've been here, so I want to keep that streak going this season."

Even if it means knowing just how close an OK season could have turned into a special one. The losses to Youngstown State, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville were all winnable games, ones the Panthers couldn't quite close on.

It's something Shanahan said the players try not to let get to their heads.

"I guess, when you look back a little this season there are a few games that could have gone either way," Shanahan said. "There were some that we thought we should have won, but I don't know why we didn't win them. Maybe we just weren't ready to win those games."

If the Panthers aren't ready to win on Saturday it will lead to a longer-than-expected offseason, though Chryst is optimistic his team is finally starting to get what it means to play consistently no matter the level of the opponent.

A .500 season and a lower-level bowl isn't quite the special season the Panthers envisioned in August. Then again, for Chryst and a program that's been in perpetual transition for two years, it's a start.

"Coach Chryst already told us that he'd take care of us seniors if we make it," Shanahan said. "I don't know what that would entail, but I'm looking forward to it. So, we just need to go out with a win this week and see what happens with a bowl game."

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Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP