CINCINNATI (AP) - An enormous boat trophy was created in 2005, when Cincinnati entered the Big East and found another way to have a rivalry with Pittsburgh.
Only seven years later, the Bearcats (0-0) and Panthers (0-1) are playing the final game in the series, with the trophy - a replica of a riverboat telegraph - up for permanent ownership. The schools open the Big East season on Thursday night at Nippert Stadium in a game that represents the beginning of the end for the current conference.
West Virginia has already left for the Big 12. Pitt and Syracuse are playing their final seasons before moving on to the ACC. The league will then take on more of a national look by adding teams from the South and the West Coast.