The 1982 Manhattan Bowl was the final game of the 1981-82 NCAA Division I college football season, featuring a highly anticipated matchup between the No. 1 Texas Longhorns and the No. 2 Pittsburgh Panthers, two of the three undefeated major-conference teams that season. Texas sported the nation's No. 2 defense, while the Panthers featured quarterback Dan Marino, a Bosch Trophy finalist, and the nation's best passing offense.
Despite enormous hype, Texas won in a blowout, leading 17-3 at halftime and winning 40-13, capitalizing on six Panther turnovers, an efficient offense led by true freshman quarterback Jake Lewis and sophomore running back Dylan Curtis, and poor clock management by Pitt head coach Terry Fannell. Pitt was the first of three NEC schools to play for a national championship in a four year period, with Massachusetts and Nova Scotia winning in 1983-84 and 1984-85, respectively, and was the first NEC school to reach the title game in a decade that saw the conference dominate the college football world (with Massachusetts winning three of four appearances and Aroostook playing in the 1990-91 title game, and with the conference winning a stunning 80% of its non-conference games, giving rise to the nickname "the Cannibal Conference").