Pitt Football: Rivalry Renewed, Pitt To Face West Virginia In 2022


It looks like both Pitt students and many West Virginia fans are being granted their long-awaited wish. The Panthers and Mountaineers will again meet on the field, with the return of the Backyard Brawl starting in 2022.

Well folks, the Pitt athletic department has made their decision on who the Panthers will rival for seasons to come, following the conclusion of the Penn State series that ends in 2020.

First of all, if you readers do not follow @GoPittFootball on Twitter, why don’t you go ahead and do that right now? This article will still be here to read immediately after.

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With this announcement, it’s now clear the path that the Pitt program is paving: becoming no-nonsense, taking the fans desires into account, and making the fictional, real. New athletic director, by way of Utah State, Scott Barnes, has taken this head-on and isn’t looking back in the process.

Not willing to wait for Penn State to make a decision with their future schedule, Barnes pushed forward, looking to solidify the Panther schedule for the years following the current series with the Nittany Lions. To catch you up, it’s easy. Penn State isn’t certain that the best in-state rivalry is with the Panthers.

Rather they feel a team like Temple could be a more ideal opponent. September 5th was a great representation of that view, and I don’t foresee the series with Penn State going beyond its originally scheduled expiration date in 2020. The spirited disciples of JoePa are clearly preventing that from happening.

Meanwhile, West Virginia was in desperate need of adding integrity to their schedule and needed an opponent that was closer than four states away for out-of-conference, or in-conference for that matter, match-ups. Both schools actually stand something to gain in this.

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  • West Virginia needed an opponent that will bring fans to their stadium. Playing in the Big 12, it is more difficult to bring those fans from Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa into the forested regions of West Virginia to watch a football game. Pitt fans on the other hand don’t mind that small trek to Morgantown. The Panthers faithful are not easily dissuaded.

    Pitt, believe it or not, could be the winner of this series reboot. The athletic department has held firm in their mission of scheduling better out-of-conference opponents to help their odds in-conference and beyond. For instance, they have reached agreements with Oklahoma State and Tennessee on a home-and-home series, with Oklahoma State from 2016-2017 and Tennessee from 2021-2022.

    Now the backyard brawl follows with a four game series, mirroring the Penn State agreement placed in 2014. Pitt is huge on brand recognition. Disregarding the future games against Villanova and Richmond, the program wants to be synonymous with playing the “big-boys”. This schedule goes a long way toward achieving that goal. Recruiting, fan allure, and financial returns are all impacted in a positive manner.

    The series is a whopping seven years away from kicking off its second installment. When it does, it will be obvious that both teams win with the return of this rivalry.

    Backyard Brawl Notes:

    • Pitt leads the all-time series with a record of 61-40-3
    • West Virginia is 7-3 in the last 10 match-ups
    • 2011 was the last Backyard Brawl when WVU won 21-20
    • Pitt destroyed the national championship hopes of WVU in 2007 with a 13-9 victory

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