Pitt To The ACC: Can The Backyard Brawl Continue?

Pitt's move to the ACC brings mostly only positives. The biggest negative, though, isn't something silly like the thought that Pitt's basketball team won't be able to recruit anymore, it's that the Backyard Brawl may be over.

I'll be the first to admit that West Virginia doesn't bring out the worst in me as a fan. Not that I don't want Pitt to beat them every time the two teams play, but I'm largely indifferent, to be honest. Chalk it up to getting older or whatever.

I've lived in the area for 15 years now and it's pretty easy to see that West Virginia fans clearly seem to want Pitt as a rival more than Pitt (especially older Pitt fans) wants West Virginia. That's not to say that there aren't Pitt fans out there that see the Mountaineers as the main rival - there are plenty that do and the more time goes by without playing Penn State, the more fans get on that bandwagon. But lots of Pitt fans (myself, included) would much rather have a rivalry with Penn State. Penn State would rather have Ohio State as a rival, but their biggest foe is Michigan... it's a vicious cycle.

So if the Backyard Brawl doesn't continue, it'd be a shame.

Todd Graham, for one, has already said he'd like the game to continue. And ditto for athletic director Steve Pederson.

The problem is that by going to a larger conference, there will also be less non-conference opponents. Instead of the five Pitt can play with an eight-time Big East, that total could be trimmed to three or four in a 14-team conference.

The key could lie with Notre Dame.

As I wrote last month when Pitt was trying to continue the series with the Irish, the Panthers have been trying to make this an annual thing for a very long time. I'm all in favor of it and really gives Pitt a nice chip to play in recruiting. What kid wouldn't want to play against Notre Dame? Still, with a warm-up game or two against lesser foes and some other potential games (i.e. Penn State), Pitt may not be able to do both.

If I could only have one, not sure right now which it would be. I'd probably lean slightly towards the Mountaineers if you held a gun to my head, though. Thus, I pose the question to you.

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