Ever since Pitt and West Virginia announced their separate moves to the ACC and Big 12 respectively, the hope among many was that the Backyard Brawl would continue. I've written about this countless times (most recently here), but Pitt seems pretty intent on ditching the game.
In case you were holding out hope that Pitt would have a change of heart, yeah, don't hold your breath:
Pitt announced a two-game, home-and-home football series with Oklahoma State Wednesday.
The Panthers will travel to Stillwater, Okla., in 2016, and the Cowboys will come to Heinz Field in 2017.
With the move to play Oklahoma State over the Mountaineers, Pitt pretty much spit on the Backyard Brawl and said 'good riddance' to it.
A few things here. You may not like West Virginia, but that's the point of a rivalry. If the thought of the Mountaineers winning anything gets under your skin, it's a pretty clear sign that the two sides should be playing.
Next, on the Oklahoma State front, while the Cowboys are nice, I'm not sure why Pitt is excited about this series. The two schools have zero history (really, look it up - they've never played) and aren't anywhere near each other geographically. This, coupled with games against teams like Utah, really show that Pitt has an 'anyone but West Virginia' mentality.
Lastly, if Pitt has decided they want nothing to do with West Virginia, fine. I don't agree with it but I can live with it. But I also don't want to hear Steve Pederson or others take the stance that there's just no room on the schedule. If Pitt can find room for the likes of Buffalo, a regular opponent the past few years, and teams like Oklahoma State where there's literally no history between the two sides, they can find room for the Mountaineers. In other words, Pitt, don't give me spin. Just come out and say it - you don't want to play West Virginia.
Regarding my own opinion, I'll never understand why you wouldn't want to play a rival. We spent the offseason looking at potential rivals for Pitt in the ACC when, in reality, the Panthers have one staring them in the face. Instead of the Backyard Brawl, easily the biggest game on the schedule many years, we're treated to the likes of Buffalo, Utah, Iowa, and the like.
It just doesn't make any sense.
I get that the game means more to West Virginia. In the Big 12, the Mountaineers don't even have any semblance of a rival. The closest thing to a rivalry game for them is probably matching up with Maryland. Pitt, on the other hand, has several teams in the ACC with which they share a history such as Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Miami. They've got a longtime rivalry game in Notre Dame. There's also Penn State, a team Pitt will be playing again in a few years.
All of that said, with the exception of Penn State, none of those other teams provide the rivalry that West Virginia does. Pitt's insistence on pushing West Virginia aside reeks of hatred by the administration.
And if that's the case, it's just another reason the two sides should be playing.