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Like Pitt, West Virginia wants non-conference rivalry games


When Pitt decided to head to the ACC, one of the thoughts that followed was the task of trying to establish some non-conference rivalries. But Pitt's biggest rival in recent years, West Virginia, is going to find that task far more difficult than the Panthers.

West Virginia athletic director, Oliver Luck, is hoping to play some games against Pitt, Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Virginia. Pitt and West Virginia is/was a big time rivalry, obviously, but the others? Not so much.

West Virginia and Virginia Tech played 51 times according to the SB Nation article, but they haven't played in nearly a decade. If the Mountaineers can't get Pitt, Virginia Tech would likely be the next best thing. But since the Hokies haven't shown much interest since they left the Big East, I'm not sure that series will pick up. West Virginia and Virginia have played significantly less and despite the geographical proximity, again, it just doesn't pass the sniff test for me. And while the Nittany Lions have played the Mountaineers 59 times, they haven't played in more than 20 years. Plus, if Penn State is still trying to decide if they even want to play Pitt on a regular basis, I'm not sure we'll see them suiting up against the Mountaineers.

Pitt has things a bit easier because of Penn State. If the Nittany Lions are willing to play Pitt on the annual basis, that's going to be a big game for the Panthers. And of course, Pitt can also turn to West Virginia. There's also Notre Dame, which is a big step down in terms of a rivalry game, but still a quality historical opponent for Pitt. Few Irish fans probably consider Pitt a rival, but the two teams have met quite a bit and the Panthers are Notre Dame's fifth most played opponent. The two teams have also been playing recently and has to be considered at least a mini-rivalry just because of those contests and the long history.

The closest thing to an out of conference rival that West Virginia has had recently is the series with Maryland. But that's hardly a game most West Virginians look forward to. In the Big 12, the Mountaineers simply aren't in a great spot geographically. They have some excellent high profile in-conference games against teams like Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, but developing rivalries with those teams will take a while.

Pitt, meanwhile, will not only have the chance to renew old rivalries in the ACC with former Big East teams like Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Syracuse, but with games against Penn State and Notre Dame on the schedule in upcoming seasons, they will have plenty of history against many of the teams on their schedule.

West Virginia, I'm sure will have the chance to develop some in-conference rivalries over time, but finding OOC rivals could be difficult. Luck is doing the right thing in reaching out to those schools since he really has limited options. But it's something out of his control for the most part and stirring up some good out of conference rivalries is going to be a tall order.

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