clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

West Virginia (still) wants to renew the Backyard Brawl with Pitt

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Every now and then, rumblings are kicked up surrounding a reboot of the Pitt-West Virginia Backyard Brawl. The latest stirring came from the Mountaineers' side last week:

Mindful of resurrecting "The Backyard Brawl," West Virginia athletics director Shane Lyons said he plans to reach out to Pitt once the Panthers settle on their new AD.

During an hour-long appearance on MetroNews "Sportsline" Monday night, Lyons said both programs could benefit from restarting the always-intense football series, which has been on hiatus since 2011 when conference realignment intervened.


"That’s on my radar," Lyons said, "Obviously at this point I’m kinda waiting to see who their athletic director is. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I have a relationship with that individual to be able to work something out."

West Virginia's been interested in bringing the game back for some time now. The Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen provided some comments before the start of last year, saying he hoped to restart the series. Even West Virginia's Bob Huggins has said he'd like to get Pitt back on the schedule in basketball.

The response from Pitt has always been a lot more muted. Former Pitt AD Steve Pederson seemed disinterested at best once the school got into the ACC and the interest has seemed to come more from West Virginia. Personally, I'd like to see the game come back and, as I've written before, scheduling non-conference games with schools like Oklahoma State when you have a built in rivalry with West Virginia seems to make little sense.

One issue for Pitt is that with a limited number of non-conference games, the desire to play Penn State, and the Notre Dame games the ACC receives, and making sure to schedule a couple of lower-level opponents, things get pretty crowded in a hurry. At best, with so many other variables, the West Virginia games would likely be sporadic and not an annual contest.

There's been a lot of speculation as to the reason Pitt doesn't seem to want to play the game. From safety concerns like the ones stated by Tray Woodall a while back) to not wanting to associate themselves to not wanting to give any kind of recruiting edge to West Virginia, there have been a million reasons cited.

For whatever the reason, Pitt hasn't been that interested. Even in basketball where an abundance of non-conference games exist, the Panthers haven't moved forward in trying to restart the series.

Last year, I would have glossed over this without much thought with Pitt set in their ways. But the question is that with a new regime (new Chancellor, new AD, and new football coach), will things change?

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.