Dave Wannstedt Reports a Potential Return of the Backyard Brawl


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Former Pitt coach, Dave Wannstedt, broke big news yesterday if it turns out to be true.  He was on 670 The Score in Chicago and was discussing the Big 12 conference.  It was over a month ago that Texas and Oklahoma announced they would be leaving the Big 12 conference to join the SEC.

Wannstedt had news of five teams moving out of the Big 12.  This included Oklahoma State and Kansas State to the PAC-12, and Kansas and Iowa State to the Big Ten.  However, it was the last piece of news that means the most for Pitt fans.  Wannstedt is hearing news of West Virginia University moving to the ACC.

Big East Realignment

This is not a surprise but is long overdue.  After the Big East dissolved slowly with most of its power house schools leaving from 2011 through 2014, the Power 5 conferences realigned.  The realignment left many scratching their heads, including WVU and Pitt fans.  Pitt seemed more aligned to join the Big Ten instead of the ACC.  As a rust belt state, it seemed like the more likely place to go. 

However, WVU was left with an even weirder situation joining the Big 12.  The Big 12 was mostly southwestern teams and it left the Mountaineer players and fans with many long distance away games on their schedule.  They have been wanting to join the ACC ever since. 

In my opinion, the conferences need to realign completely.  Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana teams could make up a conference of their own.  Northeastern and East coast teams ranging from Rutgers down to Clemson could combine as well.  Pitt and WVU are one of many that belong in the Big Ten.  However, the way in which the conferences are aligned now produces long distance away games for almost everyone and has dissolved many of the nation’s best rivalries.

Backyard Brawl to Return

Fortunately, it looks like one of Pitt’s best rivalries could be back.  After the Penn State rivalry game quit again in 2019, Pitt has been left with little as far as pure rivalries.  The closest Pitt has is Syracuse and nobody wants to travel to upstate New York in the middle of the winter, even if the games are in a dome.

But potentially the Backyard Brawl is back!  This would be huge for both schools.  For years, the Backyard Brawl produced nail biting results that had conference championship and National championship stakes.  The most notable was when a 4-7 Pitt team, led by the aforementioned Dave Wannstedt, traveled to Morgantown on December 1, 2007.  WVU was ranked second overall in the nation and was a win away from competing in the National Championship.  Pitt ended up winning the game by a score of 13-9, knocking WVU out of the big game.

The last time the teams played was 2011.  WVU won 21-20 at Mountaineer Field.  If the rivalry were to continue, WVU would carry with them a 3-game winning streak against Pitt.  Pitt leads the series overall 61-40-3.

So even though all of the current conference news feels like an absolute mess, it could result in great news for both Pitt and WVU fans.  WVU would get to travel significantly less and both schools would get one of its greatest rivalries back.  This would be a win for everyone.  Let’s hope Wannstedt is right.