Column - Final Backyard Brawl?
Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 18, 2011 00:11
A rivalry is competition in its highest form.
Two teams putting it all on the line for a common purpose: victory.
One of the fiercest and most storied rivalries in college football has been the Backyard Brawl – the annual football game between West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
The two schools, separated by just 75 miles, have been competing over the span of three centuries.
The teams hate each other, the fans despise the other, and it has been that way since 1895.
Recently, both Pittsburgh and West Virginia have announced their departure from the Big East Conference.
The Mountaineers will compete in the Big 12 Conference in the future, while the Panthers will take their talents to the Atlantic Coastal Conference.
This is great news for the future of both athletic programs.
But, this news isn't as generous for the future of the Backyard Brawl.
West Virginia and Pittsburgh will now have eight conference games to play, and already have filled their non-conference slates in the coming seasons.
So, next Friday's matchup at Milan Puskar Stadium between the two arch rivals may be the last meeting in quite some time.
West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck and head coach Dana Holgorsen have both said they would like to see the rivalry continue in the future.
But, it is unrealistic to think it is possible over the next few seasons.
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 61-39-3, but the Mountaineers are 16-7 against the Panthers over the last 23 seasons.
Possibly the most
meaningful game in the series (although West Virginia fans would disagree) was the 100th meeting between the two schools in 2007, when an unranked Pittsburgh team marched into Mountaineer Field and denied West Virginia its opportunity to play in the National Championship.
West Virginia and Pittsburgh fans of all ages are aware of the history of this rivalry and would hate to see it end.
So, where am I going with this?
Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, very well could be the final day to witness a game between West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
With the Mountaineers back in the thick of the Big East title race, the home team will need a win.
A thirsty and improved Pittsburgh team is also in a great position to make a run at the conference crown.
Take in all of the action next Friday and cheer passionately for your side.
This may the last time you'll have a chance to do so.