Big 12 Media Days are open for business! – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
ARLINGTON, Texas — With 50 days to go until West Virginia’s season opener, anticipation continues to build for the return of the Backyard Brawl.
It should come as no surprise to Mountaineer fans that the team’s fourth-year head coach is revved up for the game, and wants the see the rivalry become an annual fixture of the schedule once again.
During his podium appearance at Big 12 Football Media Days, Neal Brown reiterated his stance on one of college football’s most storied series: he can’t wait to experience it, he wants to continue playing it and he appreciates the way it has motivates his players.
“Our fan base is extremely passionate about that game, and so it’s a game that I would be in favor of playing each year,” Brown said. “I think it’s a great kickoff for college football. We’re not playing on so-called ‘week zero,’ but we’re the premier Power 5 game vs. a Power 5 opponent on Thursday night, and our guys are excited.”
At this point, the Backyard Brawl won’t be played annually, but close to it. After more than a decade of dormancy, WVU and Pitt are scheduled to meet every year from 2022-25, and then again from 2029-32. An extension of the series was announced in April — an extension for which Brown advocated.
“Shane Lyons, our athletic director, he asked me about the continuation of the series, which we’ll do later in the decade, and I was for it,” Brown said. “It’s really important for us to play regional rivalries.”
WVU renewed rivalries with a pair of regional foes last season. The Mountaineers lost to Maryland on the road, but reclaimed the Black Diamond Trophy from Virginia Tech at Milan Puskar Stadium. Brown’s team will take on the Hokies again this September in a Thursday night affair, and then will rekindle another historic series against Penn State in 2023.
The Mountaineers last met the Panthers on the gridiron in 2011. The series was halted after both schools left the Big East to join their respective new conferences the following year.
Since 1983, WVU football is 18-9-2 against Pitt.
The Mountaineers and Panthers will meet Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. in Pittsburgh.