MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday’s clash between WVU and No. 22 Texas will mark the 10th meeting in the series, and the ninth since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.
It’s been a competitive series since 2012, one that has produced plenty of memorable moments, like Will Grier’s pass to Gary Jennings and the ensuing two-point conversion — a sequence that was ingrained into the memories of Mountaineer fans two years ago today.
Since 2012, the series is evenly split at 4-4. History indicates that WVU could have the upper hand Saturday, as the away team has won seven of the nine meetings.
There’s no doubt that this is a matchup that fans of the old gold and blue look forward to every year, but is it a rivalry? Head coach Neal Brown doesn’t think so.
“We’re excited to play Texas. I don’t necessarily believe it’s a rivalry game,” Brown said. “A lot of our natural rivalries are within our geographic footprint. I don’t think Texas is looking at West Virginia as a rivalry.”
WVU fans appear to be split on the rivalry question. According to a poll on Twitter, a slight majority of fans think the series with the Longhorns is not a rivalry. (Voting in this poll ends Wednesday afternoon, and the results are subject to change.)
But arguably, there is a rivalry void for West Virginia, which hasn’t played a true regional rival in football since it lost to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl in 2018. The Mountaineers were supposed to reignite their non-conference series with Maryland this year, but that game was canceled due to COVID-19 rescheduling. Series against the Terps, Virginia Tech and Pitt are scheduled to be revived in the next two seasons.
Regardless, there’s a lot on the line in Saturday’s matchup. WVU and Texas are part of a trio of two-loss teams in the Big 12, and it’s possible that the winner of this contest could stay in contention for a berth in the Big 12 championship game.
Brown thinks that fact should be the focus of this matchup for the Mountaineers.
“It’s just a Big 12 Conference game that is vitally important for both teams who are trying to stay in the fight to get to Dallas,” Brown said.
WVU vs. Texas will kick off Saturday at noon in Austin.