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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Backyard Brawl renewal not within reach

By David Ubben

At the ACC meetings in Florida on Tuesday, Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson sounded optimistic about renewing a rivalry with Penn State, but the Panthers' biggest rivalry might continue to go unplayed for awhile.

From colleague Brett McMurphy:
While Pitt is seeking an annual series with Penn State, the Panthers will not be able to reinstate the Backyard Brawl with West Virginia on an annual basis, Pederson said. The schools have played 104 times, but the series ended in 2012 when West Virginia left the Big East for the Big 12. Pederson said he spoke recently with West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck about scheduling some future games between the Panthers and Mountaineers.

"We're both trying to figure out when we can do it," Pederson said. "We're both in favor if it's in the best interest of both schools."

Big 12 fans haven't gotten a chance to really pay attention to the intensity of the Backyard Brawl, which lived in the Big East before the Mountaineers' move to the Big 12 and Pitt's exit to the ACC.

For West Virginia, it doesn't make sense to play the Panthers. Pittsburgh is no juggernaut, but has a solid program. With the schedule getting tougher in the Big 12, signing up for a heated rivalry game that might as well be a conference game is a tough assignment for Dana Holgorsen or any coach.

Still, the loss of rivalries like the Backyard Brawl, the Border Showdown and Lone Star Showdown are the greatest cost of realignment. Seeing them lie dormant makes me nothing but sad. College football is worse off without these games, and here's hoping they return soon.