- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Between conference realignment and the advent of the college football playoff, it’s not hard to find some vocal coaches and fans hoping to ignite talks on some big-time nonconference matchups — but Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen took things to the next level on Tuesday.
The programs played annually as members of the Big East, but when West Virginia departed for the Big 12 and Pitt joined the ACC, the rivalry died. Holgorsen wants wants to see that changed.
Dana Holgorsen on Pitt: "We're begging 'em to play. They chose to play Okla. State instead. It makes no sense why it's not being played"
- Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 22, 2015
To which first-year Panthers coach Narduzzi offered this rather entertaining reply.
Pat Narduzzi responding to Dana Holgorsen's "we're begging to play Pitt" comment: "I never beg"
- Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 28, 2015
And, not surprisingly, things deteriorated from there.
If nothing else, the exchange proved that there’s still plenty of life left in the Backyard Brawl, even if the games aren’t being played.
In fairness, Pitt’s priority is getting a nonconference series established with Penn State — a rivalry Narduzzi is happy to champion. The Nittany Lions and Panthers are set to play four games starting in 2016, though new Pitt AD Scott Barnes would like to see the series continue indefinitely.
More scheduling links:
On the lower-tier of nonconference matchups, Western Kentucky coach (and former Louisville QB) Jeff Brohm wants a crack at the Cardinals. (Along those lines, we'd also love to see Clemson-SMU, Florida State-Akron and NC State-NIU for more Power 5-Group of 5 rivalry games with close program ties.)
Fox Sports ranks the toughest nonconference schedules among Power 5 teams, and the ACC is well represented. The SEC, on the other hand, barely makes the cut.
Pac-12 coaches are already beating the drum for everyone to play nine conference games.
Coaches may want Notre Dame to join a conference, but the Irish are in no hurry to do so.