The basketball version of the Backyard Brawl has been renewed through the 2022-2023 season. This is great news for both Pitt and WVU fans.
These schools need each other in basketball and in football.
Why does Pitt need WVU? Well, a little hate is good for collegiate athletics. More on that in a bit.
Pitt football averaged about 43,000 fans at Heinz Field in 2019. That's...not great. Pitt basketball averaged about 6,700 fans at the Peterson Event Center in 2019.
The Panthers could use the attendance boost.
The last time WVU played Pitt football at Heinz Field there were 60,000 asses in the seats. 14,000 more people than for your average Pitt game.
In the basketball game last year at the Pete, there were 11,725 people in the stands. A little over 5,000 more people in the arena than for your average game last season.
The Penn State football games sell out in Pittsburgh. So do the Notre Dame games. WVU is on the schedule again starting in 2022.
Why does renewing this rivalry mean so much for WVU?
The athletic program has been mostly solid over the past two decades. They don’t need help selling tickets. There’s been a nice rivalry brewing with Texas in football and with Kansas in basketball.
Why is the Backyard Brawl important for West Virginia?
WVU’s football team travelled over 11,000 miles last year. That was good for second most in the sport. It’s that way every year.
In the Big 12, WVU play four teams in Texas, two in Oklahoma, two in Kansas, and one in Iowa. Iowa State presents the closest geographical “rival.”
The athletic department wants to give the school's fans some easier road trips, and they want to make it easier on their student athletes.
WVU has done that by scheduling games against Virginia Tech, Penn State, Pitt, and Maryland over the next handful of years.
It's a rivalry that makes sense for both schools.
Here’s one more thing as far as football is concerned: Let's be honest, neither of these teams are likely to win a national championship. Beating a rival in an otherwise pedestrian season can’t be overstated.
Bragging rights for at least 365 days? That’s awesome. Knowing your rival is pissed off? There's nothing better.
I’m happy these schools will continue their basketball rivalry, and I'm jacked up they’re getting back together in football in 2022. Both fan bases should feel the same way.