|The Backyard Brawl|
|First Meeting||October 26, 1895|
|First Meeting Result||West Virginia 8, W.U.P. 0|
|Last Meeting||November 25, 2011|
|Last Result||West Virginia 21, Pittsburgh 20|
|Next Meeting||September 1, 2022|
|Number of Meetings||104|
|All-Time Series||PITT: 61–40–3|
|Largest Victory||PITT: 53–0 (11/08/1904)|
|Current Streak||WVU: Won 3|
|Longest PITT Win Streak||15 (1929–46)|
|Longest WVU Win Streak||5 (1992–96)|
|Last Ten Games||WVU: 7–3|
|Men's Basketball History|
|First Meeting||February 17, 1906|
|First Meeting Result||W.U.P. 30, West Virginia 25|
|Last Meeting||November 12, 2021|
|Last Result||WVU: 74–59|
|Number of Meetings||188|
|All-Time Series||WVU: 100–88|
|Largest victory||WVU: 103–63 (2/14/1966)|
|Current Streak||WVU: Won 5|
|Longest PITT Win Streak||9 (1/17/1931-1/26/1935)|
|Longest WVU Win Streak||13 (1/8/1957-2/2/1963)|
|Last Ten Games||WVU: 6–4|
The Backyard Brawl is an American college football rivalry between the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and the West Virginia University Mountaineers. The term "Backyard Brawl" has also been used to refer to college basketball games played annually or semi-annually and may also be used to refer to other athletic competitions between the two schools. It is a registered trademark for both universities, and refers to the close proximity of the two universities, separated by 75 miles (105 km) along Interstate 79.
The football rivalry is the 14th oldest in the United States and is typically shown on national television. In the past, the Backyard Brawl has been seen on ABC, CBS, ESPN, and ESPN2. Through the 104 games played between these two schools, Pitt leads the series 61–40–3.
The Backyard Brawl
|School||University of Pittsburgh||West Virginia University|
|Location||Pittsburgh, PA||Morgantown, WV|
|School Colors||Blue & Gold||Old Gold & Blue|
|Mascot||"Roc" the Panther||The Mountaineer|
|Football Stadium||Acrisure Stadium||Mountaineer Field|
|Basketball Arena||Petersen Events Center||WVU Coliseum|
The football series was first played in 1895, and the game has historically been one of the more intense rivalries in the eastern United States. The rivalry between the two schools is due mainly to proximity. WVU's campus in Morgantown, West Virginia is only about 70 miles south of Pittsburgh (via Interstate 79), and the two schools often compete for the same recruits.
The 1921 edition of the Backyard Brawl was the first college football game broadcast on the radio when Harold W. Arlin announced the 21–13 Pittsburgh victory on KDKA.
From 1962–2011, the series alternated between Pittsburgh and Morgantown on a yearly basis. Before that, the games were held in Pittsburgh on an almost regular basis, with Morgantown occasionally hosting the game. At one point, Pittsburgh hosted the game 11 years in a row (1919–29) and also hosted eight straight contests between 1938–48. (There were no matchups from 1940–42.) In contrast, the most consecutive games West Virginia has hosted were four in a row from 1895–1901, with one of those games held in Fairmont, West Virginia, now the home to Fairmont State University, and one in Wheeling, West Virginia. The most consecutive games played in Morgantown, three, were held from 1932–34.
West Virginia started out the series leading, 5–1. Pittsburgh won four games in a row from 1904–08 (there was no game played in 1905) to tie the series at 5–5. In 1909, the teams played to a 0–0 tie, making the series 5–5–1. The following year, Pittsburgh won 38–0, taking a 6–5–1 lead in the series, and has led ever since. Since the series began interchanging annually between Morgantown and Pittsburgh in 1963, the Mountaineers have held a 25–22–2 advantage over the Panthers.
On November 25, 2004, the Backyard Brawl series saw its 97th game, surpassing the 96–game Penn State–Pittsburgh football rivalry as Pittsburgh's most–played rivalry game. Pittsburgh celebrated the event with a 16–13 win at Heinz Field.
On December 1, 2007, the 100th Backyard Brawl took place. Pittsburgh upset WVU by a score of 13–9. Coming into the game, WVU was ranked first in the Coaches' Poll and second in both the BCS and AP Poll. With the loss, WVU's BCS National Championship Game chances were lowered.
The Mountaineers and the Panthers wore Nike Pro Combat System of Dress, uniforms designed to pay respect to Pittsburgh's steel industry and West Virginia's coal mining industry, for the 2010 Backyard Brawl. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, West Virginia wore a shade of white "that looks as if it has a fine layer of dust on the jersey" and has accents in university gold that "references the canaries used long ago to test toxicity in mines." The helmet has a thin yellow line, designed to look like "the beam of light emitted by a miner's headlamp." Meanwhile, Pitt wore smoky college navy and black jerseys and pants with metallic team gold numerals "to represent the brilliant glow of a blast furnace," according to a Nike website, and matching helmets with a gold stripe and logo "evocative of steel I-beams" and resembling a hard hat. West Virginia won the game in Pittsburgh 35–10.
On September 18, 2011, Pittsburgh announced its departure from the Big East and was introduced as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). A month later, on October 28, West Virginia accepted an invitation to join the Big 12. With both universities now in different conferences, the Backyard Brawl was put on hiatus. The 2012 college football season marked the first time since 1943 that the rivalry was not played in football, breaking a streak of 68 consecutive meetings.
In September 2015, both universities agreed to a four-game series running from 2022–25. In April 2022, both universities announced the addition of four more games from 2029–2032.
The location of the Backyard Brawl has varied much throughout its history. The very first football game took place in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1895. The next meeting, in 1898, was held in Fairmont, a short distance south of Morgantown. The third and fourth contests were held in Morgantown. The year 1902 marked the first time the game was held in Pittsburgh, at Exposition Park, the North Shore home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 1910 was the first time the Backyard Brawl was held on the Pittsburgh campus, at brand-new Forbes Field. The series was held here for eight of the next nine years, until the opening of Pitt Stadium in 1925 on the opposite end of the University of Pittsburgh campus. Pitt Stadium hosted 5 straight games, until in 1930, the Backyard Brawl found itself at yet another new location, Mountaineer Field, which had opened in 1924 on the campus of West Virginia University. Another change in location occurred in 1981, when the game was played at a new Mountaineer Field in Morgantown. In 1998 and 2000, the game was played at Three Rivers Stadium. The most recent change took place in 2002, when the Backyard Brawl was played for the first time at Acrisure Stadium, the new, full-time home of the Panthers, a year after it was opened.
|Pittsburgh victories||West Virginia victories|
The Backyard Brawl moniker is also used for the basketball rivalry between the two schools, which dates to February 17, 1905. The teams began competing annually since 1918, and played each season continually until 2012. Through the first 100 meetings, the teams were evenly matched both winning 50 games.
Pitt began playing basketball in the Big East Conference in 1982–83, with the Mountaineers joining in 1995–96. The basketball rivalry has heated up over the last several years as each team has been among the best in the country and the games have taken on added significance. On February 9, 2006, for the first time in the history of the series, in the 169th edition, Pitt and WVU were both nationally ranked as they squared off in Pitt's Petersen Events Center. Pitt won, but a few weeks later, the two ranked teams played at WVU Coliseum with the Mountaineers winning. In the 2008–09 season, the Panthers swept both games during the regular season and came into the tournament ranked No. 2, but were upset by the Mountaineers in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.
During a February 2010 game when Pittsburgh visited West Virginia, several times during the course of the game, West Virginia fans threw objects at the Pittsburgh team. A Pittsburgh assistant coach was injured when an object was thrown at him. The actions received widespread attention. During the second half of the game, coach Bob Huggins used a microphone to address the fans. West Virginia University President Jim Clements issued an apology to the University of Pittsburgh community. Additionally, West Virginia vowed to address security, as the incident closing followed similar occurrences in games against Syracuse and Ohio State. This game was followed with a rematch nine days later in Pittsburgh, and while there were no off-court incidents, the game proved to be one of the most memorable in the history of the series as the 25th ranked Panthers upset the fourth ranked Mountaineers 98–95 in the first triple overtime basketball game to be played between the two schools.
The 2011–12 season marked the end of the Brawl within Big East conference play. Pitt and WVU traded road wins, with Pitt winning in Morgantown 72–66, and WVU winning at the Petersen Events Center for only the second time ever 66–48. The rivalry was dormant for a few years as WVU began playing in the Big 12 in 2012, while Pitt moved to the ACC in 2013. However, the series renewed in non-conference play beginning in 2017, with WVU winning the last four recent matchups. In 2021, West Virginia sold out the WVU Coliseum for the first time ever in the month of November when it hosted the matchup, on its way to reaching 100 wins in the series.
In women's basketball, West Virginia leads the modern series, begun in 1975, 25–18.
|Pittsburgh victories||West Virginia victories|
|Pittsburgh victories||West Virginia victories||Tie games|
The "Backyard Brawl" memories are well worn and familiar to Bob Huggins. They stretch back decades, the highs and the lows of West Virginia's longtime rivalry with Pittsburgh coming back to him in a rush.
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