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Opinion

Vukovcan: Pitt Vs. West Virginia is a Real Rivalry, Needs to Happen Every Year

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The best thing about sports, in particular college sports, are rivalries between particular schools.

There is nothing better than legitimate hatred and smack talk between the schools and the two fan bases. No matter how hard they’ve tried, since joining the ACC Conference, Pitt hasn’t had a real rival in which both sides could enjoy this type of back and forth.

Hatred and dislike aren’t things that are able to be manufactured, either you feel it, or you don’t. Those feelings just don’t exist when games between Virginia Tech, Miami, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke are being played. While the games might mean something in the standings, they don’t register passion within the fan base.

However, as Pitt prepares to open the 2022 season, the same thing can’t be said.

Despite not playing against each other in 11 seasons, the Pitt and West Virginia fans are both counting the days until September 1st arrives.

Pat Narduzzi’s team will be looking to keep the momentum going and ultimately trying to defend their first ever ACC Championship. Neal Brown is hoping that his program can start getting some traction and positive momentum and knows that a win over Pitt will no doubt be the recipe to do just that.

The game has all the ingredients that you want to open a season. Can Pitt start off with a statement win over a long-time rival? The game will be televised on ESPN, ESPN’s College Gameday crew will be at Acrisure Stadium and the game will played in front of a sellout crowd, possibly the biggest in the history of Pitt football.

That last part is what has the two fan bases going after each other this morning. As everyone knows, for many reasons, Pitt has had trouble selling tickets and hasn’t hosted many sellout crowds over the last 20+ years. That fact is what made today’s announcement of a sellout crowd big news at Pitt.

As to be expected, especially between real rivals, the West Virginia fan base has hopped all over the news of a sellout and are patting themselves on the back for making that possible.

While that may or may not be true, it doesn’t matter because such a minute topic like this has the two fan bases fired up and we’re still 27 days away from the kickoff.

I know that in today’s screwed-up world of college athletics, this won’t happen but it’s the exact reason why Pitt and West Virginia and Pitt and Penn State should be playing each other on a yearly basis.

At least we’ll be able to enjoy this build up and the actual on-field game for the next few years. It sure beats games against New Hampshire, Rhode Island or some other meaningless non-conference game.

Let’s hope that Heather Lyke and Shane Lyons can somehow find a way to do the impossible and sign a long-term deal that would ensure Pitt and West Virginia play each other every season.

The only thing that would make this game even better is if both Pitt and West Virginia were both nationally ranked.

From all indications, Narduzzi has Pitt on the path to do that and could be ranked when the initial Associated Press and Coaches Rankings are revealed. However, the Mountaineers are still a long way away from being ranked, which is why the WVU fan base has to hang their hats on crowds and irrelevant facts. The “Climb” is going a lot slower than anticipated.

I’m just doing my part to keep the fan bases engaged, LOL.

See everyone at Acrisure Stadium on September 1!

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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James Redding
James Redding
12 days ago

PSN …. Suggest you start a petition to persuade Lyke and Lyons to sign an annual deal between the schools. There is no reason why this cant be done. Get it started and include WVU fans

Pittband
Pittband
12 days ago
Reply to  James Redding

Chancellor Gallagher, watch the alumni donations fall if this happens.

Pittband
Pittband
12 days ago

Maybe Vukovcan should have to endure the chant “Eat S**t (his Alma mater) here for fifty years. Or have batteries thrown at you. Or have West Virginia police respond when ask to stop WV fans from throwing coins at the band “They’ll run out of money soon”. Or have three generations of family stand by the road as the band bus passes with their middle fingers extended. Or have a rock smash the window next to you “2009 Shady McCoy”. All above true. And you wonder why I am so adamant about NEVER giving those miscreants the time of day.… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Pittband
WVU Class of 1988
WVU Class of 1988
12 days ago
Reply to  Pittband

You bet. The violent behavior is ridiculous. If you grew up in WV, as I did, you would recognize that, for whatever reason, it’s just a violent culture. I moved away from there 20 years ago and will never relocate back there. But, to be fair, I don’t believe the Pitt fans have been necessarily gracious over the decades either. Both fan bases have their share of childish idiots. The good thing is, those of us old enough to remember this as a rivalry- in fact, by the time I was in school the rivalry was somewhat waning in favor… Read more »

SRS
SRS
12 days ago
Reply to  Pittband

This coming from a PITT person knowing full well that EIEIEIO license plate was announced at PITT stadium. And if you were in the Marching Band you’ll know P-E-N-N-S-T Sucks was part of the chants for a long while until Steve Pederson and Walt Harris got rid of Script helmets for Panther imagery and introduced University of Pittsburgh instead of PITT. . And if you know anything about PITT football history and maybe you were in the Band in the late 80s and early 90s you’ll know Beano Cook thought PITT was going to drop football because they were not… Read more »

Pittband
Pittband
12 days ago
Reply to  SRS

WV was excluded because their academics, Syracuse was and Pitt is a member of the Association of American Universities. Louisville was added because their patron saint, then senate majority leader, Mitchell McConnell used his persuasiveness with a NC Senator to bypass the ACC entrance requirements.

Pittband
Pittband
12 days ago
Reply to  SRS

PS sucks was a lot earlier than the 80’s. And it’s true.
Roger Houston got fired for the EIEIO stunt. Meanwhile the WV President says nothing about the guttural insults.

Section 122
Section 122
12 days ago
Reply to  Pittband

I hate to be the guy to break it to you but the average fan is willing to sacrifice the bands feelings to see this game annually.

Eli
Eli
12 days ago

I get the impression WVU fans hate Pitt fans a lot more than the reverse. But I agree that Pitt for whatever reason hasn’t been able to cultivate a legit rival since joining the ACC. Too much inconsistency, year to year.

Pittband
Pittband
12 days ago
Reply to  Eli

Because sports writers like Vukovcan can’t get past their memories.

Curt Lindner
Curt Lindner
11 days ago
Reply to  Eli

The main problem is that you need a fan base and COMPARED TO WVU PITT HAS NO FAN BASE! As the story suggested, IF NOT FOR THE MOUNTAINEER FANBASE, PITT WOULD BE LUCKY TO PUT 40% OF CAPACITY IN THE STADIUM. I am simply stating a true fact. Talk bad and fling all of the crap you like, but IN LESS THAN A MONTH THE MOUNTAINEER FAITHFUL WILL DESCEND UPON THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH AND LEAVE WITH A VICTORY!
# TRUST THE CLIMB

Bill in NC
Bill in NC
12 days ago

Agree that college football needs its rivalries, but as I’ve gotten older I have to disagree with: “There is nothing better than legitimate hatred“. Having children now, I want to be able to take them to games and enjoy it and not have idiot fans ruin the experience, which intensifies with those types of games. For me, I’m glad we’re playing WVU again, but honestly glad at this point we’re not playing PSU as I don’t like the “real-world” feelings of what happened there and just essentially getting a slap on the write for it, etc., cloud my enjoyment of… Read more »

Tom Salerno
Tom Salerno
11 days ago

With Big 12 X-Big 8 in total meltdown Time for ACC to invite Mountaineers into the conference. Let Penn State & ND go to Big10 who cares. They are to narcissistic to join ACC anyway.

Dukes

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