While Pat Narduzzi feels like there’s nothing difficult about playing an early-season rivalry game, since both teams just have to do it, it might not be the case for the Backyard Brawl going forward.
The Backyard Brawl will obviously take place on Thursday, Sept. 1 this season, the earliest edition of the Brawl since 1991 and the second earliest in the rivalry’s history, but Pat Narduzzi hinted that future Brawls could take place in a more familiar setting.
“I think when you look at the tradition of it, back when I remembered it, I haven’t gone back to look when it was played,” Narduzzi said Monday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “It was around Thanksgiving. I remember watching that thing in Youngstown, Ohio, on a weekend, Thanksgiving. In the future that might be where it ends up being, late in the season.”
Dating back to 1997, the earliest the Brawl ever took place was Nov. 15 — the 2003 matchup. And since the 1993 matchup, the Brawl has consistently been played over the second half of the season, in late November to be specific.
1997: Nov. 28
1998: Nov. 27
1999: Nov. 27
2000: Nov. 24
2001: Nov. 24
2002: Nov. 30
2003: Nov. 15
2004: Nov. 25
2005: Nov. 24
2006: Nov. 16
2007: Dec. 1
2008: Nov. 28
2009: Nov. 27
2010: Nov. 26
2011: Nov. 25
The Brawl has been extended to include a stretch of games between 2022-25 and 2029-32, and those games could eventually wind up once again occurring during Rivalry Week in college football. With the exception of Notre Dame and Bowl games, Pitt hasn’t played a non-conference opponent any deeper into the season than a then-Independent Navy in 2013 — an Oct. 26 game.
But if we look at other ACC schools, even just this season, we see some rivalry matchups taking place on the last weekend of November.
Florida State will host Florida on Nov. 25, Clemson will host South Carolina on Nov. 26, Louisville will travel to Kentucky on Nov. 26 and Georgia Tech will travel to Georgia on Nov. 26.
If there’s any weekend that the Backyard Brawl should be taking place on an annual basis, it’s Rivalry Weekend in November.