Backyard Brawl Guest Contribution: The Sports Dude


This week, we’re doing something a little different at

I’ve asked two pro-WVU sports bloggers to give their take on Friday’s Backyard Brawl, as well as take on the current state of WVU Football. Without further ado, I present to you, The Sports Dude’s take…


Old habits die hard. Ordinarily I would not use such language in a post, but since I was a young child, I hated Pitt. I always loved the quote from the late, great WVU and Pittsburgh Steelers broadcaster, Jack Fleming. Fleming fondly recalled a conversation as a child with his late mother. His mother told him, “Son, that’s Pitt. You hate Pitt now. You hate Pitt tomorrow. You hate Pitt until the day you die. After that, you will hate Pitt for eternity.” Every true Mountaineer fan hates Pitt.  Next to a Mountaineer victory, the biggest cheers you will hear at a home football game is when the P.A. announcer broadcasts that Pitt has lost.

This week marks the 103rd meeting of the Backyard Brawl. The last 10 meetings have been evenly split at 5-5. As usual, this year’s Backyard Brawl will have Big East Title implications.  Pitt controls its own destiny in the Big East.  If Pitt beats WVU, it will be just one win away (next week at Cincinnati) or one Connecticut loss away from winning the Big East. Both coaches are on the hot seat at their respective universities. Since Wannstedt’s arrival, the expectations at Pitt have been overwhelming. Wannstedt’s teams have consistently underperformed in critical games this year (see Utah, Miami, Notre Dame, and Connecticut) and in past years.

I would best describe the Bill Stewart Era as a “Grease Fire”! Objectivity goes out the window when talking about Bill Stewart as the WVU Head Coach. Most educated football fans have always suspected that Stewart was not qualified to be the WVU Head Coach, and they know something is wrong in Morgantown. Stewart supporters point out his 25-11 record over three years.  A 25-11 record over a three year span might be fantastic in the SEC but not in the Big East.  Recruiting has suffered over the past 3 years and this year’s recruiting class may be the worst rated recruiting class in the past 6 years.  Bill Stewart seems to be “nice” man. I want to like him as a person. I like his enthusiasm as a representative of West Virginia University. I do not like him as the Head Coach of a multi-million dollar college football program. The biggest number to remember about the Bill Stewart Era is ZERO. Zero BCS bowl games, Zero Big East Titles, and Zero Top 10 Finishes. Look at Michigan’s offense today.  That was OUR offense just 4 years ago! Stewart has managed to take a Jaguar and turn it into a Volkswagen in less than 3 years.

It pains me to say this but my prediction for this week’s Backyard Brawl is:

Pitt 21, WVU 17.

Our defense, which has been spectacular at times and consistent all year, will keep us in the game. Our offense has underachieved given the weapons it possesses. Devine, Sanders, Austin and Smith should not be the 79th rated offense in FBS rankings. Too many weapons and too little production. Stewart has yet to have a “signature road win” since his arrival at WVU, and I doubt a road win over an unranked, 6-4 Pitt team will qualify as a signature road win. I hope I am wrong about my prediction, but if WVU loses to Pitt let us hope our new A.D. Oliver Luck “leaves no doubt” and starts the football rebuilding process by hiring a new Head Coach. Does anyone have Mike Leach’s phone number?

The Sports Dude can be followed on Twitter @ImTheSportsDude (!/ImTheSportsDude) and his blog posts can be followed at