When: Friday, 7pm, ESPN
Line: WVU -7.5
West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 3,497 yards, 24 TD, 5 INT
Dustin Garrison, RB: 600 rushing yards, 5 TD
Tavon Austin, WR: 1,964 all-purpose yards, 6 total TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 57 rec, 1,037 yards, 10 TD
Pittsburgh Players to Watch:
Tino Sunseri, QB: 2037 yards, 9 TD, 8 INT
Zach Brown, RB: 269 rushing yards, 4 TD
Devin Street, WR: 39 rec, 572 yards, 2 TD
Aaron Donald, DL, 33 total tackles, 9 sacks, 12.5 TFL
Bye Week Blues? That's what happened last time for the Mountaineers coming off a bye. They were just hammered by Syracuse. They were slow, soft, sluggish, uninspired etc... They were just flat out awful. If they can't get up for the Backyard Brawl then stick a knife into this season. There is no doubt Pitt will be ready to play, considering they still have a chance at the BCS bid as well.
Can WVU find a balanced game? If it isn't one thing, its another. That has been the story all year. If all three units did find a way to play cohesively, you would see a team that would have rolled through the Big East. Instead it has been an uphill battle.
Can Tino Sunseri manage this team in a hostile environment? Good question. Pitt has struggled against above-.500 teams this season, and will have to deal with a packed house. Sunseri can't make mistakes or Pitt won't last in this game. WVU will certainly put points on the board. Can the Panthers keep up?
Is this one of the last Backyard Brawls? With both teams leaving the Big East, it makes you wonder. I hope the series continues. It's one of the best rivalries in college sports, and would be a shame if schools that close to one-another stop playing. Hell, it's pathetic now that both don't play Penn State every year as well. So, here's to another 100+ years of the Backyard Brawl.