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West Virginia Football: Why Pitt Is Afraid To Play WVU

After Pitt Football Head Coach Pat Narduzzi and Dana Holgorsen took jabs at the once nationally revered rivalry, It's clear Pitt is afraid to play West Virginia.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, University of Pittsburgh Head Football Coach Pat Narduzzi was quoted as saying that he would love to play WVU again, but, their instate rivalry with Penn State is more important than an out-of-state rivalry with WVU.

By the time Penn State and Pitt play on September 10th, 2016, they will have not played for 16 years and Penn State is 23-8 versus Pitt since 1966.

The talk surrounding the Backyard Brawl since it's conclusion in 2011 has been that WVU's Athletic Department personnel and Dana Holgorsen are very open to the idea of scheduling the Backyard Brawl. WVU has put the, "ball in Pittsburgh's court," and they have time-and-time again, backed down."

So why wouldn't two major rivals who are only a 90 minute drive from each other play?

Pitt is afraid to play WVU.

Pitt knows it has had a hard time beating WVU in recent memory. Since 1992, WVU is 14-6 versus Pitt. In that time, the Mountaineers have outscored the Panthers 653-387.

Pitt also knows that Mountaineer fans have been known to travel well, especially when the campuses are split by just 70 miles. Pitt has likely noticed WVU fans have also traveled to Big 12 games in droves even though Morgantown is hundreds of miles away from it's closest conference opponent.

A well traveled fanbase (WVU) matched up against a home fanbase (Pitt) that hardly shows up is a recipe for disaster for the home team. On the contrary, when the games are at Milan Puskar Stadium, there aren't enough seats in the stadium for all the Mountaineer faithful that want to attend.

Pitt fans also don't want their, "world class research institution," to play schools with passionate fans like WVU's. They'd rather lose to Akron instead.

Pitt seems to be quick to forget about Penn States recent scandal.

Finally, Pitt knows that WVU has recently tapped into the Panthers hometown recruiting pipeline. The 2015-2016 WVU Football roster boasts seven players from the Pittsburgh area. That includes running back Rushel Shell who transferred directly from Pitt to WVU.

If the Mountaineers were to dominate the Panthers, which judging by recent recruiting seems inevitable, many Pittsburgh recruits would think twice about choosing Pitt over WVU.