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Gather ‘round the crystal ball while our soothsayers take a glimpse at what’s to come when the Mountaineers take on Pitt in the 106th Backyard Brawl

The time has come once again for the staff here at The Smoking Musket and a very special guest to put on our Nostradamus robes and hats to glean from the future. Without further ado.

Joel Bracken


Backs against the wall, Neal has to get it done this week. This Pitt team is not good, and we may not be either, but this is our program’s measuring stick. A nervous, low-scoring first half with a healthy dose of running from both teams. I think it comes down to which QB makes the big play and avoids the mistake. We force two turnovers on Jurkovec and defend home turf.

West Virginia 27 - Pitt 17

Jordan Pinto


This Pitt team is considerably worse than the one we had beat on the road last year, and we get them at home, at night. I’m expecting an angry team and an angry crowd, and I don’t think they’re ready for it.

We ran it for 2 bills on a much better front 7 last year, and I expect that to set the tone for the entire game. On the other side, Jurkovec is a downgrade from Slovis (who was a downgrade from Pickett) and is a twinkle toes sissy when pressured, which happens to be the one thing we’ve been decent at defensively. It might be the only time that it happens this year, but for one week I think Neal Brown finally gets everything to go right and we take care of business comfortably.

West Virginia 34 - Pitt 17



As much as I don’t believe in Neal, this game is at home, at night, in prime time. Saturday starts the redemption story.

West Virginia 24 - Pitt 17



Despite my own pessimism about the Neal Brown Experience™️ I think this is a very winnable game that will come down to WVU’s ability to execute on offense and limit defensive disaster in the secondary.

West Virginia 31 - Pitt 20

Nick Shoemaker


I think this Backyard Brawl is going to be a shootout. The WVU secondary is going to make mistakes which will allow Pitt to score, but the Mountaineers’ ability to run the ball could open up more opportunities for them to score on the ground and through the air. I predict WVU pulls away in the fourth quarter to win the Brawl.

West Virginia 48 - Pitt 36


WVU ML ● West Virginia -3

I’m picking us to win, mainly because of the Chad Scott play-calling we saw in the 2nd half last week. If he doesn’t call the plays, this may all be for naught.

West Virginia 28 - Pitt 20

Josh Whitt


Home game. Night game. Revenge game. The band-aid this coaching staff, players, and fan base need.

West Virginia 31 - Pitt 27

Matt Kirchner


Neal Brown has a two game stretch in front of him where two home wins against mid as hell teams can suddenly provide a complete narrative shift going into the second month of the season. I think he gets the first one. If he wants to keep his job, he has to beat this mediocre Pitt team at home. We’ll see what the rest of the season brings but I think Brown gets a win against Pitt that the entire fanbase desperately needs.

West Virginia 28 - Pitt 21

Michael Miller

WVU ML ● West Virginia -3

I think I’m pretty good at getting a sense of how the vibe is, and I don’t think I’ve felt it like this since the LSU game. Night games in Morgantown have been few and far between over the last few years and, if I’m being honest, the ones we did have just didn’t feel like they used to.

But this one does.

I think the 60,000+ fans that will be packed into Milan Puskar Stadium are going to play a role in this one. The energy in the stadium is going to be palpable. You can already feel it in Morgantown.

Garrett Greene will have a strong showing, but the Mountaineers are going to win this one on the ground. CJ Donaldson eclipses 150 yards and WVU wins what turns into a shootout in the second half.

West Virginia 35 - Pitt 24

West Virginia ML ● WVU -3

The Panthers will leave Morgantown a mewling, whimpering mess as Garret Greene, Huddy and the boys electrify the crowd. Pat White and Steve Slaton show up for a surprise panther growl tribute in the 4th quarter.

Pepperoni rolls and deer jerky flood the streets of Morgantown as the Backyard Brawl see the good guys victorious.

West Virginia 31 - Pitt 14

We want to give a huge thanks to Philip for taking the time out of his busy schedule to play along with us. Be sure to check out his brand new album, “Old Kanawha,” available now on Apple Music and Spotify, and give him a follow on his social media.

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Here’s the title track from the album, featuring Charles Wesley Godwin.

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