The wait is over. It’s been more than a decade for fans from West Virginia and Pittsburgh, but the Backyard Brawl is back on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Mountaineers and Panthers will face each other for the first time since 2011, before the two schools left for different conferences. WVU landed in the Big 12 and Pitt in the ACC. It took until 2022 for the two rivals to get the brawl going again. This installment will have less meaning for conference standings but more meaning everywhere else.
The Panthers are coming off their best season since 2009, going 11-2 during the regular season to win the ACC title. Pitt ended up losing its bowl game to Michigan State. The Panthers also lost QB Kenny Pickett to the NFL Draft. Kedon Slovis transferred in from USC and the Panthers enter the 2022 season ranked 17th in the AP poll.
The Mountaineers are into the fourth season under head coach Neal Brown. So far, his record is 17-18 over three seasons. WVU has failed to win more than six games in each of those campaigns, but there’s some optimism that could change this season. J.T. Daniels transferred in from Georgia to be the starting QB. The Mountaineers will also bring back two of their top wideouts on offense — Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Sam James. RBs Tony Mathis and Justin Johnson should form a solid duo as well.
The Panthers are favored at -7.5 on the spread at home and are -300 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 51.5 points.
West Virginia vs. No. 17 Pittsburgh
If you aren’t around a TV to watch the game, you can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app. But keep in mind that you need a cable-login subscription. If you don’t have a cable login to access ESPN for a live stream, you can get a free trial from YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Stream, FuboTV, or Sling TV to stream the game.