November 13, 2006

Pitt big as ever, but short week limits build-up

MORGANTOWN--Big as ever, Rich Rodriguez admits that Thursday's Backyard Brawl with Pitt may be a tad diminished on the national scene due to circumstantial evidence.

One, it comes at the tail end of a short week and, two, it gets lost in the broad scheme because ultimately every game is big now because the Mountaineers and Panthers are playing in the Big East.

Rod is 3-2 lifetime against the I-79 rival as a coach and 2-1 as a player (1982-84).

"I don't know if (the records) make it a factor one way or another; particularly in a rivalry game. I mentioned that to our players today. We will never have a bigger rivalry than Pitt--ever," Rodriguez told media Sunday night.

"If you've gone to West Virginia--or are going to West Virginia--Pitt will always be your biggest rival," he said.

BCS 8th-ranked West Virginia (8-1 overall, 3-1 Big East) and Pitt (6-4, 2-3) are both playing for post-season bowls. The Mountaineers would like to play for a BCS event, while Pitt has lost three in a row. It would make the Panthers' season to beat the favored rival and probably earn them a first-time bowl berth under second-year coach Dave Wannstedt.

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