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West Virginia vs. Pitt: The best rivalry game in Week 1 of college football

As we head into Week 1 of college football, we take a look at the best rivalry game of the week

Quarterback Davis Beville (17) of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Michigan State Spartans on December 30, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s finally Week 1, and while there are a lot of banner matchups this weekend that will have you stress-flipping channels to keep up with it all, we wanted to take a look at the best rivalry game of the weekend.

While the cross-conference Notre Dame-Ohio State, Utah-Florida, and Cincinnati-Arkansas games all promise to be exciting viewing on Saturday, none of them really qualify as a good old-fashioned rivalry. But the Backyard Brawl returning on Thursday night after an 11-year hiatus between the No. 17 Pittsburgh Panthers and West Virginia Mountaineers most certainly qualifies — the two teams have played 104 games over 127 years. Despite the recent pause in the series. Pitt leads all-time, 60-41-3.

Both teams will start quarterbacks pulled out of the transfer portal — USC’s Kedon Slovis is now at Pitt, and Georgia’s JT Daniels is under center for WVU. Pitt saw a remarkable 11-3 season last year under the leadership of Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett, and they’ll be looking to recapture the magic that led to the Panthers’ first-ever ACC Championship.

The Mountaineers will return nine starters from 2021 to Pitt’s 14, and saw a lot of turnover on their offensive staff this offseason, including at the OC position. This will be a challenge for them in a hostile away environment.

Pitt vs. West Virginia Odds for 2022 from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Pitt -7.5
Total: Over/Under 52.5
Moneyline: Pitt -300, West Virgina +250

ROAD TEAM: West Virginia 0-0 (0-0 Big 12)

HOME TEAM: Pitt 0-0 (0-0 ACC)

The Pick

PITT (-300)

Head coach Pat Narduzzi used the transfer portal well in the offseason despite some major losses, and the Panthers have the momentum from last season as well as the advantages in returning talent and home stadium. I’m curious to see how the oft-injured Daniels fares with the Mountaineers, and I’m not counting them out for the season, but it has to be Pitt on Thursday.