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West Virginia to renew many historic rivalries in upcoming seasons

On February 22nd, Shane Lyons announced a home and home series with the University of Alabama in 2026, only adding to the already high excitement of Mountaineer fans as the Neal Brown era starts in Morgantown. While the series with the Tide is still years away, some of our favorite rivalries will also be renewed during the next few years.

During the next five seasons, Neal Brown will get a shot at other out of conference opponents like Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and Penn State. During this stretch, the Mountaineers will get a shot at some of the highest level of competition in collegiate football.

Najee Goode records a sack for West Virginia.

In the 2020 season, West Virginia will have a chance to start out the season on a high note in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game against the Florida State Seminoles in Atlanta, Georgia. While being winless in three attempts against the Noles, the two teams haven’t played since the Gator Bowl in 2010, where the Mountaineers lost to coach Bobby Bowden, despite 168 yards from Noel Devine.

In a tough and exciting 2022 season on paper, West Virginia will get a shot at both Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh, after facing the Hokies the year before in Morgantown. The Mountaineers home game with the Hokies will be the first true home game since a 2005 loss, but will ignite a series that has played fifty-two times throughout history, featuring many historic moments for both sides. West Virginia has the 28-23 edge, but has fallen in the past three games. 

Quincy Wilson rushes against the Hokies in 2003.

The Backyard Brawl will be renewed in 2022, in a highly anticipated series that will be played during the 2022-2025 stretch. The game has been played 104 times throughout history, with Pitt having a comfortable margin historically. Due to the proximity of the two schools, both stadiums will likely be sold out, offering a high intensity environment for both schools.

Another exciting matchup for the Mountaineers will be a home and home series during the 2023 and 2024 seasons. This series hasn’t been played since the early 90s with Joe Paterno coaching the Nittany Lions, so both teams will look drastically different from the last time the two schools competed. The Mountaineers last win against PSU was in the historic 1988 season, where the Mountaineers handed coach Paterno one of his worst losses of his career, highlighted by the famous scramble by quarterback Major Harris, still standing as one of the best plays in Mountaineer history.  

Since joining the Big 12, many of West Virginia’s annual rivalries have taken a backseat during the Mountaineers out of conference schedule. While meetings have occurred in other sports like basketball and soccer during the past few seasons, these football matchups will give bragging rights to the victorious school, and will give the Mountaineers an opportunity to advance their national standing as a football team.

With so many incredible moments from these rivals over the years, what is your favorite Mountaineer moment from any of the schools we’re set to play?

Major Harris scrambles for a touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions in 1988.

Photo Credit: WVU Athletics

Statistics: WVU Athletics

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