College Football’s Top 25 Games in 2011: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia

Last Updated: July 14th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Current Pittsburgh @ West Virginia Game Odds Can Be Found Below

2011-12 Top 25 College Football Games of the Year
#25 Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers

The “Backyard Brawl” is always one of the biggest games of the season, and this year, it really could be the difference between which one of these teams ends up moving on to the Orange Bowl to play in the BCS. There is a lot of different flavor in this game this year though, as both teams have new head coaches to break in that will be playing in this rivalry for the very first time.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers Picks & Info
Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers Date: Friday, November 25th, 2011
Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers Location: Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV
Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers Spread: West Virginia Mountaineers -4.5

The biggest question for the Panthers is the style of offense that they are going to be running under Head Coach Todd Graham. Graham brought over the majority of his staff from Tulsa in the offseason, but it is clear that QB Tino Sunseri isn’t running the same offense that any of these Tulsa QBs have run in years past. That being said, the pace could be picked up quite a bit, and a team that averaged just 367.1 yards per game could be significantly improved. Watch out for RB Dion Lewis, who could be poised for a huge junior season after a year full of injuries and setbacks as a sophomore.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Past Games (Since 1995)
2010: West Virginia 35 – Pittsburgh 10
2009: West Virginia 19 – Pittsburgh 16
2008: Pittsburgh 19 – West Virginia 15
2007: Pittsburgh 13 – West Virginia 9
2006: West Virginia 45 – Pittsburgh 27
2005: West Virginia 45 – Pittsburgh 13
2004: Pittsburgh 16 – West Virginia 13
2003: West Virginia 52 – Pittsburgh 31
2002: West Virginia 24 – Pittsburgh 17
2001: Pittsburgh 23 – West Virginia 13
2000: Pittsburgh 38 – West Virginia 28
1999: West Virginia 52 – Pittsburgh 21
1998: West Virginia 52 – Pittsburgh 14
1997: Pittsburgh 41 – West Virginia 38
1996: West Virginia 34 – Pittsburgh 0
1995: West Virginia 21 – Pittsburgh 0

For WVU, it’s all about the defense. This squad knows that it has the goods to shut down any offense that comes its way; after all, this unit did rank No. 4 in the country last year in scoring (13.5 PPG) and total defense (263.5 YPG). Offensively, the big issue is whether QB Geno Smith is really going to be able to pick up the slack or not. He threw for 2,763 yards last season, which really isn’t good enough for a QB that isn’t all that mobile. However, he only threw seven picks against 24 TDs, three of those scores of which came against U-Pitt last year.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ West Virginia Mountaineers @ 5Dimes Sportsbook (as of 7/11/11):
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Pittsburgh Panthers (+4.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 @ 6:19 am (EST)
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