West Virginia-Pitt: Backyard Brawl Loaded with BCS Drama

Greg JulianContributor INovember 27, 2007

Now that West Virginia has wrapped up the Big East Conference title, just one question remains: can they survive the "Curse of No. 2"?

With the "Backyard Brawl" looming against Pitt this weekend in Morgantown, the Mountaineers have moved up in the national polls.

West Virginia is ranked No. 1 by the USA Today Coaches poll, and No. 2 in both the Associated Press and BCS polls, just behind Missouri, who knocked off Kansas on Saturday.

This season, six No. 2 teams have fallen, with Boston College surviving the longest—two weeks—before stumbling against Florida State.

Can WVU hang on one more week and make it to No. 1?

Odds favor the Mountaineers to win on Saturday and clinch a berth in the BCS Championship game in New Orleans.

This year's edition of the Brawl has stepped up the need for preparation by West Virginia.

Coach Rich Rodriguez has to keep his team focused on this week's game and not allow them to get distracted by the hype surrounding the program as they move into the national spotlight.

Pitt owns a 59-37-3 lead in the series, while West Virginia has a 15-10-2 edge since its stadium opened in 1980.

The Mountaineers are looking to improve on that record this weekend.

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt is looking to salvage a poor season with a good showing against the No. 2 team in the BCS, and the rivalry associated with this game means the records can be thrown out the window.

WVU can't have a letdown or poor performance like they did in the South Florida game, nor repeat the errors that occurred against both Louisville and Rutgers.

IconPitt will key on quarterback Pat White and try to pressure running back Steve Slaton, who has been plagued this season with minor injuries that have hampered his performance.

With the emergence of freshman running back Noel Devine as a legitimate threat, though, Coach Rodriguez has plenty of offensive weapons to choose from.

Defensively, West Virginia has struggled at times against short yardage passing.

But a solid outing last week against UConn proved that, when they make plays, WVU is more than deserving of a title shot.

Special teams play may make the difference in this game, and the Mountaineers have shown they can make the big play when needed.

This week's game will come down to desire.

Pitt has to end their season on a positive note and build for the future.

West Virginia is looking to secure a position in the BCS Championship and win their first-ever National Title.

There has never been a more exciting time to be a Mountaineer fan.