WVU vs. Pitt: How to Watch, What Channel

by Suzanne Halliburton

College football starts in full force Thursday night, with West Virginia and Pitt giving us one of the most tantalizing games on the schedule. You can’t go wrong with the “Backyard Brawl.”

Plus, it’s been 11 years since Pitt and West Virginia, two long-time rivals from the old Big East Conference. have faced each other.

You can tune in to Pitt-West Virginia at 7 p.m./Eastern, Thursday. ESPN is showing it as the network’s primetime game. You can also stream it on the ESPN app. College football is as much about passion and rivalries as play on the field. And Pitt-West Virginia has all that.

John Antonik, the WVU athletic director, described the rivalry to ESPN. It’s all about the blue collar mentality.

“The thing is, we’re all basically the same people,” Antonik said. “The people in West Virginia are coal miners, and a lot of the people that supported Pitt are steel workers. So you’ve got the mills and the mines. So from that respect, it’s similar. But culturally, [Pitt] is an urban campus, West Virginia’s a rural campus, even though we’re only 75 miles away.

But when West Virginia accepted an invitation to join the Big 12, that paused the Backyard Brawl. That pause ended Thursday with a raucous crowd at Acrisure Stadium.

J.T. Daniels, who has started for both USC and Georgia, is QB 1 for the Mountaineers tonight in Pitt-West Virginia and the Backyard Brawl. (John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Here’s why you should tune in to watch West Virginia-Pitt.

For one, check out the quarterbacks. WVU coach Neal Brown revealed that the Mountaineers starter will be J.T. Daniels. And if you’re a fan of college football, you know this guy, but not as a Mountaineer. WVU is his third school. A top recruit out of high school, Daniels first played for Southern California as a freshman. That was in 2018. He threw for 2,672 yards passing and 14 touchdowns his first season. But his sophomore year was forgettable, only because he suffered a season-ending leg injury in the first game.

Daniels transferred to Georgia, where he was a part-time starter in 2020 and 2021. However, he eventually got beaten out by Stetson Bennett. Since Bennett won a national championship for the Bulldogs, Daniels transferred to West Virginia, where he’ll be playing for new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. If you love passing, you know Harrell, the former star at Texas Tech who also was an offensive coordinator for the USC Trojans.

Meanwhile, Pitt also is going with a new QB versus West Virginia. Kenny Pickett led the Panthers to glory last season. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Pickett in the first round of April’s NFL draft. Kedon Slovis now is the new QB at Pitt. And guess what. He, too, first played at USC. In fact, when Daniels went down with his leg injury, Slovis earned the starting job with the Trojans and earned Pac 12 freshman of the year honors.

So Pitt-West Virginia truly could be a backyard brawl, even without the catchy nickname.