Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/25/11

If that is truly the final Backyard Brawl, then West Virginia gave its fans a performance to remember.

Tino Sunseri, well, gave Pittsburgh fans a shot to the gut.

After leading 17-7 at halftime, West Virginia's defense played like the 2010 version and held the Panthers to just a field goal and sacked Sunseri 10 times.

Sunseri has had his issues in the past, but Friday's performance was just more proof why the Panthers need to find a better option. He held onto the ball too long and was a big reason why West Virginia was able to pull out a 21-20 victory.

Even with the clock running down in the final minute of the game, Sunseri kept taking sacks and was flagged for illegal grounding.

And this was happening against a WVU defense that has been average at best in 2011.

 

The underlying theme of the night, though, was this may have been the final Backyard Brawl. After playing this game 104 times, the Mountaineers (8-3) and Panthers (5-6) are heading to different conferences in the future.

WVU hopes to be in the Big 12 next year, while Pitt plans to join the ACC with Syracuse in 2014. At this point, there are no plans to continue this rivalry.

That would be a shame for both programs, as this game is as heated as any in the country. The atmosphere in Morgantown was electric. WVU's fans went quiet early when Pitt built a 14-0 lead, but they quickly got back into the mood with a score.

West Virginia's win cleared up the Big East race a little as well.

If Cincinnati loses to either Syracuse on Saturday or to Connecticut next week then Louisville at 7-5 will represent the conference in a BCS Bowl. The Cardinals would also go if WVU loses to South Florida. If Cincinnati, WVU and Louisville all finish at 5-2 in the league, it will more than likely be the Mountaineers who represent the league.

We may have an answer Saturday. If not, we'll wait a week.

For now, the Mountaineers just want to enjoy a sloppy, but important win over their biggest rival.

WVU has now won three Backyard Brawls in a row, but whether they get a chance to improve on that run is in the hands of the respective athletic directors.

Hey guys, get something done because these types of games should not come to an end because of realignment.

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