By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The craziness of the Big East Conference continues and both Pitt and West Virginia still have a shot at a Big East title.

That means the Backyard Brawl carries a ton of importance aside from a year’s worth of bragging rights.

Five Big East teams still have a shot at the conference title: Pitt, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville. Of those five teams, only Pitt and WVU face each other head to head the rest of the season.

The winner of the Backyard Brawl will still have a chance at a BCS bowl while the loser will be eliminated from the conversation.

Here’s what Pitt and West Virginia need to win the Big East:

Pitt Panthers (5-5, 3-2 Big East):

First and foremost, the Panthers must win out. That means wins against West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl Friday and then against Syracuse the following Saturday at Heinz Field.

Along with two wins, Pitt needs Cincinnati to drop one of its final two games against Syracuse and UConn. Pitt will also need Rutgers to lose its final game against UConn.

The Panthers own a head-to-head tiebreaker over Louisville, but lost to Cincinnati and Rutgers, meaning both have to lose.

The biggest game of importance coming up outside of the Brawl is Rutgers at UConn Saturday at noon. If the Scarlet Knights win then Pitt’s title chances are over.

West Virginia Mountaineers (7-3, 3-2 Big East):

Just like Pitt, WVU’s first priority is winning out. After Friday’s Brawl the Mountaineers head to South Florida for a season-ending game against the Bulls in Thursday night prime time action.

West Virginia owns head-to-head tiebreakers with Rutgers and Cincinnati but lost to Louisville, meaning the Mountaineers need Louisville to lose its final game of the season against USF Friday morning.

There is still a chance WVU could win the conference even if Louisville wins out, but it’s not favorable. The Mountaineers would need Rutgers or Cincinnati to be part of a tiebreaker scenario.

That’s something I can’t fully comprehend or predict right now, so we’ll see how it all plays out.

So there you have it. Pitt needs to win and get help with Cincinnati and Rutgers losses. WVU needs to win and get help from a Louisville loss.

It should be fun to see how everything plays out.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog

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