Holgorsen, naturally, is quick to caution against expecting anything similar in Friday night's Backyard Brawl because there really aren't as many scheme similarities as one might think.
"It's not the same system,'' Holgorsen said of Graham's Panthers compared to Tulsa. "He'll say the same thing about my system and me. It's different than when I was at Houston or Oklahoma State.
"You can't just keep things the same from place to place based on personnel and who your players are. You have to fit your players. It is not exactly the same scheme.''
There does seem to exist, however, the potential for another shootout between the teams coached by Holgorsen and Pitt. West Virginia leads the Big East in passing, total offense and scoring, while Pitt is mired in the middle of the pack in all of those comparative defensive categories.
Then again, West Virginia's defense ranks roughly the same as Pitt's overall and the Mountaineers have done themselves few favors in the kicking game most of the season, so surrendering points could offset any offensive explosions.
The bottom line, though, is the old saying that all coaches like to bring up when talk shifts to schemes and familiarity - that the Jimmys and the Joes are more important than the X's and the O's. So even if Holgorsen and Graham think they have a great bead on what the other has planned, execution is still the wild card.
"At the end of the day it's about being able to execute and stop them from executing. That's where the challenge is,'' Graham said. "There's a lot of familiarity on both sides. But it's about this set of players.
"College football is about matchups. They're trying to get the ball to their best players, and we're trying to do the same thing. They do a very good job. They have a really good scheme. I think we have a good scheme, too. Being able to go against each other has contributed to where we are at. I think going against people that are really good makes you better."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.