SWEET 16!!

It was dicey, but this group of guys showed that I’m an idiot — and that they are all heart.

MVP Joe Mazzulla: 13 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 100% effort all damn day

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Smilin’ Bill From New Martinsville!

Smilin Bill

As I’m sure you’ve all heard Bill Stewart is going to be named WVU’s new head football coach. He has the support of the administration, the state, and most importantly the players.¬†¬†Also I can’t take credit for the nickname because I heard it on the radio.

[Hoppy broke the story WV MetroNews]

Turning Point

I have never felt this way after a WVU loss and I have seen a lot of them. I want to pull a Nancy Kerrigan and scream, “Why me, Why now, WHY!” I keep taking deep breaths hoping that empty feeling disappears, but it stays and even grows.

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My Expectations Are Unreasonable


I am finally coming to grips with the fact that I am a Nebraska fan. Or an Alabama fan. Or a Michigan, Ohio State, USC, LSU, etc. fan. I might not wear the colors of those teams (well, except Michigan, but that’s a coincidence), but I have much in common with their fans. We all have unreasonably high expectations.

This is a departure from my expectations growing up as a Mountaineer fan. I was only 6 in 1988, so while I have some memory of the Fiesta Bowl, it’s not vivid enough to truly register. In 1993, at the age of 11, I was officially really into the Mountaineers. But 1993 jumped out and surprised us all. If 1988 was the planned pregnancy, 1993 was the accident. Still a welcome addition but not quite sure how or why it happened.

Both 1988 and 1993 were the rewards for putting together one good team, not a program. Most WVU fans knew that it was only a fleeting moment of glory — that WVU hadn’t quite reached the promised land of college football programs. This was quickly confirmed by the down years that came after each undefeated season.

Even in years when we were supposed to be good — 1996 and 1998 — there was always something in our way. Whether it was Tremain Mack in 1996 or vastly underachieving in 1998, WVU was just not meant to get back to a major bowl. Each time we got to the door, we simply weren’t able to knock it down. And each time we got close to that door, we were repelled even further away. Finally, with 1993 just a faint glimmer in the rear-view mirror, Coach Nehlen succumbed to the up-and-down nature of Mountaineer football. Coach Nehlen had done all he could with the program. He had done a lot — even put WVU on the map — but after 20 years, the act gets tired. We needed a fresh start.

Then came Rodriguez and expectations reached a fever pitch. Here was the coach that would finally take us to the heavens of college football. Then came 3-8. The hopes of Mountaineer fans returned to the ground. 2002’s record of 9-4 restored hope, but starting the season 1-4 in 2003 dashed that progress. Of course, finishing that season with 7 consecutive wins got hopes up again. So much so that 2004 was finally going to be our year. But, yet again, the Mountaineers failed to live up to the lofty hype and finished with 8 wins. The same pattern seemed to be repeating itself.

Well, a funny thing happened in 2005. Just when we were least expecting it, the Mountaineer program we had all hoped for was finally born. Walking into the Georgia Dome that Sugar Bowl night, I had hoped we would win. Did I believe we would? Not necessarily. Only the truest of homers would have been sure of a Mountaineer win. But as the dust settled, after the Slaton runs and the Georgia bombs and the fake punt, I walked out of that stadium with a new view on Mountaineer football. No longer would I be satisfied with 7, 8, or 9 wins. No, after that performance and with this talent, we need to hit the stratosphere.

It’s November 13, 2007, and we’re almost there. Closer than we’ve ever been before. The current talent is there. The recruiting is there. The attendance and support is there. But now, on this same day, we sit 8-1 and I’m not thrilled. Even after those years of suffering through mediocre seasons, tormented by flashes of brilliance. Finally, we seem to be one of the elite programs in the country. In my dreams, it’s all I ever wished for growing up. To be consistently counted on in national championship and Heisman previews. Finally, we’re there. And I can’t get over the fact that we only won by 7 against Louisville. Frankly, this scares me.

What will I do if we actually do win the MNC? What will my expectations look like then? If we never get there, will I be a sad, depressed, curmudgeon of a fan for the rest of my life? Shouldn’t I enjoy BCS bowl games when over 90% of schools don’t get there?

The truth is, I won’t be truly happy until we win that national championship. If/when that happens, WVU will finally be legit. Until then, you’ll find me continually bitchy and irritable.

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Tailgate For Jesus

OK, first, watch the video.

What you just saw was a “promotional” video for Campus Crusade for Christ’s tailgate at ECU games. Notice the quotes around promotional. Which means I was being sarcastic.

But OK, so they have a bad tailgate. And a bad/terrible/awful/nuclear holocaust of a video promoting it. So what? Well, read the description of the video on YouTube:

Tailgating for ECU football games has become an artform for ECU Campus Crusade students. It’s all fun and games in the parking lot, but once we step foot in Dowdy Ficklen Stadium, it’s all business. We must win. We will win. We are pirates. That means we’re willing to cheat if we have to.

Yes, that’s right, they’re willing to cheat. Campus Crusade for Christ is willing to cheat. Jesus must be extremely proud. Argh!

A Short Break From Hating Marshall


While this is a pro-WVU blog, we spend a LOT of our time being anti-everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with that — especially since it’s Marshall week — but sometimes it’s nice to stop, take a step back, and remember why we love the Mountaineers so much.

This article was sent to me in an e-mail thread not too long ago. I have no idea who the original author is or else I would certainly credit them for a job well done. Either way, author’s name or not, we felt it was more than worth sharing with you.

Enjoy.

On a pleasant, short-sleeved afternoon in Morgantown, W.Va, under a brilliant, almost cloudless sky, a shaggy-haired, bespectacled John Denver ambled toward the 50-yard line to, in effect, christen the new 50,000-seat Mountaineer Field, home of West Virginia football team.

It was September 6, 1980, and the university wanted to do something special to introduce both its new stadium and a young first-year WVU coach named Don Nehlen. So Denver was invited to sing one of his signature songs – “Country Roads” – during pre-game festivities.

Denver, who died in 1997, accepted the invitation apparently under the impression that he would perform a quick novelty gig – hop off his helicopter, take an escorted ride into the stadium, sing “Country Roads” and then bail out. But that’s not exactly what happened.

Denver entered the stadium and found his microphone at the center of the field, amidst the 325-member Mountaineer Band, which around him had formed an outline of the state of West Virginia. Then as he crooned the opening lyrics – “Almost heaven, West Virginia” – Denver was joined by about 50,000 backup singers.

Those who were there say the crowd’s collective voice swelled to a climax at the conclusion: “Country roads,take me home, to a place where I belong. West Virginia, Mountain Momma. Take me home, country roads” .

Those attending also say that when Denver finished his song, he gazed in all directions – perhaps dumbfounded at the reaction. Some among the crowd wept. Most just cheered for a long time.

“I’m pretty sure he had no idea what that song means to this state,” said Dan Miller, an executive with the West Virginia Coal Association and an unofficial Mountaineer football historian. “I was stationed in Germany in 1971 the first time I heard ‘Country Roads,’ and I’m not ashamed to say that while I was listening I started crying,” Miller said. “It means a lot when you come from a place that most people don’t appreciate or understand. And here’s someone singing about its beauty.”

West Virginians, you see, feel they’re underdogs – almost always fighting an uphill battle.

Economists tell West Virginians it’s tough for their state to prosper, because the mountains are so steep and rugged that land development is a challenge. Educators used to say it was tough for many West Virginia children to get ahead, because transportation to schools was difficult and winters are harsh.

In the sports realm, there annually aren’t many young top-tier athletes in the state, in part because most schools are small and competition is not as daunting as in denser population areas. There are, of course, exceptions – many of them.

Native West Virginia athletes include Jerry West (basketball), John Kruk (baseball) and Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics). Author Pearl Buck was a West Virginian; so was Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington. Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash was from West Virginia. So is country singer Brad Paisley. Actor Don Knotts was from the Mountain State, as is actress Jennifer Garner, who still speaks fondly of the “hillers” and “creekers” from her alma mater, George Washington High School in Charleston. Most have spoken of both loving life, and overcoming tough times, in West Virginia.

So when Denver sang about Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River, it doesn’t matter to most West Virginians that the Blue Ridge is primarily a Virginia-North Carolina strand and the Shenandoah runs only a few miles through their state’s Eastern Panhandle. To people who have lived their lives fighting uphill battles, hearing someone tell them their home is “almost heaven” was more than music to their ears.

West Virginians love their state.
“Wild Wonderful West Virginia ” is a small part of HEAVEN.

[thanks to Lesley for the tip]

A Short Break From Hating Marshall


While this is a pro-WVU blog, we spend a LOT of our time being anti-everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with that — especially since it’s Marshall week — but sometimes it’s nice to stop, take a step back, and remember why we love the Mountaineers so much.

This article was sent to me in an e-mail thread not too long ago. I have no idea who the original author is or else I would certainly credit them for a job well done. Either way, author’s name or not, we felt it was more than worth sharing with you.

Enjoy.

On a pleasant, short-sleeved afternoon in Morgantown, W.Va, under a brilliant, almost cloudless sky, a shaggy-haired, bespectacled John Denver ambled toward the 50-yard line to, in effect, christen the new 50,000-seat Mountaineer Field, home of West Virginia football team.

It was September 6, 1980, and the university wanted to do something special to introduce both its new stadium and a young first-year WVU coach named Don Nehlen. So Denver was invited to sing one of his signature songs – “Country Roads” – during pre-game festivities.

Denver, who died in 1997, accepted the invitation apparently under the impression that he would perform a quick novelty gig – hop off his helicopter, take an escorted ride into the stadium, sing “Country Roads” and then bail out. But that’s not exactly what happened.

Denver entered the stadium and found his microphone at the center of the field, amidst the 325-member Mountaineer Band, which around him had formed an outline of the state of West Virginia. Then as he crooned the opening lyrics – “Almost heaven, West Virginia” – Denver was joined by about 50,000 backup singers.

Those who were there say the crowd’s collective voice swelled to a climax at the conclusion: “Country roads,take me home, to a place where I belong. West Virginia, Mountain Momma. Take me home, country roads” .

Those attending also say that when Denver finished his song, he gazed in all directions – perhaps dumbfounded at the reaction. Some among the crowd wept. Most just cheered for a long time.

“I’m pretty sure he had no idea what that song means to this state,” said Dan Miller, an executive with the West Virginia Coal Association and an unofficial Mountaineer football historian. “I was stationed in Germany in 1971 the first time I heard ‘Country Roads,’ and I’m not ashamed to say that while I was listening I started crying,” Miller said. “It means a lot when you come from a place that most people don’t appreciate or understand. And here’s someone singing about its beauty.”

West Virginians, you see, feel they’re underdogs – almost always fighting an uphill battle.

Economists tell West Virginians it’s tough for their state to prosper, because the mountains are so steep and rugged that land development is a challenge. Educators used to say it was tough for many West Virginia children to get ahead, because transportation to schools was difficult and winters are harsh.

In the sports realm, there annually aren’t many young top-tier athletes in the state, in part because most schools are small and competition is not as daunting as in denser population areas. There are, of course, exceptions – many of them.

Native West Virginia athletes include Jerry West (basketball), John Kruk (baseball) and Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics). Author Pearl Buck was a West Virginian; so was Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington. Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash was from West Virginia. So is country singer Brad Paisley. Actor Don Knotts was from the Mountain State, as is actress Jennifer Garner, who still speaks fondly of the “hillers” and “creekers” from her alma mater, George Washington High School in Charleston. Most have spoken of both loving life, and overcoming tough times, in West Virginia.

So when Denver sang about Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River, it doesn’t matter to most West Virginians that the Blue Ridge is primarily a Virginia-North Carolina strand and the Shenandoah runs only a few miles through their state’s Eastern Panhandle. To people who have lived their lives fighting uphill battles, hearing someone tell them their home is “almost heaven” was more than music to their ears.

West Virginians love their state.
“Wild Wonderful West Virginia ” is a small part of HEAVEN.

[thanks to Lesley for the tip]