Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Whats Next for Mountaineer Football? ; Many Rivalries since Mountaineers First Game 125 Years Ago

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Whats Next for Mountaineer Football? ; Many Rivalries since Mountaineers First Game 125 Years Ago

Article excerpt

As the Mountaineers kick off their 125th year of college football (playing 123 seasons) on Saturday against Sun Belt Conference powerhouse Georgia Southern it seems fitting to both reflect on where theyve been as well as where theyre headed. All loyal Mountaineers know that the rivalry with Pitt the late, great Backyard Brawl, was West Virginia Universitys longest running rivalry, having knocked helmets 104 times in the 125 years (40-61- 3).

The Mounties met the Orangemen of Syracuse 60 times (27-33) for the Schwartzwalder Trophy; the Penn State Nittany Lions 59 times (9- 48-2); and both the Maryland Terps, in the Battle of the Potomac (27- 22-2), and the Virginia Tech Hokies for the Black Diamond Trophy (28- 22-1) 51 times.

Alas, these rivalries have faded into distant memories, as the Big East crumbled around the Mounties ankles and with it took the historic rivalries the backbone of college football along for the ride.

Sadly, when the Pride of West Virginia plays the alma mater at the end of the pregame show, no one need scream Beat the Hell out of Pitt, anymore, as had been at every game for generations of West Virginians.

For you sentimentalists, Maryland is on the schedule this year and again in 2020 and 2021; Virginia Tech in 17 and 21 and 22; and Penn State in 2023 and 2024, but alas, no Pitt or Syracuse.

The Big 12 is now the Mountaineer home, as an artificial rivalry has been created with the Cyclones of Iowa State. But Beat the Hell out of Iowa State just doesnt have a ring to it.

So what does the future hold? Will the Big 12 figure out how to count and add two more teams so they really have 12?

The commissioner says no and the pickins are slim. It certainly seems best for the Big 12 to actually have 12 teams, but the most obvious candidates are ones who have already jumped the Big 12 ship (Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M and Colorado).

More importantly, whats in the best interests of WVU?

Sure, they get some $20 million a year from the league (to the Big 10s $24.6; the Southeastern Conference could hit $27 with a revamped TV contract; the Pac 12 will approach $30 and the ACC about $17), but could they get that or more with a revamped and revitalized Eastern 12 conference? …

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