Spice It Up

What's to love about a series as squeaky clean as West Virginia-Louisville?

It's a Pleasantville rerun, this border battle for the Big East lead. Comparing WVU-Louisville to Pitt and Syracuse is as much a contrast as Danny Partridge and Danny Bonaduce.

They're both essentially the same thing - Big East games against solid teams - but wrapped in vastly different roles.

There's no historic revelry, no bad blood. Heck, the Cardinal IS the state bird of West Virginia (and half a dozen others, for that matter). The two state seals even mirror one another, Kentucky's with a pioneer and statesman, West Virginia's showing a farmer and a miner.

Kentucky is Bluegrass and Black Beauties - and brunette ones, like actress Irene Dunn, she of Love Affair, later remade into An Affair to Remember.

If this game is to be that, it needs some juice, some kick, some 'ol Kentucky Bourbon and Mountaineer Moonshine. Give me a burn, one that lingers like a Mark May slap or a Marvin Graves spike.

I have loved me some Jim Beam, but the series hasn't played since 1993. Family Tradition? The Hatfields and McCoys would suffice, but even WVU's Mountainlair soldout with a fast-food offering called McCoy's, while Louisville hawks Papa John's pizza to fans who can't throw a football in its parking lots while the Cards whip 60 passes per game inside.

Consider: Kentucky's Christian County is wet while Bourbon County is dry. Barren County has the most fertile land in the state. In 1888, state treasurer "Honest Dick" Tate embezzled $247,000 and fled the state. (We're Moore than with you there, neighbor).

Contradiction is two rival fan bases playing patty cake five days before a nationally-televised ABC game. They are Kentucky's motto: United we stand, divided we fall. Both sides should morph it into "United we Stand, until we play you bums on the football field."

There has not yet been spewing about the Mines vs. the Mills, or an idiot journalist beating the unbeatable drum of how much better life is in upstate New York than downtown Morgantown. This thing's as spicy as British food and Ben Stein.

We need a knock-down, drag out, with Pearl S. Buck throwing the good earth into Hunter S. Thompson's eyes. Or a Patty Lovelace and Kathy Mattea catfight, with the latter walking away a winner.

Perhaps a shoot-out between the Mountaineer - maybe the shakiest gun in the west - and John Thompson, not the basketball coach, but the inventor of the Tommygun. Just say hello to my little friend.

What we have is not enough Cassius Clay and too much Henry Clay: no smoke, from cigars or otherwise, and too much compromise.

Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky. And what's to like about a state that offers Butler Act-breaker John Scopes and Thomas Hunt Morgan, the 1933 Nobel Prize winner in medicine for genetic research. There's no balance, much like the Louisville offense.

And Kentucky's a commonwealth. West Virginia is a state. They are diametrically opposed. States like West Virginia don't like commonwealths like Virginia, Pennsylvania or Kentucky.

There's just a one-upmanship there that sits like hot Italian sausage at 9 a.m. or a mint julep anytime. Just thinking about the Derby makes me want to hurl.

Ali was from Kentucky, but so was Lincoln, though the Illini faithful will dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee over that one. Blue Moon o'er Kentucky describes how often Louisville beats West Virginia. Don't wait for the translation, you Adalai Stevensons, because I'll start the crisis now.

We don't like you. You can take your "Ball Four" and stick it faster than a Chuck Yeager flight. We hope George Clooney ends up in the ER. We'll make Ned Beatty squeal like a pig because we're so sick of that movie, whose song we again had to listen to last year on CBS' game preview before your team escaped with an Elite Eight win.

Kentucky Headhunters describes our SWAT defense and Jahmile Addae, not some third-rate country group. Tom T. Hall's Ballad of Forty Dollars is what you'll waste watching your wannabe group at Mountaineer Field.

It's time for some grit and grime on this Tide-like series. The Cardinals faux-favorite status is about to end. Robert Petrino's pass-happy fling with the Top 25 is over.

With respect to The General, U of L's Nepotonostic gig is up. Greg, Jeff or Brian, we don't care for the Brohms or the Petrinos, of which there are two. That's one more, coincidentally, than the number of times the Cards have beaten West Virginia.

So come Saturday at 7 p.m. you can again traverse our Country Roads to your Old Kentucky Home. You'll just do so - yet again -- with one more loss.


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