Backyard Brawl? More Like Frozen Feud

Big East Champions. Say it slowly. Say it quick. Big East Champions. That's good stuff, no matter who you are.

Few people would argue that whpping Pitt from pillar to post on any day of the year is one of the most satisfying acts a Mountaineer player or fan can enjoy. It was made even more enjoyable with the pompous recruiting comments made by Dave Wannstedt, possibly the worst college coaching hire this side of Lee Corso.

Wannstedt quipped this past week about how Pitt had no competition for western Pennsylvania football talent, even though a few might slip to Penn State or Notre Dame every once in a while. And while he might honestly believe that garbage, it generally isn't too intelligent to make a comment like that when you are playing your closest rival that is chock full of players from that very region, many of whom grew up as Pitt fans. Many, of course, were rescued by the grace of God and the recruiting efforts of one Tony Gibson , and not necessarily in that order.

The Moustache now has until next August to figure out how to insult the best players on his next opponent the day before the game, while his Panthers get to spend the holidays with family. That's a gift I'm sure that most recruits in western Pennsylvania long for when they are deciding on which school to attend on a football scholarship.

So, you decide what a recruit might want.

Do you want to go play in a medium sized city in an off-campus stadium for a coach who has been fired from every head coaching job he's ever held, or do you want to go play in a small town in an on-campus stadium for the coach whose offense is being mimicked by nearly every offensive coordinator in the NCAA?

Do you want to battle for bowl eligibility, or do you want to battle for the Big East title?

Do you want to go to the Sugar Bowl or do you want to eat turkey at home with family during semester break?

Do you want to play for a coach who turns a potential Heisman candidate quarterback into an average player or a coach who takes kids spurned by other teams and turns them into impact national stars as true freshmen?

* * *

Dear Pitt,

A quick note to ponder over the holidays:

Steve Slaton – freshman
Pat White – freshman
See you next year.

* * *

I've also got a note for the stick- fingered jerk who stole one of my flying WV magnets from my truck in Morgantown after the game.

I get quite tired of hearing from the national media and people from other states about our poor fan behavior. And while sometimes I think the reputation serves the football team well when a new team comes to town and spends more time worrying about what the fans might do than what the Mountaineers might do, I think some of it is just a bit tired and overdone.

And then it invariably happens that some punk does something that just makes you shake your head. Why steal a WVU magnet off of a car? In Morgantown? In a Sheets next to the stadium? Why?

It isn't like a $10 magnet is going to kill my monthly budget, but that isn't the point. I can leave WVU magnets on my car in South Carolina for six months and I take one trip to Morgantown and a magnet I've owned for nearly eight years gets clipped.

* * *

Another little ditty to pass on from the game. I get quite tired of listening to the jerks from the Pittsburgh area who sit behind me every season ramble on about stuff they don't even understand. Last year it was the constant cackle to put Charles Hales in the game because Rasheed Marshall was, in their view, inadequate. And since I haven't been to a game until this week because I moved to South Carolina, I'd forgotten how rankling these idiots can be.

But while we sat in section 217 trying to insure that we didn't freeze to death, I had to hear this ramble from our neighbors about WVU's great improvement in the kicking game in 2005 as opposed to 2004. It was then the guy stepped over the line. He was describing the player who he thought was West Virginia's kicker, last year, and asked his friend if he knew his name.

"Can you believe the kid's name? Andy ‘No' Good"

Well, I thought even a drunken bum off the streets knew that Brad Cooper was our kicker last year. When I informed him that Good didn't miss a field goal last year, I was told I didn't know what I was talking about. I turned back around because, well, I knew what I was talking about, and I don't need to waste my own hot air on such a cold day for some yinzer from the big city. Now that I'm home and thawed, however, here's a note for Mr. Know-It-All:

Brad Cooper – 9/16 (56.2%) FGs, 42-43 PAT (only one miss in career)
Andy Good – 3/3 (100%) FGs, 0-1 PAT.

2005 Pat McAfee - 10/16 (62.5%)FGs, 39-40 PAT

Perhaps we should bench Pat White too.

* * *

I got a large kick out of watching the South Florida players freeze their jublies off in Connecticut this past Saturday. Especially considering it was about 15 degrees warmer in Connecticut than it was in Morgantown on Thursday evening.

It is completely bizarre that the team I saw on television against UConn even scored on Louisville, much less won the game.

I'll pass on this tip to USF coach Jim Leavitt just for personal information: It gets a tad colder in Manhattan, Kansas than it does in Tampa. Perhaps you should consider that this week when considering behind your team's back whether or not you want to take the job vacated by a retiring Bill Snyder.

* * *

The West Virginia-South Florida game this coming week might look to have lost a bit of significance because of the Polar Bulls' loss to the Huskies, but in fact it has not. In some ways, the game became even more important for the Mountaineers and the Big East after USF's loss. The Big East cannot afford for West Virginia to lose to South Florida any more today than it could have last week.

Of course the conference office isn't going to come out and say it, because it would be a slight to a conference member. But in all reality the Big East needs West Virginia to win and keep its somewhat lofty perch in the BCS standings. A loss to USF, and the Big East and the Mountaineers will have to endure a month of absolute unbridled bashing at the expense of the national media leading up to the Sugar Bowl.

I'm betting, however, that the toddlers de touchdown take care of business in Tampa just like they have nine other times this season. Look for the Mountaineers to roll into the Sugar Bowl with a Top 10 BCS ranking.

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