Hide the women, the children and the couches. West Virginia is coming to town again in 2022.
As reported earlier, the Hokies and WVU signed a home-and-home agreement that sends Virginia Tech to Morgantown in 2021, and brings the Mountaineers to Blacksburg in 2022. Based on our poll, reactions seem to be mixed.
You know how this series ended. Jim Weaver let this rivalry wither up and die after the abuse that Tech fans took in Morgantown back in 2003. It was an ugly game for the Hokies, but probably even uglier for those Tech fans in attendance. After a full Wednesday of tailgating, WVU fans let loose on the Tech faithful that evening. They were pretty upset about the Hokies taking a bigger payday to join the ACC, which of course West Virginia repeated nearly a decade later when they jumped to the Big 12.
If you weren’t there, you’ve heard the horror stories. I was at the Pitt game that year, and Panther fans were extremely crude. I even saw one drunken Pitt student walk down to the front row and relieve himself on the Virginia Tech flag, which our cheerleaders had placed on the ground in front of the student section. I had beer bottles thrown at my car that morning as a cop just stood there and laughed. If Pitt was that bad, I can’t even imagine what WVU was like. After hearing the complaints of the fan base, Jim Weaver decided not to renew the contract with the Mountaineers. I don’t blame him one bit. The Hokies played out their contractual obligation to WVU in 2004 and 2005 (winning both), and haven’t played the Mountaineers since.
The West Virginia series is something that everybody has an opinion about. Just looking at our poll, out of the first 446 voters, only 24 people voted “undecided/don’t care”, while 433 people voted either yes or no. Folks feel pretty strongly about playing the Mountaineers, one way or the other.
At first, I was in favor of not playing them again. I had my first run in with WVU fans in Blacksburg in 2002, my sophomore year at Tech, and I thought it was pretty bad. In 2004, it was even worse, because they were angry about the Hokies being in the ACC. After that 2004 game, I was one of the first Tech fans on the field, and we immediately ran down to the WVU section and began chanting “ACC!” right in their faces. I’ve never seen so many middle fingers pointed at me in my entire life. Man … that trip in 2003 must have been really rough.
I didn’t like their fans, and I figured the Big East was a dying conference that the Mountaineers would be stuck in forever. I didn’t see any reason to play them anymore. I’ve slowly changed my tune over the years, and I now support Weaver’s decision to play them again.
Remember how much you hated West Virginia after that 2003 game? And remember how good you felt when the Hokies beat them in 2004? Remember how jubilant you were when the Hokies spanked them in that final game of the series in 2005? Remember how great it was to see how depressed their fans looked in that game?
How many times have you felt that way since? The comeback win over Nebraska in 2009 was great, as was the dramatic drive to beat Miami in 2011. There have been multiple ACC Championships, and even an Orange Bowl win. But still, I haven’t had many feelings that equaled the high I felt when the Hokies went up to Morgantown in 2005 and smacked around a WVU team that went on to finish 11-1.
Why is that? It’s simple. I hate WVU. Hatred is a bad thing in general, but it makes sports fun. Ever since the Hokies joined the ACC, hatred isn’t an emotion that’s been felt very often. I don’t like UVA, but I respect them, and their fans have never done anything to make me hate them. They remain the team I want to beat the most each year, but that doesn’t mean I hate them.
I’ve slowly developed a decent level of hatred for UNC because of Butch Davis, John Blake, and the academic scandal at a school that has always considered itself to be superior. However, it’s not the same. It’s not WVU hatred. We all hate Miami too, but Miami is way down there in Florida, and they don’t have any real fans that we have to deal with. West Virginia is different. They are right across the border, and they even have a decent number of fans in the Blacksburg area. This one is personal.
Let’s face it, we haven’t been all that excited about Tech football recently. The offense hasn’t been fun to watch, the losses started to pile up last season, and in general the product has gotten a bit stale. You probably aren’t even all that excited about the Alabama game right now, because you know the Hokies don’t have a great chance to win.
However, what if Virginia Tech was opening the 2013 season with West Virginia in Blacksburg rather than Alabama in Atlanta? That would get me more excited about Tech football than I’ve been in quite awhile. And I’m generally pretty excited about Tech football, especially when they are playing Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, Boise State in DC, or Clemson and Florida State anywhere.
Whether you support the renewal of the series or not, I’m guessing you are going to be pretty excited when you’re walking through the gates of Lane Stadium on September 22, 2022. If the Hokies win, you’re going to be feeling pretty good, too. If the Hokies lose, you’re going to be feeling pretty bad. That’s the nature of rivalries in college sports.
Rivalries bring college sports to life. Without rivalries, sports just aren’t as fun. Despite what we all think about their team and their fans, I don’t think Tech football has been quite as fun without West Virginia on the schedule. I don’t think there would be nearly as much complaining about the home schedule if WVU came to town every other year.
From what I can tell from looking at our poll, only about 50% of you agree with this article. That’s fine, because strong opinions show that you are emotionally invested. Because you’re emotionally invested, it’s going to make beating them a lot more fun.
As far as I’m concerned, Weaver and Luck can push these games up to next season. I think the Hokies need an exciting non-conference rivalry each year, and East Carolina just doesn’t fill that void. Bring on the Eers.