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Don't think I'd look to NOVA to find the norm in attitudes about rivalries

A significant chunk of folks from Northern Virginia are really indistinguishable from folks from the northeast, save for the differing accents. They have a pro sports mentality. They may or may not follow a college, but they do it in the same way that they follow the Skins or the Giants.

For that matter, the whole Commonwealth has very little investment in college rivalries. As recently as the 1980s, college sports in Virginia was a mere blip that trailed the Orioles, Skins and NASCAR in interest. Tech-UVa and UVa-UNC have historically been what I would call "gentlemen's rivalries"; i.e., they generate interest but not a great deal of passion when contrasted with, say, Georgia-Florida or Clemson-South Carolina.

The Tech-WVU rivalry has always been overstated. Excluding the corner of West Virginia that lies closest to Blacksburg, Tech has historically been viewed as WVU's third or fourth biggest rivalry. Pitt is the undisputed biggest rivalry; Penn State was historically second (though perhaps only from WVU's point of view), and Tech, Syracuse and Maryland have generally competed for third through fifth. The Tech rivalry grew a bit in the 1990s because Tech's ascendance to football prominence coincided with Penn State moving to the Big Ten and leaving WVU's football schedule.

There really wasn't all that much talk here in West Virginia leading up to the Tech-WVU game. Fans looked forward to it, sure; but it did not generate the passion that a game against Pitt or Penn State would have generated. The truth is that Tech fans tend to pay more attention to WVU than WVU fans pay to Tech, and it's always been that way. There's nothing wrong with that. Pitt fans (to the extent there are any left from Pitt's glory years of the 1970s and early 1980s) would say the same thing about WVU.

All that said, the premise that rivalries are interchangeable is simply false, and anyone who has lived a long time in an area where rivalries have really mattered would laugh at that premise.

(In response to this post by marcbvtgm)

Posted: 10/25/2017 at 09:49AM


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