Do not look at the calendar today.
Look into your heart.
True, the calendar says it’s August and the thermometer says it’s 85 degrees, but your heart knows it’s football season.
You had a preview, maybe, on Thursday night, when Ol’ Miss pulled off a miracle on top of Vanderbilt’s own miracle, the cameras showing both the sheer delight that can only come in a college football finish like that and the horror on every single Vanderbilt fans’ face as their world turned upside down.
And then, if you could wait until maybe 2 a.m., you would have Rutgers fall to Fresno State, 52-51, in overtime, another tribute to the game that college football has become, pinball in real life. Fresno threw no fewer than 73 passes.
Another game like that and they might be ready for the Big 12.
OK, the leaves haven’t begun to turn yet, but the autumn colors will be out in full force, autumn colors in this neck of the woods being old gold and blue.
The RV has been cleaned out, the WVU stickers applied where needed, the WVU flag put in its place and the beer put on ice along with the burgers and hot dogs for a morning of tailgating.
Ah, tailgating, America’s game.
In Morgantown, it’s more than party, more even than a way of life.
It’s a way of living, and with the first game there is so much to catch up on with friends and family and when you see that family walking by wearing William & Mary colors, what better way to make a new friend than over one of your cold beers, a dog and talk about your team and theirs.
What does football do?
It takes over your life, that’s what it does.
Friday may have been a disaster at work. It’s Aug. 31 and the rent may be due, the cable bill overdue, but now it’s Saturday and West Virginia football and all those thoughts and worries disappear, slip into those dark recesses of the mind that are not to be tapped when you are busy tapping a new keg and caught up in a conversation over whether Clint Trickett or Paul Millard should play quarterback.
Oh, you’ll talk about memories … about Sam Huff and Major Harris and Pat White. You’ll laugh thinking of Owen Schmitt breaking his facemask or Wes Ours powering into the end zone. You’ll talk about your favorite kick return from Tavon Austin and you’ll even talk about Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez.
That’s the way it is. Sports is very much yesterday’s memories, as much, perhaps, as it is today’s game, which will become yesterday’s memory soon enough.
You, the fan, are waiting for the next star to be born, as is the coaching staff.
Somewhere in that WVU locker room which is filled with wide-eyed kids is the next Pat White or Steve Slaton or Geno Smith.
He’s the one who will send you off to the Book Exchange or the local sporting goods store to pick up a jersey with his number on it, maybe Karl Joseph and his No. 8 jersey in the style … maybe white, maybe gold, maybe blue.
It might be the quarterback’s jersey, too, but right now you don’t know who that might be and you probably know their numbers yet, either.
That will come.
What you want today is a good game, although your definition of a good game is far different than that of a casual fan.
A good game is 56-0 to you, if West Virginia has the 56 points.
That Vandy-Ol’ Miss game, with the lead changing hands twice in the last 80 seconds, may have been a good game if you took the points or went to Ol’ Miss, but you won’t find it among too many Vanderbilt fans’ list of favorites.
So get ready for some football. Seek out the Mountaineer, go wild when the sound of the musket reverberates throughout Milan Puskar Stadium and enjoy singing “Country Roads” when it’s over.
Monday comes far too quickly and the next home football game is a couple of weeks away, so let it all hang out today.
Introduce the new freshmen to West Virginia football as you live it.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
Do not look at the calendar today.
- Bob Herzel
Luck announces Holgorsen will be retained for 2014
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck put an end to the speculation about the future of head football coach Dana Holgorsen on Tuesday, announcing that he and his staff would be retained for 2014 despite a second consecutive disappointing season.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Like it or not, Holgorsen is coming back
Like it or not, it appears that Dana Holgorsen and his staff will be back to coach the West Virginia football team next year, looking down the throat of an angry Alabama football team to open the season.
WVU women overwhelm Coppin State
West Virginia’s women’s basketball team, ignited by Christal Caldwell and Taylor Palmer, turned on the juice after a lackadaisical first half and scored 56 second-half points to bury a game against an overmatched Coppin State team. The 88-56 win gave coach Mike Carey his 250th victory as Mountaineer coach.
Mountaineers make quick work of Greyhounds
A day before West Virginia was to play what seemed to be a dangerous Loyola of Maryland basketball team at the Coliseum, coach Bob Huggins talked for some time in depth about shortcomings his team had been displaying and about how they would have to overcome them to become a good team.
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There probably was a time in the middle of last season when Bob Huggins wondered if this day ever would arrive, almost as the thought crossed his mind as he lay in the Pittsburgh airport suffering a heart attack that would have killed a less cantankerous man.
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West Virginia not overlooking Loyola ahead of tough schedule
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Mountaineers wrap up abysmal season
Mercifully, West Virginia’s football season has come to an end.
The record was 4-8.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Henderson needs to be healthy for WVU’s success
He is, in his own way, the forgotten man in the mix for West Virginia this season.
WVU drops final game of season to Iowa State in triple OT
Iowa State, ranked 97th in the nation in scoring, came from 31-7 down with a furious fourth-quarter comeback Saturday and laid 52 points on West Virginia University in winning, 52-44, in triple overtime.
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