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.
- WVU Sports
Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit
West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.
WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5
The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules
At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.
Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma
Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing
Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.
Huggins signs junior college guard
Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing
The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.
FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors
Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
• A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
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