By Cliff Nichols
Times West Virginian
NEW YORK —
Syracuse and Pinstripe Bowl.
Those are two terms West Virginia University fans want no part of hearing about today.
Syracuse has won three straight games over the Mountaineers, including Saturday’s 38-14 romp in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium where the teams and fans braved cold, snow and rain.
WVU, led by three of the most productive offensive players in school history in quarterback Geno Smith, running back/receiver Tavon Austin and wide receiver Stedman Bailey, finished 7-6 after a 5-0 start.
The Pinstripe Bowl and Syracuse, though, may be a part of WVU’s football future.
The bowl matches teams from the Big 12 and Big East, and Yankees’ President Randy Levine said before Saturday’s game that the agreement will remain in effect for another year before any adjustment is even possible.
New York does have lots to entice teams and fans, including such things as its cultural offerings, the New York Stock Exchange and the National September 11 Memorial. The historic Empire State Building was lit in the school colors of both teams.
Levine said “the Boss,” late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, insisted that college football be a part of new Yankee Stadium.
Nearly all of the 42,000 tickets available for the game were sold, Levine noted, and the announced attendance was 39,098.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck said members of the Yankees’ organization “have treated us absolutely like kings.”
“Our student-athletes, our coaches, a lot of our fans have really enjoyed the last three or four days in the city,” Luck said. “There is no place as nice as New York City, America’s city, this time of year.”