With all the hoopla about West Virginia University’s season opener with Marshall Sept. 2, there has been little mention of coach Rusty Elliott’s Fighting Falcons, who will be launching their 2006 gridiron slate Aug. 31 — once again against California, Pa., and once again at “their place instead of ours.” ...

This Falcon follower was quite puzzled at why Fairmont State was playing five of its first six games on the road — not the kind of schedule that any coach wants to face if he can avoid it. But FSU Athletic Director Scott Gines explained there were reasons it worked out that way and Elliott and the coaching staff were kept abreast of them at all times. ...

Fairmont opens its schedule at California, Pa., again — a game that was supposed to be here this year on Sept. 2. But in order to get out of its contract with the Vulcans for meetings in 2007 and 2008, FSU agreed to visit California again for a Thursday night game on Aug. 31 that will be televised on FSN. This decision was made easier, besides the TV factor, since WVU and Marshall were meeting in Morgantown on Saturday, Sept. 2. ... Then WVU-Tech made a surprise move by bolting the WVC to return to NAIA status and that was another home game the Falcons lost.

The Falcons have added three new opponents for 2006 on their 11-game schedule — two of them to be played on at home. Gines said the Falcons will visit North Greenville (S.C.) College on Sept. 9, but then will host St. Joseph College of Indiana on Oct. 28 and Webber International of Florida on Nov. 11. “There are a lot of upsides to our schedule over the next three seasons,” Gines said. ...

Gines explained that the general sentiment among the coaches and the public was for Fairmont to drop its future games with California and Slippery Rock and the Pennsylvania Conference schools. So that’s why this decision was made. ...Fairmont State will play four of its last five games at home — winding up on Veterans Day with Webber International. That’s a two-for-one deal ·two games here and one in Florida). ...

Most basketball fans are aware that Bill Moody was one of the outstanding basketball players in Fairview High and Fairmont State’s history. Many probably aren’t aware that his daughter Alethea was the second woman ever to make All-America in track at WVU. She was a star high jumper with her best height being 6 feet. ...

One might think that when interleague play resumed in the major leagues last week, there would be close to a 50-50 split between the two leagues. No way. In last week’s games, the America League won 42 and the National League 17. Jim Tracy’s Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t help the cause any — losing three straight to the Kansas City team with the worst record in the majors. ...

The Pirates and their 11-game losing streak has certainly been an embarrassment, but the St. Louis Cardinals had a losing streak of their own last week, despite the fact that Albert Pujols had a 4-for-4 day in his second day back since being sidelined on June 3. They were 0-3 against the White Sox and 0-3 against the Tigers — the same two American League teams the Pirates will be playing this week. ...

Pirate fans are really happy for Jim Leyland. It appears the Pirates’ job could have been his when the ball club opted for Jim Tracy last fall. Now all Leyland has done (with two former Bucco managers — Lloyd McClendon and Gene Lamont as coaches along with Andy Van Slyke) as manager of the Tigers is to guide them to baseball’s best record — 51-25. And McClendon and Lamont both are enjoying first-place status after years of losing records in Pirates’ uniforms. ...

Oliver Perez (2-10) threw 96 pitches in just 3 2-3 innings and lost his fifth straight start against the Dodgers Friday. This was the guy the Pirates were practically boosting for the Cy Young award a couple of years ago. ... Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon (we know — that still sounds strange) said his team had gone through so many roster changes lately that it might need to use the team’s Old Timers’ game for scouting purposes. ...

Pittsburgh would have to do no worse than 37-50 the rest of the season to prevent Tracy from becoming the fourth manager in Pirates history to lose 100 games in his first season at the helm. Lloyd McClendon was 62-100 in 2001, Fred Haney 50-104 in 1953 and Guy Hecker 23-113 way back in 1890.

E-mail John Veasey at jcveasey@timeswv.com.

Recommended for you