WVU Sports

MORGANTOWN — About the only television shows that get more daytime viewing than West Virginia University football is soap operas, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy and Kelly Ripa.

And I’m here to tell you right now I don’t like it.

Instead of Bill Nevin doing the PA work, Rodney Dangerfield would be more fitting.

Even he gets more respect than the Mountaineers.

And more time on prime time even though he’s been dead for years.

“You know what? It’s one of those deals where it is what it is,” WVU Coach Neal Brown said. “I might get home earlier. Does that count? You get home earlier and that’s good because you play a night game on the road and we get home at 5 a.m.”

But it isn’t what he or his players came to West Virginia for. Heck, they even played games before the home crowds at night in high school.

Certainly, when God created football, he didn’t intend it to interfere with lunch and to cut short tailgating or to make you leave home at 6 a.m. to drive across the state to get to the game.

It makes a difference for everyone, especially the players.

“I just think you need to prepare for it during the week. It’s an early start time, so everything is abnormally early. I’m not necessarily opposed to them or prefer them at all. It’s tough on the fans, I know that.

“But we’re not going to spend a whole lot of time talking on it.”

And Brown was ready to drop the subject there.

But as someone who not that many years ago would come traipsing home at 3 in the morning on Friday’s, noon starts were harder on me than the players.

It got to the point that I was covering games and writing what I thought were better stories on noon games than any others ... until I read them on Sunday morning.

So even though Brown was ready to drop the subject, I felt it needed a bit more conversation for that segment of the fan base — and on a college campus it’s a large segment — that are beginning to think that it’s home football games giving them headaches and not their Friday night consumption rate.

So, I pressed on and noted for Brown that with the Texas game now scheduled for noon, he will have gone through three years of coaching at WVU without playing a home night game ... and, let me tell you, there’s not a whole lot of college towns that offer up a better home-court advantage than playing in Morgantown at night.

I began by wondering what it says to Brown that he has yet to experience coaching before a night crowd at home.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I really don’t know how to answer that, to be honest with you.”

I’m thinking lots of thoughts, like there are teams on probation that get more home night games than WVU and that ESPN and the other networks are so caught up in the Alabamas, Michigans — and that could be Michigan and Michigan State — Ohio States, Oklahomas, Texases — and there are too many of them to name — et al, that poor little ol’ West Virginia is little more than an afternoon delight in a prime time world.

“That’s problem more for the conference office,” Brown said. “From the feedback I get, our fans prefer night games.”

Then he added, quite curtly, “I’ve heard about night games here. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to experience one.”

It is difficult, knowing that WVU is always a good TV draw with a faithful alumni base spread across the country.

But it seems the conference and networks are now doing very little to court them as viewers. They seem to be noon and ESPN+ (or should that be ESPN-) fodder.

Follow @bhertzel on Twitter

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