I am calling out those of you that today said “Iowa State is no rival.”
I am not calling you out because you are wrong. I am calling you out because you are whining about this game being played on “Rivalry Week.” I am calling you out because you say “this isn’t a rivalry and never will be.”
I am going to ask a question and it is not rhetorical. What would you suggest that we should have done the last three seasons (and the next couple of seasons)?
Rivalries build up over years. They build up over things like recruiting wars. They are often geographical. WVU, at this time, does not have that in the Big 12. You know who else does not have a natural rival? Iowa State.
I’ve seen schools like TCU and Texas as our “rivals” in the conference thrown out there. For one, we are not THEIR rivals. Texas has A&M (though they are not playing) and Oklahoma as their main rivals. WVU will not break into that. They also have former Southwest Conference schools that are much closer to rivals than they are. Throughout college football history Texas, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech have been connected. West Virginia will not just jump in there. Sorry if it is an unpleasant truth, but it is reality, and I live in the real world.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are connected. Kansas and Kansas State are connected. So, are we going to break into any of those other rivalries that have been played for decades? That is a serious question. The answer is no. Iowa State is the conference option, like it or not.
It is temporary, but there is the Paul Rhodes “connection.” You know who he is, right? He is the current Iowa State head coach. He was the Pitt Defensive Coordinator in the 2007 edition of the Backyard Brawl. Remember that? I do and it makes me despise his very existence.
Oh, so you think we should be playing Pitt this week? It is not completely out of the realm of possibility, as there are rivalries playing across the country that are out of conference. Florida plays at Florida State. Notre Dame and USC play today, as well as Georgia Tech and Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson and Kentucky against Louisville.
Out of conference games are the three way street. Each team has to want it and available dates to play are required. Also, this time of year, that means your conference must be okay with it. If West Virginia goes out of conference, now Iowa State (or another school) must as well.
Oliver Luck has recently announced a series with both Penn State and Virginia Tech. Do you not believe he wants to make it happen with Pitt as well? Think about it and answer honestly. Who do you THINK is keeping it from happening? I do not know insider information, but context clues tell me it is someone (or some people) that are about an hour up Interstate 79 from Morgantown.
Now, back to my original premise. Iowa State is pretty much the only conference option. Pitt is not an option. There are significant hurdles for any out of conference “rival” and it would be years before it could happen.
If you are going to complain that West Virginia should not be playing Iowa State this particular week, tell me who the viable option is. Stop drinking your sugary drink that I won’t mention because it is copyrighted and also take off the gold and blue glasses. Do not tell me what you want in Utopia. Tell me what else will work.
Photo: CHARLIE NEIBERGALL — AP Photo