Tomorrow night marks the 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl, the gridiron clash between my alma mater West Virginia University and our hate rivals from Pitt. Add to the usual rivalry game the fact that a WVU win will almost certainly send us to the BCS national championship game in New Orleans. So even though Pitt has had a really bad year and are 4-touchdown underdogs, they'll be juiced to ruin our season.
Win or lose, authorities in Morgantown are bracing for a rash of couch burnings come Saturday night. This rather odd tradition has left WVU with a less than stellar reputation:
Morgantown led the nation in the number of intentional street fires between 1997 and 2003, with a total 1,129 set. Figuring prominently were wins over Virginia Tech's football team in 2002 and 2003.What makes it all the weirder is that the burning also occurs when we lose big games. Only a draw would appear to protect the couches of Motown.
In 2003 WVU imposed a zero-tolerance policy for off-campus activities that resulted in criminal charges. But the couch population wasn't safe right away.
About 50 street fires were set in March 2005 after the men's basketball team beat Texas Tech and advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament for the first time since Jerry West led the Mountaineers to the title game in 1959. Police had to use pepper spray to control crowds.
Aside from the couch burning issues, it appears that there is one small corner of the state not rooting for the Mountaineers - the Marshall campus:
'I hope Pittsburgh wins,' said Chad Pyles, a sophomore geography major at Marshall. 'I don't want WVU to go to the national championship. Every time WVU loses, I feel happy inside.'To be fair, I think they're just pissed that a victory over the Herd doesn't warrant a lot of couch burning:
Pyles, 19, said he has been a Marshall fan for as long as he can remember.
Recently the tradition has quieted down. A single couch burned during post-game celebrations after WVU beat Marshall in the 2006 season opener.But never mind those folks - LET'S GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!
Oh, and Mike Freeman - fuck you, buddy.