Whether football or basketball, my two favorite teams are Marshall University, and WHOEVER is playing West Virginia University.
Perhaps that sounds harsh coming from a native West Virginian, but it is what it is.
I am blessed to have numerous friends in the Mountain State, who bleed Blue and Gold, and I love each of you dearly. However, I just can't bring myself to root for the evil empire from Morgantown. I will grudgingly give them their props. Their football and basketball successes this year are impressive, and well deserved. There is no doubt that the Big East is one of the finest athletic conferences in all of college basketball, and WVU is obviously in the upper echelon of the league. Please note that I did not say "class of the league" and there is good reason for that. Class is something sadly lacking in Morgantown - from "Coach Thuggins'" and his like natured hoopsters, to the couch burning idiots who fill the streets after every football victory. In my humble opinion, there hasn't been any real class in that program since Bobby Bowden paced the sidelines years ago. There have been glimmers of class from time to time. Bill Stewart and Don Nehlen come to mind. At times I could almost find myself pulling for their teams - ALMOST! Sadly for each Nehlen and Stewart, there is also a Gale Catlett, Rich Rodriquez and Bob Huggins. And for now, Ed Pastilong is still the AD.
Now, my bitterness comes, I suppose, from the years of rooting for the green clad stepchildren of the state - the Thundering Herd. This type of attitude is not limited to the borders of the Mountain State. You won't have to look far to see the same type situation. Just look at Louisville, Mississippi State, Auburn, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Florida State for example - each of them playing second fiddle to their in state big brothers. We're the Rodney Dangerfields of collegiate sports. No respect. A steady diet of leftovers and hand me downs.
So, now WVU has advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in the East Regional at Syracuse. Congratulations are in order. Personalities aside, they have earned it. Now, who will theMountaineers face in the Regional Finals on Saturday? None other than the number 1 seeded Wildcats of the University of Kentucky (which includes Huntington's own Patrick Patterson).
Here is the question. Do I root for the representatives of the state where I was born and raised, and where I serve in ministry today? Or do I cheer for the blue and white clad heroes of the Bluegrass State, where I have made my home for the past 30 years?
What do you think?
I'm with Ashley Judd on this one.