Recently, an article was written by Jason Parker of Fansided about the potential neutral site game in Atlanta between Florida State and West Virginia in 2020. In what could probably be chalked up to an elitist view, which in some ways is warranted because of Florida State’s success, he bashes the decision to play the Mountaineers. But his reasoning is weak, a little bit pouty, and definitely unrealistic.
He contends that FSU playing Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, and Alabama in neutral site games makes the WVU matchup look like a downgrade. Well, how is Oklahoma State a premier matchup for FSU when the Mountaineers have split with the Cowboys since joining the Big 12? What makes the Cowboys that much bigger of a draw?
Oh and fun fact…
West Virginia-Alabama recorded a 4.0 rating in 2014. Florida State-Oklahoma State was 3.8 even though it got the primetime slot.
Ole Miss? He talks about how WVU has only won 3 conference titles since 1991(which is wrong but more on that later). Ole Miss hasn’t won one since 1963. They have only won double digit games twice since 1971 and really have been an average team in the SEC West for decades now. Using one year (2015) as grounds for your argument for and against WVU is pretty weak any way you slice it.
And Alabama? Great matchup for the ‘Noles upcoming for sure. But the Tide played the Mountaineers in front of a sold out crowd in Atlanta in 2014. And as they found out, it proved to be a great test. Close game. Solid environment. Great benefit to both teams. Why was it good enough for Alabama to play West Virginia but Florida State is too advanced to toy with the lowly hillbillies. Give me a break.
Then Mr. Parker says that he would rather see a game with Penn State in D.C. instead? Are you joking? In what world is Penn State a good matchup with anybody these days. That program has been dead since 2009. The only press they have been getting the last few years is court room related. You’ll live in the past with Penn State but ignore the success that WVU has had in the 2000s when choosing a neutral site game? Got it.
Throwing out names like Ohio State, Michigan, LSU, Tennessee, or Georgia just shows you aren’t living in reality. Sure, as a Mountaineer fan, I would like to play Pitt, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, and USC every year. That isn’t happening. With your insanely tough ACC schedule, you should want some easy competition prior to the conference slate.
But my favorite part of this article is how insanely inaccurate his fact checking was. Like I stated before, he said WVU has only won 3 conference titles in 125 years of playing football. Wrong. 14 conference championships. If you want to talk that down, go ahead, but at least get the facts right. Sure, Florida State is a great program with tons of success, most of which with a coach that we very wisely ran out of Morgantown. But do not act like West Virginia is a mid major program that is below a Power 5 conference matchup on an exciting stage.
Another inaccuracy is the reasoning behind canceling the scheduled series back when WVU joined the Big 12. Do you think WVU canceled to screw FSU over? Do you think they did it with malicious intent? Ha. They joined a better conference with a squeezed in full conference schedule which only left three openings per year in the non conference. The sides mutually figured it out. Simple business. So saying that WVU hasn’t “earned the right to play the ‘Noles” is about as pouty and childish as it gets. Heaven forbid the Mountaineers do something to advance their entire athletic department with the only casualty being a home and home against you guys. And we are obviously on good enough terms to schedule this game for the future. Seems like the only one with a grudge is you, Mr. Parker. Grow up.
In reality, this is a great deal for both sides. It has many stories surrounding it with coaches tied to West Virginia. And the way the Florida State program stepped up to provide assistance to West Virginia communities devastated by floods was spectacular. These programs are tied closer than you think. Hell, by 2020, nobody knows where each program will be. West Virginia might be in a better position than Florida State in 2020. You just don’t know. Both coaches might even be other places by that time. That stadium will be packed. That game will be competitive. And sorry if that bothers you Mr. Parker.
And there is no such thing as the Mountaineer State. Nice research though.