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An open letter to the Baylor Bears offering insight into what they are entering when they come to play Saturday.
Although Hurricane Thursday is normally based upon deranged statements with sober backpedaling, this week is a little different.
My name is Smitty and I am a West Virginian. The latter part of that introduction is more important than the former because, to every West Virginian, that is how we identify ourselves. We have never met. Never on the football field and only once on the basketball court and we have absolutely nothing against you. However, due to the fact that you open our inaugural Big XII conference schedule in Morgantown against our West Virginia Mountaineers, I hate you. This is nothing personal and it has nothing to do with anything that you have ever done. This has nothing to do with your recent accomplishments on the field with RGIII, nothing to do with that one basketball game, and certainly nothing to do with anything of which you have had control. This is about what you represent.
Being a resident from West Virginia gives me a Napoleon Complex that can not be matched by any state in the Union. Although we are one of the 50 stars in the greatest country in the world, we happen to come in last in many statistical categories. We are bordered by the likes of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. You are Texas. We come from modest means with very few things to boast and one of those is our football team. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that this state doesn't have a professional team making WVU athletics the show in town. Although it is repeated, nothing could be more true. This is it. Even if one does not attend the university, you are a part of the culture. The athletic department started a tradition of players walking through the main tailgate scene to eventually touch a piece of coal from the Upper Big Branch mine. This weekly event is named the mantrip after a vehicle that provides the coal miners a lift to get to work through the slope. This bond between the community and WVU cannot be expressed in a better way. Although 98% of those athletes are not from West Virginia, they represent us and we treat them as our own. Eventually, these athletes feel the same way. Bruce Irvin is from Atlanta. Owen Schmitt was born in Wisconsin. John Flowers is from Waldorf, Maryland. Notice how they aren't saying "WVU", they are referencing the state of West Virginia.... and you are walking into it.
You are not only walking into the home field of a top ten college football team, you are walking into our state. A state that gets ragged on for years about the Hatfield/McCoys ordeal and hasn't shaken the cousin stereotype yet. You are representing our new conference and, for the first time, this state doesn't have to have the "sub-par Big East football" chip on its shoulders. You are walking into a town that has been putting up signs about you since June. You are coming into a game that, although it is a noon kickoff on FX, we are bringing in Trace Adkins to sing the national anthem. We are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NCAA because we feel like we have absolutely no respect from anyone. We have the winningest football program without a national title. We have had a lot of almosts and woulda coulda shouldas, but we have never won it. And we're pissed off about it.
We're mad that we have not had our time to shine. We're mad that we do not get to beat the hell out of Pittsburgh this year. We're mad that it has taken this long to get into the spotlight.... and you are the first one on our list. We get to show the country that Milan Puskar Stadium does not just mean a loss for Big East teams. We get to show this year that the Fiesta Bowl wasn't a fluke and that we have three BCS trophies for a reason. We get to show that we belong with the big boys and... guess what? ..... you are Caller #10. Now, Baylor, don't get us wrong. We're happy to have you. There might be a few bad apples that will be rude, but I'm certain that most of the By-Godders will treat you just fine. I know this because we have nothing against you personally. There is nothing about Waco that I am even familiar with other than the tragedy in 1993.
So, in all honesty, don't take it personally that I hate you. I'm sorry that I do and, if it were Kansas that we were playing this week, I would hate all of Bill Self Nation instead of the Fightin' Brittney Griners. But, it's not. It's you, Baylor. Don't take it personally that we're striping the stadium or that Milan Puskar Stadium will be extremely rowdy once kickoff comes. Don't take it personally if we boo when you come on the field or want to win by a mere margin of 70 points. We aren't wanting to beat the hell out of you... it's our demons we are trying to slay. No offense, but this is beyond you. This is about us.