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The Confessions of a Closet Marshall Sympathizer

Ok, after reading that headline, you're probably looking for your go-to stake for the classic Monday afternoon witch burning (it's the only way I start my week). But, I implore, bear with me on this one.

I, very quietly and very selectively, cheer for Marshall. OK, now you're definitely angry, but I will try to explain...

Marshall doesn't matter in the big scheme of WVU football anymore. They are not a challenger for the mantle of "best team in WV," nor were they ever. But still, their fans seemed downright determined to prove they were the team of the Mountain State. "Chad Pennington this, Byron Leftwich that" annoyed the hell out of me, just as I'm sure it did the same for all other Mountaineer fans. That's where the true hostility towards Marshall came from -- their fans. Fast-forward a few years and most of that hostility I once felt is long gone. Hell, even Randy Moss is wearing WVU gear.

If that's not proof that Marshall doesn't matter, I don't know what is.

So, when they're playing on the road at Tulane, I cheer a little bit for Marshall. If they're home to UCF, I cheer a little bit for Marshall. And if hell freezes over, I cheer a little bit for Marshall, because they're in a bowl game.

Of course, there are qualifiers to this cheering if it, in any way, shape, or form, affects West Virginia. Without saying, I am 1000000000% a WVU fan. I would rather wear a scarlet letter to Mountaineer Field than any form of the color green. That's a no-brainer. But beyond that, there are other qualifiers. For example, Marshall hosted ECU earlier this year. Of course, we play both teams, but being that ECU is the stronger team, a good Pirate squad makes WVU look better. No debate there -- I cheered like hell for ECU. Notice, I didn't say I cheered against Marshall, just for ECU.

The other example is a little more complex. Earlier this year, Marshall played Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. They usually play one of these big, non-conference away games each season. Now, everyone knows Virginia Tech isn't on the top of any Mountaineer fan's Christmas list. So, I had a decision to make. Virginia Tech or Marshall? I chose Virginia Tech. Why? It's easy. As I mentioned above, Marshall doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things for WVU. But if they were to start knocking off big opponents on the road (like they used to under Pruett), that tide may begin to change. They would become more relevant on a national stage and, just like that, they would matter to WVU. So, so that happens and I can continue cheering for them in meaningless C-USA games, I chose the Hokies. Yuck.

So, that's my Marshall fandom summed up in a few paragraphs. After reading it, I'm sure most Marshall fans would rather me not secretly (now, not so much) cheer for them, especially considering I will continue to make fun of their school, program, and fans given any opportunity, but that's just too bad.

Just don't expect me to be buying any green clothing.