2012 Big 12 Football: A Beginners Guide to the West Virginia Mountaineers
I'm sure there may be several Big 12 fans out there that may not know a whole lot about the West Virginia Mountaineers. If you find yourself in this category then you are in luck, we have been able to put together this fairly brief yet detailed compilation of facts and histories concerning that team from the Mountain State.
Origins of Mountaineer Football
West Virginia University played its first college football game in 1891 against the Washington & Jefferson Presidents. The Presidents defeated the Mountaineers 72-0 on a "converted" cow pasture in Morgantown.
WVU would play Washington & Jefferson who would ultimately become WVU's first rivalry a total of 34 times from 1891-1935 with an overall record of 12-20-2, however the Mountaineers would enjoy the satisfaction of defeating the Presidents 51-0 in their final contest during the 1935 game.
Milan Puskar Stadium
Old Mountaineer Field opened in 1924, closed in 1979 and was demolished in 1987.
The facility now known as Milan Puskar Stadium originally opened in 1980 and cost $22 Million to construct. It originally had a capacity of 50,000 but since has been renovated and expanded from up to 63,500 and then down to the current capacity of 60,000.
The stadium was renamed Milan Puskar Stadium in 2004 after the co-founder of the Morgantown based pharmaceutical company Mylan Inc. donated $20 million to the university.
What was the largest crowd to ever watch a game in Morgatown? 70,222 in a 1993 home win against the #4 ranked Miami Hurricanes.
The Backyard Brawl is what they call it. WVU and PITT; separated by only 75 miles have met on the gridiron 104 times since 1895. The last 68 games (since 1943) have been consecutive. It is going to hurt to lose the tradition of playing PITT. Hopefully something can be arranged for the future and get the Panthers back on the schedule at some point. This game has had national championship implications! But on the bright side if we have to stop playing them, then it is nice to know that we won the last three games!
Penn State Nittany Lions
West Virginia played against the Nittany Lions 59 times. West Virginia managed to defeat Penn State only nine of those 59 attempts. The Mountaineers and the Nittany Lions have not met on a football field since 1992. In 1988 WVU defeated Penn State 51-30 on their way to an appearance in the 1988 national championship game.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Played intermittently from 1912 to 2005 the Hokies managed to claim the coveted Black Diamond Trophy six of the last nine years of the rivalry that the trophy was conceived including the final game played in 2005. However the Mountaineers still hold the lead in this series with a 28-22-1 record against the gobblers.
The Mounatineer's 2012 matchup against the Terps will be one of the last regional rivalries remaining on the schedule for years to come. Maryland will be the only rival that West Virginia will keep on future schedules with a current contract going until the 2017 season. WVU holds a 25-21-2 edge in the Border War against the Terps.
Marshall Thundering Herd
The game has recently been called the "Friends of Coal Bowl". WVU has a 11-0 record against the only other FBS school in the state. The series has been played off and on from 1911-2011 with the last six games being consecutive. The last game of the current agreement is scheduled to be played on 1 September 2012 in Morgantown. At this time there has been no agreement to continue the series past next season.
Only two numbers in the 120 year history of West Virginia University football have ever been retired. No. 21 that was worn by Ira Errett Rodgers and No. 75 worn by Sam Huff.(Be aware the Sam Huff link states that his number was 70, this is referring to his NFL jersey number.)
I have written in the past about WVU retiring two additional numbers No. 9 for Major Harris and No. 5 for Patrick White. But sadly we may never see that happen.
Record Against Big 12 Opponents
The Mountaineers have played every team in the current Big 12 at least once with exceptions to Baylor and Iowa State. Below I have managed to break down the record against each team, however most of 13 games played against current Big 12 members were before 1988 save for the 2008 Fiesta Bowl.
Baylor 2012 will be first meeting
Iowa State 2012 will be first meeting
Kansas 1-0 (1941)
Kansas State 1-1 (1930,1931)
Oklahoma 2-2 (1958, 1978, 1982 and 2008)
Oklahoma State 2-1 (1928, 1929 and 1987)
Texas 1-0 (1956)
Texas Christian 1-0 (1984)
Texas Tech 1-0 (1938)
The Mountaineers are going into the Big 12 with a mostly "ancient" 9-4 record against the conferences current members. Of the 13 games four were bowl games, WVU's record in bowl games against the current Big 12 is 3-1.
What to Expect from the Gameday Environment in Morgantown
The Mountaineer Mantrip was established by current Head Coach Dana Holgorsen just last season to change things up and start a new tradition. The term "mantrip" is taken from the daily trip that coal miners take from the surface into the mine to start their shift. WVU's mantrip goes from Don Nehlen drive to the stadium where players will then pay its respects to a 350 pound block of coal that was taken from the Upper Big Branch mine. The mine was the scene of the 2010 disaster that cost West Virginia 29 souls.
If you want to go where the party is at then most likely you will want to find your way toward the blue lot. Here you will find the some of the best tailgates in the country, everyone from Halliburton to your grand mother has a tailgate set up here. (And by the way it is way too easy to get free beer from the Halliburton tent, not that you will need to but it is good to know.)
Once game time comes around and it is time to actually go into Milan Puskar Stadium you will find that Mountaineer fans are just as loud and obnoxious as most other fan bases. Oh and by the way WVU serves beer at all home games! That's right you can choose beer from Anheuser-Busch, Miller-Coors and the Morgantown Brewing Company. Be careful though you can no longer leave the stadium at half time to go chug a few at your tailgate, the "enforcers" wont let you back in.
At the end of the day if the Mountaineers win, we all (usually drunkenly) sing John Denver's "Country Roads". Hey didn't John Denver go to Texas Tech?...Thats awkward.