Growing up in the hills of western Virginia, everywhere I looked I saw Virginia Tech or UVA flags/memorbilia.
Long about grade 7, I became friends with a kid whose father was a wrestler for WVU and is a big contributor to the school. By the time I was in 8th grade, I had visited my fair share of "big" sporting events. I remember the being at the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament (twice, with the third time coming this spring), Game 7 of the 1997 World Series ("11th Heaven" for Marlins' fans), Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup ("No Goal"-Brett Hull) and my fair share of college football games in Blacksburg and Charlottesville.
Now, I'm not bragging, I'm simply getting to a point. All of these events had an atmosphere that would make a grown man "tear up in passion"-sorry dad, had to use an example. However, my first game in Morgantown, WV was nothing short of an eye opening experience.
Sure, the crowd was rowdy -half of them on the tipsy/drunk side- but, these fans were there for one reason: West Virginia football. Very few crowds are as passionate and none more passionate than the old gold and blue clad Mountaineer fans.
For the Mountaineer Faithful, the game starts at dawn. Tailgaiting starts when the sun rises, and you hear chants of "Let's go Mountaineers" so many times that it rings in your head all the way home.
Game time in other stadiums starts when the ball leaves the tee (with the exception of a few other schools). For this crowd, the Mountaineer Marching Band-also known as the "Pride of West Virginia"-kicks off the game.
When the faint sound of percussion is heard coming from the tunnels and the Pride of WV emerges, the noise on the field reaches deafening levels, where it remains until the last note of "Country Roads" is played over the public address system, following the final whistle. This crowd is one of very few in the nation that stays for the ENTIRE GAME. It is certainly a sight to see.
I can't say it's the best place to witness a college football game, only because I haven't been everywhere, nonetheless, what I am saying is; if you live remotely close to Morgantown and have never been inside Milan Puskar stadium on Saturday afternoon, it may be time for a road trip.