Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia is currently scheduled to face the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on September 12th in the most boring season opener imaginable.
However, as reported earlier by The Voice of Motown’s Clark Johnson, Eastern Kentucky’s conference, the Ohio Valley Conference, appear to be headed towards shifting their schedule to the Spring semester.
And West Virginia University should absolutely hope for that to happen. Although Eastern Kentucky is an almost-certain win for the Mountaineers, a much sexier, more appealing game would be against in-state non-rival Marshall.
The Thundering Herd have a bye on September 12th and impromptu “Coal Bowl” against the Mountaineers is precisely what the state needs right now. In fact, with limited team availability and diminishing options, Marshall might be West Virginia’s only alternative.
To be clear, the Friends of Coal Bowl is not a rivalry. West Virginia holds a 12-0 all-time series record over Marshall and the word “rivalry” is defined by competition, and this series has simply not been competitive.
However, beating little brother Marshall to open a season would be far more exciting than Eastern Kentucky. Marshall Head Coach Doc Holiday, who is a former West Virginia player and assistant coach, said of the series: “The game should be played every year.” West Virginia President E. Gordon Gee seems to agree, saying, “The series between Marshall and West Virginia makes a lot of sense.”
Gee is right. This game makes entirely too much sense to not play. While detractors argue that a game against the Thundering Herd is a lose-lose situation, 1.) West Virginia will not lose to Marshall and 2.) Beating Marshall is better than beating anyone outside of a top-tier team, a conference foe or Pitt. It just is. Make this impromptu Coal Bowl a reality and the season would instantly be saved.