Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's been super busy... And there hasn't been that much going on.

So I'm going to steal. This is directly from Pete Fiutaks weekly mailbag. Last week he had a question about RichRod and the WVU situation, in which he called WVU the crazy ex-girlfriend

ASK CFN 4/18

And finally …

Last week I remarked that West Virginia fans need to just let it go about Rich Rodriguez leaving for West Virginia. The responses were, well, interesting.

Let it go? Let it go?! The guy owes us $4 million dollars and stabbed us in the back? Pay us our money and live up to your contract with YOU signed. He’s a weasel and he’s trying to get out of paying what’s rightly ours. Let me guess, if it was the other way around you’d be screaming the WVU owes him. – SL

You obviously don't know West Virginia and what it means to be a West Virginian. The way Rich left was horrible. He lied to all of us. He called Terrell Pryor and told him he was going to Michigan before he told his own players, his boss and the West Virginia fans. Many of us got together and scraped up a lot of money to keep him here and he said he was here for a long time. He signed a contract. He crapped on us. He turned his back on his own state. He could have been up front with everything. No. He decided to be a lying snake, secure another job, tell recruits and attempt to get them headed to Michigan on WVU's time, before he tells a soul here in West Virginia. The same West Virginia who ponied up and met his demands just a year prior. He cries about the buyout? If he had stayed, the buyout was scheduled to drop to 2 million in August of this year. Well, if he would just pay WVU what it is owed, then that would give me some personal satisfaction, knowing how bad that hurts him to part with that kind of cash. Let him feel that pain. If or when he does, he can multiply that by 10 and then he will know how this state felt when he did what he did to this state, our school, our players and the fans. - CC

You don’t get West Virginia and you obviously never will. It takes something special to
live here. It’s a special place. We don't have much here, so the football program means everything. Of course, you’d never get that. You probably wouldn’t understand a tough life. Your a joke and so is your anti-Mountaineer bias. – FK

You outsiders should just keep your thoughts about West Virginia to yourself. This is a hard place and our football program is our identity and our passion. We don’t have the lifestyle here other places have. So you better show West Virginia some respect or I wouldn’t show my face around here if I were you. And if you do, you’d better look both ways before crossing the street. - Anonymous

You have no idea of the pride of West Virginians and what it means to live in West Virginia. But that isn't what this is about. Unless you're a West Virginian, or you've lived here, you'll never get it anyway.
- KG

First of all, did I say anything about the state of West Virginia? Analyzing the football program and saying something about the place are two completely different things (yes, they are), even though fans like to tie the two together.

Second, don’t give me this line about it being West Virginia and somehow West Virginians have some sort of toughness and honor that no outsider could comprehend. Everyone from every state thinks that way. You’re proud of where you’re from. So are Iowans and New Yorkers and Hawaiians and Californians. The excitement is fine, but you can’t thump your chest with this “you wouldn’t understand it” state pride and then keep complaining that it’s a rough place to live. You can’t have it both ways.

And finally, I’m not saying whether or not Rich Rodriguez is right or wrong or whether he’s a good guy or bad. I’m not defending him and I’m not taking his side. He’s a terrific football coach. Period. That’s all he is. Everything else is just corporate legal BS and it really doesn’t matter in your world, even if you think it does.

This has nothing to do with the money. You can use that as something tangible for your anger, but that’s not why you’re having problems with this.

Rodriguez doesn’t owe you. It’s not your money, and spare me the self-righteous garbage about being a tax payer blah, blah, blah. You’d be dead from a stroke if you really cared this much about every bad government or university contract that eats away at your tax dollars. Even if Rodriguez paid back every cent with a smile, you’d still be upset that one of your own rejected you. If you’re angry at the snipping, that’s another story.

Here was a coach who took what Don Nehlen had started and made it better. I know, Mountaineer football had its moments under Nehlen and had chances to win national titles in 1988 and 1993, but that ’88 team beat one team with a pulse (Syracuse) before losing to Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, and the ’93 team barely got by its four good games before getting blasted by Florida in the Sugar Bowl. No one actually respected West Virginia football since it got rocked every time the bowls kicked in.

Rodriguez changed that.

With the 2006 Sugar Bowl win over Georgia, in Atlanta no less, the Mountaineers joined the world of the truly big-time programs. That wasn’t just any team WVU beat; that was the SEC champ in its own house. Now the program really was a national title contender and wasn’t just in the hunt based on a fat record against mediocre competition. The entire state had something to get really fired up about, and its fan base, who’s not used to the scrutiny that comes with the spotlight (ask me sometime about the time spent trying to keep Marshall fans in check when they thought their team was of national title stock) went crazy at anyone who dared speak in anything other than glowing terms when it came to their pride and joy.

Then Rodriguez, who had the program on the cusp of playing for the national championship before blowing it against Pitt, leaves for Michigan. It’s not like he pulled a Dennis Franchione and left Alabama for Texas A&M, at best a lateral move. Whether or not you believe it, the Michigan job is one of the biggest in all of sports and one of the crown jewels among coaches.

WVU fans, you have to understand that no coach ever, EVER leaves gracefully, and no coach ever, EVER knows how to handle it right. Sure, it would’ve been nice if Rodriguez was up front and honest about everything, but coaches can’t be … to a point. They can’t talk about another job and then be all smiles and happiness when it doesn’t work out (cough, Glen Mason at Minnesota when he wanted the Ohio State job, cough). That kills recruiting and becomes a mega-distraction and a ridiculous circus (cough, Les Miles, cough).

Had LSU not played for the national title, Miles would’ve ended up being the Michigan head football coach, Rodriguez would’ve stayed at West Virginia, and none of this would’ve happened. But it did, you have a new head man, and while the program might not be as good over the long haul, it’ll be fine for now.

Fine, so you wish Rodriguez handled everything better and showed more respect to the University and to West Virginia. Now be the better man, or fans, and take the high road. Instead of getting all hot and bothered, you should be happy Rodriguez made your program matter. You should be happy that West Virginia football is such a big deal. You should be happy at all the fun memories you had when he was the head man. You should realize that this is big business and that your company lost its CEO and replaced him with another good one who should be able to keep the train rolling. You should wish Rodriguez well at Michigan, because for better or worse, he still represents you. You should let it all go and enjoy what should be a fantastic 2008 season.

Feel better? No? Fine, you may now commence with your usual barrage of grouchy and misguided “CFN hates West Virginia” e-mails.

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