Thursday, September 20, 2012
Is Maryland-WVU still a rivalry game?
By Andrea Adelson
Maryland has played West Virginia more than any other nonconference opponent -- 48 meetings dating all the way back to 1919.
But the No. 8 Mountaineers have won six straight in the series and are heavy favorites going into their game this weekend in Morgantown, W. Va., leading some to wonder whether this is still a rivalry game at all.
“I see it as a rivalry," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "It’s a game that you’re playing pretty much every year. The states are bordering each other; we compete against them quite a bit in recruiting. It’s a game that has been played a number of times, but we have to do our part to get back on the winning side.”
Coach Randy Edsall and Maryland are searching for ways to make the WVU rivalry competitive.
These teams met every season between 1980 and 2007. There were two years off before the series resumed in 2010, and they are scheduled to meet every year until at least 2017. But there is no certainty that this game can continue beyond that with the ACC moving to a nine-game league schedule and the future addition of Notre Dame once every three years.
Conference realignment has seen a steady decline in these types of rivalry games. West Virginia-Virginia Tech used to be a huge game, but the last time those teams played was in 2005.
Still, the significance of this game is not lost on Edsall, particularly since he is so familiar with West Virginia. He played the Mountaineers as a quarterback at Syracuse, then faced this team every year he was head coach at UConn.
"I can still remember going to old Mountaineer Field when it was right in the middle of campus when I was a quarterback at Syracuse," Edsall said. "We’d go and they pelted us with oranges, and we walked on the field pre-game and they had dogs out there catching Frisbees and tobacco-spitting contests. You know when you go play West Virginia you better strap it up, because it’s going to be a physical, 60-minute game. Especially when you go there, you know that their fans are going to be against you. I’ve always enjoyed playing against West Virginia teams from when Don Nehlen was a coach and Rich (Rodriguez) and now Dana (Holgorsen). I think it’s always good to be able to play good teams, and West Virginia is a very good team.”