Last season Ohio State and West Virginia were one Mountaineer victory away from playing each other in the National Championship game of college football. The 2008 season has those teams heading into different bowl directions.
The West Virginia Mountaineers had 3 goals heading into the 2008 football season
Win the Big East Conference
Play in a B.C.S bowl.
Unfortunately, they accomplished none of those goals.
But an 8-4 record merit's a bowl trip, and the Mountaineers were invited by the Meineke Car Care Bowl to play in the Dec.27 game in Charlotte.
It's not as prestigeous as the Fiesta, Orange, or Sugar bowl, but it is a good fit for the Mountaineers. More importantly its a good fit for their Mountaineer fans, because selling tickets is what bowl games are all about.
It will be one last chance for Mountaineer fans to see Pat White go for an unprecedented fourth straight bowl victory.
Charlotte is an easy day's drive for the Mountaineer fan base. And Car Care Bowl officials are well aware of the large number of transplanted West Virginians now living in the Tar Heel State.
I doubt if many Mountaineer faithful would have made the trip to the other possible bowl destinations of El Paso, Birmingham, or Toronto.
The Mountaineers played in the first bowl game in Charlotte in 2002 when it was called the Contintental Tire Bowl. The Mountaineers got vanquished by Virginia 48-22. The most memorable thing about that game for Mountaineer fans was the halftime show put on by the Virginia Pep Band. It was upsetting and insulting to West Virginians and eventually got the Cavaliers pep band dispanded.
The Oho State Buckeyes had 3 goals going into the 2008 season.
Win the Big Ten Conference
Win a National Championship.
The 10-2 Buckeyes beat Michigan and won a share of the Big Ten Title. They won't play for a national championship. But they are going to a BCS bowl...The Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 5.
The Fiesta Bowl is in the comfort zone for for the Buckeyes and their fans. Ohio State has won the Fiesta Bowl 3 times in the last 5 years, including a national championship game.
Truth be told, the Buckeye nation may be relieved not to be playing for a national championship this time around, after being crushed in back to back title games.
Ohio State travels well and 30 thousand Buckeye fan will descend on the desert to see the Scarlet and Gray take on Texas. It will be a great national platform for Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, and a springboard for another title run down the road.
Neither West Virginia or Ohio State got the bowl game they wanted, but they got the bowl game they deserved. And its up to them to make the most of their bowl situations.
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