Boy, there's a bunch of hype surrounding this West Virginia / Marshall rivalry. You would think these two programs are bitter enemies of the last 100 years or something. Well, guess what? They're not. This will make only the 6th time the two football teams have met and WVU is currently 5-0 against their "rival."
For a team to be a rival, there must be history. And there must be something at stake. WVU is the only team with something to lose in this "rivalry." For WVU, it's a similar game to Eastern Washington or East Carolina. You must win...and, if you don't, you're in trouble. For Marshall, they're expected to lose and should they pull out the miracle, well, then it's big news.
This "rivalry" is very similar to the West Virginia / Penn State matchups. It meant everything in the world when WVU played Penn State. To Mountaineer fans that is. To Nittany Lions fans, it was a heart attack. They needed to stomp the Mountaineers because WVU wasn't a team in their league. WVU was a fly with really obnoxious fans. Sound familiar?
So, Penn State comes to WVU and, most years, takes care of business. They destroy the Mountaineers for like 25 years in a row and all is going well. And then, one day, WVU beats them back. So what? WVU beats Penn State. It's a glorious day in the Mountain State. It's a sad day in Happy Valley.
And, despite the fact Penn State started winning again, all they heard about was that WVU victory. Because, it didn't matter how many times Penn State stomped WVU...all that mattered was the one or two times WVU got them back. And, well, that's all cool and stuff but I'm sure it wasn't if you were a Penn State fan.
Well, WVU fans, we're the Penn State folks now. And we can beat Marshall 20 times in a row (if the "rivalry" last that long), but eventually they will win one. Maybe a fluke...maybe they field a good team. But, regardless, they will eventually win...and that's all WVU fans will hear about for several years to come after that. And we won't like it. Does that make this a rivalry? No. Just like WVU wasn't really a rival for Penn State.
Here's to You, Marshall fans