West Virginia Wins by 8 Billion Points and Smashes Every Record in Existence

OK…slight hyperbole.

I know this is dumb to blog about (not that that ever stops me), but I just can’t help it. I know whoever cares about this already knows and the vast majority of my readers probably don’t care. But I’ll try to explain below why this story matters to me. It’s 2:28AM right now as I write. Typos, come forth!

The West Virginia Mountaineers scored more points than any team in bowl history last night and won their first ever Orange Bowl in record-smashing fashion.

West Virginia: 70 Clemson: 33

This is West Virginia’s 3rd BCS Bowl (for the unschooled, this means big-time-huge bowl game) appearance, each time the Mountaineers have been underdogs. West Virginia won all three. In fact, like a few years ago, the ESPN poll (along with every ESPN commentator I saw) predicted West Virginia would lose. They break it down by state and every single state, except one, had West Virginia falling to Clemson.

West Virginians love this storyline. We’re a small state and frequently get overlooked, or dismissed. People often (including an ESPN commentator) don’t even know we’re a state. So this kind of thing really rings our bell. (Actually, this is both a strength and a weakness, but that’s another story.)

This was special. I’m a West Virginia fan no matter what, so it’s pretty sweet to enjoy this historic victory. Best of all, I got to enjoy it with some family, my 8 year old daughter staying up with me till 12:30 AM to see the whole thing through. In our family, West Virginia sports are a valued tradition.

When I got back from South Africa as a teen and went to my first West Virginia game in several years, I was all teared up early on. I kept trying to think why that was. After some thought, I realized it really wasn’t so much this team and these players (though they matter to me), but I was thinking of my Dad, far away in Africa. For me it’s always been about him and my Papaw and on and on back, as long as I know of, we’ve been for West Virginia. It’s something my entire family connects over, and while a dumb streak of potential-idolatry exists (as it does in all good things), I am thankful for this tradition.

What a fun night.


  1. I’m glad there was some family that didn’t abandon you in the triumph. At a certain point, I felt it was safe to go to bed, but that doesn’t make me any less happy about the victory!

  2. We were able to watch it here in Canuckland. The Mountaineers were on fire! I loved hearing the commentators being blown away. I’m not even a football fan, but knowing how all of you would be feeling made me really happy. 🙂

  3. As a guy that calls Nebraska home, a state with virtually the same population as West Virginia, I think I can appreciate your sentiment, Sam. We get some props in Nebraska, but it’s often in the form of cliches and back-handed compliments. By the way, the pollsters didn’t ask me. Each year, my friend and I fill out our picks for each bowl game, and you will be pleased to know that in the Orange Bowl, my pick was West Virginia.

  4. I think it’s entirely the fault of you and your wife that now, whenever I hear “West Viginia,” I also think “Smiths!” Glad it was a good day. 🙂 And I’m positive your daughter will remember the occasion. I still remember my dad waking up me and my sister to watch the US women’s soccer team get their gold medals in 1996. Yay, sports!

  5. I got to Skype in with my folks from here in Afghanistan and watch the game in its’ entirety! Thankful for modern technology in all good forms! It was great to be able to share the experience with my folks, and every single person here on post that would listen. Walked into the weekly staff meeting and sat next to our head Military Police officer, who just so happens to be a West Virginian, and asked, simply, “Did you watch the game?” His response, “Yup”. And that was that, because as excited as we both were, we also knew we didn’t have to shout it from the mountain-tops. That is, until someone else mentioned how unsportsmanlike WVU was being by running up the score. I then proceded to educate said person on just what happens when WVU thinks that it will win, and then decides to not play the second half. Thankfully that’s not what happened this time. Game. Set. Match, to West Virginia University. Cheers. -J

  6. Love this story as I relate to it on so many levels. Being from a state everyone confuses to be either Ohio or Idaho (depending on coasts) and supporting the “other” school in the state– you know the one that broadcasters always forget and instead call you by you rival– I empathize with your forgotten sentiment.

    However, I really connected with your love of football with your love for your dad. My love of football always reminds me of my grandma. Wait, what? My grandmother attended ISU in the 30’s back when we still played our cross-state rival. Shortly after she graduated they discontinued the game because the rivalry became too vitriolic. My parents never witnessed the rivalry game while they attended ISU. The series picked back up shortly before I was born due to a push by the state legislature. I gre up with the rivalry my grandmother experienced. I still remember listening to games on the radio, hashing out yesterday’s game on Sunday, and hearing the old stories of campus life in the 30s with my grandmother. Iowa State will always have this indelible link to great times I spent with my grandmother. Trust me on this grandma definitely made the times great because ISU rarely won any football games while I was growing up. Their heyday? The 1930s.

  7. Laura, that’s a great memory. We all watched the US Women in the last World Cup and we’ll be watching the Olympics together soon. Love that team. Great family memories.

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