‘Eers to Enjoy Nice Day
They are ranked in the top 5 by nearly every college football pundit and they have two legitimate Heisman trophy candidates in Steve Slaton and Patrick White. That makes this Saturday’s forecast for the game between the Mountaineers and the Broncos of Western Michigan all the more important. Here’s my best.
Morning tailgate temperatures will start out in the 70s (60s if you are cooking breakfast at say 8ish). By kickoff, the mercury will reach 80 and then rest around 85 by the second half. The sky will be sunny with a deep blue canvas as a backdrop and a few cottony soft cumulus clouds sprinkled here and there. Winds will blow lightly and not be factor. So load the kids up with the sun block and pack a pair of shades as the ‘Eers begin their run at a National Title.
Now in Monday’s blog, I mentioned how hot it would be in Miami for the Herd-Canes game. I also alluded to the big advantage that a southern team enjoys when a northern team comes calling in the heat. Let me turn that around as we explore why harsh weather can favor the home team.
In November 1997, Then sportscaster Kerry Garnett and I traveled to Morgantown for the Big East showdown between the ‘Eers and the Canes. Both teams were undefeated (if memory serves me correctly) and eyeing a possible National title. The weather had turned bitter cold that weekend in the Northeast and the 3:30 kickoff meant the second half would been played at night. As the late afternoon sun set, the wind howled as the Pride of West Virginia took the field. First half temperatures were near 32 but a 20 mile per hour wind cut right thru fans, players and reporters alike.
I had 3 layers on that day, but could not stay comfortable. It was cold and getting colder. The ‘Eers took a slight lead into half. At that point I made my way over to just outside the Miami locker room. I placed my ear against the wall of the ‘Canes locker. The shouts were uncommonly crude and directed at the ‘Eers and the weather. It was clear that this Miami squad did not respect WVU and was blaming the cold weather for the first half deficit.
The second half grew colder and colder and after a few lead changes came to down to one last Miami series. I recall the score was 17-14 for WVU as Miami got the ball for the last time with 2 minutes left. Throwing into the wind, Miami’s last ditch effort to tie or win was thwarted by the bitter chill and the ‘Eers stingy D. It was on this night that I realized how valuable an asset it is for a northern school to host a southern team in late November when the weather is cold.