Over the past several weeks that led up to Christmas, the televisions in my home, as well as in the homes of my many relatives I saw over the holidays, were often tuned to one of several classic Christmas movies. After pondering last night’s bowl loss, it occurred to me, what if WVU football were a holiday movie.
It’s an Honor and a Privilege to Live this Life
Plot synopsis: Bill Stewart, after finding out he’s worth more to the University as a figurehead for the MAC than a coach, finds himself on the South High Street Bridge about to jump into Decker’s Creek when an angel named Clarence shows him a life in which he’d never been born.
In it, WVU doesn’t win the Sugar Bowl because he’s not there to call the Phil Brady fake punt. Rodriguez doesn’t leave after the Pitt loss and WVU loses to Oklahoma in a second consecutive game where the offense fails to score a TD against 10 men in the box. Rod then makes WVU a top five team again with Pat White but then leaves before a BCS bowl to go coach the University of Tennessee and promptly runs it into the ground. WVU hires Doc Holliday and stays a middle of the pack Big East team after the conference loses its automatic BCS tie-in after a string of Fiesta Bowl losses. The Mountaineers lose their first game to Marshall in 2011 to the Herd and their new head coach—up and coming Mike Tomlin who is stuck in Conference USA because Stewart wasn’t around to give him his first job at VMI. After Stew sees his bride as an old maid he tells Clarence he can’t take it anymore, telling him he wants to live again and runs through downtown Morgantown, yelling “Merry Christmas, Dairy Queen!” “Merry Christmas, Bent Willies!”
A Mountaineer Christmas Carol
Plot synopsis: On the eve of the Champs Sports Bowl Game, we see a Mountaineer fan posting angrily on every message board He is visited in his sleep by the ghost of Pappy Lewis who tells John Allen that his attitude is very un-Mountaineer like, and he doesn’t realize how good he has it. He tells him that he’ll be visited by three spirits and can possibly avoid being a grizzled fan for life if he heeds their advice and changes his outlook. He is visited first by the Ghost of Seasons Past who takes him to1992 when the Mountaineers went 5-4-2, and 1987 when the Mountaineers went 6-6. The ghost reminds John Allen that the team went 11-0 following each of those seasons and suggests that John Allen perhaps reconsider the team’s recent success as just that, recent success, and not an expectation of something that can happen every year.
The Ghost of Seasons Present takes him to Austin, Texas, where their team isn’t bowl eligible a year after being removed from the National Championship game. Then to Knoxville, Tennessee where they’re on their third coach in three years after they fired a coach with a 75% career winning percentage, a year after taking them to the SEC Championship game. Then to Oxford, Mississippi where their current coach is on the hot seat after taking the Rebels to 4th in the country at one point last season and going 9-4 in each of the previous two seasons before this year’s down year.
The Ghost of Seasons Yet to Come takes him to 2021. The Mountaineers are on their third coach since Stewart despite four co-Big East Championships and two BCS bowl appearances in the past decade. The grizzled fan base, fickle big dollar donors continue to force Luck’s hand to “stay competitive.”
John Allen wakes to find himself in his bed on Champs Sports Bowl day. He’s not happy with the 23-7 performance, and while he wishes things had gone differently, he concedes they could be worse and avoids the message boards for the offseason.
If time allows, maybe I’ll develop them a bit more, but in the meantime, would love to hear what other possibilities are out there. Miracle on Don Nehlen Drive? Bill Kirlawich’s Christmas Vacation?