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Know Thy Foe: A Q&A with West Virginia’s The Smoking Musket

A friendly questionaire with Mountaineer blogger Matt Kirchner


College football season is back so let’s exchange weekly emails with our opponents and get to know them a bit better. Matt Kirchner of SBN’s West Virginia site "The Smoking Musket" and I exchanged questions, here’s his half of the conversation:

1) I think the most memorable thing about West Virginia was the 70-33 whoopin' ya'll put on Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl. It thrust the phrase "Clemsoning" into the national consciousness. No real question here I just wanted to give ya'll a chance to gloat.

Matt Kirchner:

2) Dana Holgorsen seems like an fun, interesting head coach who seems to have plateaued after a double digit debut in 2011. There was a bit of drama in the off-season when rumors surfaced he was on the hot-seat and even almost replaced. What are fans thoughts and expectations for him this year and for the program's future?

Holgo is definitely at a crossroads, especially with the AD who hand picked him to replace Bill Stewart, Oliver Luck, gone to NCAA HQ.

I'm on the record as unabashedly #TeamHolgo and a lot of our issues after the 2011 Orange Bowl win came from a team with Big East depth competing in the Big 12. He's done a great job recruiting since then though the results still haven't truly been there and each season there's a three or four game stretch where we completely forget how to football. That has to change.

This could be it for Holgo if bad trends don't go away. We have a favorable conference home schedule (last year's four game October losing streak included road trips to OU, TCU, and Baylor) and a senior QB with returning playmakers on offense.

There's definitely a lot on the line for Holgo this year.

3) Conference realignment seems to have benefited you as West Virginia essentially replaced Missouri in the Big 12ish. What changes have accompanied the Mountaineers move to the Big 12ish and what do fans think of their new rivals?

We've really enjoyed it. The old Big East was never truly a cultural fit and it's been great to interact with fans who appreciate the game and all that goes with it as much as we do. Tailgating quality has gone through the roof since the move.

It's still weird from a competitve standpoint but I've mostly gotten used to it. In the future, we've succeeded in getting traditional rivals back on the NonCon schedule and that's awesome.

4) Beyond your QB Skyler Howard, who should Missouri fans be most worried about on offense?

Our stable of RBs is deep, even with the departure of Wendell Smallwood and contrary to popular belief, Holgo is gonna run the ball.

Rushel Shell is going to be the workhorse but you're going to see a lot of JUCO transfer Justin Crawford as well as true freshmen Kennedy McKoy and Martell Petteway.

5) How do you see this game going down?

I see a really close first half with both teams feeling it out in the opener. I think that WVU will hit on a couple of big plays after the half and Mizzou's offense won't be able to keep up. Something along the lines of 34-17 but a lot closer than that seems.

Bonus: Okay seriously, what's the deal with couch-burning? How does a "tradition" like that start?

Pull up a seat and let me tell you our greatest secret.

It's not known to many, but Morgantown used to be a dystopian wasteland ruled by evil, humanized couches known as the Ottoman Empire (no relation). The dark times are still known in Morgantown by virtue of the infinite potholes, the last relics of a great war.

In the 80s, a revolutionary by the name of Don Nehlen made his way south to Morgantown and began the great war. With the help of his greatest solider, Major Harris (now known only by rank), he drove the dictators out of Morgantown and ushered in the Golden Age.

Now, in remembrance of that great victory we set couches ablaze whenever other great victories are achieved. Only the drunkest of frat boys carry the honor of Torch Bearers.

And now you know our story. You are one of only a few.