Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Intentional Deceit of PossumPete

“If the traveling salesman comes to town and sells a passel of snake oil, sleeps with your daughter and knocks up your cow, you can bet he was up to no good.”

The Big East was doomed.

And in the state of West Virginia, the crown jewel of Big East football, the people were in a state of panic.

They understood what the death of the Big East meant for the West Virginia program – a slow slide into obscurity.

Down south PossumPete saw an opportunity. He saw a entire state of football crazy fans hungry for information.

PossumPete was smart possum and did his research. He read the Mountaineer message boards. He scanned #WVU hastag on twitter. He saw the Mountaineer fan’s desire to be in the SEC and took advantage of their fear.

He knew they feared being left out. He knew they expected to be left out, and he knew he could make a profit on that fear.

So he started to lie and pander. His “SEC sources “ told him WVU was the choice not Missouri. He tweeted, and he tweeted, and he tweeted – WVU was 14.

And when it was clear that WVU was not 14 he calmly changed his story.

WVU was not 14, but wait they were 15!

His SEC sources told him of plans to add WVU and FSU. The SEC would soon be at 16!

They assured PossumPete that the deal was done and the only delay was the gentleman’s agreement between the SEC and ACC. The ACC would be allowed to find a replacement for FSU before making the announcement.

When confronted about the absurdity of his information PossumPete lashed out and called his critics flip-floppers. Having no defense for his bogus information he did the only thing he could do. He went on the attack.

PossumPete said WVU impatient. He said his sources were astounded!

He did everything but admit he was wrong.

But he was more than wrong.

He was lying.

Lets look at his Tweets.

All of these Tweets are from October 24th, 2011 to the present day.

Still waiting on Mizzou, but smart money says yes. RT @DubVii Can we safely predict that #UL not #WVU will join B12 in the next two weeks?

PossumePete’s sources tell him Louisville to the Big 12. Funny how everyone was saying that  on Oct. 22.

Talked to my guy. No news yet, but he did confirm that while WVU might have B12 invite, Louisville would get the nod (better fit for sports)

Great insight by Possum’s source. WVU had actually been speaking to the Big 12 since Oct. 7th and finalized an agreement to join the Big 12 on Oct. 21.

My guy is still solid on #WVU being #15 or #16 in SEC. Slive still has gag order in on ALL schools/staffs for leaks/rumors.

His source again was wrong.  WVU had not been talking to the SEC for over two weeks and had accepted a Big 12 bid already.

I'm seeing more and more people on Twitter reporting that WVU is going to the Big 12. #WhoaNotSoFastNelly

Here PossumPete tries to counter the growing knowledge that WVU is in the Big 12. He just can’t let his deception go.

#WVU 'Eers, y'all need to be hoping that Louisville gets the invite (and accepts). Trust me on this one. #WVUWillBeFine

This tweet was beyond comprehension and spurred me to write this story. The conceit and either stupidity or foolishness of this statement angered me and it angered many WVU fans.

Keep beating the SEC drum, guys. It definitely ain't over.

This tweet came the Oct. 26th after the press conference WVU planned to announce its Big 12 membership was canceled. PossumPete uses the opportunity to continue to assert he is right.

Nothing that I haven't said before. SEC wants WVU as #15, plain and simple. WVU panicked a little too soon. @Eerfan64Mike care to elaborate?

This tweet came after it was confirmed WVU would be in the Big 12. Notice how he deflects his complete and utter inaccuracy and blames WVU.  WVU spoke to the Big 12 before accepting the Big 12’s offer and was told they were not in the SEC’s plans. PossumPete’s sources apparently knew something Mike Slive and WVU didn’t.

#Big12 is cooling on #WVU, heating up on #Louisville. #SEC interest in #WVU has never waned, just needed #Mizzou to fall into place first.

If you ever needed any proof that PossumPete was simply making stuff up this one is it. The SEC had told WVU it had no interest and the Big 12 had offered.

Yep, and #Cincy too! #Rutgers, #Uconn, #USF to ACC. #Mizzou, #WVU, #FSU to SEC. @erikmorgan Does L'ville head to B12 in your scenarios?

PossumPete continues to dig his own grave and he continues to lie. Here he gives false hope to other Big East schools.

WVU's SEC invite is not a matter of "if", but "which #". @Green6315 Mizzou like that girl that doesnt want to give it up #putoutorgetout

PossumPete’s insistence that  the SEC wants WVU is quickly become pathetic.  He continues to insist, despite everything – that WVU is in the SEC.

If Mizzou misses deadline, WVU to SEC; SEC holds at 14 for now. If Mizzou makes it, SEC will stagger announcements, but WVU should be in.

What makes you think that already hasn't been done? RT @WVUBummy then why doesn't the SEC Brass (Slive) let WVU officials in on the plan

Since so many of you asked, I believe #Mizzou's deadline is Monday. Deaton leaves on Int'l trip on Tuesday. Yes, I still believe #WVU2SEC.

These three tweets are more fantasy. Missouri, as we all know by now, didn’t have a deadline. But he insists WVU would be in even if Missouri goes. Why to cover your lies Possum. Notice how he says Slive let WVU know about the SEC’s expansion plans. Remember that one.

Got off the phone with my source about a half hour ago. WVU's move even caught him & my other guys by surprise. #COMPLETELackOfPatience. :(

This was Possum’s last tweet after WVU was announced to Big 12. Notice again how he deflects the blame to WVU?

PossumPete was lying. He didn’t have any sources feeding him information about WVU to the SEC. How could he? Not one of his predictions based on information given to him by his sources actually happened.

In one tweet he says Slive let WVU know about the SEC’s plan to expand to 16 but then he says WVU’s move caught his sources by surprise and was due to a lack of patience.

How stupid does he think we are? Does PossumPete really think that WVU would pass up a bid to the SEC for the Big 12? That’s what he expects us to believe. He’s said so in his tweets.

He’s on record as saying the SEC would expand to 16, that Slive told WVU they were expanding to 16 and that WVU got impatient and signed with the Big 12.

Now really PossumPete do you think we just fell off the turnip truck?

No doubt PossumPete  will counter with some excuse, some myth about the SEC, but his record is there for everyone to see.

So the next time the snake-oil salesman rolls into town with information that’s too good to be true remember this tale of PossumPete and send him down the road. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The End of All Things Big East

The long dark night finally has a dawn. Thursday afternoon the Big 12 conference, for the second time this week, extended an invitation to West Virginia University to become the conferences 10th member.

The Mountaineers accepted and in a 7:00 am conference call Friday morning the Big 12 Board of Directors voted unanimously to add WVU.

Morgantown celebrated and poor Louisville hung its head in shame.

The Big East postured by releasing a statement saying WVU would be held to the 27-month waiting period as required by league bylaws.

Oliver Luck, showing no fear of the Providence Meatball, boldly stated WVU would not play in the Big East next year despite what Big East commissioner John Mariantto says.  

The Mountaineers are gone!

The Mountaineers will buy their way out of the waiting period using the buyout blueprint given to Pittsburgh and Syracuse by the Big East.

Marinatto can complain and threaten but WVU has a copy of the proposed buyout  and plans to use it to force the Big East to allow them to get the hell out.

West Virginia had notified Marinatto about their impending departure from the Big East last week before Louisville used Mitch McConnell to slow down the process in hopes of turning votes against WVU.

Louisville’s delay tactics didn’t work, but it did make an enemy of WVU almost overnight.

Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Nienas denied Louisville was a factor in the delay but leaks to the media by the few Louisville supporters in the Big 12 offset his assertions.

Louisville was a factor, but not the only one.

The delay was in part due to squabbling between Missouri and the Big 12 over the exit fee the Tigers will pay.  The Tigers reasoned that WVU’s inclusion reduced the amount of damage their departure would cause. The Big 12 disagreed.

And it was during the discussions between the Tigers and the conference that McConnell made his move on behalf of Louisville.

It didn’t work. Louisville never had the votes.

What the Cardinals had was Oklahoma. The Sooners stood up for Louisville on the principle of opposing Texas.

Nienas, ever the consensus builder, was also a strong supporter of WVU but decided to try and add both WVU and Louisville.

WVU would have none of it.

The Big 12 pitched to WVU the idea of adding Louisville with each school taking a reduced of revenues until the TV contract can be redone.

WVU said no and the Cardinals were left to fend for themselves in the Big East.

Clements and Luck played hardball and they knew Fox Sports and ESPN had their back.

ESPN desperately wants Big East football to go away. And what better way to kill the conference that dared to tell them no than by stripping it of the most important football member?

Greed ruled the day.

Don’t shed too many tears for the Cardinals; they did it to themselves.


WVU had been on track for a full share in 2012 but the Big 12 decided instead to put the Mountaineers on the same revenue sharing scale as TCU. Instead the Big 12 will help WVU pay the buyout for the 27-month waiting period in the Big East. 

The money funneled to WVU to help cover their exit costs will come from the exit fee paid by Missouri.

WVU contacted both the SEC and ACC on Sunday to give each a last chance of signing WVU. Both passed.

The SEC told WVU it had no plans to expand to 16 in the foreseeable future.

Many rumors are floating about the Internet claiming WVU was tapped to get an SEC invite when the SEC went to 16 later this year. There is no truth to that rumor. If the SEC had such plans it would have told WVU on Sunday and the Mountaineers would not have accepted the Big 12 offer.

According to WVU sources any rumors of WVU having talks with the SEC at anytime during the past three weeks are completely false.

WVU and the Big 12 began serious talks the night of October 7, 2011 and the Mountaineers almost exclusively focused on Big 12 membership since then.

The grant-of-rights required by the Big 12 will be signed by WVU by the middle of next week. Hopefully this will put an end to any SEC talk.

I’m surprised the SEC theorists haven’t claimed WVU will pull a TCU and withdraw from the Big 12 before ever playing a game in the conference. Once WVU signs the grant-of-rights even that claim will be certifiably bogus.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Louisville Plays Dirty

 Chuck Neinas had a vision for the Big 12. Where others saw  a conference in turmoil Neinas saw the potential for the Big 12 to challenge the mighty SEC for college football supremacy.

Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas and Baylor were all in the top 20 and conference power rankings had the Big 12  at the top. The spotlight had never been brighter for the Big 12.

Questions about conference stability were soon to be a thing of the past.  Big 12 members agreed to a grant of television rights that would secure members anywhere from 6 to 10 years.

The dysfunctional conference of bickering programs seemed to be growing up and its members acting like adults.

Even the impending departure of the Missouri Tigers didn’t seem like a problem. The Big 12 had the answer waiting in the wings… the West Virginia Mountaineers.

On Tuesday when the news began to break that the Mountaineers had been invited to the Big 12 the national media hailed the news with widespread approval.

Big 12 members bragged the Mountaineers were an  upgrade over the Tigers in both football and basketball and from coast to coast journalists agreed.

Chuck Neinas even made plans to fly to Morgantown to welcome the Mountaineers into the conference.

And then WVU issued a press release stating that no press conference would be held.

Louisville’s AD Jurich and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell had tampered.

They caught the ear of Oklahoma President David Boren and began to slander WVU. They touted their Olympic sports and easy access to airports while whispering words of WVU fan misconduct into Boren’s ears.

The vote of Big 12 Directors that was supposed to formally approve WVU’s membership hit a snag.  WVU didn’t have the votes for approval.

Oklahoma voted no.

They were supposed to vote yes.

Earlier the Big 12’s Board of Directors had approved WVU’s invitation. The formal vote was supposed to be perfunctory.

Oklahoma voted no.

WVU was embarrassed.

The Big 12 was embarrassed.

Embarrassment aside the move by the Big 12 was completely bush league.

WVU officials are angry and reached out to West Virginia’s senior Senator Jay Rockefeller for help.

Rockefeller had served in the Senate with Boren and phoned his long-time friend. Their conversation was private but Rockefeller pointed out to Boren that the Big 12 had selected WVU on the merits of the Mountaineer program and political interference was would not be tolerated.

Oliver Luck, who himself has close ties to the University of Texas, contacted his friend Longhorn Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds  to secure his support.

Texas is firmly behind WVU – maybe that’s part of the problem.

Senator Joe Manchin was incensed with the rumors of tampering by McConnell and promised to call for a Congressional investigation.

Manchin, a WVU alum and former Mountaineer player, held a press conference and said:

“The Big 12s commitment was stronger than just verbal to WVU.”

Chuck Neinas scrambled for damage control. The national media criticized the Big 12 for resuming its dysfunctional behavior and their reputation took another hit.

WVU expects to be a member of the Big 12 period. The allusion Senator Manchin made about the Big 12’s commitment to WVU being more than verbal is one reason WVU is confident.

Another reason WVU is confident is the public relations nightmare the Big 12 would suffer if they reneged on their promise to WVU.

The Big 12 is scheduled to have yet another Director’s meeting on Monday. The topic is expansion and WVU will be discussed.

Texas will make the case for the  conference staying at 10 with WVU. Oklahoma reportedly wants Louisville and the remaining members want to expand to 12.

With the agreement, and possibly legally binding agreement,  between WVU and the Big 12 already in place it would be nearly impossible for the Directors not to approve WVU on Monday.  

The real battle will be between Texas and Oklahoma to stay at 10 or to add Louisville and have an odd 11 members.

The safe bet would be to count on both WVU and Louisville.

Louisville doesn’t have the votes. West Virginia is one short. A compromise avoids more embarrassment and a guaranteed legal battle with WVU if they don’t honor their agreement.

Adding both WVU and Louisville hurts the bottom line of Big 12 members. Texas is unhappy about the pressure to add Louisville and just doesn’t see the value the Cardinals would bring to the Big 12.

Oklahoma doesn’t see the value in the Cardinal program either. The only advantage Louisville has over WVU is geography and that’s debatable since only 30 minutes separate Louisville and Morgantown by air.  The Sooners switched their vote to foil Texas.

Once again the Big 12 is suffering from the ego-driven infighting that has the conference on the brink of extinction.

Another casualty of this fiasco is the relationship between Louisville and WVU. WVU believes Louisville underhandedly dealt with the Big 12 and possibly slandered WVU by warning Big 12 schools about the very SEC-like behavior of the Mountaineer fan base.

And to show how desperate and pathetic Louisville was it proposed to the Big 12 to take considerably less than the equal share of conference revenue from between 3-5 years.

Even the Louisville media admits the Mountaineer football program is considerably more attractive than the Card’s. Louisville doesn’t come close to matching up with the Mountaineer program.

Louisville knew they couldn’t earn the Big 12 spot on merit. So did the only thing a desperate program can do – they played dirty.

They offered themselves at a discount.

Greed rules college football so maybe a cheap team would be appealing to the Big 12.

But the Big 12 would do well to remember a little bit of sage advice – you get what you pay for.

And as for the Big 12’s TV partner Fox Broadcasting?

They advised the Big 12 that WVU was preferable over both Louisville and BYU.

They still feel that way.

Louisville comes to Morgantown on November 5th.  Cards fans may want to stay at home.

The massacre will be historic.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Petunia's Revenge Part 2

Mathias Conway looked out the plate glass window of his convenience store and watched a lonely figure meander his way up the road. 

He squinted his eyes against the sun and took a long hard look. He could tell by the stride the walker had come a long way and wasn’t used to hoofing it. The man’s gait had a half-limp that shuffled from foot to foot as if he had sore feet or was a zombie.

Walking beside the man was small dog. Mathias correctly guessed it was a beagle. Every few feet the beagle’s nose would catch a scent and the dog would stop and take a sniff.

The walker looked familiar but Mathias couldn’t recall his name.

Mathias wasn’t a bright man. He was a good man, a great father, and a wonderful husband, but smart he was not. What  Mathias was though, was a mechanical genius – his skill at repairing automobiles was legendary and very close to being preternatural.

His service station was renowned and business was steady. Mathias prospered and shared his good fortune with his church and community.  

Life was good and Mathias Conway was on top of the world – at least he was until computers became standard in automobiles.

Computers confounded him. He had always been able to  diagnose a problem just by the sound of the engine and how it ran on the open road. Computers changed all that. A car with a computer was suddenly a strange and mysterious artifact that defied divination.

As more and more cars came with integrated computers  his business suffered until the steady stream of work that had blessed his garage dwindled to the occasional oil change.

Luckily he had his daughter Randi. What lumens Mathias lacked in his brain bulb Randi had and multiplied by factors of 1,000. She graduated WVU with honors and went on to the Osteopathic School down in Lewisburg.

Before leaving she convinced her father to add a convenience store to his garage. Randi  had Yancey Stubbs set Mathias up with a state of the art point-of-sale and inventory control system that was almost Mathias proof.

All Mathias had to do was point a scanner at the UPC code and computer would do the rest; it even gave correct change back to cash paying customers.

Mathias was happy. He had his convenience store to keep him feed and enough oil changes to keep him happy. Life was good again.

His newfound happiness lasted only a few years before it was interrupted by the death of his wife Mary and Mathias fell into a deep depression.

Randi again come to her father’s rescue. She recognized her father was depressed and did the only thing she could to bring light back into his life. She bought him a puppy.

Her father had special needs. He needed a dog that demanded attention, would cheer him up, and one that could watch out for him. The dog would have to be wicked smart but eager to please. She reasoned it needed to be a working dog and put her research skills to work identifying the perfect breed.

Randi settled on a  Portuguese Water Dog.

When Randi came home for Christmas she didn’t come alone. She brought with her a small, dark bundle of fur and attitude.

Caesar crossed the Rubicon and marched into Mathias’s life.

The puppy was aptly named. What little Caesar saw he was compelled to conquer. Stuffed animals lost their squeakers to his playful viciousness and no trashcan was safe from his pillaging ways. The puppy was hell on four paws and a delight to everyone who encountered him.

Mathias and Caesar quickly bonded. The dog, stubborn and strong willed as he was, wanted nothing more to please Mathias and make him happy.

The dog was smart and easily trained. He quickly learned proper potty habits and never stopped learning. He learned to open doors, and he learned to open the refrigerator.

Mathias often joked that Caesar was always the smartest person in the room and Randi secretly thought he might be right.

Randi watched in wonder one lazy summer afternoon as  Caesar nudge the refrigerator door open with a paw and quickly inserted his snout into the opening and fliped the door wide open. Randi expected carnage to follow but Caesar paused to appraise the refrigerator’s contents before selecting a smallish block of Wisconsin cheddar cheese and deftly plucking it from the shelf.

The dog turned and trotted back to the living room to eat his booty in leisure glancing at Randi on his way out of the kitchen.

“That dog is proud of himself.” She thought.

Fast forward to the present.  .

 Mathias stared at the man through his plate glass window and set his brain to remembering.  Synapses fired both right and left; chemicals flowed and long-term memory cells were activated.   Straining with the effort  of remembering he came dangerously close to having a stroke

A sharp “look at me” bark from Caesar broke his concentration.

He looked from the window to his dog.

While Mathias was deep in thought Caesar had retrieved an old Sports Illustrated magazine and dropped it at his master’s feet.

On the cover of the magazine were Patrick White and Steve Slaton. Just behind them.  Rich Rodriquez could be seen on the sidelines.

Mathias looked at the magazine and back to the man slowly making his way up the road. His gaze continued to shift from the magazine to the man and back again in disbelief.

Rich Rodriquez was headed straight for his store.

Mathias looked at his dog and said: “It’s Rich Rodriquez, Rich Rodriquez!”

Caesar growled at the mention of the name. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Petunia's Revenge Part 1

There are vast stretches of West Virginia that are uninhabited with lonely country roads that wind lazily through the hills with no particular place to go and no hurry to get there.  You can drive miles before encountering another vehicle, especially at night.

Cell phone service is spotty at best. The signal fades in and out with the rise and fall of the blacktop  leaving the driver as isolated as the countryside.

Scattered throughout the vast loneliness like oases are small towns with wonderfully intriguing names like “Big Ugly”, “Left Hand”, and “Copperville Corners”. 

It was on one of these lonely country roads that Rich Rodriguez, the former head football coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, drove on his way  to his parent’s home in Grant Town.

Picture this scene: Rich Rodriguez speeding along in his midlife crisis car, a blue Porsche Boxster, with his Mother’s beloved beagle Petunia snoozing in his lap after gorging herself on Slim Jim’s.

Rich had feed Petunia Slim Jim after Slim Jim until  she had  been  lulled to sleep by the comfortable fullness of her belly.

Now the beagle, who was small for her breed, was curled happily on his lap and snoring softly.

He had his share of Slim Jims too. He loved their spicy chewiness and how his teeth felt tearing through the tough outer skin he never bothered to peel off.

He loved Slim Jims so much he kept his glove box stuffed to capacity with them.  His wife believed he  picked up the Slim Jim habit when he gave up smoking as a substitute for cigarettes. The truth was he had always had a Slim Jim addiction. He missed smoking for sure, but what he really missed was smoking a cigarette and having a Slim Jim.

Another Slim Jim down the hatch, another wrapper out the window.

His midlife-crisis car was as neat as his office, as clean as a whistle on New Year’s Day, as he liked to tell his team and there was no way he would clutter his car with Slim Jim wrappers.

Rich used to feel guilty about littering, but once he decided there wasn’t anything so damn special about West Virginia he felt no compunction at all about using the countryside as his wastebasket.

He was late and needed to make up some time. Rich deftly reached over to the GPS device mounted on his console and instructed it  to find the shortest route available from his current location to Grant Town.

The GPS whirled and churned, seemed to pause and hesitate before telling him, in a proper British accent, to make left turn onto Old Coondog Road in 2.5 miles.

Rich obeyed the instructions coming from the device and turned onto the road.  Immediately the it narrowed down to one lane and began to climb.  His speed dropped steadily as the navigated the twisting road until it just as suddenly dropped him into a valley.

Coondog Road merged into Whitaker’s Road and widened to accommodate two vehicles.  Rich gunned the car and gained speed.

A quick check of his GPS device told him Grant Town was only 40 miles away.
Worried about time, Rich accelerated and drove like a mad man trying to outrun his sanity. He began to enjoy himself as he piloted his car through the steep “kiss your ass” curves – it was fun.

The Porsche, tires squealing, slewed through a hard right-hand turn, crossed the centerline and  speed into the next curve.

Just as he passed a sign that said “Copperville Corners 1 Mile” Petunia let out a loud, wet-sounding fart.

The fart wafted up from the sleeping beagle and broke upon Rich’s nose like a wave breaking against rocks.  He recoiled from the smell,  rolled down the window  and frantically waved the feted air out the window.

A deep rumbling came from Petunia’s belly. The chubby little beagle struggled to her feet and lifted her tail.

“Oh no, no, no girl don’t!” Rich pleaded.

Petunia raised her head and looked Rich in the eyes, her big brown orbs saying what she could not: “I’m very sorry for what I’m about to do.” She let out a little moan and her bowels ejected a liquid stream of diarrhea that filled the car's cockpit with excrement.

The coach let out a high-pitched scream more benefiting a pre-pubescent girl than a hardened college football coach and, overcome with the smell of Petunia’s exhaust, vomited his half-digested Slim Jims straight onto the console of his car.

Rodriquez fought to keep the Boxster on the road and wrestled the steering wheel as his eyes clouded with tears and hit the brakes. The little car did its best to stay on the road but it was too light and skidded sideways before finally coming to a stop in a ditch.

Rich wasted no time getting out of the car.

Petunia waddled to open door and barked but the man, as she thought of him, was busy vomiting and  would be no help to her. The little beagle summoned up her courage and leaped from the car’s seat to the ground. She wagged her tail in pride. The man was to busy being sick to notice.

After a few minutes the dry heaves subsided and Rich composed himself. He spent a few more minutes standing in the road trying to use his cell phone and  looking confused before he reached a decision.

Rich picked Petunia up and headed off towards Copperville Corners.