My Last Word, 9/6/19

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My Last Word, 9/6/19

Brooks Maynard, Reporter

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This past Saturday, App State opened its football season with a 42-7 win over former Southern Conference rival East Tennessee State. This brings App State’s lead in the all-time series record to 32-14-1, including a 17-6 home record. This was the first time the Mountaineers and the Buccaneers have played since 2003. 

While some saw this game as a throwaway, guaranteed win for App State, it was an important one, and I think a good number of the 25,147 fans who attended the game would agree. While leaving the Southern Conference has brought benefits for App State, it also saw the loss of many longtime rivalries fans loved. The most obvious of these is the famed “Battle for the Old Mountain Jug,” which pitted App State against Western Carolina nearly 80 times since 1932. The Mountaineers haven’t played the Catamounts since 2013, and it’s sad this rivalry and others like Furman’s Paladins have ended due to conference realignment. 

App State should rekindle some of its old rivalries alumni loved. To this day, the Mountaineers’ biggest rival is a former SoCon opponent, the Georgia Southern Eagles, who moved to the Sun Belt the same year as App State. Too many non-conference games are dedicated to teams Mountaineer fans just don’t care about, such as Old Dominion, Akron and Wyoming.

Less than 20,000 fans attended the game against the Wyoming Cowboys in 2014 and even fewer attended Akron in 2016. Renewing one or two of the old rivalries, even if they can’t be played every year, would be a good way to sell a few more tickets to the early season games and bring a little bit of classic App State football back to The Rock.