The Big East hates the Mountaineers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach

Can a team that has done so much good for the Big East actually be the most hated team in the conference?

After the ACC raided the Big East for three of its teams in 2004, West Virginia put the league back on college football's map by upsetting Georgia 38-35 in the 2006 Sugar Bowl (which was played in the Georgia Dome). Last season, the Mountaineers routed Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl, giving the new-look Big East even more credibility.

But the Mountaineers still gets fans' blood boiling more than any other Big East team.

Maybe it's because West Virginia fans wouldn't let former coach Rich Rodriguez go to Michigan quietly. Rodriguez's departure before the 2008 Fiesta Bowl turned into a statewide soap opera. The university president was involved. The state's governor was involved. For weeks, college football fans read and heard about the never-ending saga, which was eventually settled in court.

Maybe it's because Adam Jones played at West Virginia -- along with Chris Henry, another one of the NFL's most notorious figures.

Maybe it's because West Virginia fans like to burn couches after big victories. Don't the Mountaineers know there are children sitting on floors around the world?

Maybe it's because the Mountaineers play a John Denver song after each home game. What's next? Celine Dion?

The real source of the hatred for West Virginia? Maybe it's because fans know their linebackers and defensive backs have absolutely no chance of catching quarterback Pat White and tailback Noel Devine once they cross the line of scrimmage.