With the click of a mouse, Mountaineers everywhere can gather in one virtual place to cheer on the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl-bound football team, catch up with one another and learn the latest happenings at WVU.
WVU BowlSpace (http://bowlgame.wvu.edu/ ) is an online, interactive community built around the excitement leading up to the Mountaineers’ seventh Gator Bowl appearance at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1
The site features a Twitter feed, a place to leave a message for the team, videos, access to WVU’s Facebook page, bowl polls, Mountaineer Sports Network programming, the WVU Marching Band and a one-stop source for the latest bowl information.
There is also a link to WVU’s Mobile Web (m.wvu.edu).
“This is the hub for connecting with the team, the university and the Mountaineer community across the country and around the world,” said Chris Martin, vice president for University Relations.
This year’s game has added significance, not only for WVU fans, but for a national audience. It will the last game as coach for Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, who before he headed south, guided the Mountaineers from 1970-75. WVU coach Bill Stewart played his freshman year at WVU under Bowden before transferring to Fairmont State.
WVU is 1-5 all-time in the Gator Bowl, but beat Georgia Tech there at the end of the 2005 season. WVU has been to a bowl every year since 2002 and has won the past four. Its last bowl loss was in the 2006 Gator Bowl against the Seminoles.
The Mountaineers accepted a bid to the bowl immediately after their 24-21 victory Saturday over Rutgers.
Brian Goin, chairman of the Gator Bowl selection committee and a WVU graduate, officially offered the spot to West Virginia in the locker room after the game. He said West Virginia is appealing because of its passionate fan base.
“We’ve got a long history with West Virginia,” Goin said. “We know that they always show up and they’ve just been a great partner of ours. When they beat Pittsburgh I think that really catapulted them to the top of our list. That was a great win, and obviously another great win yesterday (against Rutgers). In the bowl business you love to have teams come in on a roll. That’s what we’ve got with West Virginia.”
It also got a school with a long history of selling tickets. Three of the top eight attended Gator Bowls involve West Virginia, including the bowl game record of 82,911 established in 1989 against Clemson.
This is the last year that the Gator Bowl will feature an ACC/Big East matchup, as the bowl has signed a contract with the Big Ten and SEC.
West Virginia finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and ended up in a second-place tie with Pitt in the Big East. Florida State finished the regular season with a 6-6 record.
Visitors to WVU BowlSpace can leave messages of support for coach Stewart and the team as it prepares for the Seminoles. They can also check out what student-athletes have to say about life off the playing field, learn about oneWVU, WVU’s campus diversity project and share alumni stories.
WVU BowlSpace was developed by University Relations in cooperation with the Department of Athletics and the Alumni Association.
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