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Editorial: Geography lesson in order for ESPN sportscaster, staff

Jan. 07, 2012 @ 10:31 PM

Perhaps West Virginia University's record-setting football performance in Wednesday night's Orange Bowl game will help people remember in what state the university is located. Before the game took place, there clearly was some confusion in that regard on the part of some staffers of ESPN, which televised the Orange Bowl contest.

The Mountaineers, ranked No. 23 in the country, easily handled No. 14 Clemson, 70-33. The 70 points was the most every recorded in any bowl game, and WVU quarterback Gino Smith tied another record for any bowl game with six touchdown passes. WVU led at halftime 49-20, setting another bowl record for most points in a half.

But remarks by an ESPN sportscaster the night before the game rankled many in West Virginia, and with good reason. During ESPN's broadcast of the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night, sportscaster Brad Nessler read a promotional script about the Orange Bowl game that ESPN would show the following night. It was worded like this:

"The only team to beat Virginia Tech this season, the Clemson Tigers ... take on another team from the state of Virginia: West Virginia in the Discover Orange Bowl. It's coming up tomorrow night."

Oops.

The mistake set off blasts against ESPN on social media, with WVU fans and state residents sounding off about the stupidity of the remark, considering West Virginia hasn't been a part of Virginia since 1863.

An ESPN spokesman apologized for the error and blamed it on the script for the promo. He insisted that Nessler knew West Virginia is a state.

Maybe so, but somebody didn't. In any case, we hope that America will remember this geography lesson.

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