Chuck Landon: W.Va., Ky. come by rivalries naturally
Do these shenanigans sound slightly familiar?
Recently, University of Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong allegedly had the "UK" logo of intra-state rival University of Kentucky placed in the urinals in the Cardinals' locker room.
Then, a Louisville player posted a photograph of one of the urinals on Twitter.
The incident has gone viral on the internet ever since. Why, television station WTVQ in Lexington, Ky., even did an on-air story about it.
Apparently, Strong didn't come up with this idea by himself. A blog called "Big East Coast Bias," mentioned it was a ploy Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had been known to use at the University of Florida.
Ah, the plot thickens.
Strong was the defensive coordinator on Meyer's staff at Florida before taking the Louisville job. Who else was on that Gators' staff? Marshall head coach Doc Holliday.
So, how long until reports start trickling out of the Shewey Building of "WVU" logos being placed in the urinals in the locker room?
This is the stuff that makes intra-state, arch rivalries such as Marshall-WVU and Louisville-UK so entertaining.
Anybody think it's a coincidence it's happening in Kentucky and West Virginia?
Just look where the Hatfields & McCoys feud was located.
It's in our blood.
And, as expected, the "UK" logo in the Louisville urinals really, ahem, ticked off Kentucky fans. One of the Wildcat faithful even suggested putting the "UL" logo on "our toilet paper."
Drum roll, please.
Now, somebody play the song, "Wipeout."
As much as that gesture of retaliation would have been appropriate, give Kentucky credit for keeping its mind out of the, well, toilet.
Instead, a Kentucky football billboard suddenly surfaced on Louisville's campus. It's located above an administration building and reads, "Football Time In The Bluegrass!!!!! #WEAREUK."
Point, counter-point. Jab, left hook. To and fro.
Again, sound familiar?
Remember when former Herd coach Bobby Pruett placed Marshall football billboards reading, "We Play For Championships," near Morgantown?
They were riddled with bullet holes.
Ballistic reports never confirmed if any of the shots came from a musket, but the billboards were torn down twice.
This is what happens in athletic civil wars.
They aren't always so civil.
That probably will be the uncivilized case again during the Labor Day Weekend. Marshall and WVU square off on Sept. 1 in Morgantown. Then, Louisville and Kentucky continue their football feud on Sept. 2 in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville.
As for the "Urinal Wars," Pruett knows where Strong really got the idea.
"We were together on Steve Spurrier's staff at Florida," said Pruett. "I was defensive coordinator and Charlie was defensive line coach.
"The first time I ever saw the urinal trick was when I was coaching at Wake Forest. We had 'Tar Heels' in our urinals."
So, prior to playing at WVU in 1997, Pruett had a new set of the rubber filters that sit in the bottom of urinals made for the Shewey Building. They were gold with blue lettering reading, "WVU."
"I took some with me on the way to Morgantown," recalled Pruett with a chuckle. "I put them in urinals all the way up and back. I think I still have one."
That's why nobody needs to jiggle the handle on these rivalries.
They are flushed with animosity.
Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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