Mea Culpa, Almost Heaven

Roughly 40 days remain until football season, so it is high time I got down to the serious business of previewing the 2006 campaign. Ere I do so, however, I have one loose end to tie up from the 2005 season.

Georgia's Sugar Bowl setback occurred while I was still doing business as Kyle on Football. Like many denizens of Bulldog Nation, I did not take West Virginia seriously enough and I anticipated an easy victory, so my postgame reaction was one of angry denial.

My tirade following the Sugar Bowl drew a number of comments, both at my previous site and at Every Day Should Be Saturday. To their credit, Mountaineer fans were among the most cordial and gracious, following Winston Churchill's suggestion to be magnanimous in victory. Mountaineer fans like Mike and Johnny were understanding, which I appreciated.

Subsequently, I ranked West Virginia sixth on my final 2005 BlogPoll ballot and rated the Mountain Men ninth in my 2006 preseason forecast. I also came to appreciate the extent to which I had underestimated West Virginia's worthiness as a football team, as a result of which I have defended the Sugar Bowl champions, identified Maryland-W.V.U. as one of this season's top 10 "off the radar" out-of-conference showdowns, and given the Mountaineers the credit they deserved, which drew some positive responses.

Nevertheless, I have continued to receive comments (including two new ones just last week) in response to my six-month-old post-Sugar Bowl rant. That fact prompts the following:

I believe it is pretty widely known that, despite the fact that I am a conservative and a Constitutional strict constructionist, I am a huge "West Wing" fan.

That fact is pertinent because fellow fans of the show doubtless will recall that, in the two-part premiere of the third season, "Manchester," it occurred to Rob Lowe's character that, while the president said a lot of things about his error in judgment, he never came right out and apologized for it.

A week ago, I noted that fans of other schools are good people, too. I wouldn't want West Virginia fans to question whether this statement was true of Georgia fans, as well.

Accordingly, out of recognition of the fact that I (like Josiah Bartlet in the "West Wing" episode mentioned above) said all the right things save one, I would like to take this opportunity to stick my hands in my pockets, turn to the left, smile, and put a period at the end of my rash statements last January by saying, simply, to all Mountaineer fans: I apologize.

All right . . . 2005 is over. Now let's start getting ready for 2006.

Go 'Dawgs!

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