While it is still unknown if the Friends of Coal Bowl will continue after its present contract expires following the 2012 season, news out of Morgantown has the "Border Battle" between WVU and Maryland extending its present contract until the year 2017.
After a two-year hiatus, the Terps will return to Morgantown this weekend to take on the No. 21 ranked Mountaineers in a game that will feature a pair of undefeated football teams.
The 2011 game will be played in College Park with Morgantown playing host to the series in 2012 and the Mountaineers closing out the present deal in College Park in 2013.
Under the conditions of the new deal, however, Maryland will be the host school for the 2014 and 2017 contests with Milan Puskar Stadium being the site for the two games in between.
It is good that two programs which are located so close and have had such a rivalry over the years, can come and iron out their differences and do the right thing by their players and their fans. The two years that saw the Terrapins elect to play another opponent was a bad decision and one that should not happen again.
Which leads one to wonder what is happening with the process to extend the Friends of Coal Bowl.
Friday night's contest at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, which saw the old gold and blue prevail by a 24-21 margin in overtime, should have both camps salivating at the prospect of a series that would spawn competitive contests and draw a national audience year after year.
Instead, reports coming out of both camps have the two programs splintering further away from a possible extension deal and leaving fans wondering if the series will continue following the 2012 campaign.
The debate over the merits of the series will continue throughout the remainder of the present deal, but the reality of college scheduling tells us that if a new contract is not brokered soon, then it will not be brokered at all.
WVU athletics director Oliver Luck and his counterpart in Huntington, Mike Hamrick, have been in contact with one another. But, that is a far as either will comment. Rumors have leaked that a 10-year extension was in the works, but neither camp will verify, or deny, that report.
From this vantage point the game has its merits, but are they enough?
Marshall's 24-21 overtime loss has people in the Mountain State wondering if first-year head coach John "Doc" Holliday won't be the one to lead the Thundering Herd to its first victory over its "Big Brother from Morgantown".
The Herd played with the emotion of its newest head coach-a refreshing change from his predecessor. But, the final 8minutes, as well as the overtime, proved that emotion alone doesn't win football games.
Maybe, just maybe, this is a series that shouldn't be played every year. Four games over an eight-year span at alternating sites might very well give both programs what each need while giving the fans what they want-a rivalry.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org