Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 27, 2011

Orange Bowl: Many fans to root for WVU from couch

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The winter will be heating up for some local fans headed down to see West Virginia University play Clemson in the 2011 Orange Bowl in Miami.

Lynn and Carl Burnette live in Springville, Va., but both consider themselves tried and true WVU fans. They plan to fly out to Florida for the Orange Bowl this year to root for their team.

“My family has always been West Virginia fans,” Lynn Burnette said. “We say that blue and gold just runs in our veins. We’re really looking forward to the big game.”

Her husband said he hopes to enjoy some of the Miami weather while at the game.

“It will be good to be on the beach,” Carl Burnette said. “It’s supposed to be 80 degrees there the day of the game. I’m really looking forward to the game and seeing WVU play some good football.”

Lynn Burnette said she and her husband try to go to bowl games as often as possible.

“We always try to go, and we’ve been for the past couple of years since my husband retired,” Lynn Burnette said. “I love the parades and going to the parades every year. They’re always spectacular. I always love the parties they have as well. Of course, I really want us to win.”

According to Lynn Burnette, bowl games offer a different atmosphere than games played during the regular season.

“A bowl game is really a reward for a great season,” she said. “There are a lot more parties before the game, a parade and the pre-bowl party is just great. They throw a special party before the game that we always love to attend. It’s just a good atmosphere.”

Lynn Burnette said she still remembers the first Orange Bowl game she went to.

“The first time I went to the Orange Bowl was with my brother,” she said. “He was working at the University of Miami as a lab technician. They played at the Miami Dolphins stadium there and the city of Miami painted all the streets orange. It was really something to see.”

Of course, not all die-hard WVU fans were able to make it to the game. Jim Ferguson said this year’s bowl game will be the first he has missed in about a decade.

“We just didn’t plan on it this year,” he said. “There was too much going on at that time, so we’re going to stay home and watch it on TV. We try to go every year, and I’ve gone to every bowl for about a decade. This is the first I will miss.”

Ferguson said circumstances have led many fans to trade in stadium seats for the couch this year.

“I think it’s a combination of several things,” he said. “The location is far away — south Florida — which is hard for people to drive. This year the game is also in the middle of the week, and it’s hard for people to get off in the middle of the week, especially after they’ve just been off for the holidays. The economy is a contributing factor as well. Of course, the Orange Bowl rarely sells out seats.”

Though he won’t be there in person, Ferguson said there will be plenty of team spirit in Florida this year.

“The Mountaineers will have a good contingent of fans down there,” he said. “They always do.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com

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