West Virginia-Marshall rivalry to end soon?

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On September 1st, West Virginia and Marshall — the only two Football Bowl Division schools in West Virginia — will be playing the final installment of the “Friends of Coal Bowl”.

With the move to the Big 12, West Virginia is looking to rid themselves of a rivalry game that hasn’t been much of a rivalry of late.

On the basketball side of things, however, the games have not only been entertaining and competitive, but the outcome is far from a certainty. The Mountaineers, despite playing in the Big East, have only won six of the last ten Capital Classics, with the average margin of victory being 5.9 points.

But it looks like that rivalry may be on its way out as well. From Chuck Landon of the Herald-Dispatch:

The annual Capital Classic pitting the Marshall men’s and women’s basketball teams against their WVU counterparts in the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum has been moved from its usual date in mid-January to Dec. 4-5, according to sources in Charleston with knowledge of the situation.

The problem with the date is that it happens to fall on the same week as most of college football’s conference title games. So instead of playing the state’s biggest intra-state rivalry in the throes of college hoops season, it will be played while the majority of the country is trying to figure out who will be unfairly left out of football’s national title game.

Why?

Well, according to Landon, he thinks the move is being made because West Virginia is looking to push Marshall far enough away that they decide to back out on the rivalry on their own. It’s like that thing guys do where they act really mean and distant until their girlfriend decides to break up with them so as to avoid looking like the bad guy. Real savvy, West Virginia.

There may be another reason, however. According to Landon’s sources, West Virginia has landed a big-time non-conference game that is supposed to take place in January. Big 12 rules state that only one non-conference game can be played during conference season.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.