Still, nostalgia sometimes rears its head, and Gibson misses the old days.
"Oh, no doubt,'' Gibson said. "Anytime you have a border rivalry, like a Maryland or a Pitt or Virginia Tech or any of those, those are big games. They're big games for the state. We recruit a lot of the same guys. There's a lot more to it than just a football game.
"It goes into recruiting wars. It goes into state against state. It's a rivalry game, and I told our kids that early in the week.''
Perhaps little of this matters from a player's point of view. Really, it's a fan thing more than anything else, right? Once upon a time, games like the one in Baltimore on Saturday were the norm - teams in close proximity with long histories of playing each other. Players just play. Coaches game plan the same no matter if the foe is old or new, close or far. It's all pretty regimented.
Then again, some of that emotion and familiarity can be injected once in a while, and given that this is the only old rival remaining on West Virginia's schedule, that probably wouldn't be a bad thing to do.
"It did [feel a little different] today,'' Gibson said Tuesday after West Virginia went back to work after a day off. "The kids were flying around. There was a little more buzz out there. I think the kids understand what this game means to our program and that it means a lot to our season.''
There aren't many of these games left, and we're not taking about this season. Maryland is signed up for games the next four years. Virginia Tech comes back on the schedule in 2020. There's a Penn State series hanging out there. Who knows if anything will ever happen with Pitt or Syracuse or Rutgers?
And that's a shame.
"I think the style of football we play, we're a great fit in the conference we're in,'' Gibson said, referring to the Big 12. "But would you like to be playing Pitt and Maryland and Penn State and Syracuse? Yeah. It's easier and obviously a lot less costly, and those are natural rivalries. Sometimes you wonder where it's all gone, but I also understand the big picture of college football.
"Still, when you do have a game like this, a border rivalry like this, there's a different feel to it.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.