THROUGH NOV. 2, Gov. Joe Manchin is a just a tad busy.
He has the Mountain State to run. He's also running a campaign to land the late Robert C. Byrd's U.S. Senate seat.
But he'll take time on Friday to attend the West Virginia-Marshall football game in Huntington. As most state residents know, it's a matchup near and dear to his heart. And it's a matchup he hopes to watch for years to come.
"I've been very vocal about it," Manchin said on Tuesday. "Everyone knows how I feel. It's been an economic boost to the state. It's great for everyone. It's a great game. I think Doc [Holliday] will bring that [Marshall] team along. He adds a new flavor.
"I think the fans should speak out if they believe the series should continue.''
He tacked on the last sentence because there remains an impasse in regard to future MU-WVU matchups. The current seven-year deal expires in 2012. WVU will visit MU on Friday and the Thundering Herd will visit the Mountaineers the following two seasons.
Football schedules, however, are being worked on through, at least, 2016. It's been time to hammer out a new deal for months. Yet, so far, nothing.
"Oliver and I have had discussions,'' said MU athletic director Mike Hamrick on Tuesday. "Those discussions will continue.''
"Mike and I have had discussions,'' said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck. "We'll have discussions centered around [Friday's] game. But I've pledged to him not to say any more and negotiate in the media.''
Sources, however, say the two will meet on the subject Friday. MU officials want a simple home-and-home series, like WVU gives Herd Conference USA peer East Carolina. WVU officials, meanwhile, have been seeking a 2-for-1 home advantage. Spots have been held for the game in 2013 and beyond.
Whispers of late, however, say WVU officials, while willing to sign a contract, don't want a deal that matches the teams every season. There are also signs MU might move off the 1-for-1 position in lieu of a 3-for-2 deal. Or two 3-for-2 deals.