There is more buzz sitting beside Snoop Dogg than that surrounding West Virginia's impending visit to the Champs Sports Bowl.
If you've been wondering why Mountaineer athletic director Oliver Luck is replacing coach Bill Stewart, well, consider the above sentence.
With less than a week left before Tuesday's matchup against North Carolina State, only about 4,550 tickets of WVU's 12,500 allotment have been sold, according to West Virginia sports marketing director Matt Wells.
Keep in mind the Champs Bowl is the Big East's second-best bowl. Keep in mind the game will be played in Florida. Keep in mind the Mountaineers have won nine games. Also, while the contest is on a Tuesday, it is also three full days after Christmas and three full days before New Year's Eve. Yet it is being met with yawns in the Mountain State.
Wells said his school would use an additional 1,200 tickets for the band and traveling party. Still, WVU is on the hook for the remaining 6,550 tickets. (This is a great place to argue against the current bowl setup - what are the NCAA presidents thinking? - but I shall pass for now.)
Wells added that WVU is
working through the bowl to distribute tickets to non-profit organizations to put fannies in seats. If a Mountaineer fan buys a ticket through the athletic department, it can be passed along to those less fortunate.
Perhaps the most exciting part to that deal is WVU will give one of those popular Nike Pro Combat helmets to one of those who buys a ticket and donates it. A drawing will be held to determine the winner. (I can't tell you how many people have asked how to buy one of those helmets for Christmas presents. Wells, however, said Nike did not make any for retail sale.)
Anyway, the point is West Virginia officials are looking to gimmicks in order to sell bowl tickets. The Mountaineers have traditionally had strong bowl followings. It's why they are playing in the Champs instead of, say, the Compass Bowl, a la Pittsburgh.
The last thing WVU can afford is to let that reputation slip away.
It is certainly getting more difficult to be a successful college football coach these days.
We know what's happening to Stewart, who is out after next season. We saw what happened to Pitt's Dave Wannstedt, who is out now after sharing the Big East title with the Mountaineers and Connecticut's Huskies.
And now, topping both of those moves, is Maryland's disposal of Ralph Friedgen. The Terps went from 2-10 last season to 8-4. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference's coach of the year. Yet he's out.
Remember when Friedgen was hot? He had that Under Armour commercial. ("This is our house," Friedgen shouts. "Everything you have trained for your entire life has prepared you for this . . . Courage is not about being scared, it's about being terrified but persevering anyway . . . Nobody beats us in our house.")
Now, though, Friedgen has been kicked out of the house. My opinion: the sharpening of the ax began when the Terrapins lost 31-17 this past season to WVU in Morgantown. Had the Terps won that game in the third week, they would have taken a 5-0 record to Clemson. Maryland AD Debbie Yow kept Friedgen on after the 2-10 season because he promised a vast improvement in the team's record. An 8-4 record was not vast enough.
The most interesting press conference in memory will take place today when WVU athletic director Luck, football coach Stewart and football coach in-waiting Dana Holgorsen will meet with members of the media at 2 p.m.