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CURRENT STORIES


The Gator Bowl, a hapless Steeler team and a spirit-lifter

by John Miller

MANAGING EDITOR

It will be interesting to see how many West Virginia University fans make the trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Gator Bowl.

Personally, I'd rather see WVU play someone else besides Maryland. But I guess the Mountaineers can try to use revenge as a motivator since the Terrapins thoroughly embarrassed WVU, 34-7, earlier this year.

A WVU win would give the Mountaineers eight straight victories and launch next year's team into the national spotlight with an almost-guaranteed Top 20 ranking.

- - -

One football team that won't be playing in January is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who, barring a total collapse by Baltimore have no chance at an AFC North Division title.

And quite frankly, the Steelers aren't a playoff-caliber team.

On Sunday, they rallied to take a 20-17 lead over Cincinnati at Heinz Field. But in what has become a too-frequent scenario, the Steeler defense fell apart, allowing the Bengals to drive 52 yards for a game-winning touchdown in a little over 40 seconds.

It's time for a major overhaul in Pittsburgh. If coach Bill Cowher stays, he needs to focus on coaching and let others handle more of the player personnel decisions.

As the man who's been calling most of the shots over the past few years, Cowher is responsible for some of the poor-performing players who are locked into long-term contracts.

- - -

If you follow this column regularly, you know I like readers to share their Christmas memories with others in hopes of getting us all in the spirit of the season.

Today's spirit-lifter isn't one memory, but a poem that should stir many memories for all of us. It also serves as an important reminder that the holidays are a time to bring families together.

It's by Shinnston's Dolores Christopher Stinespring.

It's Christmas time at my house

It will never be the same

My children have all gone away

Seeking some fortune and some fame

I long to hear the patter of little feet

As up to the Christmas tree they creep

Bringing milk and cookies for Santa

It will be his midnight treat

Hark, I hear loud laughter

As through my open door

My children have come home again

To spend Christmas with me once more

If you would like to share a Christmas memory with readers, please send it to me at PO Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302 or e-mail me at jmiller@exponent-telegram.com.

Please don't wait until the last minute. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat ... well, after Thanksgiving at least I am.

Keep the spirit.

Managing Editor John G. Miller can be reached at 626-1473 or by e-mail at jmiller@exponent-telegram.com