Could WVU play a big name ACC team at FedEx Field next year? It seems that something is in the works.
Earlier this afternoon, I spoke with a representative from the Washington Redskins. We are playing James Madison on the Redskins’ home field, FedEx Field, on September 15. The call was a pitch to sell tickets to the WVU-JMU game and was going out to all WVU season ticket holders and featured the small talk you’d expect leading up to a sales pitch.
However, towards the end of the conversation, the person I was speaking to shared an interesting bit of information. After telling him that I would be interested in attending WVU games at FedEx Field if the opponent was decent and mentioning the BYU game in 2016 as an example, he told me that nothing was official, but the Redskins & FedEx Field are working on a game between WVU and a “big name ACC team” for next season. He didn’t give any more details. There really aren’t many “big name” ACC teams anymore though. The only options would seem to be Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.
What’s most likely? Well, we just cancelled two games against Florida State, and DC is a pretty far for them to go for a neutral site game. Ditto for Clemson (although they may want revenge for the Orange Bowl beat down). Virginia Tech seems to be the most likely option, and I think this would be great. Could this indicate a renewal of the rivalry with Virginia Tech? Will there also be games in Morgantown and Blacksburg? I hope so. Our rivalry with Virginia Tech was as heated as the Pitt rivalry, and much more competitive. It would be great to get Virginia Tech back on the schedule.
Basketball games with Virginia Tech have already been scheduled (the Hokies visit the Coliseum on December 8, and I believe we will return the game next year). Oliver Luck also expressed interest in renewing the rivalry with Virginia Tech in football when discussing the future (or lack thereof) of the WVU-Marshall series:
"“At this point there’s no intent on my part to engage in any discussions because we’re still dropping teams because of the Big 12 move,” Luck said. “We have to get through that and see where we are with Pitt and Virginia Tech because I would argue they have a much longer history with us, with WVU, than Marshall.”"
Getting a neutral site game on the schedule next year would take some schedule massaging from Oliver Luck and company though. According to Scout.com, WVU is currently scheduled to play 6 home and 6 away games in 2013. 4 home and 5 away games would seem to be set in stone as they are conference games. Out of conference, we are scheduled to play Maryland in Baltimore as well as William & Mary and ECU at home. I could certainly see the William & Mary or ECU game getting dropped in favor of playing a big game in DC, but that would put us at only 5 true home games. I doubt WVU would go below 6 home games. So either the Maryland game at Baltimore would have to move, or the Big 12 would have to help us out and give us 5 home games again next year. I don’t see that being likely.
2014 looks more promising. Currently, we have 5 conference home games, 4 conference away games, plus a home game against Towson, an away matchup vs. ECU, and a neutral site game against Alabama (total of 6 home, 5 away, 1 neutral). You could certainly imagine the ECU road game being dumped in favor of a big game in DC.
Luck hasn’t been shy about buying out of games and changing the schedule though. We’ve bought out of the series with Florida State, canceled an upcoming series with Michigan State, and moved dates around with ECU (by the way, how long before Luck just drops that series altogether? Or at least make it a 2-for-1 deal) to accommodate the switch to the Big 12 and the Kickoff Classic matchup with Alabama in 2014. I’m sure Luck wouldn’t hesitate to change the schedule again for a good matchup.
It certainly sounds like Luck is being aggressive in scheduling marquee out of conference games. This will be very important as college football moves towards a playoff system where big out of conference victories may be the difference between being one of the 4 teams in the playoffs and getting left out and is great exposure for the football program. Kudos to Luck for all he has done for WVU.