The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 15, 2014

WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

Spain garners more preseason recognition

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.

An announcement is expected shortly.

The game against the Hokies would be played at Fed Ex Stadium in Washington, D.C., in 2017 and is being negotiated as a separate item from the two-game renewal of that rivalry, which will be played 2021 in Morgantown and 2022 in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The Tennessee game will be played on the 2018 schedule in Charlotte, North Carolina.

While WVU has never played the Vols before, there are ties between the two programs. Tennessee is coached by former WVU assistant Butch Jones, who brought former Mountaineer running back coach Robert Gillespie with him there along with former WVU assistant strength coach Dave Lawson.

These games continue to follow the trend of stronger schedules as college football enters its championship playoff era where strength of schedule will mean a lot.

The Mountaineers schedule this year national championship contender Alabama as an opener on Aug. 30 in Atlanta for the Chic-fil-A Kickoff Classic along with an improving Maryland team and Towson, which played for FCS championship last season.

In 2016 BYU is on the WVU schedule while in 2017 it will be Virginia Tech along with East Carolina while Tennessee will highlight the 2018 non-conference schedule. Then you have the Virginia Tech home-and-home games in 2021 and 2022.

West Virginia will also play East Carolina in 2020, another long-time opponent who fell off the schedule in recent years. Originally a six-year deal had been worked out with East Carolina by former athletic director Ed Pastilong when he needed more non-conference games, but that was altered with the move to the Big 12 where nine league games are scheduled.

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