The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 15, 2008

LSU added to WVU football schedule

WHEN Mississippi State made a football visit to Morgantown last October, the Bulldogs were the first Southeastern Conference team to play in "new" Mountaineer Field -- which already was 28 years old.

Kentucky had been the last SEC visitor to a Mountaineer Field, a 10-6 homecoming win by WVU in October 1979 -- the old horseshoe's last season -- before 33,792 fans.

Now, it appears there won't be such a long wait again between SEC football trips to West Virginia, as Auburn -- a first-time WVU opponent -- makes it two-in-two years for next Thursday night's ESPN date.

This grizzled press box occupant of four decades has been told by multiple sources with college football and telecast connections that WVU and LSU verbally have agreed to a home-and-home series for 2010 and 2011.

If the deal comes off as expected -- and ESPN has been involved as a go-between and interested telecast partner, as was the case with West Virginia's 2008 and '09 Colorado series -- the Mountaineers would visit imposing Tiger Stadium in 2010 and get a return game at Mountaineer Field the next season.

That would mean six SEC non-conference games in as many years for WVU -- Mississippi State in 2006 and '07, Auburn this year and next (at Auburn), and the LSU dates. West Virginia also upset Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to cap the 2005 season.

The ESPN involvement comes on the heels of the SEC signing a 15-year, $2.25 billion deal with ESPN. It only figures the "Disney family of networks" will be more aggressive in working to get marquee matchups.

Typically, WVU athletic officials don't comment on future schedules until contracts are signed, but it is said the parties are on the same page. There's another piece to this LSU development, too.

The Mountaineers had a 2010 and '11 home-and-home scheduled with Michigan State, but sources said the Spartans asked that the series be moved back to 2014 and '15 to accommodate another home-and-home. MSU officials did not return messages seeking clarification on that.

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