West Virginia University’s 2008 football team, under new head coach Bill Stewart, will play seven of the games at home and the other five on the road.

In announcing the schedule on Monday, Athletic Director Ed Pastilong called in one of the most attractive and challenging the Mountaineers will have played since he took office 19 years ago.

“I am excited about this year’s schedule,” he said. “We have seven home games, which always is good for our fan base. It’s a very challenging non-conference schedule, but unique in that we have games against various conferences.”

Those include Auburn from the Southeastern Conference, Colorado from the Big 12, and East Carolina and intrastate rival Marshall from the Conference USA.

Auburn and Colorado are new opponents, each booked for a home-and-home series. The Mountaineers will visit Colorado for a Thursday night, Sept. 18, game which will be televised nationally by ESPN. Their game with Auburn will be played on Thursday night, Oct. 23, at home and also aired by ESPN.

Marshall will visit Mountaineer Field/Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 27, while East Carolina, something of a fixture on the schedule, will host WVU on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Greenville, N.C.

Coach Stewart said, “Our schedule once again is no only attractive but tough and exciting with conference rivals and outstanding non-conference opponents. The overall schedule will provide many challenges, and I think our fans and supporters will enjoy it.”

The Mountaineers will kick off the season on Saturday, Aug. 30, at home against Villanova, a Big East opponent for basketball but not football.

Of the seven Big East games, four will be played at home this season. Those are with Rutgers on Saturday, Oct. 4; Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 11; Cincinnati on Saturday, Nov. 8; and South Florida on Saturday, Dec. 6, in the regular-season finale.

Incidentally, that will be the latest date any West Virginia football team has played a game either at home or on the road in the regular season.

The conference games away from home will be at Connecticut on Saturday, Nov. 1; at Louisvile on Saturday, Nov. 22; and at Pitt on Friday night, Nov. 28.

Four games already are scheduled for national television. Besides Colorado and Auburn, those are at Pitt by ABC and USF here by either ESPN or ESPN2.

The Syracuse game will be designated as Homecoming, with the Cincinnati contest the feature of Mountaineer Week.

Here is the complete 2008 schedule:

Saturday, Aug. 30, Villanova, home.

Saturday, Sept. 6, at East Carolina.

Thursday, Sept. 18, at Colorado.

Saturday, Sept. 27, Marshall, home.

Saturday, Oct. 4, Rutgers, home.

Saturday, Oct. 11, Syracuse, home (Homecoming).

Thursday, Oct. 23, Auburn, home.

Saturday, Nov. 1, at Connecticut.

Saturday, Nov. 8, Cincinnati, home (Mountaineer Week).

Saturday, Nov. 22, at Louisville.

Friday, Nov. 28, at Pitt.

Saturday, Dec. 6, South Florida, home.

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