College football's most dynamic, prolific and frenzied offense of the last four seasons is coming to the University of
January is unusually late to be finalizing non-conference opponents, but this opportunity emerged when Nevada asked out of its game against Oregon, and Penn State and Virginia agreed to delay or cancel their 2013 date in State College, Pa.
Based on Twitter, Cavaliers players welcome the chance.
"Couldn't be more excited," receiver Tim Smith tweeted.
"Big Time Game," safety Mason
Some fans took a more pragmatic view, fearing that Virginia, with one bowl appearance in the last five years, risks a blowout defeat and/or its chances of winning the six games necessary for postseason eligibility.
It's a fair question.
But despite its
"We initiated a conversation with Oregon about a potential game in 2017 in Europe," Jon Oliver, Virginia's executive associate athletics director, said in a statement. "As the conversation progressed it became clear we might have an opportunity to initiate a series in 2013 starting in Charlottesville. We saw that as a great opportunity for our program and our fans.
"The chance to add Oregon presents us with the unique opportunity to have eight home games in a single season. Kicking off the season against BYU on Aug. 31 and playing Oregon on Sept. 7 will be a challenge, but one that Coach (Mike) London has been on board with since the very beginning. I am hopeful that our fans will embrace this schedule and create a home-field advantage to help make our team successful."
Leaving aside the issue of how well a Ducks-Cavs game would draw 'cross the pond, 2013 will arguably be the Cavaliers' most ambitious home schedule ever, the presence of Championship Subdivision VMI (2-9 last season) notwithstanding.
Ball State (9-4) and Brigham Young (8-5) are the other non-conference opponents. Virginia's home
Virginia was nearly as ambitious last season, playing Penn State, Richmond, Louisiana Tech and Texas Christian, the latter on the road.
No offense to Clemson and reigning ACC Player of the Year Tajh Boyd, but Oregon, the only program to reach the
The Ducks were 46-7 the past four seasons under
Oregon quickly promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to replace Kelly. Helfrich inherits a roster that expects to return 15 starters, eight on offense, seven on defense, from the squad that routed Kansas State 35-17 in the
The Ducks' lone defeat was to
Oregon lost to Ohio State in the
Among those expected back on Oregon's offense are quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back DeAnthony Thomas, both of whom averaged more than 7 yards per carry.
The series with the Ducks continues the western gaze of Virginia's non-conference schedule under Oliver, a former administrator at Washington State.
After a 1976 game at
That means Virginia will play a Pac-12 opponent in six consecutive seasons, from 2013-18. With the ACC's scheduling partnership with
Virginia's addition of Oregon means the ACC in 2013 will play the Nos. 1-4 teams in the 2012 season-ending coaches' poll.
Virginia Tech opens with two-time defending national champion Alabama, Pittsburgh faces No. 3 Notre Dame, and Clemson and Georgia Tech play No. 4 Georgia. Moreover, Clemson and
"We want our players to be able to compete against great teams," London said in a statement.
That's apparently a prevailing ACC sentiment.