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Regional rivalries aren't highest priority for Hampton Roads football teams

Hampton Roads

is home to four Division I college football programs hailing from two conferences. Which logic says would create natural, interleague, regional rivalries.

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Were only scheduling so paint-by-numbers simple.

Consider

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William and Mary
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and Norfolk State, who conclude a two-year, home-and-home series Saturday as the Tribe visits Dick Price Stadium for the first time.

William and Mary athletic director Terry Driscoll and his Norfolk State counterpart, Marty Miller, appreciate the local intrigue surrounding this matchup of Colonial Athletic Association and

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

teams. Their campuses are separated by 40-some miles, their rosters stocked with area athletes.

But don't expect them to play again any time soon.

The same goes for William and Mary and

Hampton University

, who haven't met in the regular season since a home-and-home in 1997 and '98.

The hurdle for all concerned is balancing the financial, recruiting, and yes, academic elements of the scheduling equation.

For example, with eight CAA games annually, William and Mary has three non-conference dates to fill, and two of the three are booked indefinitely.

One is reserved for a Bowl Subdivision opponent, last season North Carolina State, this year Virginia. Future dates, through 2016, are set against North Carolina, Maryland,

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Virginia Tech
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, N.C. State, West Virginia and Virginia (twice).

The games not only allow Tribe coach

Jimmye Laycock

to test his squad against the big pups, but also to net the athletic department six-figure paydays.

Another non-league contest is saved for Virginia Military Institute. The programs met for 65 consecutive seasons before agreeing to a one-year respite in 2009, in part because the Keydets wanted to play a money game of their own, against Army.

"I was told when I got here that we have a special relationship with VMI," said Driscoll, who arrived at William and Mary in 1996.

That leaves Driscoll with one game to rotate. During his tenure he, in concert with Laycock, has scheduled Hampton, Norfolk State, Liberty and Furman, among others.

In 2010, the Tribe travels to Old Dominion, a fledgling program that doesn't join the CAA until the following season. In 2012 and '13, William and Mary is contracted to play the

University of Pennsylvania

.

"I've been trying for a long time to get an

Ivy League

(opponent)," Driscoll said. "We were close with Princeton but couldn't (coordinate) the dates."

Penn is ideal for William and Mary on several fronts. Laycock and his staff recruit extensively in the region — the Tribe roster has 11 players from Pennsylvania and 13 from New Jersey — and appreciate the history of venerable Franklin Field, the Quakers' home stadium.

Also, William and Mary and Penn are comparable academically, with the Quakers providing credible but not intimidating football opposition.

If not the Ivy League, Driscoll would like to arrange games against Patriot League programs such as Bucknell, Lehigh and Lafayette. Again, academic heavyweights and football, at best, middleweights.

"The goal is to spread out (geographically)," Driscoll said, "but obviously we'd like to stay on the ground (not fly) if we can for expenses."

Norfolk State and Hampton have their own scheduling nuances.

The Spartans, for instance, have opened the last 19 seasons against Virginia State. Moreover, Miller said he wants to add more Bowl Subdivision games — Norfolk State played Kentucky last season, Rutgers in 2007 and hopes to renew with Rutgers in 2010.

Hampton, especially during

Joe Taylor

's coaching tenure, preferred playing other historically black schools such as Grambling and Jackson State in

NFL

venues such as

Giants

Stadium in North Jersey and the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.

Now add Old Dominion into the mix.

The Monarchs originally scheduled William and Mary for this, their inaugural Division I season. But calmer heads prevailed — the game would be a mismatch — and delayed the encounter until 2010.

Come 2011, the schools will meet as conference rivals, as do Norfolk State and Hampton. The Monarchs and Spartans, however, hope to begin a crosstown series by 2013.

Confused? Told you scheduling isn't easy.

Best to take Miller's approach.

"I'm always excited to play schools in our area like William and Mary and Old Dominion when we can," he said. "We have excellent facilities, and I think people will have a good experience here Saturday."

David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.

Saturday's game

WHO: W&M (2-0) at Norf. State (1-1).

WHEN: 6 p.m.

WHERE: Dick Price Stadium.

Online

Read more from David Teel on his blog at dailypress.com/ teeltime.

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