In search of a home-and-home football series for 2018-19 and/or 2020-21, Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver called the colleagues he knows best from the major conferences he respects most.
Hence, the following list of initial possibilities from the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference that Weaver unveiled Monday afternoon during a phone interview and again that evening on the “Tech Talk Live” radio show.
PENN STATE: Acting athletic director Dave Joyner was a Nittany Lions offensive tackle from 1969-71, and Weaver, a former Penn State offensive lineman himself, was his position coach.
MICHIGAN: Weaver got to know Wolverines athletic director Dave Brandon when Tech and Michigan met in last season’s Sugar Bowl.
MINNESOTA: Norwood Teague took over the Gophers program this spring after six years at VCU.
ILLINOIS: Illini AD Mike Thomas was at Akron when the Hokies played the Zips in 2000. He’s also a former associate AD at Virginia.
ARKANSAS: Razorbacks AD Jeff Long worked briefly under Weaver at Virginia Tech and later served as AD at Pittsburgh, then among Tech’s Big East colleagues.
AUBURN: Jay Jacobs became the Tigers’ AD in 2004, the same season they met the Hokies in the Sugar Bowl.
“You’re going to get a quicker response when you call someone you know,” Weaver said, adding that he’s talked specifics with none of the six.
With Ohio State on Tech’s schedule for 2014 and ’15, followed by Wisconsin in 2016 and ’17, “I’d like to get one more (home-and-home series) on the books,” Weaver said.
Correct me if I’m wrong, Tech faithful, but I’m guessing among those six y’all would prefer Michigan, Auburn or Penn State. That based on tradition and proximity: Each is within an eight-hour drive of Blacksburg and has won a national championship.
The question then becomes, who among the six might be available for 2018-19 or 2020-21?
According to fbschedules.com, Penn State is contracted with future ACC member Syracuse in 2020 and ’21, but is open for 2018 and ’19. Moreover, with $73 million in fines levied by the NCAA and Big Ten over the Sandusky scandal, the Nittany Lions may want to play as many lucrative, high-profile non-conference games as possible.
After a two-year hiatus in 2018 and ’19, Michigan and Notre Dame are set to resume their storied rivalry in 2020 and beyond. Otherwise, the Wolverines might be amenable.
Auburn appears wide open, according to fbschedules.com., while Arkansas has former Southwest Conference rival Texas in 2021.
Perhaps the least likely opponent for Tech is Minnesota. The Gophers are set to play Oregon State in 2017 and ’18, Colorado in 2021 and ’22.
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