Ahoy, Matey! ECU Pirates, Others Fill VT’s Non-Conference Football Schedules
The Virginia Tech athletic department announced its non-conference football schedules through 2011
on Thursday, including dates, and the centerpiece of the future schedules is an 8-game series with the East Carolina
Pirates. The schedules include a myriad of opponents, ranging from 1-AA William and Mary to LSU. Notably absent? The
West Virginia Mountaineers.
TSL’s Future Football Schedules page includes all of
the new information, and the complete OOC (out of conference) schedule for 2006-2011 is as follows (all games are played
in August or September):
|Virginia Tech Out of Conference
Football Schedules, 2006-2011
|Season||Home OOC Games||Road OOC Games|
William and Mary
ECU in Charlotte
Virginia Tech and ECU will also play in 2012
Temple, previously scheduled for a 2008-09 two-game series, was dropped.
The Hokies have seven home games in 2006, 2008, and 2010, but only six in 2007, 2009, and 2011.
From 2006-2011, the Hokies will play four OOC games to start the season, then will play eight ACC games.
The OOC schedule is notably devoid of attractive home games, with the 2009 home schedule (Marshall and Wisconsin)
being the best. One can argue that the road schedules are more attractive than the home schedules, with the 2007 road
schedule (@ LSU and ECU in Charlotte) being the best.
ECU, a proud program, has fallen on hard times recently, winning just seven games in the last three years, including
a 2-9 record in 2004 and a 1-11 record in 2003. The Pirates went to seven bowl games from 1991-2001 but have not gone
bowling since losing 64-61 to Marshall in the 2001 GMAC Bowl. ECU finished 6-6 that year, their last non-losing season.
If ECU athletic director Terry Holland and football coach Skip Holtz are able to revive the Pirate program, it will make Tech’s home schedules
more attractive, but if ECU continues to flounder, there are very few compelling OOC home games for the Hokies through
2011. Wisconsin (2009) is the strongest, most interesting home opponent. On the surface, Syracuse in 2011 is
interesting, given the history of the VT-Syracuse rivalry. But by 2011, that rivalry will be cold in its grave, and
there’s no guarantee that the Orange, their program slipping and relegated to the watered-down Big East, will be of
interest to Hokie fans or competitive with the Hokie football team.
Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver said on two separate Hokie Hotline radio shows last fall — August
23rd and November
15th — that the Hokies would like to play one "equity conference" opponent a year, meaning an opponent
from the SEC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, or PAC 10. The following games fit that bill:
|Season||"Equity Conference" Opponent(s)|
|2006||Cincinnati (Big East)|
|2007||@ LSU (SEC)|
|2008||@ Wisconsin (Big Ten)|
|2009||Wisconsin (Big Ten)
@ Cincinnati (Big East)
|2010||@ Syracuse (Big East)|
|2011||Syracuse (Big East)|
Technically, the Hokies fill Weaver’s requirement of an "equity conference" opponent every year, but when
Weaver uttered those words, Hokie fans dreamed of matchups against teams from the Big Ten, SEC, PAC 10, and Big 12.
What Hokie fans received were four of seven games against Big East teams, and those teams are Cincinnati (twice) and
Syracuse (twice). WVU and Louisville from the Big East would have been more interesting and challenging.
In the next six years, only three "equity conference" opponents — @ LSU in 2007, @ Wisconsin in 2008,
and Wisconsin in 2009 — are of high interest to Hokie fans, and two of those three games are on the road.
Conspicuous by their absence are the West Virginia Mountaineers, whom the Hokies will play in 2005 but not for at
least six years afterwards. The Hokies have played WVU every year since 1957, with the exception of a four-year break
from 1969-1972. The series, which really caught fire during the Big East years and intensified after VT left for the
ACC, will come to at least a temporary end. VT’s announcement of their OOC schedules ends speculation that the two
teams would play annually at FedEx Field.
Such is the reality of modern college football scheduling. The 12-game schedule, approved recently by the NCAA, did
not lead to more compelling matchups in college football, at least not in the case of the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Instead, it led to a slew of games against teams currently near the bottom of the 1-A food chain, plus games against