Football Notes: Maryland in Baltimore and Alabama in Atlanta

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In case you missed it, there have been a couple of news items in the few days
concerning future Virginia Tech football games. The Hokies will play the 2014
Maryland game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, and Virginia Tech is close
to officially signing up to play Alabama in Atlanta to start the 2013 season.

The Maryland athletic department and the Baltimore Ravens announced last week
that Maryland’s 2014 game vs. the Hokies, which was a Terrapin home game, will
be moved to the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium. The date will be
announced later, when the ACC makes up the 2014 football schedules.

M&T Bank Stadium has a capacity of just over 71,000, versus 54,000 at
Byrd Stadium, their on-campus venue. According to a follow-up Washington
Post article
, the Terrapins will net $3.5 million from the game,
versus “around $1.5 million” for a true home game in Byrd.

The Hokies will apparently not receive a financial windfall from playing the
game in Baltimore (no benefit to VT has been reported), but Virginia Tech fans
located in Northern Virginia and elsewhere will receive windfalls of a different
nature: ticket availability and quality of game experience.

Maryland averaged just 39,168 fans at Byrd Stadium this past season. It’s
possible that a new coaching regime under Randy Edsall and some success in the
next couple of seasons could boost Maryland ticket sales and attendance, but in
any case, Virginia Tech fans can count on having easier access to more tickets
for the game at M&T Bank Stadium, creating something closer to a neutral
site atmosphere than a game at Byrd Stadium.

The game experience promises to be better for VT fans as well, who have often
voiced trepidation about the behavior of Maryland fans in College Park and Byrd
Stadium. (I personally attended the 2005 Maryland-VT game at Byrd, when in my
opinion VT hate was at its height in the ACC, thanks to the presence of Marcus
Vick as VT’s starting quarterback, and I experienced zero problems.)

Expect Hokie fans to turn out in force for the 2014 game. Games at FedExField
in 2004 (USC) and 2010 (Boise State) have been very well attended by Hokie fans.

In other news, multiple outlets are reporting that the Hokies are very close
to signing a deal to meet Alabama in another Chick-fil-A Kickoff season opener
in Atlanta, this time for the 2013 season. The matchup has not been finalized,
but the Hokies have agreed to it in principal, and the game is apparently well
on its way to becoming official.

Kyle Tucker first
reported on the matchup
a few days ago, and David
Teel blogged today
about schedule changes that would be necessary
to accommodate the game. Teel reports that Tech’s 2012 and 2013 games against
East Carolina will be moved to 2016 and 2017.

TechSideline.com’s Future Football Schedules page will be updated with both
games (the 2014 Maryland game and the 2013 Alabama game) when the CFA Kickoff is
finalized.

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