WVU-Tennessee matchup to kick off college football season
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Rocky Top suffered badly tortured comes to mind — through the 2017 college football season at the University of Tennessee.
The Vols of coach Butch Jones went 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference, even losing to Vanderbilt, 42-24, after the one-time WVU assistant had been fired on Nov. 12.
Tennessee’s overall record was 4-8, and it was the first time in school history The Big Orange had ever lost eight games.
Jones and his interim replacement Brady Hoke are gone. Jeremy Pruitt is the first-year Tennessee coach. West Virginia comes into the Sept. 1 afternoon game in Charlotte, last seen in a loss to Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in December.
The Queen City has developed a list of attractions (besides football) for those coming to see the nationally televised game.
A concert featuring Brad Paisley, Kane Brown and the Davisson Brothers will be held on Aug. 31. The Pizazz Smooth Jazz Festival also takes place on Aug. 31.
A publicized pre-game happening is called Fanfest and has entertainment for all ages.
Charlotte prides itself on helping visitors reach their destinations. The Charlotte Area Transit System has buses, light rail and street cars to move revelers and football fans alike to Bank of America Stadium. Those favoring their own automobile transportation will find 30,000 parking spaces within five blocks of the stadium.
West Virginia brings its expected-to-be-exciting pass offense to the first game. Both quarterback Will Grier and receiver David Sills V have been placed on pre-season All-America teams.
Tennessee is the first of WVU’s three non-conference games, to be followed by Youngstown State and North Carolina State.
Charlotte’s Chamber of Commerce lauds the city’s 7th Street Public Market, AvidXchange Music Factory and NASCAR Hall of Fame. Other family attractions include Discovery Place Science, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, the Billy Graham Library and the Carolina Raptor Center in suburban Huntersville.
As is the case in made-for-television games kicking off the season, tickets are pricey, but there is no shortage of them.
Upper-end zone tickets go for $80. Seats in the lower end zone are $125 and the highest places in the top level along the sidelines are $80. A mid-level sideline seat will cost you $209 and a 40-50 yard line seat in the lower level goes for $175.
Tennessee wants to leave the quagmire of a historically bad season. West Virginia — selected 20th in some pre-season polls — wants to get off to a winning start, unlike last season, when the Mountaineers lost a close game to Virginia Tech in a similar kickoff game on a neutral field.