WVU to meet Vols, Wolfpack
You’ve got four years to learn the words to “Rocky Top”, to review the biography of Gen. Bob Neyland and find out why the folks in Alabama have such distain for the “Big Orange” of Tennessee.
West Virginia has signed a contract to play football against the University of Tennessee and its ex-Mountaineer coach Butch Jones. The game won’t come to the schedule until 2018 and will be played at a neutral site — Charlotte, North Carolina at the home stadium of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck went a little farther in his booking future games. After the Mountaineers visit the Hub City of the South (Atlanta) to open this season against an angry group of Red Elephants from Alabama, there will be more signature games down the line against non-conference opponents.
With the announcement that Tennessee will be a highlighted game at the beginning of the 2018 season, Luck also revealed that North Carolina State will be on the WVU schedule in both 2018 and 2019. The Wolfpack will be played in Raleigh in 2018 and in Morgantown in 2019.
West Virginia and Tennessee were never in the same conference. The Volunteers have always been in the Southeastern Conference, and WVU was in the Southern Conference for decades. The two schools never scheduled a regular season game. And the Mountaineers have never seen the Vols in a bowl game of any kind.
Charlotte will be the setting for this game. Each side receives the same amount of tickets . . . if not the same amount of self-satisfaction or smug feelings about their football pasts.
Tennessee is now coached by one-time WVU assistant coach Butch Jones. Jones and the Vols were not the envy of college football in 2013, what with the Vols missing a bowl game (again).
But Tennessee does have some glorious football stories it can tell about Peyton Manning, Johnny Majors, single-wing football and national championships when Bob Neyland was the deity of a caretaker/coach in Knoxville at the 100,000-seat stadium.
North Carolina State and WVU have some football history. There have been bowl games between the teams. And there have been regular season games as well.
The Wolfpack still reside in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they have been doused recently by the likes of Florida State, Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech and then last year by the Duke Blue Devils.
Way back when Bobby Bowden was West Virginia’s coach, the Mountaineers won a mudbath bowl game against the Wolfpack. More recently, the Wolfpack downed WVU in a bowl when the quarterback was Russell Wilson, now the general of the NFL Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Tennessee and North Carolina State. Much different than Towson and James Madison for the Mountaineers’ early-season fare.