Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Cavaliers add Oregon to 2013 home football slate
Five schools were involved in UVa's schedule shuffle that included dropping its trip to Penn State.
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Aaron McFarling's blog
What started out as a simple effort by Virginia to move some dates on its 2013 football scheduled had turned into a five-team extravaganza by Monday afternoon.
Gone from the Cavaliers' proposed slate is a visit to Penn State, which has been replaced by an unprecedented eighth home game against an Oregon squad that finished the 2012 season ranked No. 2 in the country.
The dealings also involved Nevada, which agreed to move a scheduled 2013 home game with Oregon to 2019, and Central Florida, which will visit Penn State in Virginia's place.
It wasn't hard to persuade Nevada and its new coach Brian Polian, who was looking at games against UCLA, Oregon and Florida State in the first four weeks.
"We exhausted all possibilities to address the Florida State game and could not come up with a mutually acceptable resolution," Nevada athletic director Cary Groth said in a prepared statement. "At that point, moving the Oregon game was our best option."
When word began to surface Friday that UCF had agreed to play Penn State, the impression was that the Nittany Lions had asked out of the Virginia game.
Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said Monday that UVa had made it known that it did not want to play in State College, Pa., on Sept. 14 because it was looking for a home game on that date.
"We are working with Virginia to reschedule the game for Beaver Stadium in a future season," he said.
UVa hasn't announced an opponent for Sept. 14, but it will be playing host to the Ducks on Sept. 7, one week after Brigham Young comes to Scott Stadium.
"We initiated a conversation with Oregon about a potential game in 2017 in Europe," executive associate athletic director Jon Oliver said.
"As the conversation progressed, it became clear we might have an opportunity to initiate a series in 2013 starting in Charlottesville."
Oliver, well-connected on the West Coast from his days as an athletic administrator at Washington State, earlier had scheduled a home-and-home series with Southern Cal, and the Cavaliers also have future dates with UCLA and Stanford.
Oregon is entering its first season under former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who was named as the successor to Chip Kelly, who resigned to coach the Philadelphia Eagles after going 46-7 in four seasons as the Ducks' head coach.
Virginia has had four losing records in the past five seasons, including a 4-8 campaign this past season under third-year head coach Mike London.
Playing BYU and Oregon "will be a challenge, but one that coach London has been on board with since the very beginning," Oliver said.
"I am hopeful that our fans will embrace this schedule and create a home-field advantage to help make our team successful."
Early reaction from the Virginia players appeared favorable.
"Go big or go home," tight end Jake McGee told his Twitter followers.
"Kid's putting his big boy pants on!"