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Monday, December 14, 1998

Tonight's show featured Director of Athletics Jim Weaver for the first 45 minutes, and men's basketball coach Bobby Hussey for the second 45 minutes.  These notes cover Weaver's session only.

WEAVER COMMENTS ON SCHEDULING, BIG EAST MEMBERSHIP, IMPACT OF UCONN PLAYING FOOTBALL IN BIG EAST...

A caller asked about full Big East membership for VT. Weaver said things are moving along through the strategic planning process that's been going on since 1997. It became extended because the schools got into substantive issues that needed to be resolved.

Weaver said he thinks what has been happening "are positives" for Virginia Tech. He said he has no concrete information that means anything, but thinks that VT would have known by now if there were problems with its Big East aspirations. He said something to the effect of: "They would have told us a long time ago."

I missed the first 3 minutes or so of the broadcast. It picked up with Jim Weaver saying that the goal is to win a national championship at Virginia Tech, and that every day when he comes to work it's to do the work necessary to take VT to that level.

He said that for context, you should go back and look at the history of the Nebraska and Penn State programs and you'll see that you have to keep knocking at the door to get to a championship. VT has been knocking for only a short time, relatively speaking, he said.

Bill Roth and Weaver agreed that the outlook is very encouraging for the 1999 season. Roth said that VT in 1998 may have had a defense and special teams worthy of winning a national championship -- if only the offense had been stronger and had the talent of the 1993 team that set many school records for offense, or the 1995-96 teams led by QB Jim Druckenmiller.

Weaver said he hopes the VT program is to a point of reloading each year, and at which it won't do worse than fall to 7-4 type years.

In response to a question, he said the BCS system worked ultimately in putting 1 vs. 2 together for a championship game. He thinks eventually there will be a playoff system.

Roth said some have raised concerns about VT's 1999 strength of schedule and what effects it could have in Tech's power ratings if the Hokies have a strong season. Could the same thing happen that happened to Kansas State, he asked.

Weaver said that KSU scheduled for success and it nearly got them there, but for the upset by Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship game. "It wasn't the scheduling but their own undoing that cost them the national championship game," he said.

Syracuse did not originally intend to play both Michigan and Tennessee this year, he said. It happened because some years were switched in trying to accommodate other situations. Michigan must play at SU in 1999.

Weaver thought the Big East bounced back well in 1998 after many wrote it off 11 months ago. Now the league has four 8-3 teams and a 5-6 team (Rutgers) that climbed from zero wins the previous year.

He said he thinks Terry Shea can coach, that he knows the passing game and how to move the football. Weaver saw Shea's San Jose State teams when Weaver was at UNLV. He thinks the Rutgers program can be dangerous if Shea is able to recruit.

On the subject of UConn playing Big East football, Weaver said that if the Connecticut legislature approves the new stadium proposal on Tuesday as expected, he thinks the Huskies will apply by the end of the week to play Big East football.

UConn was supportive of Tech in its past BE full-membership effort and Tech would support UConn playing football. Adding another football school would help with scheduling dilemmas through providing a balance of four conference games each at home and away every season. It would eliminate the prospect of having to play some 2 for 1 deals to get home games.

UConn has outstanding men's and women's basketball programs and by going to top division football would help bring numbers in negotiating TV contracts, Weaver said. Not for 1999 or 2000, perhaps, but down the line it would be a factor, he said.

There was some discussion about the bowl tickets and debate over ordering from the school vs. the bowl. Mostly rehash. Weaver said he was told that about 2,000 tickets were sold to VT fans through the MCB office.

VT got some $45 seats which went to contributors in the Hokie Club, based on the points priority system. VT got no $55 seats. Weaver said Vanderbilt's stadium is small and intimate, and therefore there are fewer good seats available.

A caller asked if the WAC shakeup could impact the Big East. Weaver said there would be no direct impact.

Bill Roth asked about the report last month that Weaver was going to inquire about picking up the 1999 game at Hawaii that Virginia wanted to drop.

Weaver said he talked with the Hawaii athletic director and learned that they sensed UVa trying to back out and had already been talking to Washington State as a replacement. But Weaver said it's possible that VT could play at Hawaii in 2001 because another U of H opponent may want out of a game that season. (Teams playing at Hawaii get an exemption to play 12 regular season games.)

East Carolina is still on the schedule for 5-6 years through 2005 or 2006, Weaver told a caller. "We recognize that's a good game."

He said he has been working diligently at getting a series with NC State. He just called the NCSU AD again after reading the newspaper item out of N.C. that Coach O'Cain would like to play VT or South Carolina at Charlotte's Ericsson Stadium. Weaver is interested in games in 2004-2005, and he said NCSU could move its home game to Charlotte if it wished.

Weaver wants to get Navy back on the schedule and has discussed Navy playing its home game at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

The earliest anything can happen with playing Tennessee is 2010 or 2011, but he talked to UT AD Doug Dickey about it in September.

Wisconsin is on the schedule in 2008-09, Penn State possibly in 2006-07. PSU and VT have agreed not to do anything else with the dates in those years until each sees what happens with conference situations. Weaver said the UConn and Notre Dame situations come into play there because of scheduling conference games. The Notre Dame board of regents meets Feb. 4-5 in London and will decide the Big 10 affiliation then. Otherwise, Weaver said, he has "an opening or two" around 2001 that he is working with. UConn could come into play then, too.

It makes sense to schedule teams that are on a different TV network, and he implied that's why no SEC teams have been added and that the focus is on playing ACC, Big 10, etc.

A caller asked Weaver where to eat out in Nashville. He said his personal favorites are The Stockyard and Mario's. The Hokie Huddler this week will feature a Nashville dining guide.

Another caller said it looks like George Welsh is the only person who wants to move the Tech-Virginia game from the last game of the year.

Weaver said that if it's UVa's home game, as it is in 1999,Tech must be accommodating. "We can insist all we want, but..."

Coach Beamer and Weaver have talked and agree that the game will be played last when it's scheduled for Blacksburg. He said they agree the UVa game should be first or last in the season. VT does not want the game sandwiched around league games, Weaver said, because the BE games control your destiny and BCS status.

The two schools are working with the Big East and ACC offices to try to have all four of VT's non-conference games played in succession in 1999 (apparently an order of JMU,Alabama-Birmingham, Virginia, Clemson ?) before conference games kick in.

"We are committed to keeping the (UVa) game in Blacksburg at the end of the year," Weaver said. VT is flexible as to whether that falls on the third or fourth weekend of November.

Roth noted that Josh Redding and Al Clark are expected to be ready for the bowl game. Only Cullen Hawkins will not be available due to injury.

No basketball notes tonight. Sorry, didn't have time to listen to last half of show.

-- GalaxHokie

          

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