News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Thursday, June 21, 2001
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

VT and LSU Rumored to be Working on a Deal

Reports and rumors are swirling that Virginia Tech and Louisiana State University are close to scheduling a home-and-home series in football that would bring the Tigers to Blacksburg in 2002 and send Tech to Baton Rouge in 2004.

Recently, Brigham Young canceled a series with LSU for those years, and that left the Tigers searching for a replacement opponent. In a Thursday, June 21 article titled LSU searching for big-time foe in The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), Scott Rabalais wrote:

LSU senior associate athletic director Dan Radakovich and associate A.D. Bo Bahnsen are hoping to firm up a deal soon on a home-and-home series for the 2002 and 2004 seasons. The series would replace a hole left in those schedules when Brigham Young pulled out

A report said LSU was likely to replace BYU with Virginia Tech. But while Radakovich acknowledged that the Hokies are one of the teams on LSU's list, he stressed it would be premature to say they are the team.

"We're looking at a number of different options," he said Wednesday. "The other ones are ACC and Pac-10 schools, though we're really not far down that road."

An article that appeared in TigerRag (an independent publication that covers LSU sports and bills itself as "The Bible of LSU Sports") quoted Radakovich as saying, "There are still some details to work out (regarding the possible LSU-Virginia Tech matchup)."

On Thursday morning, Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver appeared on WIBR-AM in Baton Rouge, a 24-hour sports talk radio station in Baton Rouge. Weaver was a guest on Richard Condon's daily morning talk show, which runs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

It was reported on the message board of TigerRoar.com, an LSU sports web site, that Weaver, during his appearance, called a Tech-LSU home-and-home series "almost a done deal." Since it is Virginia Tech athletic department policy not to speak with TechSideline.com reporters or representatives, TSL was unable to verify the report with Jim Weaver or athletic department personnel. In addition, attempts to contact Condon at WIBR on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Thursday evening and Thursday night, the heavily rumored deal was reported by Greg Roberts on his radio show and by both Channel 7 (WDBJ) and Channel 10 (WSLS) out of Roanoke as being in negotiations.

In order to accomplish the series, the Hokies (and some future opponents) would have to do the following schedule shuffling (see TSL's Future Football Schedules Page for reference):

1.) VT would have to create an open road date in 2004. The Hokies currently have five home opponents for that year and five road opponents. Since Virginia Tech wisely refuses to schedule fewer than six home games per year, one of the road opponents would have to be rescheduled for a different year in order to fit LSU in as the fifth road game for 2004.

Boston College, Miami, and Syracuse are Big East road games in 2004 and can't be moved, so either UNC or ECU would have to be moved. The most likely candidate is East Carolina, who has been very flexible in working on scheduling issues with Tech in the past. The solution could be as simple as moving the ECU road game from 2004 to 2003. A vacant road game exists in 2003 because of Temple's ouster from the Big East, which is effective after the 2001 season.

2.) The 2002 road game at Western Michigan might have to be moved to a different date. The Hokies and Broncos are scheduled to play on September 14th, 2002, which is the exact date that LSU now has free. If the Hokies scheduled LSU at home on 9/14/02, the WMU game would at the very least have to be played on a different date, and perhaps in a different year (much like the ECU game, the WMU game could be moved to the open 2003 road slot).

The addition of LSU to Virginia Tech's home and road schedules in the coming years would be a tremendous boon to dedicated Hokie fans who must first suffer through Tech's 2001 out-of-conference schedule of Connecticut, Western Michigan, Central Florida, and Virginia. Although UConn is a future conference opponent (and a past ally in Tech's successful efforts to get into the Big East for all sports), they should present no challenge on the field, and solid programs at Western Michigan and Central Florida do not spark the enthusiasm of Hokie fans and the media, much less network television reps. An SEC school like LSU, with great tradition, does.

Virginia Tech has been searching for new football opponents since it was announced in very late February that the Big East would jettison Temple football after the 2001 football season. This freed up home dates for Virginia Tech in even years (2002, 2004, etc.) and road dates in odd years.

It was reported that the Big East would be setting up the replacement games for Temple. It is not clear if the league office is involved in any efforts to help schedule a VT-LSU series.

          

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