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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)


You can't win a game that you don't play.

That's one of the motives behind Virginia's decision to move its scheduled home football game with Ohio University to Nashville, Tennessee, as Hurricane Florence set its sights on the Mid-Atlantic.

Three other ACC teams - Virginia Tech, North Carolina and N.C. State - have canceled games, the Hokies after scheduled guest East Carolina declined to come to Blacksburg.

Virginia was alone in finding itself a neutral site. The Cavaliers probably could have arranged to play at Ohio, but UVa is at a stage of its program where a win under any circumstances is important. Ohio, theoretically, would be more dangerous at home.

Virginia went 6-6 in the regular season last year and was invited to a bowl. Anything less than a .500 record and the Cavaliers would have stayed home.

"If there was no option to play, then it would have been, 'What possibly can we do; is anyone available to play on our bye week?" UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Not only do we want to grow and improve, [but] part of the way you do that is to keep playing at the end of the season."

Todd Turner, a former athletic director at Vanderbilt, said he wasn't sure the agreement could have been reached if not for the relationship between UVa athletic director Carla Williams and long-time Vandy administrator and friend Candice Lee.

Turner said it was likely that other schools might have shied away from such an arrangement because of the costs.

"There's got to be a loss of revenue," he said. "Somebody's still got to pay Ohio their guarantee."

Turner pointed to the expenses of flying UVa's team and support staff to Nashville and putting them up in hotels for two nights.

"I've never heard of this being done before," Turner said. "Maybe somebody has moved a game to a neutral site that was a public arena. It's bold and it's encouraging because it's not so much about the money."

Vanderbilt's football team will be playing at Notre Dame on Saturday.

"Vandy probably will have some costs [from UVa's game] that will be transferred over to UVa," Turner said. "Financially, it's a question mark but it says something about institutional relationships and the respect people have for one another."

On its website, Virginia has indicated it will make restitution to season ticket-holders and supporters who purchased tickets through the UVa ticket office.

Around the ACC

Despite cancellations of Saturday games at three of its closest ACC rivals - North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia Tech - there seemed to be little question that Wake Forest would hold its home game against Boston College on Thursday night, with the start time now pushed up to to 5:30 p.m.

"First of all, football coaches aren't responsible for making those decisions," Wake coach Dave Clawson said. "We shouldn't be. Those are game operations and travel considerations. It was very apparent that BC wanted to travel down here. ... They did not express any hesitation in doing that.

"Then, it was just a matter of 'Is it prudent and is it safe?' It was just a matter of kind of delaying the decision until we learned more about the storm track and ... make sure it was safe for BC to get here and get out. ... I guess the weather moved in a way that they felt it was still good to play."

View from Morgantown

West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, previously an ACC administrator, was adamant about not rescheduling the Mountaineers' game at N.C. State for Oct. 20, an open Saturday prior to an Oct. 25 date with Baylor.

"I'm trying to help our coaching staff and our student-athletes be prepared each and every week. And that would not allow them to do that [for Baylor], especially with the opponent having a week and a half to prepare," Lyons said at a news conference Tuesday at WVU.

Lyons was then asked about the idea of N.C. State coming to WVU.

"You're trying to sell 60,000 tickets [in a three-day window]," he said. "You don't have food for the concessions areas. You don't have emergency-response people on the books ready to go. It's a lot more difficult than it sounds logistically to make things happen that way. There were some schools ... that talked about ... 'We'll play the game without fans.' I'm not playing the game without fans.'"

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September 13, 2018


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