Which Teams Could Replace Maryland on West Virginia's Schedule?
It was no secret that the 2020 college football season was going to look a whole lot different than years past and following the Big Ten Conferences decision to play conference-only games on Thursday and the PAC 12 following suit on Friday, it started to take fruition.
That left some open weekends for programs around the country to possibly fill a game or two on their schedule.
For West Virginia, that meant possibly replacing border rival and Big Ten Conference member Maryland on September 19th.
While it’s expected that the rest of the Power Five conferences will all succumb to the same format, let's go on the assumption that the COVID-19 cases will decline the next month and that the Pac 12 and Big Ten pulled the trigger too early and West Virginia can fill the open weekend.
Naturally, there would have to be an agreement within the two programs, and seeing that it would not be the typical contract, a lot of details would have to be hashed out. Ticket sales obviously are not going to be a big factor, but multi-media rights will, and a TV deal would have to be profitable for both schools for it even to be a consideration. An obvious storyline would be West Virginia's native son and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher possibly returning home for the matchup.
So, let us assume it is financially viable for the programs to make up the twelfth game, and let’s look at some options and maybe some teams willing to travel to Morgantown.
There is only one other Power Five school with the same open weekend that being Texas A&M. They were set to host PAC 12 member Colorado and while it is not regional, that might be open for a bigger TV deal, if either school was willing to give up a home game.
From a regional standpoint, West Virginia has several options. There are MAC members Toledo, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Buffalo, along with Sun Belt Conference member Appalachian State, independent Army, and old Big East Conference foe Temple.
Then, looking further out, there’s Arkansas State, South Dakota State, BYU, Wyoming, Utah State, and Idaho. Which if you think about, I am not sure those would be a real option considering the travel and the lack of interest nationally.
West Virginia's bye week is Halloween weekend (week 9) and there are some potentially good matchups. Army, BYU and Texas A&M share the same bye week, so there are three teams with more wiggle room. However, if you're looking for another marquee matchup, there's none bigger than Alabama.
The Crimson Tide had USC on their schedule to open the season and might be looking to fill the spot but with the same bye week as the Mountaineers, could West Virginia Athletic Director Shane Lyons pull off the deal with his Alabama ties?
If you were Lyons, who would you try to schedule? Oh, did I mention Hawaii is available on the 19th? Aloha.
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