In a dual announcement earlier today, Virginia Tech Football Head Coach Frank Beamer and West Virginia University's Athletic Director Oliver Luck, announced that the two teams would resume their rivalry beginning in 2021.
That game would be played on Sept. 18 in Morgantown, WV. and then would rotate back to Blacksburg on Sept. 24, 2022.
The rivalry game, played for the Black Diamond Trophy, has not been played since 2005 when the two schools agreed to put the annual game on hold. The idea to suspend the series was previously thought to be in part because of the two schools' emergence onto the national scene and therefore unwillingness to schedule such a heavyweight non-conference opponent, in each other, on a yearly basis. But today in a Norm Wood story, Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver gave the hidden insight that led to the suspension of the series:
"The last time we went there, some of our fans got urinated on, some of our fans got hit and were kicked," Weaver said. "That's when we said we're not going to carry on this relationship. We put it on a temporary hold."
On top of that, two Virginia Tech players, both Marcus Vick and Carlton Powell, were caught by the camera flipping off West Virginia fans in the Hokies' 34-17 win, the Mountaineers' only loss of the season.
The renewal of the rivalry has brought mixed emotions from the fan bases, but particularly so from the Virginia Tech side. But ultimately, Weaver said that his motivation to bring back the game was motivated by the new BCS Playoff format that takes effect in 2014:
"Now, we think it's time to bring the game back," Weaver said. "I think 16 years is long enough to go without it. In addition to that, we've got to enhance the strength of our schedule as the situation with the BCS (playoff) unfolds. It just makes sense to play West Virginia, instead of spending a couple hundred thousand bucks going somewhere else. We can play them right in our own backyard."
Tech has loaded up with several marquee non-conference opponents in the next couple of years, facing Ohio State in 2014 and 2015, Wisconsin in 2016 and 2017 and Michigan in 2020 and 2021, the latter year in addition to now the West Virginia game.
The rivalry began in 1912 when the Hokies won in a blowout in Blacksburg, 41-0. West Virginia owns the advantage all-time in the series at 28-22-1, but lost nine of their last 12 games in the series. The teams played every year from 1973 to 2005.
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