Thursday, July 17, 2008

Update on 2009 Opener

Several news outlets have reported that Alabama as Tech's opponent in next year's opener in the Georgia Dome is far from a done deal. The Tide apparently don't want to open with the Hokies with a rookie quarterback and are thinking about opening the 2010 campaign against Duke in the Georgia Dome.

So what happens if the Hokies don't play the Tide? Here's some speculation on my part:

Jim Weaver told The Virginian-Pilot's Kyle Tucker that if Alabama backs out, the opponent would be a Top 25-caliber opponent. That' doesn't exactly narrow it down in the SEC, but when you start looking at the 2009 schedules in the conference, some likely candidates pop up.

LSU, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas already have 12-game slates for 2009.

However, both South Carolina and Auburn have an open date to fill. South Carolina already has two ACC teams on its 2009 schedule, NCSU and Clemson, so they're likely out.

That leaves Auburn, who's non-conference schedule in 2009 includes West Virginia, Southern Miss and Furman.

Unless another team from the SEC moves a game like the Hokies did with Cincinnati, it looks like Virginia Tech will be facing Alabama or Auburn. The Hokies lost to Auburn in the 2005 Sugar Bowl.

Either that, or Weaver considers Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Vanderbilt to be Top 25-caliber. Mississippi State has a full slate for 2009 while Kentucky appears to have openings.

Who do I hope we end up playing? Here's my ranking in order:
1. Tennessee - Would love get a shot at the Vols.
2. Florida - They're Florida.
3. Georgia - Rematch of Peach Bowl. Won't have Stafford.
4. Alabama - Big-name drawing power.
5. Auburn - Rematch of Sugar Bowl.

Who do I think it will actually be? Again, with rankings:
1. Alabama - Already in negotiations.
2. Auburn - Room on schedule.
3. Kentucky - Room on schedule.
4. Florida - Has games that can be moved.
5. South Carolina - Room, but already two ACC teams.

B'ham News: Alabama Unlikely to Play VT
AJC: Alabama at Dome in 2009 far from done deal
V-P: Tech-Tide deal hits snag

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