Virginia Tech’s 2018 schedule features Georgia Tech on a Thursday night, UVa on Black Friday

After a season of all Saturday home games, Virginia Tech's 2018 football schedule features one on a Thursday and one on a Friday. The ACC released the full 2018 football schedule Wednesday afternoon, and among the highlights for the Hokies are a Thursday night home game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 25 and a Black Friday game against Virginia at Lane Stadium on Nov. 23. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. That makes three non-Saturday games on the Hokies' 2018 slate. Last April, it was announced their season opener at Florida State would be on Labor Day night on Sept. 3. Five of Tech's 12 games were already known prior to Wednesday. The Hokies' full non-conference schedule was already in place: Sept. 8 vs. William & Mary, Sept. 15 vs. East Carolina, Sept. 22 at Old Dominion and Oct. 6 vs. Notre Dame. The ACC filled in the rest, with Tech returning to ACC play Sept. 29 at Duke. After Notre Dame comes to town, it's all league games for the Hokies, with a contest at North Carolina on Oct. 13 before the Thursday night home game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 25. Virginia Tech did not have a Thursday nighter last year. The Hokies' November schedule includes a home game against Boston College (Nov. 3), a road game at Pitt (Nov. 10), a home game against Miami (Nov. 17) and a short week before the Black Friday date with Virginia (Nov. 23) at Lane Stadium. It's the third time in five years the battle for the Commonwealth Cup will be played on Black Friday. The Labor Day game against Florida State and Thursday contest with Georgia Tech will be at night. Game times for weeks two and three will be announced closer to the season. Kickoffs for ACC contests beyond that are usually announced two weeks prior to the game. Here's a quick rundown of the schedule: Sept 3 (Monday), at Florida State: The Hokies and Seminoles meet in the regular season for the first time since 2012 and only the sixth time since joining the ACC. Virginia Tech hasn't been to Tallahassee Continue Reading

Purdue adds five games to future football schedules

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Air Force, Oregon State and two more matchups against Indiana State are part of Purdue's future football schedules. The school announced Tuesday the Boilermakers will face Air Force in 2020 at Ross-Ade Stadium along with a home-and-home series against Oregon State in 2021 and 2024. The Beavers visit Ross-Ade Stadium in 2021. Purdue and Indiana State are scheduled to meet in 2022 and now will also play in 2024 and 2026 in West Lafayette. Last summer, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said schools have the opportunity to schedule an FCS team in seasons they play four Big Ten home games, a change in the all FBS model the league adopted when it switched to nine conference games. Purdue will now play an FCS opponent, Indiana State, three times in a five-year period. The Sycamores will walk away with a $500,000 check in 2022. Indiana State will receive $500,000 in 2024 and $525,000 in 2026, according to the contract signed between the schools. Purdue will pay Air Force $800,000 for the one game. The contract with Oregon State states both visiting teams will receive $200,000. The game against Air Force is the Boilermakers' first against a service academy since 1944.  FUTURE NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS2018: Eastern Michigan, Missouri, Boston College2019: at Nevada, Vanderbilt, Texas Christian2020: Memphis, Air Force, at Boston College2021: Oregon State, at Notre Dame2022: Indiana State2023: at Virginia Tech2024: Indiana State, Notre Dame, at Oregon State2025: at Notre Dame2026: Wake Forest, Indiana State, Notre Dame2027: at Notre Dame2028: at Wake Forest, Notre Dame2029: at Vanderbilt, at Texas Christian  Continue Reading

‘Justice is coming:’ Dad of murdered Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington watches as Jesse Matthew makes first court appearance for 2009 murder

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The father of a Virginia Tech student found dead six years ago after attending a rock concert in Charlottesville said Wednesday that “justice is coming” after a grand jury brought murder charges against the man he has long suspected in his daughter’s killing. Wearing a gray striped jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was appointed attorneys during his first court appearance at Albemarle County Circuit Court on first-degree murder and abduction to defile charges in the 2009 death of 20-year-old Morgan Harrington. Matthew is already scheduled to face trial next summer for the September 2014 disappearance and death of 18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Matthew stared down at Morgan Harrington’s parents as he walked by them as he left the courtroom to return to jail, where he is being held without bail. Dan Harrington, who watched Matthew as he walked out, said he wanted to show the man that he and his wife will not rest until justice is found for their daughter. “I want him to know that we are present and we have been present for six years and we will be present for the months to come. He needs to know that justice is coming,” he said. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the Graham case. Trial in that case has been set for July 2016. Commonwealth Attorney Denise Lunsford said Wednesday prosecutors don’t intend to ask for the cases to be combined. The charges in the Harrington case signal the death penalty isn’t being sought in that prosecution. Lunsford declined to say why. “All I can say about that is they are completely separate cases with completely separate facts and that’s what the facts lead to,” she said. Matthew’s attorneys did not speak to reporters after the hearing and didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Continue Reading

College Football Countdown | No. 32: Virginia Tech

Allow one missing piece of furniture to speak, at least in some part, to Virginia Tech's new reality. It is – or was, rather, though it still technically fulfills its original purpose – a glass case left empty for a simple reason: Eventually, it would hold the Hokies' national championship trophy.In 1998, Frank Beamer and Tech decided to place the empty case within its main lobby area as a way to motivate, true, but also to signal to those inside and out of the program that the completion of such an achievement – the arrival of a national championship – was simply a matter of time.It even came with a marker, a red placard emblazoned with white letters: "This area is reserved for the national championship trophy," it read.And there it remained, a case left empty by design that remained empty, against the Hokies' wishes. There were near-misses: Tech had the opportunity in 1999, nearly returned in 2000 and had close calls in 2005 and 2007, but enters 2014 as far removed from the championship picture as at any point outside Beamer's get-the-foundation-set early era.The case is already gone. The program decided to remove it from sight during the spring, after it had already suffered the wear of tear of years of disuse – taped together, banded in place, jerry-rigged into standing order after a decade of serving as a constant marker of achievements unachieved.In its place stands a human-size Virginia Tech mascot, his orange peak pointed down, pigeon-toed, eyes set strongly in the distance, arms crossed, ever vigilant. A good move, design-wise: It's easy to remove an oversize bird and add a title trophy, and the fowl comes without the daily reminder of what may never be.LAST YEAR'S PREDICTION: That's my take: VT goes 9-3, 6-2 in the ACC, and returns to the conference title game. It won't always be pretty, but the Hokies are still suited for a return to the national conversation.2013 RECAP:In a nutshell: Virginia Tech played two elite teams, Continue Reading

ESPN reveals college football schedule for Week 1 and other prime time games

Games featuring Clemson, Florida State, Alabama and the best of the Big Ten Conference highlight ESPN’s televised college football schedule for Week 1 of the upcoming season, providing an early look at those teams expected to make a charge at the College Football Playoff and national championship.The prime time game on Saturday, Sept. 2, will feature the Crimson Tide and the Seminoles in Atlanta for the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. Two nights earlier, on Thursday, Aug. 31, ESPN will air Ohio State at Indiana at 8 p.m. ET.The televised Week 1 schedule begins on Aug. 31 and continues through Labor Day weekend. West Virginia and Virginia Tech will meet in Landover, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 3, and Tennessee and Georgia Tech will face off in Atlanta on Sept. 4.The Big Ten in particular is strongly represented in the Week 1 slate. In addition to the Buckeyes meeting the Hoosiers, ESPN will air games involving Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan, with the Wolverines’ non-conference pairing with Florida set for broadcast at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. All four Big Ten teams are expected to be in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl and Playoff berth.Ohio State will also be televised in prime time in Week 2. The program’s rematch with Oklahoma – a game the Buckeyes won convincingly at OU a year ago – will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC on Saturday, Sept. 9. The game marks the Sooners’ first trip to Columbus in 40 years.The prime time game on Sept. 16 will feature the annual rivalry between Miami (Fla.) and Florida State. This will be an ABC broadcast with an 8 p.m. ET kickoff.The full televised schedule for Week 1 of the upcoming season and the prime time games set for Week 2 and Week 3 (all times Eastern): WEEK 1 Thursday, Aug. 31Ohio State at Indiana, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Friday, Sept. 1Utah State at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (ESPN) Saturday, Sept. 2Akron at Penn State, noon (ABC)Kent State at Clemson, noon (ESPN)N.C. State vs. South Carolina (in Continue Reading

Early look: What to like about No. 13 Virginia Tech in 2017

Each week, USA TODAY Sports will give a more detailed look at the teams listed on our early top 25 for the 2017 college football season.Up next: No. 13 Virginia Tech. A strong first season under Justin Fuente proved that there is life after Frank Beamer. Better yet, Fuente’s impressive start showed how the Hokies can still be a factor in the ACC after several years on the outskirts of title contention. Why No. 13?1. Simple logic. The simplest reason to expect Virginia Tech to remain near the top of the ACC this fall? Because the Hokies were there in 2016. Nothing points to a bright future at Tech quite like the program’s initial foray under Fuente, which despite a few slip-ups — a sloppy loss to Tennessee, an ugly one to Syracuse — should be viewed as a rousing success. While the personnel situation won’t be identical, last year’s start is perhaps the primary cause for optimism heading into the end of spring football. Early look: What to like about No. 15 Stanford in 2017 Early look: What to like about No. 16 Boise State in 2017 Early look: What to like about No. 17 Georgia in 20172. Fuente effect. His impact was seen most clearly on the offensive side of the ball, where the Hokies took a substantial move forward after years and years of inconsistency. As with the bigger picture, it makes sense that Tech would be even more comfortable with Fuente’s system heading into 2017 — even if there is a hole at quarterback that needs filling before kicking off the season against West Virginia on Sept. 3.3. Ball protection. The Hokies’ battle with fumbles didn’t extend long beyond that loss to Tennessee, though some carelessness with the football did contribute to a November loss to Georgia Tech. It’s easy to see how another season in Fuente’s system will lead to fewer giveaways from the offense, if largely thanks to the growing sense of confidence and comfort in the scheme. What sort of difference Continue Reading

Why Virginia Tech has bet big on coach Buzz Williams

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The meeting was a long one, spanning three exhaustive days that ended at Buzz Williams’ home in Milwaukee in which a basketball coach obsessed with contract clauses and an administrator trying to make a program-changing hire were poring over details without the input of agents or attorneys.If it didn’t work out, Whit Babcock, who had just been hired himself as Virginia Tech’s athletics director, would presumably slink out of town and move on to the next coach without anyone being tipped off to his plan. But if it did, a program that had languished at the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference would not only be changing coaches but its entire level of investment in basketball, stretching its budget to the absolute limit in order to lure a proven winner.Williams, who keeps a daily diary and organizes every detail of his life, brought six years’ worth of notes to the meeting with Babcock covering all of his prior contract negotiations with Marquette, serving as a blueprint for what he would need to transform Virginia Tech from doormat to winning program in the nation’s toughest conference. Every detail was covered from recruiting budgets to staff salaries to the number of tickets he would get at Hokies football games. By the third day, even as Babcock put a deadline on the negotiations, Williams insisted they push through to the end, just to make sure nothing was left in the gray area before he decided to take the job.“We had a high limit, and we went to that with Buzz where we didn’t feel like we could do more, and we were very transparent about it,” said Babcock. “He actually took a pay cut to come here. We have different levels of investment we can make (in different sports), but with Buzz we stretched it as far as we could go.”Though hiring Williams would require Virginia Tech to significantly expand its financial commitment to basketball — Williams’ initial Continue Reading

Michigan Wolverines re-establishes itself as force in Big Ten, caps year with sweet overtime win over Virginia Tech Hokies in Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS — The Sugar Bowl created instant controversy last month when it took a pass on Boise State and invited ACC at large Virginia Tech and Big Ten at large Michigan to play in its BCS game. But Michigan's 23-20 victory overtime victory over Virginia Tech here last night, which ended when Brendan Gibbons kicked a game winning 37 yard field goal, provided enough high drama to hold the attention of a crowd of 64,512 at the Super Dome. No one is saying the 11-2 Wolverines are ready to contend for the national championship yet, but they took a giant step toward re-establishing themselves as a force in the Big Ten this season and their fans knew it, singing the school's famed alma mater, "Hail to the Victors" after the trophy presentation. It wasn't an artistic masterpiece. Michigan only had 184 yards of total offense, but quarterback Denard Robinson, who fumbled twice, was sacked three times and threw an interception, came out of hibernation long enough to throw a pair of touchdowns to Junior Hemingway as the Wolverines won a signature victory. "Michigan is definitely back. Yes, it is,'' Michigan long snapper Jareth Glanda said. This was Michigan's its first trip to a BCS bowl since 2006 when they lost to Southern California in the Rose Bowl and the first victory for the current Michigan players. "We broke every record you didn't want to break as a team,'' Michigan senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen said. ''We were the team that snapped the (33-year) bowl streak. We were seven straight losses against Ohio State. We had done pretty much everything incorrectly.'' However, first year coach Brady Hoke, has been able to re-establish a foundation of toughness and confidence at Michigan, a school he loved since his childhood, despite growing up in Ohio. Hoke was part of a national championship-winning coaching staff at Michigan under Lloyd Carr in 1997. When he returned to Ann Arbor in 2011 after leading San Diego State to a rare bowl Continue Reading

March Madness NCAA Tournament: NCAA selection committee’s blunder costs Virginia Tech, Colorado

Each time the NCAA increased the size of its tournament field - from 32 to 48 to 64 and now to 68 - it was supposed to be for the betterment of the game. That was what was supposed to happen. The only thing clear after listening to NCAA selection committee chairman Gene Smith, the athletic director of Ohio State, explain this year's guest list is that there is no explanation. It is simply a sliding scale to justify what the committee needs to do in a particular year. Political rhetoric and nebulous terms have been floating around out there. Sometimes, they talk about a body of work. They might mention the last 10 games, strength of schedule and RPI. But every year there are one or two teams that have done everything the previous committee outlined as priorities, yet they are left out in the cold, beyond the velvet ropes. This year, it was Colorado and Virginia Tech, which were caught in a shroud of ambiguity that is driven by the NCAA committee. Virginia Tech finished 21-11 and was 9-7 in the ACC with a Sagarin rank of 40 (lower the better). The Hokies beat top-seeded Duke in Blacksburg and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament. Colorado was 21-13 and 8-8 in the Big 12. It had a Sagarin ranking of 49 and came on strong, beating Texas, Missouri and fifth-seeded Kansas State (the latter three times, the last time to advance to the Big 12 semifinals). In the end, Virginia Tech and Colorado both became victims of an attempt by the committee to get more mid-majors into the expanded field, which may be why UAB, the regular season champion from Conference USA, and VCU from the Colonial League got the nod for the last two spots even though they had Sagarin rankings of 53 and 77, respectively. The Atlantic 10, CAA and Mountain West each received three bids. The selection process left Seth Greenberg of Virginia Tech, who has been on the bubble five straight times and has been left out each season, burning. "I'm disappointed," he said. Continue Reading

Boise State opens eyes with dramatic 33-30 victory over Virginia Tech

LANDOVER, Md. - Boise State has been one of the feel-good stories in college football for the past five years. A former junior college that didn't join Division I-A until 1996 and operates its football program with a budget of just $7.2 million, the WAC power captured America's heart after stunning Oklahoma at the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day in 2007. The Broncos then climbed all the way up to fourth in both the AP and coaches' polls last season, when they capped a 14-0 season with another Fiesta Bowl victory over TCU. Ranked third in the preseason AP poll and fifth in the coaches' poll, Boise State has become a fashionable pick to become the first team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to advance to the BCS national championship game. Anyone who watched quarterback Kellen Moore throw a 13-yard TD pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 to play as the Broncos rallied for a dramatic 33-30 victory over No. 10 Virginia Tech has to concede they deserve to be in the conversation. The hype surrounding this game in Boise was suffocating. Some referred to it as the biggest in school history. "I think you should gain a little respect, beating Virginia Tech out here," Moore said. "You're basically playing a road game." Moore refused to be baited into saying where he would rank the Broncos if he had a vote in the AP poll. Suffice to say, not everyone is rooting for these Smurfs, who play in a 32,000-seat stadium with blue turf, to earn an invite to the big party in Glendale, Ariz. The backlash against Boise already has started, with much of it coming from fans of other contenders from the major conferences, who will be quick to criticize Virginia Tech for handing Boise 17 straight points at the beginning of the game. There already are whispers about Boise's strength of schedule - which at 96 last year was by far the lowest of any team in the AP Top 10 - and there has been an open debate about how the Broncos would do if they played in the Pac-10 instead of the Continue Reading