by Jim Buzzerd
It appears the football game between West Virginia University and North Carolina State University scheduled for last Saturday has been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. Well, at least that’s what it says on the WVU athletic department website. The NC State website lists the game as postponed. Ever since officials decided last Tuesday to not play the game as scheduled there has been some confusion as to what the details were.
Initially the word was the schools were looking at trying to work on a make up date. Then the message sounded like NC State wanted to make up the game on the weekend of October 13 when the Wolfpack has an open date. The problem with that is West Virginia already has a game scheduled at Iowa State that day. However, both the Hawkeyes and Mountaineers have open dates on the weekend of the 20th. So the thinking was if WVU and ISU could move their game to the 20th the game with NC State could be played on the 13th.
Some reports indicated this solution had legs while other reports suggested WVU had zero interest in this scenario. My initial thought of the idea of moving the game to the 13th was great, but why would Iowa State agree to this? They would be the ones that would have to inconvenience their fans with a date change and reschedule all the services associated with hosting a football game.
Looking at the ramifications from WVU’s point of view even further, I could see why cramming the game into the schedule and eliminating an open date did not appeal to WVU officials. Playing a game on the 20th would have the Mountaineers playing four games in 20 days in addition to forcing them to play nine consecutive weeks. Also, playing on the 20th would mean West Virginia would only have four days to prepare for a Thursday night game with Baylor. The Bears have the weekend of the 20th open and would have a decided edge in preparation time.
The only other option to play the game would be the weekend of December 1, which is the weekend of the conference championship games. Obviously West Virginia has its sights set on playing for a Big 12 title that weekend, and even if the Mountaineers don’t make it to Dallas that weekend it might only be a week earlier than that before their fate is known. Ditto NC State. Their status with regard to a spot in the ACC Championship could be in limbo well into November.
We’ll see how this plays out, but what we do know is that West Virginia will open conference play this Saturday hosting Kansas State at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Mountaineers opened at a somewhat surprising 14.5-point favorite. Bettors have moved that line to as much as 16.5 as of Tuesday morning. Next week’s game at Texas Tech has been announced as a noon kickoff televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU.