The Virginia football team was originally scheduled to play Penn State as part of its 2013 schedule. On Monday, the Cavaliers’ athletic department announced it would face a different marquee nonconference opponent come September.
The school announced it has agreed to a home-and-home series with Oregon that will bring the Ducks to Scott Stadium on Sept. 7. The arrangement gives Virginia eight home games next year, and calls for the Cavaliers to play at Oregon in 2016.
“We initiated a conversation with Oregon about a potential game in 2017 in Europe,” Jon Oliver, Virginia’s executive associate athletics director, said in a statement. “As the conversation progressed it became clear we might have an opportunity to initiate a series in 2013 starting in Charlottesville. We saw that as a great opportunity for our program and our fans.
“The chance to add Oregon presents us with the unique opportunity to have eight home games in a single season. Kicking off the season against BYU on Aug. 31 and playing Oregon on Sept. 7 will be a challenge, but one that Coach [Mike] London has been on board with since the very beginning. I am hopeful that our fans will embrace this schedule and create a home-field advantage to help make our team successful.”
Oliver and Penn State Athletic Director Dave Joyner said they hope Virginia can reschedule its game at Penn State. The Cavaliers defeated the Nittany Lions, 17-16, in Charlottesville in the second game of the 2012 season. Virginia already has future home-and-home series scheduled with UCLA (2014-15) and Stanford (2017-18) of the Pacific-12.
Oregon is the only school in the country to have qualified for a Bowl Championship Series game each of the past four seasons, compiling a 46-7 record during that span. Former coach Chip Kelly left earlier this month to become the head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and Oregon promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to replace him.
The Ducks’ high-flying offense averaged 49.6 points per game last season and should provide Virginia’s defense, under new coordinator Jon Tenuta, a stern early season test. Oregon returns quarterback Marcus Mariota and dynamic playmaker DeAnthony Thomas from a team that finished 12-1 last season and was ranked No. 2 in the final AP poll after defeating Kansas State, 35-17, in the Fiesta Bowl.
Virginia will open the regular season with a home game against BYU, which finished with an 8-5 record in 2012, and also will host Ball State and VMI as part of its nonconference schedule. The Cavaliers will have home ACC games against Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
“I’m looking forward to playing eight home games next season,” London said in a statement. “We want our players to be able to compete against great teams. Bringing BYU and Oregon to Scott Stadium to start the season will be a tremendous challenge, but one our team is preparing for now and is very excited to take on.”
The ACC is expected to release Virginia’s complete schedule with specific dates in February.