Cavaliers Notebook

Scheduling Snafu Has Cavaliers Playing Non-BCS Team on Road Again

By Zach Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 18, 2009

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- For the sixth time in Al Groh's nine years as coach at Virginia, the Cavaliers will play a team from outside the Bowl Championship Series conferences on the road when they visit Southern Mississippi on Saturday in Hattiesburg, Miss.

However, this matchup was more the result of scrambling to fill the schedule than a series agreed upon years in advance.

When Temple joined the Mid-American Conference in 2005, the MAC needed to adjust its schedule and get out of games against Middle Tennessee. The conference offered ACC teams three home games against MAC opponents if those teams were to visit Middle Tennessee, which Virginia did in 2007.

"Seemed like it worked out perfectly," Groh said. "The imperfect part of it was that the MAC failed to live up to the agreement. And so therefore, we were forced to, on short notice, try to schedule a number of games."

According to Jon Oliver, Virginia's executive associate athletic director, there is no indication as to when the MAC will return the promised games.

"The transition period between commissioners at the MAC has delayed the implementation of the MAC's portion of the agreement," Oliver wrote in an e-mail, "but we are in discussions with the MAC to schedule the games consistent with the original agreement."

MAC officials declined to comment.

When the deal was delayed, Virginia worked out the series with Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles will play a return game in Charlottesville in 2011.

Most BCS conference teams do not play on the road against non-BCS schools at the same rate as Virginia. The Cavaliers played at Western Michigan in 2003, at Temple in 2004, at East Carolina in 2006, and at Wyoming and Middle Tennessee in 2007.

"Now with the 12th game and the demand for these games, there's the payout that certain teams can get to go to the stadiums that have 85,000, 90,000, 95,000 and the payouts that teams can get to go to those places, that's where they are going to go," Groh said. "And those schools, obviously if they are going to get 100,000 for their game, they are not going to go anywhere else that the revenue for the intake, the amount of money that goes into the bank on Monday is less than staying at home. That's why you see certain teams scheduled the way they do and playing seven, eight, nine home games."

Johnson Moves Up

Cam Johnson (Gonzaga) is listed as first-team outside linebacker for Saturday's game. Johnson had previously been No. 2 on the depth chart. . . . Quarterback Vic Hall is doubtful with a hip injury and running back Mikell Simpson is questionable with a leg injury.

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