Assuming the series doesn’t get cancelled or otherwise modified before then, that is.
And here’s hoping it doesn’t. Thanks to conference realignment, several of the rivalries that made college football so great have become dormant. One of those was the battle for the Black Diamond Trophy between Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The last time the two teams played was in 2005, a 34-17 win for the Hokies. But Virginia Tech was already in the ACC by that point and the future of the series was doubtful at best.
That’s set set change — at least temporarily. WVU athletic director Oliver Luck and Hokies coach Frank Beamer announced on Wednesday that the two sides have agreed to a home-and-home series for 2012 and ’22. The Mountaineers are scheduled to host the Hokies on Sept. 18, 2021 before traveling to Blacksburg on Sept. 24, 2022.
“During my three years as Athletic Director at West Virginia University, I have heard from legions of Mountaineer fans, particularly those in the Southern part of the state, who have expressed their strong sentiments to renew the football rivalry with Virginia Tech,” Luck said. “This game is great for college football. We all know that the two schools have extraordinary fan bases, and both schools will be counting down the days until the Hokies and the Mountaineers meet again.”
“It’s two great universities that have had some great competition,” added Beamer. “We’ve always had great respect for them, and I think they feel the same way about us. Where we’re located, it’s the right thing to do. We’ll take fans to Morgantown, and they’ll bring fans to Blacksburg.”
Luck emphasized that scheduling conflicts led to such a distant date for the renewal of the series, but given WVU’s geographical challenges in the Big 12 — the Mountaineers’ closest Big 12 opponent is Iowa State — he felt it was important to have a big game close to home.
And the battle for the Black Diamond Trophy was a big game, at least regionally. The schools played every year from 1973 through 2005. WVU leads the all-time series 28-22-1, but Beamer is 12-7 against the Mountaineers.
In Auburn’s 113-year history, it’s never played a Big Ten opponent in a regular season game. That’ll change in five years.
Penn State and Auburn announced Monday morning a home-and-home series to take place in 2021 and 2022. The first game will be played in State College on Sept. 18, 2021 and the return will take place at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.
“This is another great opportunity for our players and fans to be part of something special,” Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “Bringing together elite programs rich in tradition is what college football is all about. We look forward to this home-and-home series with Penn State.”
Making matters betters is the home-and-home nature of this series, instead of playing it as a neutral site one-off to begin a season. Those games are fun (and, far more importantly, generate a ton of revenue) but having Penn State travel to Alabama and Tigers fans going to State College is a far better experience for traveling fanbases.
Auburn and Penn State have met twice before in bowl games, with the most recent meeting a 13-9 Tigers win in the 2003 Capital One Bowl.
Penn State also added a 2021 home game against Ball State on Monday, per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
Notre Dame rising redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.‘s status with Brian Kelly’s football team won’t change after he signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
Hunter is Notre Dame’s leading returning receiver after catching 28 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns last year. But even though he now has a professional baseball contract, his focus will remain on football and the beginning of preseason camp in August.
Hunter, the son of former Minnesota Twins, Angels and Detroit Tigers All-Star/Gold Glover Torii Hunter Sr., was a 23rd-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.
Hunter, an outfielder, was primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for Mik Aoki’s Irish baseball team this spring. He worked a crazy schedule (“what is sleep?” he asked) to split time between baseball, spring football and classwork in March and April and hit .182/.308/.182 in 11 at-bats.
Hunter’s baseball highlight came at Florida State, though, a few days after he made a spectacular catch reeling in a Malik Zaire deep ball in Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Game.
Auburn could be the beneficiary of an offensive transfer in the not-too-distant future, but the football program has apparently sustained a loss on the other side of the ball.
In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Sunday, Justin Thomas-Thornton revealed that he will be “pursuing my collegiate football and academic endeavors elsewhere.” The defensive lineman gave no reason for his decision to leave The Plains.
Thomas-Thornton, a four-star 2014 signee, played in the 2015 opener against Louisville, but didn’t see any other action the remainder of the year.
If Thomas-Thornton opts for another FBS program, he will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then be left with two seasons of eligibility that he’d be able to use beginning in 2017.
Finally, a personnel attrition post on this late-June Sunday that doesn’t involve Baylor.
In mid-May, wide receiver Ryan Sousa announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer out of the Florida football program, and ultimately landed at FCS Southern Illinois. A little over six weeks later, a fellow Gator receiver has apparently made a similar decision, with Scout.com reporting that Alvin Bailey will leave Jim McElwain‘s squad.
No reason was given for the receiver’s decision, although the recruiting website has an idea as to why.
The Gators added five receivers in the 2016 recruiting class, three of which were on campus in the spring. Junior college transfer Dre Massey seemed to pull ahead of Bailey in the month long practices held between March and April.
The school has declined to address Bailey’s status with the football program.
Bailey was a four-star member of UF’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 22 receiver in the country. The production never quite matched the recruiting pedigree, though, with Bailey catching three passes for 49 years in his career in Gainesville. All of those stats came during the 2015 season.