Virginia Tech Hokies

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 1: The Virginia Tech Hokies celebrate a trip to the Orange Bowl after play against the Boston College Eagles in the ACC Championship Game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 1, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The Hokies won the title 30 - 16.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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As a result of HB2, ACC yanking football title game from Charlotte

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Well that certainly didn’t take long.

The NCAA announced Monday night that it is pulling seven of its championships from the state of North Carolina because of the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.  While president Mark Emmert stated that The Association would not push for the ACC to move its football championship game from Charlotte, the conference’s commissioner, John Swofford, heavily intimated that a move could happen.

Wednesday afternoon, that move became official as the ACC announced that  the league “will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year.”  Included in that number is the football title game, which had been scheduled to be played at Bank of America Stadium through the 2019 season.

The other sports impacted are:

Women’s Soccer
Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving
Women’s Basketball
Men’s and Women’s Tennis
Women’s Golf
Men’s Golf
Baseball

This year’s football title game at the site that’s been its home for six years had been scheduled for Dec. 3 at the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.  Tampa (the Buccaneers are on the road that weekend) and Miami (same for Dolphins) have already been mentioned as possibilities for this year’s game.  Orlando would have been an obvious choice, but the Citrus Bowl is hosting a pair of high school football championship games that same day.  Another potential temporary home, Jacksonville, likely won’t be in play this year as the NFL’s Jaguars have a home game the first weekend of December.

FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, could be a consideration as well as the Redskins play away from their home.  The NFL stadium has played host to a number of college football games the past few years, although whether the weather that time of year would be a concern to the ACC remains to be seen.

Charlotte has played host to the ACC football championship game since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three were played in Jacksonville and the next two in Tampa.

Below are the statements on the relocation by league officials.

Statement from the ACC Council of Presidents:
“As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination. Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites. We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office.”

Statement from Clemson University President James P. Clements, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents:
“The ACC presidents engaged in a constructive, wide-ranging and vigorous discussion of this complex issue over the past two days. The decision to move the neutral site championships out of North Carolina while HB 2 remains the law was not an easy one but it is consistent with the shared values of inclusion and non-discrimination at all of our institutions.”

Statement from ACC Commissioner John Swofford:
“The ACC Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount. Today’s decision is one of principle, and while this decision is the right one, we recognize there will be individuals and communities that are supportive of our values as well as our championship sites that will be negatively affected. Hopefully, there will be opportunities beyond 2016-17 for North Carolina neutral sites to be awarded championships.

 

NCAA won’t push ACC to move football title game from Charlotte

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice
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Charlotte may end up losing the ACC championship game, but it won’t be at the behest of the NCAA.

The NCAA announced Monday night that it is pulling seven of its championships from the state of North Carolina because of the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.  The highest-profile events to be moved out of the state are the men’s basketball first- and second-round games that had been scheduled to be played next March in Greensboro.

When it comes to comes to the ACC’s football championship game held annually in Charlotte, that will be left up to the conference’s discretion.

Based on a strongly-worded statement from the league’s commissioner last night, however, the title game might not be long for the North Carolina city as long as HB2 remains in effect.

“The decision by the NCAA Board of Governors to relocate all current, and not award any future, NCAA Championship sites in the state of North Carolina continues to build upon the negative impact this bill has already had on the state,” John Swofford’s statement began. “HB2 was previously scheduled to be thoroughly discussed at this week’s ACC Council of Presidents meeting, so it would be premature to make any decisions or announcements regarding ACC Championships until our membership is able to discuss. The league’s longstanding commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will continue to be a central theme to our discussions.

“On a personal note, it’s time for this bill to be repealed as it’s counter to basic human rights.”

Charlotte has played host to the ACC football championship game since 2010, and is contractually tied to the conference through the 2019 season. Prior to 2010, the first three were played in Jacksonville and the next two in Tampa.

Orlando and Atlanta were also considered as options to host the title game.

Richmond International Raceway interesting in hosting college football game, too

BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: A general view of Bristol Motor Speedway during the national anthem of the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Tennessee Volunteers on September 10, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
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Football stadiums and race tracks have a lot in common. Facilities both large enough to house a medium-sized city, yet they sit empty all but a handful of days a year.

Bristol Motor Speedway solved that problem — for a day at least — with Saturday’s Battle at Bristol. In addition to setting the college football record with 156,000-plus fans, the game pushed the race track onto ABC in prime time on a Saturday night, thereby increasing Bristol’s brand awareness somewhere between five and five million times over on an otherwise empty weekend.

And now Richmond wants in on the action.

Speaking to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond International Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier said his venue is “wide open” to hosting non-racing events, which includes college football.

“I think that could be the next progression,” said Bickmeier. “I think it ties in nicely. … This facility turns 70 years old this year. Our job is to get it ready for the next 70 years.”

Noting that the planning process would take multiple years — Bristol announced its game half a decade in advance — Bickmeier did acknowledge multiple hurdles Bristol did not have to clear.

For one, Richmond hosts a race in September, which makes the earliest the track could turn around to be football-ready is, most likely, October. “(Someone) would have to give up a home conference game, and that’s tough,” Bickmeier said.

Second, Richmond holds only 66,000 seats, a fraction of Bristol’s 160,000. That size allowed Bristol to collect a purse — $4 million for each team — that enticed Tennessee and Virginia Tech off their respective campuses.

Given those obstacles, Bickemeier noted a bowl game at Richmond may be more likely.

“We’re in the sports and entertainment business,” he said. “We are (year-round) focused on our NASCAR business. That’s who we are. These other opportunities are that: They’re opportunities. We’d be crazy not to explore them.”

 

No. 17 Tennessee races past Virginia Tech in Battle at Bristol

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) leaps as he crosses the goal line while being chased by Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) during the first half of an NCAA college football game played at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
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It took a full game, an overtime and an extra quarter, but Tennessee finally arrived to the 2016 college football season. And now that they’re here… look out.

After a sloppy first quarter resulted in a 14-0 deficit, the 17th-ranked Volunteers raced past Virginia Tech for a 45-24 win in at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Vols’ first three possessions lasted 10 plays — that’s one above the minimum, avoiding turnovers — while Virginia Tech mounted drives of 59, 62 and 77 yards, the last one largely a 69-yard Travon McMillan scoring jaunt. But, backed into their own territory, Virginia Tech botched a shotgun snap exchange and Tennessee recovered at the Hokies’ 5-yard line.

One play later, Tennessee cut the deficit to 14-7 on Josh Dobbs‘ first touchdown pass of the day. Four snaps after that, the Vols had shot 90 yards in four plays — largely on the strength of a 40-yard Dobbs dash and an on-the-money 38-yard scoring heave to Josh Malone — to tie the game. Another Virginia Tech fumble led to a short field goal drive, and Tennessee closed a blitzkrieg second quarter by moving 58 yards in nine plays to set up a 5-yard Dobbs touchdown run, turning a 14-0 hole to start the second quarter into a 24-14 lead at its close.

Dobbs’ third touchdown pass of the day, this one to Alvin Kamara, nudged the lead to 31-14 midway through the third quarter, and Virginia Tech at last stopped the bleeding with a Joey Slye 26-yard field goal on their next possession.

Any glimmer of Hokie hope evaporated with another lost fumble that turned into another Vols touchdown drive, and that pattern repeated itself one more time to push the lead to 45-17. Virginia Tech added a cosmetic score to close the scoring with 3:28 remaining.

Dobbs closed the night hitting 10-of-19 passing with three touchdowns and an interception while rushing 14 times for 106 yards and two more scores; Jalen Hurd added 22 carries for 99 yards.

Virginia Tech posted nice numbers offensively — 214 passing yards for Jerod Evans, 127 on the ground by McMillan — but five lost fumbles negated much of that progress.

No. 17 Tennessee takes lead to locker room at Bristol

Virginia Tech, left, plays Tennessee during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Tennessee rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to dominate the second quarter and take a 24-14 lead opposite Virginia Tech to the half at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Vols’ first three possessions went three-and-out, three-and-out, and four-and-out and, while its offense couldn’t stay on the field, its defense couldn’t stay off of it. Virginia Tech moved 59 yards in 13 plays before a missed field goal on its first possession, then mounted touchdown drives of 62 and 77 yards to take a 14-0 lead after one quarter.

But, after forcing its third punt in as many tries, Virginia Tech botched a shotgun handoff at its own 15-yard line, which Tennessee eventually recovered at the 5. Josh Dobbs hit Jajuan Jennings for a touchdown pass one play later.

Virginia Tech punted on its next possession and Tennessee responded by racing 90 yards in four plays — chiefly on a 40-yard Dobbs run and a 38-yard heave to Josh Malone to tie the game at the 9:42 mark of the second quarter.

After a short field goal drive, Tennessee closed its tour de force second quarter by moving 58 yards in nine plays, leading to a five-yard Dobbs scoring run. Dobbs closed the half by completing 5-of-8 passes for a wildly efficient 49 yards and two touchdowns, plus six carries for 48 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Hurd added 12 carries for 66 yards.

For Virginia TechJerod Evans has completed 10-of-15 throws for 97 yards and a score and Travon McMillan has rushed 10 times for 105 yards and a 69-yard touchdown dash.

Tennessee will receive to open the second half.